Op-ed by Dr. Tarek Elsheikh UNSG Representative and Resident Coordinator to Kuwait
16 May 2021
International Day of Living Together in Peace
Kuwait, 16th of May 2021 - The United Nations celebrates the International Day of Living Together in Peace on the 16th of May of each year. A day that invites countries of the world to live and act together, united in differences and diversity to build a sustainable world of peace, solidarity, and harmony.
Since its admission to the United Nations in 1963, the State of Kuwait has always emphasized on its commitment to regional and world peace and human dignity, promoting the use of dialogue among nations and fighting all forms of terrorism. Now, in 2021, Kuwait stresses on the importance of dialogue to empower the values of equity, acceptance and co-existence between the different civilizations, cultures, and religions, and hence live together in peace. With this belief asserted in actions, the State of Kuwait developed a State Vision of New Kuwait 2035, harmonizing its national development plan with the international development vision by adapting the plan to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) 2030 agenda.
In 1961, the year of its political independence, the state of Kuwait established the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED). A generous declaration to the world that Kuwait is willing to share its wealth with other developing countries and hence lead in that vital and noble role of enhancing the regional and international peace and development. Since that date, KFAED has provided loans to 107 countries, for the purpose of implementing development projects in sectors such as education, transportation, industry, energy, water and sewerage, peacebuilding, and many others.
This year, while the world is bravely fighting an unprecedented global crisis unleashed by COVID-19, it is important more than ever to promote equity, solidarity, compassion, and kindness to help ensure peace, under the motto ‘Nobody is safe until everyone is safe’. People from different groups volunteered together to respond to the pandemic. Stemming from this belief, on 10 August 2020, The State of Kuwait pledged 10 million US dollars to Gavi, the vaccine alliance for supporting COVAX Advance Market Commitment Countries. On 15 November 2020, The Kuwait Fund has contributed 4 million US dollars to UNICEF’s COVID-19 response in Syria, supporting the most vulnerable children and families. On 6 July 2020, the World Health Organization acknowledged the generous funding of Kuwait that supported the implementation of Jordan's COVID-19 national preparedness and response plan. In 2021, The state of Kuwait has donated oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and other medical supplies to aid India in their fierce fight against COVID-19. These are only few examples however the State of Kuwait still has much more to open-handedly contribute to the world, it is a destiny Kuwait is proud to fulfill.
Such destiny was commended during the General Assembly in its Seventy-Sixth Session, October 2020, when Secretary-General António Guterres celebrated the life of Sheikh Al-Sabah also known as “dean of Arab diplomacy” and described him as a bridge‑builder and a messenger of peace. With foresight and political wisdom, Sheikh Al-Sabah shaped Kuwait’s preventive diplomatic engagement, he said, recalling how in the thick of the Syrian refugee crisis, Sheikh Al-Sabah convened the first conference of solidarity, and started it off with a generous offer that inspired other countries to step up their response. In a recent update from WHO, the Executive Director Tedros Ghebreyesus expressed his gratitude to the government of Kuwait for providing over USD 200 million between 2015-20, enabling WHO to progress towards achieving #HealthForAll, address health emergencies and save millions of lives around the globe. The partnership between the UN and Kuwait goes beyond mobilizing resources for UN programmes and includes collaboration on global projects. These are focused on advocacy, capacity development and technical collaboration with the aim of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and providing assistance that alleviates the suffering of millions around the world.
Two days ago, 14th May marks the 58th anniversary of the State of Kuwait as a member State to the United Nations. I take this opportunity to congratulate the government of Kuwait under the leadership of HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and wisdom of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah for the continuous and tireless efforts in promoting peace and prosperity through our long-standing strategic partnership to provide much needed support and assistance to communities around the world and particularly in support of various humanitarian operations including in Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Yemen and for the Rohingya, to name a few.
When declaring the International Day of Living Together in Peace; the United Nations invited countries to observe the Day in accordance with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.
On 9 March 2008, Asmae joined the United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Office in the State of Kuwait as Executive and Knowledge Associate. With over 15 years of relatively significant experience, a track record of strong relationship and partnership building with National and International stakeholders and host government, authorities and institutions, Civil Society Organizations, mass Media and the Diplomatic community in Kuwait. Served as a Coordination, Partnership and Communication Officer, contributing to continuous process improvement in the face of rapidly evolving and changing environments. Asmae is also supporting conference management and high-level missions’ coordination, maintenance of UN protocol procedures and high-level representation. Have supported and contributed to the success of large international conferences, signature events/activities such as the UN General Assembly summit, Agenda 2030 SDGs good summit, UN Day celebrations, Syria pledging conferences 2 and 3, Iraq Reconstruction Conference and the Yemeni Talks, the Arab League Summit, the Arab-African Summit, Special Human Rights Procedures/Rapporteurs and the UN Security Council and UNTalks forums.
Asmae’ s background lies in leading and supporting operations, teams, and processes to propel advocacy initiatives while realizing enhanced corporate success and productivity. She has supported the UNRCO in the
identification and implementation of visionary strategic objectives set by the United Nations Country Team to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in accordance with the County’s vision and aspirations. With a developed political acumen and negotiation skills and familiarity with the local and regional context, Asmae can effectively advocate and communicate with partners the strategic objectives of the UN Country Team and provide sound assistance in the promotion of United Nations global communications and advocacy priorities through new advocacy tools building and media relations, providing substantive support for digital communications and publications and branding management.
Asmae holds a Master’s degree in Social Science, in International Management from the University of Liverpool 2015.