Rt.Hon.Tony Blair announces that GEMS Education is the first school provider in the UAE to join Tony Blair Faith Foundation
Dubai, UAE, April 4, 2011: The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Founder of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has announced that GEMS Education, a Dubai based company, has become the first education provider in the United Arab Emirates to join the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Face to Faith Schools program.
Mr Blair says, “I am delighted that GEMS Education has decided to adopt the Face to Faith program through all its 26 schools in the UAE. As globalisation brings us all closer together, and as complex changes take place across the Middle East, we need to educate the children of the world about the importance of understanding and respecting different faiths. Face to Faith enables students across the world to learn from each other. If schools or colleges want to do well in today’s world they must think about partnerships they can create across borders; and with different types of people within their own borders. GEMS students come from 150 different nationalities and the GEMS ethos has great synergies with the vision of the program.”
Last week GEMS Education hosted the global Face to Faith annual conference where coordinators from the 16 countries the program is active in have come together in Dubai. These include representatives for the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries including Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and the Palestinian Territories joining colleagues from Australia, the Philippines and the USA to discuss progress on the program’s core aims.
Founder and Chairman of GEMS Education, Mr Sunny Varkey says, “ I commend Tony Blair for this wonderful educational initiative which he founded in order to help the world be a better place. Religious intolerance is responsible for much of the conflict we see in the world today. Many of the issues that we see in communities around the world are based on a lack of knowledge; so improving our understanding of the many positive things that different faiths have to offer will go a long way in resolving these issues.”
“One of GEMS four core values is ‘Universal Values’. It acknowledges that we are all different while recognizing that we are all the same. The Face to Faith programme is an important extension of the core values we instil in all our pupils.”
Face to Faith aims to build religious literacy. The program brings young people
together using new technology by breaking down stereotypes, increasing
dialogue skills, and ensuring the next generation is prepared for global citizenship in the 21st century. Face to Faith allows young people to share perspectives on their own national and cultural identity with others around the world.
With 100,000 students in GEMS schools, many of them in the Middle East, GEMS believes it can play a significant role in promoting the importance of understanding and respect of different faiths.
GEMS teachers are also being trained and mentored to become the GEMS Face to Faith training team so that all of the 26 GEMS schools in the UAE will be actively participating in the Face to Faith programme by the end of 2011. They will actively promote the Face to Faith values among students by encouraging them to investigate specific global issues, discuss a range of different beliefs and learn to respect different opinions.