A Symphony of Sand and Soul: The Saga of UAE's Visionary Journey

With a focus on a knowledge-based economy, the UAE charts a course for the next century

By Nazeer Veliyil

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Published: Fri 1 Dec 2023, 5:05 PM

For over 2.5 decades, Dubai has been more than a city of commerce to me; it has become a sanctuary where the warm winds carry whispers of tradition, and the sands hold the secrets of a culture that has welcomed me into its embrace.

The aroma of cardamom-laden Arabic coffee and the sweet crunch of dates - these humble offerings embody the generosity and warmth that defines Emirati hospitality. It's more than a routine gesture; it's an invitation into the very heart of their culture. In the quiet moments shared over the years, I've come to understand that this embrace, extended with genuine kindness, has transformed me from a resident into a cherished participant in the rhythm of their lives.

The heartbeat of this society echoes through Dubai's labyrinth, emphasising the importance placed on family. It's a symphony of unseen bonds that reverberate through celebrations and milestones. The call to prayer, a constant melody in the urban landscape, serves as a reminder of the harmonious coexistence of tradition and modernity. Witnessing the seamless integration of faith into daily life adds a spiritual richness to the very air I breathe.


The UAE, with its expatriate population representing over 200 nationalities, boasts a harmonious multicultural tapestry that is unmatched globally. Progressive government policies have allowed diverse cultures to coexist peacefully, creating an appealing environment for tourists and professionals alike. These policies reflect a commitment to inclusivity and social cohesion. Many business entities, such as BorgRollsWarner Group, have thrived in this conducive climate, recording remarkable growth and long-term success, thereby making substantial contributions to the economic development of the country.

Even during the global pandemic, the UAE remained one of the few open countries. In 2021, Dubai hosted a highly successful Expo 2020, drawing over 24 million visitors from 190 countries. This resilience, coupled with a commitment to progress, defines the UAE's approach to challenges.

The UAE's ambitious initiatives, such as 'UAE Vision 2021' and 'UAE Centennial 2071', prioritize knowledge-based economies, advanced technologies, and social development. Investments are forward-looking and optimistic, exemplified by institutions like the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. Its diversified portfolio and flexible yet structured approach epitomize the UAE's long-term focus on progress.


Building on the foundation laid by Vision 2021, the UAE Centennial 2071 initiative propels the nation toward a horizon beyond conventional vision.

With a focus on a diversified, knowledge-based economy and a society bound by happiness and cohesion, the UAE charts a course for the next century — an audacious roadmap echoing commitment to innovation and resilience.

Dubai 2040, a comprehensive urban master plan, reads like poetry etched onto the cityscape, emphasising sustainable development, enhanced infrastructure, and public spaces harmonizing with nature. In the arid embrace of the desert, the UAE sows the seeds of a green revolution, investing in renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure, and a commitment to reducing the carbon footprint. The launch of the Hope Probe in 2020 marked a significant leap in space exploration, embodying the UAE's spirit of curiosity and pursuit of knowledge. Expo Dubai and the Golden Visa Program stand as testaments to the UAE's resilience, adaptability, and commitment to attracting global talent.

While appreciating the collective efforts that have sculpted this narrative, we witness not just the rise of a nation but the dawn of a future shaped by audacious dreams and unwavering determination. The UAE's journey is a testament to the belief that, with vision and resilience, a nation can script its destiny among the stars. As UAE National Day approaches, the palpable sense of pride permeates the air, marked by family gatherings and communal joy. In these moments, I've not merely observed but actively participated in the collective heartbeat of a nation proud of its achievements yet grounded in its roots.

In writing this, I pen not just words but a sonnet of gratitude. Dubai, with its golden sands and towering spires, has been more than a backdrop; it has been a stage where the drama of my life unfolds against the backdrop of a rich cultural heritage. As I join my Emirati brothers and sisters in celebrating National Day on 2nd December, I realize that, in embracing their culture, I've discovered not just a place of business but a home where sands and souls converge in a timeless dance.

— Nazeer Veliyil is Chief Executive Officer of BorgRollsWarner (UK) Limited.

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