UAE National Day: New York all set to celebrate December 2 from thousands of kilometres away

City will be organising a 5K run on December 4 under the hashtag 5Kfor50 as part of Emirati Day



Photo: File
Photo: File
by

Anjana Sankar

Published: Tue 30 Nov 2021, 2:07 PM

Last updated: Tue 30 Nov 2021, 3:01 PM

As the UAE is all set to host grand celebrations for the 50th National Day on December 2, thousands of miles away, New York will also erupt in UAE colours as the US state gears up to observe the special day.

Emirati pride and prestige will be in full display in New York which has declared December 2 as ‘Emirati Day’, and will be holding a series of events to mark the UAE’s Golden Jubilee.

The announcement was earlier made on June 15, 2021, by Dubai-born US Senator Kevin Thomas after he got a legislative resolution passed in the Senate.

The National Day, which is celebrated on December 2 each year, commemorates the founding of the UAE. But this year, it's a very different type of celebration because the country will be celebrating its 50th Independence Day. President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan proclaimed 2021 as the 50th year, which represents a defining moment in the country’s history,” Thomas had said in his speech at the Senate.

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The UAE Consulate in New York will be organising a 5K run on December 4 under the hashtag 5Kfor50 at the Prospect’s Park in New York in honour of the Year of 50th and Sheikh Zayed, the founding father.

“Join us on Dec 4 to celebrate Emirati Day in New York and the UAE 50th anniversary with a 5K race in NYC’s Prospect Park,” tweeted the UAE consulate in NYC.

Events are also planned for December 1 and December 5, the details of which are not yet revealed.

Emiratis from different parts of the US are expected to fly in to New York to participate in the 5K run in solidarity with their nation that is completing 50 years.

Emirati pride in the US

Khaleej Times spoke to four UAE Nationals who are living in the US and asked them what it means to be an Emirati living abroad.

Omar Al Bussaidy
Omar Al Bussaidy

Omar Al Bussaidy, a non-resident fellow at Trends Research and a Fulbright Scholar said it is a momentous occasion for all Emiratis living abroad, especially in the US.

“It is truly special for us to celebrate the national day outside of the UAE. We are looking forward to take part in the 5K run and I am sure Emiratis will take part in large numbers. There are people taking trains from Boston and other states to NYC for the run,” said Bussaidy.

As a UAE citizen living abroad, he said one of the biggest facts that make him proud is the UAE’s reputation as a global leader in the eyes of the world.

“Many years ago, no one would recognise if I said I from the UAE. Now, everyone knows the country it thanks to its brand value and reputation.”

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Bussaidy said the UAE’s achievements in the field of space research, successful Mars Mission, technological innovations, women empowerment, world-class infrastructure…hosting of the Expo… has put the country firmly on the global map. “We are no more considered as a country flushed with petrodollars. We are regarded for our vision for the future and soaring ambitions. The UAE has transformed from a tourist destination to a place people aspire to have a second home,” said Bussaidy.

Dr Ajlan Al Zaki
Dr Ajlan Al Zaki

For Dr Ajlan Al Zaki, an Internal Medicine Resident at Stanford University Hospital, celebrating the UAE national day is one of the fondest memories growing up.

“That is the time when we all came together to celebrate and rejoice regardless of nationalities , culture and religious beliefs. This year when New York will celebrate Emirati Day, it will bring me a lot closer to home,” Zaki told Khaleej Times over phone from New York. He said he feels “extremely fortunate” to be the citizen of a country that take pride in its own population, has its fundamentals deeply rooted in the belief that a country’s greatest resource is through education.

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“It is truly inspiring to see my country accomplish so much in such a short time putting its name in the global map and standing alongside other great nations.

“For me this year 50 reminds me to keep pushing forward.. that no dreams is a small one, sky is the limit and success can be attained with little patience and resilience.”

Zaki who was in the frontlines of fighting Covid in New York, said he aspires to return to the UAE someday.

“As a physician, scientist, I look forward to the day I can return to the UAE and play a part in advancing science, healthcare, and education for future generations to come,” he concluded.

Mohammed Almazrouei
Mohammed Almazrouei

Sharing his excitement for the UAE’s 50th with Khaleej Times, Mohammed Almazrouei, a PhD Candidate and visiting professor at Yale University, said he always gets positive comments from people when he says he is a UAE National.

“Here, in the American streets, people ask me: where are you from? I proudly say: I am from the Emirates. Then, I receive comments, such as: “I like the airlines”, “Oh, I have seen the Dubai Expo on TV”, or “you’re very lucky.”

“Indeed, I am very privileged to have tangibly observed the positive impact of the UAE as non-Emirati individual living in the US. The UAE has clearly become as a global leader in various sectors, despite being a very young nation. This is a huge achievement that, in my view, stems mainly from the wisdom of our leaders.”

As the UAE is celebrating the Year of 50th, Almazrouei said he takes it as a duty to his “beloved country” to help the country forge ahead for the next 50 years, and beyond.

Tareq Abbasi
Tareq Abbasi

Tareq Abbasi, an Emirati student pursuing Master of Public Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, said he is looking forward to the celebrations in New York and the UAE.

“I’m extremely excited for the UAE’s 50th anniversary we’ve come a long way in such a short time,” said Abbasi.

“On one hand, I’m extremely excited for the 50th anniversary. On the other, it is a little sad that I won’t be able to spend the 50th national day at home with my friends in family,” said Abbasi who has been in the US since August, 2021 on a Fulbright Scholarship.

“It is a great accomplishment, which is the product of the forward-thinking policies of our leaders. This can be seen in the theme ‘Year of the 50’ where we are encouraged to reflect on how much we’ve achieved together as a nation,” he added.

He said this forward-thinking mindset is what many Emiratis studying abroad carry and keep close to heart. “Our goal is to use what we learn today to help our country move forward.”


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