Interview with the president of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace, Ahmed Al Jarwan
As Cybersecurity Magazine, we are focused on just that: Cybersecurity. However, sometimes it is necessary to step aside for a while and look at the bigger picture. This crisis is one of these times.
This is why we’re especially honoured and thrilled to have had the opportunity for this interview with His Excellency, Ahmed Al Jarwan, President of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace.
Cyber Security Magazine: Your Excellency, this initiative of Tolerance and Peace is essential and a beacon for the human race to practice tolerance through our differences. It tackles the plague of intolerance and fighting, which has persisted as long as human history is documented, head on. Bold ambitions bears fruits.
As Cyber Security Magazine, we realize the value of communication via cyber space; therefore your view is valuable to understand how such virtue of tolerance and peace can be promoted without getting diluted online.
Tolerance and Peace have always been much sought-after values for human beings, with a connected world even more. How do you see these values evolve online?
Ahmed Al Jarwan: Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, tolerance, stability and development. Different means have to be employed to leverage those values and one of the them is the use of technology, specifically the use of the internet, as it is now a crucial aspect in people’s life, and it is a great help in getting information for its seekers.
The Internet has evolved to a point where it helps people to gain self-knowledge about challenging personal issues such as ethics, morals and values by being connected and exposed to a broader community of peers and experts. Through search engines and social media platforms that have been available, individuals from across the globe have the opportunity to interact with people both inside and outside of their own communities.
Valuable dialogue between people from different ethnic, religious and political backgrounds can be facilitated easily, which can alter attitudes, change perceptions and encourage Tolerance and mutual understanding between different groups who didn’t have this chance of engagement with one another before.
Currently we can use this online technology to manage and prevent conflict, and build peace, by gathering great volume of data for free and then analyzing this data by Identifying and countering hate speech, identifying and analyzing people’s perception, identifying and mapping violent incidents, tracking violent and intolerant groups, and identifying the good examples of peaceful and tolerant behaviors. We have noticed an increase in the number of international research centers, like Stanford, Harvard and MIT, looking into the uses of technology in peace and conflict prevention, generating peace indicators and more useful information on the dynamics of conflict and promotion of peace.
Cyber Security Magazine: Do we try to standardize how we determine tolerance across social groups in the world?
Ahmed Al Jarwan: Tolerance is a necessary component of a Peaceful and stable world. The UN has already declared their objective “to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors.” Furthermore, UNESCO has also clarified the meaning of tolerance. According to Article 1.1., “[t]olerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human…Tolerance is harmony in difference.”
As the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace, we have a crucial role to play in standardizing tolerance and peace in the world.
GCTP was established as an international platform to Promote tolerance and peace in the world. With our valuable competencies and based on our great values, we hold many responsibilities on our shoulders, we have set different tasks and activities, and created different entities to meet our major objectives:
to promote and instill the value of tolerance,
to develop the rules of international law to suit the needs of the international community,
to strengthen international peace and security,
to fight all forms of discrimination, racism and intolerance,
to encourage initiatives that provide a decent life for all,
to promote a culture of respect for human rights and freedom,
and to support sustainable development and assist humanity for a peaceful and stable life.
Our mission is to work on spreading the culture of tolerance and peace in order to address the issues of contemporary world peace, through the different components of GCTP such as the International Parliament for Tolerance and Peace (IPTP) and the General Assembly.
The International parliament of Tolerance and Peace, main representative body of GCTP, is composed of more than 65 parliament members from all around the world. It addresses women and youth, international relations, international law, promoting peace, and sustainable development issues. IPTP has held 4 successful sessions consecutively in Malta, Albania, Argentina and recently in Ethiopia.
IPTP members tackle the world’s current issues, and work on proposing solutions by declaring statements, charters, and setting action plans to be implemented, all for the sake of a world of Peace.
The General assembly, our second main component, is composed of Peace builders and tolerance advocators and corporations (universities, NGOs, Research Centers) who have contributed to tolerance and peace and who have a fingerprint in promoting tolerance, and world peace through research and constructive projects.
Those NGO and individuals were selected based on their type of services covering different sectors such as women and youth, media and communication, social and cultural, sustainable development and academia. Many projects have been initiated building the roadmap of tolerance and peace.
Cyber Security Magazine: The Internet is a confluence of thoughts and ideas which democratizes and gives voice to all, do you think this is the only platform to promote the virtues of tolerance and peace?
Ahmed Al Jarwan: In a world where social injustice, corruption, inequality, moral decline, terrorism, discrimination, extremism and violence have spread, it is time to become united, to cherish peace and work for its establishment; it is time to take in new strategies and new methods at the global level, it is time to act.
Promoting tolerance and peace can be done using many means based on your target audience and the outreach methods. Internet, through its applications, is one the tools to be used to communicate these values. Many projects and programs have been developed and implemented to promote the tolerance and peace. The most recent one is the Human Fraternity document. A new milestone in the history of mankind, it has been achieved on the 4th of February 2019, the day where the Human Fraternity document has been released and signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the land of tolerance.
Many other projects have been developed using machine learning, artificial intelligence, Internet of things, nanotechnology, and many other states of art technologies serving the promotion of Tolerance and Peace, by solving real world problems such as poverty, water, climate change, education, energy, transportation and many other sectors that will all contribute to sustainable development.
Developing incubators and accelerators will support entrepreneurs from active women, youth and disabled, in the promotion also of Tolerance and Peace.
Providing international assistance to people affected by disasters, supporting projects in construction, education, health and humanitarian assistance in many countries are all other means of promoting tolerance and peace.
Academic training, workshops, conferences, symposiums, and sports activity will all support the promotion of the values of Tolerance and Peace
Cyber Security Magazine: What is the biggest concern you have with social media platforms, while they allow good ideas to develop but leave enough room for negativity to flourish? Should we have a global regulation for this?
Ahmed Al Jarwan: The Internet is considered nowadays as one of the first weapons to destroy hate and conflict and to propagate peace and tolerance. The use of mobile phones, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube videos has shown how technology can complement and augment the exercise of our rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of peaceful assembly.
The audience of social media are divided in two categories, content creators and consumers, and this might be a significant factor in creating conflict, as it opens the door for people across borders to meet and discuss and to be exposed to intolerant and malicious discourse. According to media ethicist Aidan White: “Learning to live with free expression in the digital age requires a new movement to help people understand that free speech is not without some responsibility.”
Media and communication are one of the main concerns of the council, and it is tacked in the IPTP and the General Assembly. Many initiatives have been developed to set regulations and guidelines regarding the use of social media from the content creator and consumer perspective. And I would like to announce that currently we are organizing a symposium to be held in France on social media and communication entitled “Strengthening the role of media and communication in promoting Tolerance and Peace “
Cyber Security Magazine: Is there any way for schools and the youth to participate in the council, to learn and influence their environment? After all, I would like to leave this world in a better place for my children.
Ahmed Al Jarwan: Education, one of the main pillars of Tolerance and Peace, should continuously be worked upon through development of quality specialized program at all education levels. These programs should be designed to meet the society needs from economic, cultural and community engagement perspectives.
Teaching Tolerance, as a new discipline in education becomes vital to nurture and equip graduates with the needed knowledge and skills meeting the community requirements in order to live together in harmony and stability. Without tolerance, peace of societies cannot be maintained, loyalty and acceptance for each other cannot be established. Higher education has a key role to play in preparing changemakers, leaders, entrepreneurs, problem solvers, critical thinkers, and decision makers, ready to face and respond to the challenges of the multi-cultural present such as violence, terrorism, aggressive nationalism, racism, exclusion, marginalization and discrimination. Currently the council is working closely with its international academic partners to develop a master and doctoral program in Tolerance, that will be offered to all collaborators and supported and sponsored by the council.
Openness and comprehension toward other people should be our way in educating our children from kindergarten to Postgraduate level, showing them the diverse culture and backgrounds, and fundamental shared humanity. We should teach them the importance of refusing violence and adopting peaceful means for resolving disagreements and conflicts; as it was mentioned in all religions. We should forge in the next generations feelings of openness, and respect toward others, solidarity and sharing based on a sense of security in one’s own identity and a capacity to recognize the many dimensions of being human in different cultural and social contexts. We should teach them Integrity, Diversity, Quality, Commitment, Respect, Solidarity, building in them competencies such as Communication, Innovation & Creativity, Sharing Knowledge, Collaboration and Partnership, Influencing, and Empowerment.
Every element of the community is responsible and should contribute to educating for tolerance, supporting and empowering youth.
We are currently developing Peace ambassadors’ program, and we will announce very soon the youth parliament for tolerance and peace. We should create legacy, and shape our children’s future, prepare new generation equipped with new skills and knowledge and the know-how, focus on innovative and creative education system meeting our community needs, in facing the world challenges, we should build a new mindset in communities that promote peace.
We all dream of a perfect world, full of happiness, stability, peace and security, now we can make this dream come true, despite conflicts, wars, climate and environment issue that have been spread, we can make a change.
We should all work together truly, and united to developing and supporting peace and tolerance initiatives.
We are seeding today, so that tomorrow we see the results, the WORLD IN PEACE.