‘Documenting the past invaluable for a nation’

ABU DHABI - Awareness of history and its events is a phenomenon of civilization and by devoting special attention to history, a nation obtains valuable lessons that tremendously facilitate its quest for progress and prosperity, Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Chairman, National Centre for Documentation and Research, said.

By (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Tue 30 Nov 2010, 9:58 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:13 PM

Addressing the three-day seminar themed ‘The Memoirs of the Nation through Oral Narratives’ on Sunday, the opening day, at the centre in Abu Dhabi, Dr Hadif bin Joaan Al Dhahiri, Minister of Justice, speaking on behalf of Shaikh Mansour, said: “Safeguarding historical documents for future generations is one of the most important responsibilities of a sovereign, enlightened state. Advancement in archiving is the ideal way for a nation to preserve its heritage through the concept of institutionalisation. It also inspires patriotism, as archives preserve the memories and historical register of the nation.”

Continuing the presentation on behalf of Shaikh Mansour, Dr Hadif said: “The National Centre for Documentation and Research in Abu Dhabi is a pioneer among documentation institutions, acquainting the public with the history, people, land and heritage of the United Arab Emirates and the Arabian Peninsula. The centre has undertaken the responsibility of performing its fundamental obligations in researching and analysing the sources of the nation’s history.

The genuine concern and interest Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late president of the UAE, expressed in the history of his country and his desire to provide Emiratis with tools to preserve their history and learn form the past experiences, was the basis for the establishment of the centre.

The National Centre for Documentation and Research has thus acquired copies of documents from international archives pertaining specifically to the UAE and the Arabian Gulf. These Archives contain a wealth of historical materials that shed light on many aspects of life in the area dating back to the 16th century.”

“This seminar is keen, through its myriad of topics, to amass as many numbers as possible of British experts, administrators and professionals who assumed positions and served for a long time in the UAE to listen to their testimonies and their memoirs,” he said.

“Dialogue with those veterans will be an important narrative experience that will contribute to demonstrate a living and varied image for the unwritten events which our society had seen, to plug the gaps and reinforce the sources of the written national culture. He said it will also explore broader horizons for the historical research which will provide the generations with better understanding of the present and steady look for the future,” he said. He called on Emiratis and expatriates who have documents, photographs and films of historical angles that relates to the heritage and history of the UAE to keep in touch with the centre.

Lord Patrick Wright Richmond spoke at the seminar and cast light on his role since he was an independent member in the House of Lords, after he learned Arabic at the Middle East Centre for Arabic studies.

Well known businessman Jumaa Al Majid also presented a study paper on TV themed ‘UAE has given us the freedom of mind and finance, and let us see what we are doing’.

He spoke about his upbringing and the past of Dubai and the UAE. Other speakers included Sir Julian walker and Sir Harold Burners Walker.

Later Dr Al Dhahiri opened the Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Hall which houses rare documents and maps of the UAE, some dating back to 1502.


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