National Day 2020
UAE National Day 2020 Image Credit: Adam/Gulf News

The 49th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates’ unification is an extraordinary occasion to celebrate what the founding leader Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan laid the foundations for. This year’s national holiday not only honours the harvests of development, prosperity and global competitiveness in various fields, it also honours the fruits of investing in the human being. The human dimension has been central this year — quite a year for the seven billion people on the planet.

The world is witnessing a fierce coronavirus epidemic, a period of uncertainty where visions are blurred and the confusion is running high, both at the level of states and individuals. The pandemic spared no one.

In a turbulent year, the United Arab Emirates, with its wise leadership, its traditional values of kindness and generosity, and its people who grew up with these values, have fulfilled their noble human and civilizational mission.

This year, they have given a message of hope, a breath of positive energy everyone needed to be sure that this chapter is survivable, despite the suffering. We all know life will go on anyway. But we all like to feel the light at the end of the tunnel.

First steps towards 50th anniversary

We like to know that there are some who are working on the post-pandemic part. In short, humanity needs inspirational leaders to pave the way forward and break through the obstacles of this ordeal. In its 49th year — before taking its first steps towards its 50th anniversary — what Sheikh Zayed planted has borne fruit.

The model proved its strength and solidity in the face of the most formidable challenges, standing up tall towards the second half-century with firm feet and straight vision. Armed with the same will as its founders, it has shown the energy and determination to meet the challenges.

Our nation enters its second foundational era in 2021 with the same determination and spirit as it did at the dawn of its founding. It is marching toward a boundless horizon of progress, coming from years of experience that have confirmed that the children of Zayed are capable of braving the impossible.

The coincidence between the outbreak of the new coronavirus and the UAE’s preparations to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary has turned into a shining opportunity to test will and determination. The spirit of the Union has shone today with the same brilliance as that of December 2, 1971. Today, the wise leaders of the United Arab Emirates have played an influential role in these challenging times.

They have placed the human dimension at the centre of the nation’s domestic and foreign policies.

A few years ago, the UAE became the world capital of the human being. It has provided a model of human solidarity and cooperation.

It has overcome the barriers of the past. Relying on its people, it reached out to everyone simply and spontaneously, and delivered valuable messages reflecting the true role of a leader in times of challenge.

A time of crisis

Leaders with strategic awareness and foresight know that it is not a luxury to motivate the human element to do its job conscientiously, especially in times of crisis. There are great conquests that the country has been able to accomplish despite the unfavourable global and regional situation. In the 49th year of its existence, the UAE has achieved two historic successes: the launch of the Hope Probe and joining the club of peaceful nuclear powers.

The first project marks a real scientific turning point in Mars exploration, as it is not only a study of the planet at the geological level. Rather, it aims to study the layers of the Martian atmosphere in order to pinpoint the cause of hydrogen and oxygen loss, aboard the first space mission to give the international scientific community comprehensive imaging of the red planet’s atmosphere.

An upbeat development in an industry dominated by traditional powers and space agencies such as Nasa and ESA, among others. The second success is the great leap forward that places the UAE among the members of the community of peaceful nuclear power producing countries in the world. The UAE is proud to be the first peaceful nuclear power producing country to build four reactors at the same time and in record speed, in accordance with the finest global safety and security standards applied and supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Regional and global model

The country has become a regional and global model for using nuclear energy to diversify its energy sources and thus its economy. As His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, say, when it comes to the aspirations of UAE people, sky’s the limit.

In its 49th year, the UAE is armed with the values and principles of the founding leader, the spirit of unity and the experiences gained over the past decades. It is strong through the sacrifices of our worthy martyrs, who wrote with their lifeblood the most precious lessons of duty and love for the motherland.

The UAE celebrates its national day as it bids farewell to its 49th federal year. The doors of the new year, which mark its 50th anniversary, are wide open. This year will see Vision 2021’s goals completed and national competitiveness honed in the development race leading up to the UAE Centennial 2071.

Dr Salem Al Ketbi is an Emirati political analyst, researcher and opinion writer