The UAE celebrates its “51st Union Day” in a political environment that opens prospects for a new journey toward greatness under our wise leadership in a way that strengthens our state’s position in the region and the world.
The celebration takes place in an economic environment that ensures the continuation of the sustainable development process at a faster pace and with a scientific approach, as well as in a social environment that reflects a unique spirit of human and political tolerance — it distinguishes UAE people from others, and it makes the country a destination for all people.
All of this comes together on this great day to achieve the supreme goal of the UAE to attain global leadership in the international political arena through the wisdom of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as his brothers, Their Highnesses, Rulers of the Emirates.
First and foremost, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations on the 51st Union Day to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Their Highnesses, the Supreme Council members, and UAE rulers, and UAE citizens and residents.
I wish everyone continued success for the proud and pride of our state, for more development in our state’s various sectors, for the UAE to maintain the most successful model in the world, and for the UAE people and our Arab nation to achieve their aspirations for a better world that is more just, tolerant, cooperative, loving, and humane.
UAE Development Support
On Dec. 2 of each year, the Union Day of the UAE has served as a national motivation for our wise leadership and people to work together with the “spirit of the union” to achieve significant and sustainable goals. When such spirits unite, they produce qualitative development movements in human and entity formation.
It ensures that our country ranks higher in most global indicator metrics, maintains its position, enhances prestige, and positively reflects on our country’s soft power tools. The same spirit is constantly reinforcing our people’s excellent image in the eyes of the world. It generates great admiration and appreciation for our wise leadership in all regional and international political and economic analyses.
We commemorate this historic day with decades of accomplishments. An unwavering national action to raise this nation and keep its flag flying high — is evident. In 2022, our state has been ranked 1st in the world in 156 development indicators, including attracting talent, infrastructure, legal flexibility, and adaptability.
Our state ranked 1st in the Arab world and 12th globally in the Global Competitiveness Yearbook Index, 1st in the Arab world and 26th globally in the Human Development Report Index, and 1st in the Middle East and North Africa in the World Bank report “Women, Business, and the Law 2021, 2022.”
The 51st Union Day celebration is extraordinary. It is the first time this great day has been celebrated since His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed became President of the UAE. This explains the UAE people’s joy and unprecedented popularity this year and their growing confidence in our beloved country’s future.
All of this stems from the people’s realisation that the national momentum at this time will propel us toward significant achievements in 2023, which will represent the “solid core” of launching our nation-building achievement with the first centennial, a wealthy country with diverse resources, a knowledge-based economy (based on technology, innovation, and industrial intelligence), and a government that can access post-oil emirates in 2071.
Loyalty to leadership and faithfulness to our founding fathers
On “Union Day,” UAE citizens honour special principles and significant moments in our nation’s history. The most notable of these was the founding fathers’ agreement, made on Dec. 2, 1971. May Allah have mercy on the soul of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan — to create the State of the Union.
We swear allegiance to our unconquerable homeland and fealty to our astute leadership to continue jointly writing the political glory of the state through significant positions, sustained accomplishments, and active policies on both the internal and external levels. Our state will always be a haven for tolerance and peace, a way to live in harmony with one another, and an attraction for anyone interested in learning the secrets of our ancestors’ ideals.
The key to our people’s success is aligning with our wise leadership in creating a prosperous state that serves as an example to others with its innovative experiences in adapting to change, launching projects and sensible policies, as well as highlighting our state’s contributions to problem-solving and the resolution of international crises.
It has been a long journey since the Founding Father — the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan intervened to resolve the crises of Lebanon during the civil war and Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, and till the initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed to resolve the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
When celebrating “Union Day,” UAE citizens remember the nation’s founding fathers, who provided our wise leadership and great people with political inspiration.
At the same time, thinkers and intellectuals ought to remind future generations of the founding fathers, particularly of their crucial contributions to laying the foundation for the Union that gives rise to the political glory of our state. Those fathers whose names are written in glowing letters on the Emirati people’s conscience.
May Allah have mercy on the souls of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Sheikh Rashid bin Said Al Maktoum, Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al-Nuaimi, Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al-Mualla, Sheikh Saqr bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad Al-Sharqi.
It is noteworthy that the UAE’s populace has grown more upbeat due to their faith in wise leadership. According to all projections, the year 2023 will see more significant developments and efforts in formulating the UAE’s Centennial Plan 2071’s constituent parts, helping to hasten the “Next 50 Years of the State Project’s” implementation rates.
This optimism is a result of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, showing a keen interest in this critical strategic undertaking, as well as the UAE people’s trust in the leadership, which has been well-founded by past and present experiences.
It should be noted that the 50th Project was officially launched on Sep. 28, 2020, by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. About a month after the 48th Union Day, on Jan. 6, 2019, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid issued the 50th year-charter to improve Dubai’s quality of life.
It was done so with the Late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s direction, may Allah have mercy on his soul. The two projects stand in for a lofty aspiration for our country and a goal that the people care about; as devoted citizens, they work to ensure its fulfilment and advance its implementation.
With the participation of leadership and all citizens, the State’s “Union Day” celebrations extend to the seven Emirates. Such occasions never stop encouraging more tremendous effort, giving, loyalty, and faithfulness.
This is one of the fundamental characteristics of our state; all of our days are national days that motivate us to keep working toward the state’s advancement to realise a dream that has never left the minds of our leadership or the people of the UAE: a state of “strength, ability, and desire” to play a crucial and active role at the regional and global levels.
Goals that truly impress
The “Union Day” celebration by our leaders and the people of the UAE is always accompanied by the introduction of large-scale initiatives for growth across all spheres. This demonstrates that this momentous occasion in the history of our nation serves as a genuine catalyst for progress.
Every year, after the UAE Union Day, the UAE proposes initiatives and names the years with words. Some of these initiatives and names reveal our state’s political and developmental approach for the year, while others highlight the characteristics of certain Emirates’ developmental structures.
The “Smart Government Initiative” was established in 2013, the “Year of Innovation” was declared in 2015, the “Year of Reading” was declared in 2016, the “Year of Giving” was proclaimed in 2017, and the “Year of Zayed” was announced in 2018.
The year 2019 was designated as the “Year of Tolerance,” and in 2020, a celebration was held under the motto “The Year of the Fifty,” formally proclaimed on April 6, 2021, and went until March 31, 2022.
After reaching Mars with the “Probe of Hope,” the implementation of important technical projects like the Emirates Moon Exploration Project 2024, is part of the process of sustainable development.
Based on all the above initiatives, the UAE has increased its active involvement in international forums, fuelled the success of its unique renaissance model, and emerged as a global capital of tolerance. It evolved tolerance into a long-term institutional effort to deepen the ideals of accepting others and being open to the cultures of different countries and peoples.
The UAE has taken the initiative to cooperate with the international community to declare the International Day of Human Fraternity; it has also contributed to significant philanthropic efforts that have helped millions worldwide.
The UAE people’s celebration of Union Day is a new opportunity for all of us to exhibit our love and belonging to our magnificent country. On this historic day, we renew our commitment and loyalty to our wise leaders and pledge to make every effort to advance our country.
To conclude, the generous people of the Emirates, with their deep cultural roots and broad national perspective, celebrate holidays and national occasions in their special way, always keeping an eye on the future to ensure that every event serves as a boost to the nation’s development.
This special quality must be protected because it is the foundation on which the UAE’s strong national unity rests.
Prof. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi is a noted Emirati writer