Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s Tour Guides Embody UAE’s Message Of Tolerance And Coexistence: Report

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s tour guides embody UAE’s message of tolerance and coexistence: Report

ABU DHABI, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News / WAM - 24th Feb, 2021) As the world marked International Tourist Guide Day 2021 earlier this week, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre in Abu Dhabi acknowledged its Emirati cultural tour guides. The Mosque’s employees successfully conveyed its message and enriching the experiences of its global visitors, from all cultures and religions.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque represents a prime cultural and touristic destination in the UAE. Millions visit the country throughout the year, including high-level officials, celebrities, tourist groups and delegations from different cultures and nations. The Mosque’s cultural tour guides enlighten visitors about the notions of tolerance, coexistence and mutual respect pursued by the UAE, by demonstrating the exemplary that Emiratis represent. In doing so, they realise the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision of building bridges and creating channels for cultural dialogue among various civilisations around the world.

Coinciding with this international day, our cultural tour guides presented a virtual tour of the Centre to tour guides from tourism entities of different cultures. During the tour, the guides discovered the unique ‘Tolerance Path’ experience, which the Centre recently launched. The tour represents an exceptional journey that takes the Mosque’s visitors of all cultures on a voyage of outstanding exploration. This is achieved through an illustrated narration of the path’s three sections, and its rich stories that embrace coexistence and tolerance. These notions were anchored by the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the Centre transformed them into a reality everyone breathes, under the auspices of noble values.

This reality prepares them to undertake their tolerance journey and enlightens them on the essence of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s message. They gather in the Mosque alongside their peers from other cultures and religions, in an atmosphere of understanding and respect. They are united by common human values, in a single vessel where differences melt.

As the Mosque strongly believes in the importance of investing in local human resources, and employing the nation’s youth to convey their homeland’s message to the world, it has achieved an Emiratisation rate of 100 per cent among male and female cultural tour guides. These guides offer cultural tours around the Mosque and serve its guests and visitors, including worshipers and tourists. They also provide all services needed to enrich visitors’ experiences, as they arrive at the Mosque and wander in its midst.

The guides also work as trainers for all training programmes at the Centre, thus qualifying local leaders in this profession. This successfully contributes to the Mosque’s efforts to highlight the UAE’s stellar image and reveal the richness of its culture to visitors from all over the world. They also emphasise the merits of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, commemorating his legacy, virtues and humanitarian contributions, which advocate respect for others.

As part of its social responsibility commitment, the Centre creates specialised training programmes for qualifying cultural tour specialists. It regularly organises two training programmes: ‘Ibn Al Dar’ programme for Emirati students and graduates, and the ‘Junior Cultural Guide’ programme for the younger participants, which aims to raise a responsible generation who takes pride in their national identity and rich Islamic culture.

The programme invests in the energies of young people from early ages, introducing them to the profession of cultural tour specialist and raising awareness of their role as ambassadors who represent their country in an honourable manner. It also provides members with prospects for pursuing a career as cultural tour specialists – promoting values of coexistence and respect for others.

Cultural tours by the Centre's specialist team are not limited to physical ones. Cultural tour specialists are currently offering virtual tours on the Mosque's official Instagram channel. Since May 2020, the Centre's team of tour specialists has provided 184 virtual tours, with more than 23,000 followers. On the other hand, the team has offered nearly 1,500 physical tours to visitors from various nationalities.

On this occasion, Ameena Al Hammadi, Head of Cultural Tours at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, said, "The Centre is committed to providing a true and bright picture of the principles of Islamic culture and the UAE society, as well as fulfilling its role in reviving the achievements of the Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and conveying his message of tolerance, by raising a responsible generation who take pride in their national identity and rich Islamic culture. The Centre's cultural tour specialists are ambassadors for concepts adopted by our nation, such as coexistence and respect for others, which they communicate to visitors from around the world, according to the highest international standards."

Ameena Al Hammadi indicated that the Centre has adopted regular qualification programmes for cultural tour specialists, including theoretical training, workshops, guidance, self-learning and field visits. The programmes aim to invest in the energies and refine the skills of specialists to enable them to communicate with the public, according to the highest performance standards that represent the cultural message of the Centre. This can be achieved through offering cultural tours to the Mosque's visitors or participating in the various events and activities organised by the Centre throughout the year.

"On this International Day, we affirm our commitment to continue preparing a promising generation of Emirati cultural tour specialists and providing them with the necessary expertise and skills as ambassadors, who convey the message of their country to all visitors to the Mosque from all over the world. Such generation will be a shining example of the people of the UAE who bear the responsibility of delivering the UAE's message and values of tolerance and coexistence, which the Founding Father instilled in the people and residents of this country," she added.

Affiliated to the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre is supported and monitored by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. Founded as a center of the UAE’s cultural and intellectual movement, the Mosque embodies the cultural and national values promoted by the late Sheikh Zayed, as well as the national identity inspired by Islamic teachings.