It has been a journey since 1971, when our founding father, Sheikh Zayed, unified the seven emirates. It has been a time when events take place in a "UAE minute".
Sheikh Zayed saw the future of the UAE in his dream. He walked the dream every morning and he woke up with his vision. He saw the desert in his eyes, and changed it into the Geneva of the region, in his mind.
Debating Emirati culture doesn’t only focus on clashes between traditional and modern cultures; it’s a time to talk about the excellent efforts that are aimed at preserving our culture in a more globalised world.
Our history tells us not only who we are but also guides us to where we’re going. There’s a significant bond between culture and identity. Today, many identities are lost. But the UAE has kept its culture and identity. This immense triumph has facilitated the incessant development of the seven emirates on various levels, socially and economically.
The UAE has also become a magnet to people from around the world to come and live in our multicultural Arabian hub. Today’s expats and visitors can experience our culture in museums, art exhibitions, heritage and archaeological sites, historical tours and festivals. In 45 years, we have achieved through culture what has taken the world’s big cities centuries to accomplish.
The efforts of our forefathers and leaders have left a genuine effect in making sure we get the best education. My sons and grandsons will have international-quality schools.
The development of our roads has made transportation efficient and the UAE has also become one of the best in the field of infrastructure. The improvement and development of health care is something we’re proud to mention, too.
From Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah, people can access quality services; living standards are constantly improving.
As a UAE citizen, I will continue to fight hatred and embrace love to make sure that everybody in our land lives in harmony with one another. Above all, culture and education should always be in our people’s eyes to continue to walk in the footsteps of Sheikh Zayed in shaping this country.
I’m proud to be a citizen of all seven emirates. My love for this land is impossible to put into words, but I will continue to be an ambassador for this region, wherever I go. When I close my eyes, all I see is red, green, white and black – the colours of our UAE flag, glittering and shining bright.
I hope all citizens and foreigners will continue working towards upholding our values and make the UAE the best place in the world.
Long live the UAE and every person who has served, facilitated and is still providing for the preservation of our cultural identity and the advancement of our country.
Salem Al Hosani recently graduated from Zayed University with a degree in international studies, specialising in international affairs.
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