This Christmas season, the flow of generous deeds around the world has received a fillip from this part of the world as the spirit of the Union manifested itself in a series of acts of utmost generosity. The two-day Our hearts with the people of Syria campaign, spearheaded by the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and jointly sponsored by the Red Crescent Authority and National Media Council, raised over Dh66 million on the first day itself. The campaign was followed by a further commitment of Dh 36.6 million by the UAE for the benefit of 20,000 Malaysians hit by flash floods. A month earlier, when Typhoon Haiyan lashed the Philippines, the Emirates was among the largest donors to extend an immediate helping hand, committing aid worth $10 million.
The tradition of generosity will continue even after the Christmas celebrations are over, being an integral part of the UAE’s foreign policy. Ranked among the 20 largest-hearted nations in the world, its foreign aid last year benefited over 130 countries. To keep the generosity flowing and channelise it better, the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development was formed in March. The government’s aid is enhanced by contributions from agencies such as the UAE Red Crescent and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. What further adds to the UAE halo is the transparency that is maintained in the disbursement of the aid, a fact that has been acknowledged by bodies like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
A series of international events has made the UAE stand out on the world stage as a major host with admirable infrastructure and expertise. The Word Expo 2020 would be another feather in that cap, testifying to the burgeoning economic status of the Emirates. Its charitable deeds show up the big heart. The benevolence will contribute to the soft power of the UAE, establishing it as a regional as well as global leader because blessed is he that takes as well as he that gives.