I am delighted to be here in the UAE, as the Ambassador of Canada, to mark this momentous occasion – the 50th anniversary of this great nation. In the short time that I have been here, I have witnessed first-hand how the UAE has charted the path towards progress and prosperity that was laid out by the country’s founders, and that has included visionary forethought, determination and strong leadership over the last 50 years.
Thousands of Canadians have made the UAE their home over the last several decades, and they have proudly contributed to the country's success. From banking to broadcasting, finance to fashion, and everything in between, Canadians have long been drawn to the dynamic business environment, the warm hospitality and the diversity that the UAE has to offer. The many friendships that have been forged along the way have expanded the strong people-to-people linkages between our two countries.
Over the last two years alone, the UAE has achieved a number of very impressive scientific firsts for the region. From the first Emirati astronaut in space to the first interplanetary satellite spearheaded by an Arab country. The world watched in awe as the Mars Hope probe launched in July 2020 and arrived successfully in February 2021 to its destination – in orbit around Mars.
Another scientific success for the UAE was Barakah, the Arab world's first multi-unit operating nuclear energy plant, a key component in the country’s energy transition. The UAE also recently became the first state in the region to commit to a plan for net-zero emissions by 2050, a target that Canada shares, as we strive to address climate change as a global community. Finally, the UAE’s science-led approach in their response to the global pandemic allowed this country to begin their economic recovery ahead of much of the globe, through their dedication to testing, public health protocols and vaccination.