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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said the best has yet to come as the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Writing a letter to the nation to mark the Golden Jubilee, Sheikh Mohammed said the dreams of Emiratis five decades ago had been realised.
Despite the challenges, everyone should believe in a brighter tomorrow, he said.
The letter was one of seven written by the country's leaders to mark the National Day.
"What at the time may have appeared an unattainable dream, has today emerged as a proud, strong homeland – one that is secure and invincible," said Sheikh Mohamed.
"What was once a state creation project, which many bet would not survive or grow, has today become a trailblazing and change-making state moving towards the future with greater steadfastness and bigger faith than ever, drawing upon a legacy of five decades of achievements, which left their marks deep in history."
Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE had overcome huge challenges and always had believed that "nothing is impossible".
"Many would ask: 'What is the Emirati recipe for success?' What are the components of the formula of the UAE? How did we succeed where others failed? I would tell you in a nutshell: Our union puts the public interest first; there is no place for selfishness, personal agendas, or factional interests."
Sheikh Mohammed also praised the "Principles of the 50", announced earlier this year to lead the UAE into an even brighter tomorrow.
"If we were to go back 50 years, specifically to Thursday, December 2, 1971, we would find the 'Principles of the 50' echoed in the first historical document that defined the Union's vision, through that key statement issued by the Founding Fathers. The Declaration of the Union is the founding document, and the 'Principles of the 50' is a consolidation document."
Looking ahead, Sheikh Mohammed said the next 50 years would be "more challenging and very ambitious". They will require "creative thinking, distinctive approaches, hard work, exceptional efforts, and significant momentum as we seek new projects and initiatives".
"Being number one is no longer enough as well," said Sheikh Mohammed. "We need to become exemplary role models to be followed. It is not enough to live up to expectations; we must exceed all expectations."
The vice president said everyone was invited to join the UAE on this journey – women, men, youth; citizens and residents for whom the UAE has become a second home.
"The bigger our dreams, the bigger our accomplishments. I wish the people of the UAE a very happy UAE National Day. May every year bring with it bigger achievements and enable us to accomplish more," said Sheikh Mohammed. "The best is yet to come."