By Khalid AlAmeri (@KhalidAlAmeri)
Every country’s National Day is a moment of intense celebration, immense pride, and self-reflection where many of the country’s greatest achievements are brought front and center for all to see and cherish.
There is however one critical factor that makes this day truly special and stands out above the rest, the people. The men and women who have played a role, big or small, in creating what is today the great country we all know as the United Arab Emirates.
During my visit to Art Abu Dhabi, I saw an interesting piece of art that consisted of a crude oil filled glass table with a mechanic pulse in the middle. This piece of art was used to symbolize how oil is the lifeline of the UAE economy and according to the artist, made especially for the show.
While oil has played and continues to play a major role in the development of the UAE, in the end it is what the people do with this critical resource that determines the success of a country and the prosperity of its people. I am not going to list countries but there are several, with just as much resources, who are yet to see the growth and development the UAE has experienced.
So who does it all start with?
First and foremost, it is our leaders. The UAE has been truly blessed with a leadership that puts the development of its people before anything else.
The late and loved Sheikh Zayed was quoted as saying “The real asset of any advanced nation is its people, especially the educated ones, and the prosperity and success of the people are measured by the standard of their education” and this is something he lived through his actions which until today, and for generations to come, we are and will be truly grateful.
More importantly, Sheikh Zayed put great effort in instilling his qualities into the leaders of today which is shown through their deep wisdom, humility, and sense of responsibility towards all who have made the UAE their home.
By ensuring that the people of the UAE can live lives of dignity and have the opportunity to play a role in the development of their nation, through access to employment, a high level education, and world class healthcare, you guarantee a people that are proud and motivated. The perfect ingredient to building success.
Secondly, The Emiratis, from the pearl divers to the oilrig engineers, from the traders to the investment analysts, from the Bedouins to the Airline Pilots, all have played a role in shaping the UAE and building a sense of identity of what it is to be an Emirati.
When you look at how our forefathers overcame the many obstacles to support the development of our nation, the generation of today cannot help but feel a sense of responsibility to build on their legacy.
Not a day goes by where I do not open the headlines to see another Emirati, brother or sister, starting a new community initiative, entering a new sector previously unheard of in the UAE, or being recognized for their achievements to the government or private sector.
It is truly remarkable where we have come as a people in 40 years and I can say with all the confidence in the world that nothing is beyond us. We have proven in the past that against all odds we will achieve and that has not changed one bit. In the face of an economic crisis and political uncertainty in the region, we as a people are part of our leaderships’ vision and once again, we will achieve.
And finally, we cannot forget the international residents from around the world that now call the UAE their home; the ones who have given up all they knew and loved to come and play a role in the ever-growing story that is the United Arab Emirates. The truly amazing part is that many international residents that have been here for over forty years and have shown a dedication and willingness to support, develop, and give back to the point that today the UAE is all they know.
International residents are part of what makes the UAE truly special. The fact that so many different nationalities can come together, in harmony, and create milestone after milestone is truly a thing of beauty and one that I am sure will continue for many years to come.
When the goals and ambitions of a country’s leadership and its people are in perfect balance, prosperity awaits at the doorstep. The UAE has found a way of creating an environment where everyone can move together, pumping life into the country, making it stronger, kind of like a heartbeat. So next year at Art Abu Dhabi, I think a portrait titled “People of the UAE”, with a pulse in the middle, would be a lot more fitting.
21st Issue – December 2011
Here We Start – Art of Living 101 – Beyond Inspiration – Community Talk – Food For Thought
Interview – Just Another Undergrad – Sense and Sustainability – Society of Tomorrow
The First Years Last Forever – The Mind’s Eye – Too Blunt For Words – Words, Observations, and Ramblings