Dubai: 2012 was an eventful year, from new national projects affecting millions of UAE residents to more personal developments changing the lives of a few families in the country. Initiatives for more jobs and housing for Emiratis were launched by the nation’s leadership, while the wider population also benefited from improved infrastructure and security measures.
A series of National Day projects were unveiled, including the Year of Emiratisation (2013) to increase the number of UAE nationals joining the public and private sector workforce.
Meanwhile, commuters saw work and leisure trips going smoothly thanks to completed projects like the First Interchange on Dubai’s Shaikh Zayed Road and the Shaikh Zayed Tunnel in Abu Dhabi.
Even people outside the UAE were touched by the generosity of local welfare groups and residents reaching out to the needy overseas, be they victims of natural disasters or young students struggling for schooling options.
President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Humanitarian Foundation to send aid to Rohingya Muslims in violence-hit Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the Red Crescent Authority, toured the UAE-Jordan field hospital for refugees of the Syrian conflict, to see how they were faring.
Also, Dubai Cares was selected from other international charities to take part in the United Nations’ ‘Education First’ global campaign.
Several international conferences and meetings were held to tackle global sticking points like clean energy or internet security, not to mention issues closer to home.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All at the fifth World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi.
Also, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Dh1 billion Mohammad Bin Rashid Smart Learning Initiative to bring together pupils, teachers, parents and administrators on an interactive e-platform.
It was also a year of frightening developments, from a spate of high-rise infernos that left dozens homeless and penniless to shocking cases of child abuse, like Emirati girl Wudeema, 8, who was allegedly tortured to death by her father.
Authorities quickly intervened in both cases, starting proceedings to introduce new safety and child protection laws.
Looking back, profound memories of the times gone by remain, while hope shines in the days ahead.