Deciphering the key to the UAE’s success

Celebrations of National Day in Dubai reflect national pride. Photo: Clint McLean / The National
Celebrations of National Day in Dubai reflect national pride. Photo: Clint McLean / The National

We already know that the UAE is famous for the way so many different nationalities are able to live and work alongside each other without rancour. In a turbulent world and a particularly tempestuous region, the scale of this achievement ought not to be undersold.

A more nuanced insight into why this exists can be gleaned from the YouGov survey of more than 1,000 UAE residents commissioned by The National. This was designed to be representative, comprising a mix of Emiratis and expatriates from the main nationalities present in the country and also representing citizens and residents of all seven emirates. What emerged helps explain why so many people are able to live alongside each other.

This is, in essence, a country at ease with itself.

There are, as one would predict, very different responses from Emiratis and from the expatriates who outnumber them. The pride about the UAE’s impressive achievements in a short period of time is no surprise from the Emiratis who were polled. However, it is matched by a sense of duty to the country that has given them so much, reflected in the 85 per cent who agree with compulsory military service for all Emirati men.

For the expatriate population, the draw is two-fold: the high earning potential and the multicultural environment. There is no doubt that the UAE offers the prospect of a life that often simply does not exist in many expatriates’ countries of origin, for reasons of corruption, economic stagnation and bad governance. For people like Palestinians and Syrians, who are unable to return to their former homes, being able to live and work in the UAE means the ability to get ahead and forge a life of dignity through hard work. It is no wonder they value our stability and feel responsible for behaving in a manner that ensures that continues.

These findings are important because all those who live in the UAE need to not just benefit from tolerance and stability but also understand the social contract that underpins it. These kind of havens do not happen by chance but from deliberate effort – not just by the leaders but also from all those who live here.

Published: December 2, 2014 04:00 AM

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