ABU DHABI // Royals, diplomats, international guests and families of fallen heroes gathered to celebrate the FNC’s 44th anniversary on Monday.
People representing various parts of society took the stage as the National Anthem was played, then 48 boys in military and police uniform performed a Bedouin chant and tossed rifles.
And a video featuring UAE Royals and major figures with FNC members was played.
In the crowd were Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and Sheikh Rashid bin Saud Al Mualla, Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain.
Among those congratulating the council on its milestone was Dr Fayez Al Shawabkeh, secretary general of the Arab Parliament, who applauded the UAE’s appointment of the Arab world’s first female Speaker.
“In the international parliament language, this a big addition,” Dr Al Shawabkeh said.
Saber Chowdhury, president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union of which the FNC is a member, said the council always had a focus on sustainability and the region.
“Sustainable development is a very strong topic the UAE raises always,” Mr Chowdhury said.“Delegations from the UAE are very engaged and focused and coming up with very articulate submissions.
“When the UAE speaks it’s not just for the UAE itself – in many cases it represents Arabs. It’s a very important and valued relationship, a vibrant two-way process.”
He said the FNC was valuable in the “major issues” of peace, security and stability because “we have a better understanding of the Middle East and Arab world from it”.
The Speaker, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, told the audience that the council should develop relations with institutions abroad.
“Also in the fields of energy, water and fighting terrorism,” Dr Al Qubaisi said.
Former FNC member Rashid Al Murar, who was chosen in the first elections in 2006, said members should always look for hot topics.
The UAE’s development and services did not leave much room for critical problems, but “as a member you should always search for something to talk about, anything that requires developing, issues that emerge from time to time”.
One of the significant issues he brought to the FNC in his time, was “midwakh smoking”.
“This trend is damaging to the UAE people and youth, every other day crises and diseases are causes by it,” Mr Al Murar said. “And even now we don’t know what the doukha mix is made of.”