Cooperation between BRICS and Islamic world
The Russian Federation has become the President of BRICS on January 1, 2020. Russia has always promoted the idea of increasing the role of organization and transforming it from BRICS to BRICS+. Therefore, during its presidency Russia will try to embody these ideas. However, the main goal of organization is still improvement of the life quality of its countries’ nations. That is why the motto of Russian presidency will be «BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Common Security and Innovative Growth.» Russia has been profoundly preparing for this for a long time. This year promises our country and the world in general major events, trials and surprises, which can have a significant impact on the world society. Nevertheless, Russia is now ready to achieve its goals.
The world is reaching such major milestones as the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the 75th anniversary of the World War II’s end in 2020, and therefore, the number of the events held in Russia is significant. Russia will organize over 150 events in 13 cities in this year, including the BRICS-SCO Summit held in Saint-Petersburg in July, Ministers for Foreign Affairs’ meetings, Financial events, the Forum of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses of the SCO and BRICS regions. Russia will also take part in the G20 Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in November, on the margins of which many important negotiations between the leaders of the G20 countries will take place. The BRICS-SCO Summit will be held in St. Petersburg on July 21-23. As it was five years ago in Ufa, the BRICS leaders meeting will be united with the SCO summit. The purpose of the Russian Federation during its Presidency is to improve the quality of life of all nations, to prevent and solve various conflicts and tensions around the world and to cooperate with countries outside the framework of BRICS (especially with the Islamic world). Russian goals go in line with the world’s development agenda.
We can see that all BRICS countries possess powers that allow them to dominate in their region and to influence their neighbors. Mexico is another regional power, which is seen as the leader of Central America countries. Its leaders have claimed for a long time that Mexico wants to become a member of BRICS. In addition, Argentina, Egypt, Greece, Syria, Turkey and a number of Asian countries have expressed their wish to join the association. Other potential members of BRICS may be Indonesia and Australia.
There are a lot of countries interested in joining the organization. But it is difficult to tell who will benefit the most and who will become stronger, more powerful and more influential by joining the organization. The organization itself is interested in expansion, but here is the point where elaborate mind games start. It is difficult to tell whether it will benefit BRICS or not, because new members can interfere with joint actions of countries and lessen the speed and efficiency of the processes within it.
However, one of the most crucial things missed by everyone is that no state from Islamic world is the member of BRICS. And that is unfair considering the fact that the “core” of the world slowly moves from west to east. The first association with the word “east” now is – “the Middle East”, Arabic, Islamic world, a vast variety of different states unified by Islam. Today we would like to pay special attention to one particular state – the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
UAE is one of the most developed Islamic states today because of its wise policy inside and outside of its boundaries and primarily because of their zeal to position Islam as the true religion of peace and progress. They have managed to do an impossible thing – to adapt Islam to the realities of the 21st century without shattering its religious basis.
From 20 October, 2020 to 10 April, 2021 a grand event, EXPO 2020, will take place in the UAE. EXPO 2020 is a worldwide exhibition planned to be held in Dubai, the largest city of the UAE. It is an international event where technical and technological achievements of the whole humanity are demonstrated. Because of that representatives of completely different countries will participate in it. A significant number of participants and visitors are expected to take part in EXPO-2020. It is planned that the number of participants (countries and organizations) will exceed 200, and the number of visitors will be about 25 million, about 70% of which will be foreigners. The decision that the EXPO-2020 will take place in the largest city of the UAE was made at the 154th General Assembly of the International Bureau of Exhibitions, which took place on 27 November, 2013 in Paris.
EXPO-2020 – is the global exhibition, equally interesting to be visited by and equally useful for both professionals and fans. You can visit it alone, with your family or as part of an organized group. This event will be not only a demonstration of technology, but also a presentation of various cultures, as well as a place for organization of numerous entertainments. The exhibition in Dubai will be the first event of its kind to be held in MENA countries (Middle East & North Africa). Dubai, located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, is the largest city of the UAE, the administrative center of the Dubai Emirate, the most important center of trade and finances of the country and the whole Middle East. All these factors make it a great venue for this grand event.
The world exhibition in Dubai will be held under the slogan «Connecting Minds, Creating the Future». The meaning of this slogan is that only together mankind can create ideas that will make the future bright and prosperous for everyone. Main themes of the event are mobility, sustainable development and opportunities.
It should be added that Dubai now becomes a venue for various international events: conferences, exhibitions and festivals more and more often.
You might ask: How can the UAE and Dubai in particular do this? How has a single Islamic state managed to make itself so attractive for such kind of events, considering the fact that Islam can be seen as quite fanatic, harsh and intolerant religion? As we have said before, the UAE are promoting very wise policy inside and outside the country, the most prominent part of which is the policy of tolerance on all levels.
2019 has been officially declared as the Year of Tolerance on the territory of the United Arab Emirates. This decision has been made by the Government, based on the vision of the founder and the first President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. His main point is the openness of the State to representatives of every religion and nationality. A number of events aimed at enhancement of the role of the UAE in strengthening stability and improving the welfare in the region has taken place during that year. The news was released a few days after the announcement of Pope Francis visit to the UAE, which took place in February 2019.
Values of tolerance and their instilling are the core of Sheikh Zayed’s teachings. “These values are one of the most important ones that we can instill into people’s minds and the global community to ensure the safety, stable development and happiness of people around the world», said His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and the Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, also noted that tolerance is the core for the development of modern society and is one of the tools for empowering civilization and ensuring the prosperity of nations.
In order to start the Year of Tolerance, the Prime Minister of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai issued the Law No. 9 of 2017 «On the Establishment of the International Institute of Tolerance», which, among other things, established the «Award for Tolerance» of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which is also regulated by the law.
The Year of Tolerance was focused on five main goals:
- To deepen the values of tolerance and co-existence among cultures and peoples by concentrating on teaching the youth the values of tolerance;
- To solidify the UAE as the global center of tolerance through a series of initiatives and projects specialized in tolerance and dialogue between various cultures and civilizations;
- To realize multiple cultural programs to build tolerant communities;
- To create new laws and policies that promote cultural and religious tolerance through dialogue;
- To promote tolerance and co-existence through targeted media initiatives and projects.
The President has also said: “Here in the UAE, the Year of Tolerance will be celebrated as an effort of the whole nation to achieve a decades-long dream of creating a tolerant and cohesive society open to people of various cultures and religions from the whole world. The UAE and tolerance go hand-in-hand.”
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and the Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said: “We want to establish governmental policies that will consolidate tolerance and a deep sense of community further and spread these values among our youth and future generations”. “The UAE must lead intellectual, cultural and media initiatives that consolidate the values of tolerance and co-existence, opening up to cultures of the region and the world as a whole,” he added. Commenting on the announcement, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said: “The UAE is a place of tolerance, co-existence and openness to other cultures.” He noted that Shaikh Zayed established the UAE as a global model for tolerance, co-existence and cooperation and was keen to inculcate his people with these values, who continue to embody them in every possible way, both within and outside of the UAE.
It was a brave action from the UAE, but as we all know – those who risk have a chance to achieve ultimate success. That’s why UAE has reached such extreme heights in its evolution, growth and progress. This country takes all the best from the West, but at the same time preserving innate eastern experience and wisdom in order to maintain almost perfect balance – the thing that the rest of world lacks greatly and what could make our world better, safer and more prosperous.
Discourse by Sergey Dvoryanov, the President of The International Diplomatic Club “Amicability”, an expert of the BRICS International Forum, a partner of the International Alliance of BRICS Strategic Projects.