President Sheikh Mohamed's speech shows empowerment is at the heart of the UAE's success

In a televised address, the President outlined his vision for the country

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's first televised speech to the nation as President was delivered on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. Photo: Presidential Court
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In a speech broadcast on television and radio across the UAE on Wednesday, President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed outlined his vision for the country. It was the first such televised address since he was elected President in May, following the death of Sheikh Khalifa. Sheikh Mohamed stressed the importance of the foundations that Sheikh Khalifa, and the Founding Father Sheikh Zayed, had laid for the UAE’s bright future.

At the centre of Sheikh Mohamed’s vision, he made clear, is the UAE’s people.

“We are fortunate to have a nation of such people who, before and after the union, and even through difficult times, have proven their spirit and determination to overcome the toughest challenges,” he said. “Equally, we deeply appreciate the valued role of our residents who consider this country their second home, and their continued contributions in building and developing the UAE since its union.”

Since the UAE was founded in 1971, its population has grown at an impressive rate, in tandem with its economy. Today, the country numbers nearly 10 million people, who enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the region and, indeed, the world.

Achieving this level of development at such pace is impossible without the state’s earnest investment in the potential of its people. In the UAE, it has done so by expanding education and employment opportunities to all of its citizens, developing knowledge in science and technology, attracting residents with diverse and unique skill sets from a global pool of talent, and pursuing an aggressive economic diversification strategy that has set the stage for a strong post-oil future.

Achieving this level of development at such pace is impossible without earnest investment in the potential of the UAE's people

“Striving to empower [the people of the UAE],” Sheikh Mohamed said, “has always been and continues to be our nation’s top priority. Ensuring our people have everything they need to live fulfilled, comfortable and happy lives remains the basis of all our future plans.”

Sheikh Mohamed also noted the role of the private sector, which he described as “pivotal” to the growth of a robust and diverse economy.

Equally important, however, is Sheikh Mohamed’s emphasis on building a tolerant and open society that the UAE can be proud of on the world stage. It is a mission he inherited from Sheikh Khalifa, who in turn inherited it from Sheikh Zayed. Thus far, it has been an enormous success, with the UAE becoming a society that draws on Islamic values of tolerance and compassion to create a country in which people from all kinds of backgrounds can thrive.

Turning that model into an example for others is also a priority. In his speech, Sheikh Mohamed reaffirmed the UAE’s desire to “champion peace and stability in our region and the wider world, supporting others and advocating for wisdom and co-operation for the good of mankind”. He described Sheikh Zayed’s approach of strengthening the UAE’s “role among the world’s leading countries by providing humanitarian aid, and by continuing to extend a helping hand to communities in need around the world, irrespective of religion or race”.

Most clear in Sheikh Mohamed’s address was his confidence in the UAE’s ability to build on its achievements, and to achieve so much more in the future, not just because its ambitions are drawn from modern ideals, but most of all because they are firmly rooted in the country’s long-standing traditions.

Published: July 13, 2022, 5:17 PM