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Sun 17 Feb 2019 02:29 PM

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UK should follow UAE in appointing minister of tolerance, says Richard Branson

The Virgin Group founder also suggested Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan visit the UK

UK should follow UAE in appointing minister of tolerance, says Richard Branson
Richard Branson suggested that the UAE’s minister of tolerance Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan should visit the UK.

Billionaire businessman and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has suggested that the UK should follow in the UAE’s footsteps in appointing a minister of tolerance.

Speaking at The Retail Summit in Dubai, Branson also suggested that the UAE’s minister of tolerance Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan should visit the UK.

“There are good governments like in Dubai and there are rotten governments like across the ocean. And Great Britain is no victim by any means at the moment. We need the minister [of tolerance] that you’ve got here in Dubai,” he said.

“Britain needs a minister of tolerance. If [the UAE’s minister of tolerance] can lend some time in the UK, it would be welcome for us.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced in 2016 that the UAE would appoint a minister of tolerance to “instill tolerance as a fundamental value in UAE society”.

He had said in a tweet, “We need a government whose essence is human and family, education and aspirations to build their future. We need a government with its purpose to build a virtuous society, a forgiving environment, close families, educated generations and equal economic opportunities for all.”

At the summit, Branson said the Virgin Group sets up organisations to tackle issues including conflict resolution, calling for more “good leaders” to quickly resolve conflicts.

“Every year, we have a team of people [at Virgin Group] look at the most audacious ideas which need facing, [be it] climate change or conflict resolution, drug reform etc. And then we set up organisations, just like we set up a business, to go out and try to tackle these issues,” he said.

“If you have a conflict, everything else falls apart in a society. And in this day and age, we should not still be having horrendous conflicts in the world. We need more good leaders to compromise and make sure we resolve conflict quickly and early on…” he added.

Branson is also chairman of Virgin Galactic, in which Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments (now under Mubadala) owns a 31.8 percent stake. This week, on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai, the businessman gifted a UAE flag, which was taken into space on the recent successful test flight of Virgin Galactic, to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Branson said the gift is a tribute to the role played by the UAE and its vision and approach to the space sciences, adding that the UAE has entered this field as a key player on the regional and international scene.

The Retail Summit 2019 is a global event held in Dubai on February 13-14 at the Atlantis Palm Jumeirah in partnership with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This year, speakers include chairwoman of Huda Beauty Huda Kattan, Balmain CEO Massimo Piombini, Chalhoub Group co-CEO Patrick Chalhoub and more.