After extensive preparations that lasted a whole year, events were held in Dubai from 16-18 of October 2011 dedicated towards peaceful coexistence. The opening ceremony was held at 12 pm on Sunday 16th of October 2011 at the Intercontinental Festival City Hotel under the patronage, and with the attendance, of His Highness Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashed Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with the attendance of a host of ministers from the UAE and neighboring Arab countries. The ceremony was also attended by an elite of, politicians, poets, intellectuals, and cultural figures from both the Arab world and abroad. The speeches that were given were given in this order:
1- A word from the President of the Foundation Abdul Aziz Saud Albabtain.
2- A word from the Vice President of the European Parliament Giovanni Pittella
3- A speech by Ammar Al-Hakim, Leader of the Higher Islamic Council in Iraq
4- A word from Field Marshal AbdulRahman Swar Al Dahab, who was being honored at the Ceremony
The President of the Foundation honored Field Marshal Swar Al-Dahab with the Foundation’s commemorative gold medal for his efforts in promoting the dialogue of civilizations, cultures, and religions and peaceful coexistence of peoples.
After the patron’s exit, the attendees were captivated by a show that joined the Sudanese Poet Rawda Al-Haaj with Danish poet Niels Hav, as they were backed by traditional Oud and piano music. At 4:30 pm of the same day, the first session titled ‘The Image of the Other in Ancient Arabic Poetry,’ kicked off, followed by a show by the singer Ghada Chbeir and her ensemble.
Over the next two days, the session titled ‘The Image of the East in World Poetry,’ and ‘Image of the Other in Contemporary Poetry,’ and ‘Horizons of Communication,’ each followed by a complementary poetry session comprising poets from across the world.
The Forum was concluded by the honoring of Mr. Albabtain by the Republic of the Comoros Islands represented by Prime Minister Burhan Hamed, and Colonel Hassani Said Haroona. Mr Albabtain was awarded the crest of the green Comoros Crescent (Commando), and the honoring was concluded with the announcement that Mr. Albabtain’s name was now on an important thoroughfare in the Comoros Republic.
With the grace of God, the responses to the forum were extremely positive, from both the attendees and the audience. The same was heard from the foreign poets, who thanked the Foundation for their hospitality. The forum was covered by media outlets from both inside and outside the Arab world, all which pointed towards the striking success of the forum.
The foundation had also produced a number of accompanying publications, which were present at the book fair, and were handed out gratis to the attendees of the forum.
The ‘Poetry Towards Peaceful Coexistence’ Forum was organized by the Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain’s Prize for Poetic Creativity with the attendance of an elite group of poets, writers, and intellectuals from five continents. They presented extremely deep research papers regarding poetry and the coexistence of the human race, and affirmed after their assessment of world affairs that we are in a pivotal and hard-changing moment, which is evident by the Arab uprisings and national crises in the political, social, and economic sphere. These crises could lead us down a dangerous path towards violent outcomes and clashes between people.
The participants affirmed that humanity cannot move forward except through a peace built on justice and love and understanding between cultures and people. This is a specific message of Arabic poetry, similar to the poetry of the rest of the world. The dialogue of civilizations and cultures and the understanding of the other, and equitable distribution of economic and political power among people, are the tools that will allow us to transcend the troubles we are facing in the political and economic sphere.
With this in mind, the participants of the Forum have come to the conclusion that the importance of peace, justice, cooperation, as well as the importance of constructive dialogue are the keys to solving the structural crises facing the human race in the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. It is a cooperation that takes into account the interests and hopes of nations, and also takes into account the human dimension, without insult or spite, which all the religions of the world are calling for, as does the pure Islamic faith. The participants asked the political and economic leaders, heads of civil cooperatives, and the youth, who are ever the architects of the future, to make peace, cooperation, and understanding in the framework of society in order for humanity to avoid the evils that surround us, which are manifested in resorting to violence in order to solve the problems we are facing on the national, regional, and global level.
The participants see that human freedom is a vital part of national freedom, for the two complement and complete each other. For freedom cannot thrive without an understanding of the other’s thoughts and concerns. This allows for the realm of freedom to widen and deepen, and allows for an inclusion of all who strive for justice and peace, so humanity can be elevated.
The economic, political, and social dangers facing the world are real problems that have emerged since the beginning of the 21st century all over the world, and specifically in the Arab Orient. The time has come for all who have consciences to raise their voices loudly and affirm that the path to tomorrow be one paved with the flowers of understanding and not the barrels of guns. The respect to the dignity of humanity that God has emphasized is the way to achieve a state of safety, justice, and acceptance for all.