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Fifty years ago, the Founding Fathers of the emirates that would unite to form the UAE, embarked on a project of great historical, social, political, cultural and economic significance. The decisions taken at Union House then laid the bedrock foundation on which this nation thrives and prospers.

Today, Dec. 2, as it turns 51, the UAE is uniquely positioned to embrace the future while celebrating so much since those strands were bound together in our national cause.

These past 12 months have been a time of national celebration. Yes, our homeland turned 50, always a time to reflect on what has been — and what will be.

Then at Union House in 1972, who among our Founding Fathers could have guessed that one day, a son of the nation would travel above Earth and gaze down from orbit in the International Space Station on the nation that their ideas forged for future generations.

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UAE is now circling Mars and providing data and scientific research to benefit all of mankind.

The project that started then has allowed the UAE to rise to the vanguard of nations, leading the way when it comes to ingenuity, technology, realising the potential of science, harnessing the power of the atom in the first nuclear plant powering an Arab nation.

We live in a nation that is bold and confident, sailing through the challenges as these years of pandemic and conflict buffeted the global sea.

As we embark on the next decade, we do so confident in the leadership of the nation, guidance and direction that clearly marks our way forward. Under the leadership of His Highness President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, we continue our path forward — confident, sure-footed and looking to the horizon with determination.

Our homeland is a marvel of technological advances, unparalleled architecture, buildings and institutions that seamlessly tell of who we are and where we go.

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Millions came to our homeland during Expo and were thralled by the cultural bounties and technologies of the future that are commonplace now. It is a statement that as we turn 51, we do not fear what is to come.

Come 2023, the UAE will host the COP28 — to discuss and find solutions for the grave challenge of climate change. To be hosted in 2023 at Expo City Dubai, high-level participation will include over 140 heads of state and government leaders, 80,000 delegates and more than 5,000 media professionals.

Going forward, we look at a future — and we shape it, develop it, celebrate it. Nowhere else a nation builds a museum, not of the past, but of the Future.

This is a land too that brings together people from every corner of the globe, living in harmony, unity and embodying the principles so keenly shaped back in Union House more than five decades ago. At 51, we are assured and confident. And a beacon for others.