A little over a fortnight form now, on November 18, Omanis will mark their 51st National Day, an event that commemorates the birthday of the late Sultan Qaboos, Oman's much-loved former leader who commenced a new beginning for the country. His tenure brought about the change and continuous growth that has given us the nation we know and love today. National Day sparks intense emotion in the hearts of Omanis, as we reflect on the past decades and how far our nation has come.
Sultan Qaboos’s outlook and action plan to modernise the nation was undoubtedly astute – his inclusive approach involved not only developing the country’s infrastructure and services but also engaging its citizens in translating his long-term vision into reality.
In 1970, Oman was lagging far behind the world – and even the region – in terms of development. The country had only 10 kilometres of paved roads, three schools (which exclusively enrolled boys) and only one hospital to serve its entire population. Then the government channelled newfound national oil revenues towards boosting the economy, diversifying it away from fishing and farming, and building modern infrastructure to support continued growth. A key driver of change in the Sultanate was the empowerment of young people through education, health care and a safe and nurturing environment. All of this enabled them to unlock their full potential and make invaluable contributions to the country’s progress.
Furthermore, our nation’s foreign affairs were advanced by the government forging strong ties with many countries worldwide, promoting the values of peace and harmony that have always been the hallmarks of Omani culture. The Sultanate we know and love today, a country that boasts a reliable and growing infrastructure, an education system that is accessible to all citizens, world-class hospitals and targeted strategies with long-term goals, is the outcome of excellent leadership, first by Sultan Qaboos and now his successor Sultan Haitham. It is also a testament to the resilience and hard work of Omanis.
Oman’s National Day will celebrate our nation’s extraordinary journey from an underdeveloped country to a modern, rapidly developing nation that is dedicated to empowering all of its citizens.
Most recently, Oman has done a remarkable job charging through unexpectedly challenging times, particularly since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. Nationwide efforts to keep the country running as efficiently as possible and keep the community's spirits high through trying times have yielded impressive results, garnering praise from experts around the world.
As we now emerge from the pandemic that has caused notable shifts across the globe, it is helpful to think back to Oman’s history as a reminder for our citizens that great progress can come from adversity.
There is truly no better way to pay homage to Oman’s inspiring and complex journey than by the country committing to involving its youth in building roadmaps for the next phases of their country’s development in the coming decades – whether through formal programs or informal engagement. The most crucial aspect to focus on is clear, open communication between young people, government and private sector organisations that have the means to include them in fulfilling the nation’s long-term goals to achieve optimal results.
A truly inclusive approach would involve more experienced members of society, who have seen Oman being built into the nation that it is today, sharing their wisdom and life lessons with the youth. And, of course, young people must be invited to express their hopes and aspirations for our country while being given the opportunity to discuss the obstacles they face, brainstorm solutions and access relevant resources.
The world has seen Oman develop in many respects and cement its position as a peacekeeper among its allies. Omanis are proud to be part of its remarkable story, but there is a lot more to come.
We now enjoy a host of privileges that we must honour by being responsible and committed citizens that our leaders and future generations can be proud of.
The path to success is never easy. However, Oman has a multitude of strengths on its side, including its inspiring history as well as significant talent and resources across myriad fields that can be put to great use.
Individuals across various generations in Oman have always collaborated productively, and despite the setbacks we have faced due to Covid-19, the community will come together and dedicate the country's next chapter to recovery and returning to its long-term goals.
National Day will once again mark the birth of a modern and empowered Oman, and will always serve as a driving force for the nation. But our story has only just begun, and I cannot wait for its future chapters, which I am confident will be just as inspiring as those of the past.