Fifty years since its founding, the UAE continues to abide by the leadership tenets of its visionary founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. After a crucial era of institution-building, the nation started modernising itself during the rule of his successor, the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In May this year, when His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan became President, the nation was well on its way to solidifying its global identity. The President has not only raised the UAE’s global standing, he has been preparing the nation for the future. It’s a future that is smart, green, sustainable, tolerant and inclusive.
In his tribute to Sheikh Khalifa during an address to the nation on Wednesday, Sheikh Mohamed said: “Our history, identity, and cultural heritage will form an essential part of our plans for the future.” In essence, the 50 years that defined the nation, and the 50 years that will reshape it, are parts of a long continuum.
Importantly, people’s welfare was the crux of the President’s message, which underlined the role of both citizens and residents in building a resilient nation.
“The people of the UAE, and striving to empower them, has always been and continues to be our nation’s top priority. Ensuring our people have everything they need to live fulfilled, comfortable, and happy lives, remains the basis of all our future plans. We are fortunate to have a nation of such people, who, before and after the union, and even through difficult times, have proven their spirit and determination to overcome the toughest challenges. Our pride in our people is infinite. Equally, we deeply appreciate the valued role of our residents who consider this country their second home, and their continued contributions in building and developing the UAE since its union.” By investing in people’s future, and reposing faith in people’s capabilities, the UAE is creating a social partnership — an “unbreakable fellowship”— between leaders and people.
That future is deeply linked to business. In his speech, the President carefully set the direction for the economy: “Today, the economy is thriving and continues to grow at an impressive rate. We are blessed with many resources, especially our highly skilled human capital, as the UAE possesses a distinguished wealth of young manpower. In addition, more than 200 nationalities are actively participating in the growth and development of our economy. Further diversifying our economy is a key strategic focus of our future plans.”
Externally, the UAE believes in creating an ecosystem of trust and goodwill. As the President spelt out: “The UAE’s policy will continue to champion peace and stability in our region and the wider world, supporting others and advocating for wisdom and cooperation for the good of mankind. We will continue our work to strengthen cooperation and enable positive, respectful dialogue between countries to achieve stability and prosperity for all.”
By talking about other nations, the President is reminding people of the larger role the UAE is poised to play. It’s a global role that believes in peaceful coexistence. The nation and its people can make that happen. Together.
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