UAE leaders call nation’s people a key asset to build a strong future

Leaders pay tribute to those who worked hard and lived up to the challenge to build successful country

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - June 25, 2017: HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (L), speaks with HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Defence (R), during an Eid Al Fitr reception at Mushrif Palace. 
( Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi )
--- *** Local Caption ***  20170625RC_C169182.jpg

On the occasion of the UAE's 50th anniversary, the country's leaders paid tribute to the hard work and determination of the people who faced "all challenges" to build the country.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, remembered the first generation of Emiratis who built the country and worked hard, with loyalty and devotion, to establish the state's institutions.

"We commemorate our fathers who established the country and the foundations of its development and prosperity," he said.

"We commemorate our father, the late Sheikh Zayed, and words cannot express our appreciation of his leadership and wisdom. Without him, the UAE would have never become a reality.

"With gratitude and appreciation, we commemorate the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Sheikh Zayed's partner in establishing the country's foundations on February 18, 1968.

"We also remember their brothers, the Rulers of the Emirates, who supported them and joined them in consolidating the Union."

Fondly remembering The Founding Father

The leaders remembered the country's Founding Father on this important occasion, whose legacy continues to guide the country’s many generations.

"Though 17 years have passed since the death of Sheikh Zayed, he is alive in our hearts, and every December 2, his presence is consolidated in my own heart. I have worked under his leadership since the formation of the UAE. I have learnt a lot from his values and principles, as well as his decisions and stances. He always aimed to achieve our nation's interests, make our people happy and strengthen the Union," said Sheikh Mohammed.

"The late Sheikh Zayed always worked to reinforce the Union and helped establish the Gulf Co-operation Council and helped lead the efforts aimed at strengthening the Arab co-operation.

"The legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed in terms of leadership and governance is valuable for this country’s generations. It is a lesson in establishing relations with others, reconciliation, crisis management and facing challenges."

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said the goal is to become one of the best countries in the world by the centenary in 2071 on the strong foundations laid by the Founding Father.

"Our country derives strength and confidence from its major achievements, and relies on its wisdom, values, and the teachings of the late Sheikh Zayed to guide us today and into the future. Our nation looks to its martyrs' sacrifices as a beacon that lights the way as it aims to contribute to the history of humanity and write a new chapter in its economic and development story."

Images of UAE leaders being prepared for national day decals at Tornado shop in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi. Fatima Al Mahmoud / The National

People are the country's real wealth

Sheikh Mohamed said the UAE is moving towards the future based on a strategy in which the most critical pillar is its human capital – "the country's true wealth".

"A trained and qualified workforce [is] our key asset in the global marketplace," he said.

"We consider [people] our real capital and the most important element of our wealth and our main asset in the global arena. Every Emirati has an important role in shaping our leadership, and there can be no progress or development without the help of the country's people."

Facing the many challenges

The leaders recalled the many challenges that the country faced in the past and the strong resolve of the people to overcome them.

"Challenges never deterred us from pursuing our path, and our major challenge was to challenge ourselves. We had to prove our ability to establish an efficient country and an ambitious development model," Sheikh Mohammed said.

"Over the past 50 years, we have faced different challenges in security, politics and economy. Nonetheless, we handled these challenges with the belief that our national worth is about confidently facing them with faith and optimism.

"We were able to address challenges during the stages of the formation of the country and during the global economic recession, the First Gulf War, Kuwait's invasion, the occupation of Iraq, and the so-called Arab Spring."

Sheikh Mohamed said the successes and achievements of the past five decades is "a source of pride for us all".

"The path to this success was never easy. It took a lot of effort and perseverance and was reinforced by ambition, work and planning," he said.

From building government institutions to becoming a global leader

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid recalled how the country progressed to establishing ministries and institutions.

He said "there was a lack of sufficient national cadres to take on such duties. But the government raced to implement hundreds of projects, so it was only natural to encounter obstacles, but we overcame all these challenges and trained qualified citizens. Now, our government can compete with its best counterparts in planning, performance and adapting to changes.

"The country is in the first position in the world competitiveness indexes in areas of infrastructure, digital infrastructure, economic diversification, education, health and housing sectors.

"The process of building our Armed Forces is one of the best examples in this regard.

"Today, I think about the process that helped our country attain a prominent international stature full of achievements, development and humanitarian initiatives while promoting the principles of tolerance and coexistence.

"[We] established an advanced digital infrastructure that enabled us to begin the era of e-government. We then embarked on the generation of artificial intelligence and realised space is vital for the digital sphere, so we progressed from purchasing satellites to manufacturing them with Emirati minds and hands. We have participated in space discovery missions, determined to be the partners of the international space community.

"Our space industries have also enriched our national scientific institutions, enhanced our strength, and created high value-added economic opportunities. The size of the space economy today exceeds $1 trillion, and this is expected to increase steadily.

"Tomorrow, we begin our next 50 in our journey for development, guided by the UAE Centennial 2071 vision plan, the Principles of the 50 and the 10 principles approved by President Sheikh Khalifa as guidelines for all UAE’s institutions to strengthen the Union, build a sustainable economy, harness all possible resources to build a more prosperous society, foster positive regional and global relations to achieve national goals, and support peace and stability across the world."

Looking to a bright and promising future

The leaders reminded citizens to follow the lessons and experiences of the past 50 years to build a better future.

"[The past] will continue to inspire us to be more dedicated to serving our country. With you, and by you, we will add new achievements and will take our Emirati model to broader domains. We will continue our progress and our goal to be the number one in all sustainable development indexes," Sheikh Mohammed said.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said the UAE will enter the next five decades with several ambitious exploration projects.

"Following our successful mission to Mars, we plan to launch a spacecraft that will explore the Moon, Venus, and the asteroid belt, culminating in the first landing of an Arab probe on an asteroid after a journey seven times longer than that of the UAE's Hope probe. Alongside these bold plans, the UAE is also engaged in producing nuclear energy for development purposes," he said.

"In addition, our country has been ranked first, both regionally and internationally, in various global competitiveness indicators. We remain optimistic that we will achieve all our ambitions and that the next 50 years will witness further success and progress.

"Our future ambitions are guided by the 'Principles of the 50' that define our nation's strategic path in the areas of politics, economy and development.

"The 'Projects of the 50' also represent a roadmap for our development priorities in the coming decades.

"The most crucial factor in the UAE's growth is its experience in forging a successful and enduring union within its Arab and regional surroundings."

Sheikh Mohamed also spoke of the country's international humanitarian role, which has reinforced its soft power.

The country has "a positive image and immense respect and appreciation worldwide thanks to our principles and initiatives that promote tolerance, coexistence and human fraternity", he said.

He said there were nine pillars that will ensure the growth of the UAE in the future. These are:

  1. The people of the country
  2. Focusing on science
  3. Building team spirit
  4. Comprehensive development
  5. Protection of the achievements and the people
  6. Mobilising and investing all the nation's resources to achieve its aspirations and ambitions
  7. Embracing talent, from inside and outside the UAE
  8. Pursuing active and positive partnerships with the world
  9. Rejection of all types of extremism, fanaticism and racism, to work for peace across the world

Rulers of other Emirates also paid tribute to the Founding Father and congratulated people on the country's Golden Jubilee.

Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, said the UAE Founding Fathers had worked hard by supporting education so that qualified Emirati citizens could contribute to the country’s development and its achievements.

Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, said it was the will and determination of the Founding Fathers, which led the country to become one of the fastest-growing nations in the world.

Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah, said the country's 50th anniversary is a "celebration that reflects our strength, valour and presence in the international arenas".

Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, said that 50 years have made the UAE a global oasis of tolerance and coexistence, and a destination that attracts people of different cultures and backgrounds.

Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman, said the Union's journey "went from success to success thanks to the strong solidarity of the country's leadership tireless efforts, and their deep belief in the value of unity as a basis for building a modern state".

Preparations for the UAE's 50th-anniversary celebrations - in pictures

Updated: December 1st 2021, 11:48 AM