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Speech by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan at Dubai 2016 Games 2016-07-23

Date: 
Saturday, 2016, July 23
Location: 
Source: 
theismaili.org
Sheikh Nahyan pays tribute to sportsmanship, excellence and pluralism at the opening of the 2016 Jubilee Games

Speech by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan,
United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development
Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Jubilee Games
Dubai, UAE

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Admirable Participants in the 2016 Jubilee Games,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Dubai and the United Arab Emirates are pleased to be the site of the 2016 Jubilee Games. We are delighted to have, if only for a few days, our global community enlarged by the visit of over 2 000 athletes and their supporters from more than twenty-five countries. We are proud to welcome you all under our commodious Arab tent.

The UAE’s diverse global culture embraces a population representing virtually all cultures, ethnicities, languages, religions, and beliefs. That global culture has benefitted from the actions of all who live and work in our country, and of all who visit our country — actions that exhibit universal values admired throughout the world. Prominent among those values are human dignity, self-reliance, and selfless generosity in promoting peace, understanding and well-being for all.

In organising these games, you have clearly responded to the extraordinary leadership of His Highness the Aga Khan. These Jubilee Games speak eloquently to the wisdom, courage, global vision, humanitarian initiatives, and moral strength that have marked his 59 years of enlightened guidance and leadership as Imam of the Ismaili community.

I am certain that His Highness the Aga Khan strongly supports the notion that sport enriches our lives. Sport has always proven to be a wonderful medium for countries, communities, and individuals to gain cross-cultural understanding and to build friendships with others who share the same values and interests. Sport calls upon us to appreciate human achievement in a way that crosses boundaries of nationality, religion, and gender. It enhances teamwork skills, individual talent, problem solving, fitness, hard work, healthy competition and peaceful coexistence and, in the end, it makes us better people and the world a better place for all.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

All of us here this evening are unusually fortunate. We will be observing marvelously skilled athletes striving for excellence. We will be observing the striking ethnic and cultural diversity of the Ismaili community. We will be observing the respect and understanding that unite all of you spiritually and mark you as good people, dedicated to being powerful forces for peace and understanding in our tempestuous world.

Although the increasing frequency of international sporting events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi challenges the schedules of loyal spectators, the 2016 Jubilee Games deserve a special place on those schedules. The Games present an example worthy of the world’s attention and are much admired in the United Arab Emirates. The values, so evidently promoted in these games, of individual striving, teamwork, excellence, peaceable competition, and understanding of others reflect the values of our country, and our leadership. His Highness, the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan leads our country with these values at the forefront.

Under his wise leadership, and with the strong support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, and of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahayan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the United Arab Emirates has become a vibrant and balanced society. We accommodate and thrive on diversity that is accorded respect and understanding. Universal values, the sort endorsed by these games, unite us in the United Arab Emirates.

As we watch the competing athletes during the next five days, we will naturally be most aware of the victors. Every one of you competitors will hope to be the victors in your sport. Although your reason tells you that some people will not win, your heart tells you that you will not be a loser. Let me assure you, both your reason and your heart are correct. Victors will be in the minority. But all of you are winners.

Sports inherently promote that paradox. All participants play the game every bit as well as the eventual victors. All participants are winners in human terms. They pursue excellence, live by the highest principles, and perform with skill and courage.

I am confident that all of you competitors in the 2016 Jubilee Games will be winners. We look forward to your heroics and wish you the best. We are eager to celebrate how well you play the game.

Good luck to you all!


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