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Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, has written a personal letter to the nation.
Writing to mark the UAE's Golden Jubilee, Sheikh Mohamed said the country had overcome huge challenges over the past 50 years but tougher ones could lie ahead.
He said science, technology and artificial intelligence were critical to the UAE's success and he encouraged more people to excel in these fields to face a "rapidly changing future".
Sheikh Mohamed also paid tribute to the country's young people, women and military. He also said the contributions of residents had been instrumental to the UAE's success.
"This year, our beloved nation marks a historic milestone," Sheikh Mohamed wrote.
"As we complete the first 50 years of our journey and prepare to embark on the next 50, we face the future with confidence, pride and a shared spirit of unity and determination," he said.
"We continue to draw lessons from the wisdom of our ancestors and take strength and inspiration from the courage and sacrifices of our martyrs."
The letter touched on many themes and stated that the "principles of the 50" would guide the country at home and abroad over the course of the next few years. It also said more hard work lay ahead.
"The last five decades have presented several challenges that we overcame thanks to our resolve, courage and unity. The challenges of the next 50 years may well be greater and as a people and a government, we must therefore intensify our efforts to prepare ourselves and our younger generations for a rapidly changing future."
Sheikh Mohamed said the country's youth were critical to the UAE's future success. He recognised the vital role played by women and encouraged more people to excel in science.
"The people of the UAE are encouraged to join our growing national efforts to excel in science, technology, and artificial intelligence – fields that will be fundamental to our own future and the future of the world."
Values and traditions
Sheikh Mohamed praised the country's values and traditions. He said "our shared national identity" would guide the UAE, which was already on a path of "sustained economic growth and development".
"Our unity remains our single greatest source of strength, and we believe that a secure, stable and robust country is best equipped to enjoy continued progress."
The letter, published on Sheikh Mohamed's social media feed, came just after the UAE marked Commemoration Day, honouring those who gave their lives in service.
"The courageous men and women of the UAE Armed Forces and our security services will continue to protect us as they have done with valour and distinction over the last 50 years, and we are grateful for their service and dedication," he said.
Role of the UAE's residents
More than 200 nationalities call the UAE home and it was to this that Sheikh Mohamed then turned. He said countries could not rely "solely on their own people" and the nation's success story was the story of all those who had lived here.
"Expatriate residents have been an essential part of our journey and we remain open to all who wish to bring their energy, talent and creativity to our shores to help create a brighter future for all."
In conclusion, Sheikh Mohamed said the UAE remained a beacon of goodwill, peace and fraternity, and would work to bring countries and people closer together.
"We trust that our future will continue to shine with God's grace, our people's determination, and our indomitable will to succeed.
"May God bless the UAE and its people on this historic occasion and grant us continued peace, prosperity and well-being."
The letter was signed, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.