Over the course of the past five decades, the UAE has embarked upon a remarkable quest for progress, fuelled by the pursuit of knowledge and a citizenry fully immersed in the principles of learning, education and research. It’s a pursuit that has held us in good stead, inspiring the growth of our people as they explore the fields of computer sciences, medical and life sciences, aerospace and advanced engineering, the humanities and avenues that have led to the enlightenment and advances of the UAE.

The UAE too is a nation that relies on the brightest and the best from around the world, people who choose to make this great nation their home, coming together and working in pursuit of their academic research, teaching our young generations, inspiring them to achieve higher and reach further.

This is a nation that cherished the works and efforts of academia, and it is a nation that has conceived and constructed some of the greatest learning institutions in the world, often in partnership with leading universities, research facilities and technological institutions centred elsewhere. It is a system of patrons and partners working in tandem, raising the academic levels nationally, inspiring confidence, challenging students — and bringing results.

Thanks to the efforts of our government, those working in the field of the administration of education, those committed to academia, those who work in research, and those who pass on their learning in lecture halls, tutorial rooms and who bring meaning to the works contained on shelves of libraries, the UAE has developed a world-class reputation for the quality of its educational and technological facilities. It is a reputation that must be protected and supported by the best policies and practices of our government.

Last year, the UAE Cabinet took the pragmatic decision to allow the granting of 10-year residency visas to those who are involved in the educational and scientific community at our universities and institutions. It is a measure of great foresight, one that will help retain the deep and highly respected community of international scientists, researchers and lecturers who have together enhanced the reputation and standards in the faculties of our universities.

Now, the first 20 such 10-year residency visas have been granted, and the list of recipients includes leading academics, researchers and scientists from technology, medicine and humanities sectors at our leading universities. This is indeed a proud moment for them, but it is also a proud moment for the UAE as a whole — a recommitment and rededication to our pursuit of excellence and our thirst for knowledge.