National Day 2019

UAE's great leaders, their grand vision

Filed on December 2, 2016 | Last updated on December 2, 2016 at 06.42 am
UAEs great leaders, their grand vision

The tale of the UAE offers morals and meaning to the rest of the world

The seeds were sown during a meeting in 1968 in the desert location of Argoub El Sedirah where the union was agreed upon. The UAE has now moved to discussing its future endeavours on the red planet and the construction of the world's tallest tower 45 years later. It has surely come a long way.

For the UAE's founders, the impossible was bound to become a reality in the shortest span of time. Even before the foundation of the country on December 2, 1971, the vision was clear.

"Calls for unification started from the time of Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan's grandfather, Shaikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, who ruled Abu Dhabi until he died in 1909," said Jamal bin Huwaireb, Managing Director of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation. The Emirati historian and author said Shaikh Zayed bin Khalifa held talks with leaders, particularly with the Dubai Ruler at the time since Dubai was very close to Abu Dhabi.

The union was fast tracked after Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became Abu Dhabi Ruler in in 1966. Shaikh Zayed (who happens to be named after his grandfather) was a born leader, he had immense patience, was compassionate and loved his people.

He sent emissaries to the emirates in the north while he reached out to people. He had a grand plan for a future federation and wanted the people to come together. He was a regular vistor to each emirate and spent time with the leaders.

When Britain announced in 1968 that it would withdraw its military presence in the Gulf, the union became inevitable. This was the political boost the country needed. Emiratis could now be in charge of their destiny.

"There was no other solution than to unite They were people who spoke the same language, belonged to the same tribe and faced the same destiny.

Shaikh Zayed then met Dubai Ruler Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in the desert location of Argoub El Sedirah, where they agreed on the union and invited other rulers to join the federation. At one stage, Bahrain and Qatar seemed likely to join before eventually deciding on their independence.

"An invitation from noble and great leaders wasn't to be refused by the rest of the Emirates. They answered the call and the seven Emirates united in 1971 despite the disputes and differences they faced," said Huwaireb.

Hard times

Among the challenges was the absence of a proper road network, a well-defined economy, army, education and infrastructure. But in a short span of time, a stable and mature country was established faster than anyone could imagine.

Shortly after the union, people started coming to UAE from around the world. The country is now home to 200 nationalities who actively participate in its development and growth.

"The country was a model from the first day, because it was founded on the right ideals, with the right people at the helm. The founders were persistent and the future is secure with the next genereation of leaders who have taken the country to great heights."

The leaders were talking of diversification back in 1958 when oil was first discovered in Abu Dhabi. They had the foresight and knew where to take the country and saw where it was headed..

Bin Huwaireb said as Dubai was the second source of oil and Sharjah produced gas, the UAE depended on other resources.

"The Rulers invested in schools, health facilities and universities. The cooperation among the seven Emirates is evident until today. Standards of living are among the best in the

world and the UAE has something for everyone."

Role of youth in UAE's formation

Today's rulers were young when the UAE first formed. They have played a huge role and have helped in the country's growth and have seen the changes in the UAE. "They worked closely with the country's founders, and we now see them carrying the noble mission further," said Bin Huwaireb.

While leaders looked at the past and present, the current generation of leaders is looking towards the future. Innovation and enterprise and rewarded in the UAE which aspires to be the knowledge capital of the world.

Bin Huwaireb said the country is accelerating towards the future and is prepared for what it brings because the foundations on which it was built are solid.

There's investment in youth and women in the 45th year of its birth. They have much to offer in the next phase of growth. "They won't let us down," he said.


Sherouk Zakaria

"Born and raised in UAE, Sherouk Zakaria is a Senior Correspondent at Khaleej Times. Joined since May 2016, she covers Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), special events and humanitarian issues. Her choice of journalism as a career stems from her passion of telling people's stories and writing to inspire or make a difference. In her free time, she's an occasional theater and film actress. Sherouk received her BA in Mass Communications from the American University in Sharjah in 2013. Before joining Khaleej Times, she was a senior lifestyle/entertainment editor for a magazine in Dubai."

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