Proud to be an Emirati

Proud to be an Emirati

As the UAE gears up to celebrate its 40th National Day, we talk to Emirati Sahar Al Ansari about what the milestone means to her

By Suchitra Steven Samuel (

Published: Mon 28 Nov 2011, 11:58 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:16 AM

SAHAR AL ANSARI is a successful young Emirati who is Director of Real Estate Management at Dubai Properties Group.

Ansari has a passion for music and the outdoors, enjoys reading and developing intellectually whenever she gets the opportunity. She shares her thoughts with City Times on the occasion of UAE National Day.

What is your earliest National Day memory?

Every year for me this day has been special, from the thrill of participating in National Day as a child to merely passing by the Union House in Jumeirah Road, wishing that I could have personally witnessed what took place in the Union House on that particular day! But I was lucky enough to have had my grandfather, who was a member of the first Dubai Municipality Council at that time, and had all the memorable stories of before and after the Union to share with me back in my childhood days.

What are your feelings as the UAE celebrates 40 years?

The feeling I have remains the same from the time I was a child to date — the word “proud” is the one that best describes my feeling. It’s not the celebrations that brings this feeling but the mere thought of our leaders that created this nation and most importantly our founding fathers Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. If only they could be here to witness what they have achieved and how our leaders have continued their forefathers’ vision.

What is it that you like about your country?

As a society and country we have come a long way, evolved and adapted so dramatically in such a short time, transforming simple towns into commercial capitals integrated in the global economy. My country has been able to create a larger cosmopolitan society from a smaller society, living side-by-side and positioning the country as the hub of business and entertainment, making it a hotspot destination. With the UAE, you always feel there is always a nice surprise around the corner!

In which areas would you like to see more changes taking place?

The education system: The system in place in the UAE has fundamentally changed in recent years for elementary as well as higher levels. However, I believe that there is definitely room for improvement in the education system to move the dependencies on oil, trade, real estate and tourism to an innovation-based, knowledge producing society. It is vital to introduce new teaching methods and curriculums in the government schools, as well as introduce more technical universities offering high-quality education in more specific industries like aerospace, alternative energies and healthcare in order to produce a diversified workforce.

Research and Development: I believe that R&D is still at the infancy stage and we have not yet managed to change the mindset from academic to producing quality research material and solutions. R&D is the fundamental of any growing economy and I would wish to see more initiatives being put in place for this area as well as the integration of R&D with our education systems.

Healthcare: Although we have witnessed a drastic change with the introduction of modern hospitals and equipment, we are still seeing residents travelling to international medical centres abroad while as a nation we could focus more on investments bringing in top-notch health care facilities and professionals in very specialised health care fields such as cancer, diabetes and autism, which are unfortunately spreading rapidly in the society.

What are your aspirations for the UAE? How do you see it 40 years later?

Sustainability will be the key as the country moves towards diversification over the next 40 years. Industries such as healthcare, technology, infrastructure, aerospace and education will be promoted and developed. We will also be able to produce a generation with new skill sets to go hand-in-hand with the growth of our country. It’s not enough to say we have been successful once; we must maintain that success and keep innovating. In parallel, culture, heritage and values should also be our focus as it is the essence of our being. With globalisation and modern technology we should put more effort in instilling our heritage in the young generation in order to preserve a very unique and charitable culture.

Which professional achievements are you most proud of and why?

Graduating from the Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid leadership programme has added a different dimension to my abilities and professional character. Furthermore, exposure at a really young age to the rapid developments in the UAE through my experience at Dubai Holding over the last 12 years has definitely given me the knowledge and skill sets to be successful. The work environment, opportunities and dynamism of Dubai Holding and its subsidiaries constantly help me to excel in my career and produce visible achievements.Shaping my character at work and my personal life has been formed also by the people I worked with, especially my seniors who have always put effort into guiding me to be who I am and where I am now.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt in life?

· Face your fears and always tackle the things you fear first, and the rest will fall into place. Fears can hold us back from experiencing everything that life has to offer. When we give into fear we limit ourselves.

· Perseverance is priceless. The entire value of the postage stamp consists in its ability to stick to something until it gets there. Be like the postage stamp; finish the race that you’ve started.

· Imagination is more important than knowledge. Your imagination pre-plays your future. Intelligence is in the imagination, if you can imagine it then you can realise it.

· Communicate: I cannot stress on how important this is in our daily lives. Be it work or our own personal life.

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