Dubai: A wave of euphoria has swept the country as expatriates express their love and gratitude for the UAE on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee today. Many residents call the UAE their home and have found fulfilment not only in terms of their career, growth and success, but also the quality of life that the country allows them to have. Here's what they have to say:
Karen Osman, British, novelist and writing coach
It has been an honour to be a part of the country’s growth story for the last 16 years that I have been a resident of the UAE. Being part of a global community that prides itself on hospitality, innovation and excellence has inspired my work as a writer and novelist. One of my most cherished memories is winning the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s novel-writing award in 2016. I think the UAE’s focus on reading and books has led to such incredible literary events and this has proved to be a catalyst in my career.
Larissa Zaplatinskaia, Russian, HR director and businessperson
I have been in the UAE for the last 27 years and have had some of the high points of my career and personal life here. For me, the 50th year of the UAE signifies maturity, innovation and start-ups. It inspired me to start my own free-of-cost online courses, teaching UAE history in English and Russian, open a free HR school online and free language courses in Arabic, Hebrew and Spanish. My most precious memories in the UAE have been my first job and the birth of my daughter. I wish UAE success and prosperity in preserving keeping its beautiful history and traditions along with cutting edge innovation.
Ravindra Agarwal, Indian, senior corporate executive
The UAE is home to hundreds of nationalities, particularly Indians, because of its unique quality to make everyone feel at home and live their dreams. It has been my home since 2008 and I actually got to build my career here. I congratulate this beautiful country on its Golden Jubilee. This year is special for me as I mark my 50th year, coinciding with this landmark occasion. My most cherished memories here are the spectacular fireworks during Dubai Shopping Festival and I look forward to the same this year!
Dr Jamil Ahmed, Indian, doctor and entrepreneur
I have been in the UAE for the last 30 years. I came in as a professional orthopaedic doctor in 1991 and within nine years, the place inspired me to become an entrepreneur and establish my own hospital group. This is the kind of inspiration the UAE is capable of providing to every single person. As in every field from space to technology to clean energy, the UAE has taken tremendous strides. Today, it has excellent health-care facilities and is the leader in medical tourism in the region.
Amira Abdul Moati, Russian, fitness coach
To me, the UAE is my home as I was born here 22 years ago. To me, the Golden Jubilee stands for great opportunities, innovation, Expo 2020 Dubai, friends and a lot of fun. This country has given me honour and recognition as I did my first ice skating show at the age of five and then went on to win several medals in ice skating, jiu jitsu and feature as an ice skating model. I wish the UAE all the best from the bottom of my heart.
Ali Soudi, British, businessperson
It is incredible how much the UAE has developed in the last 50 years. It just shows the quantum leaps in development that the country has achieved in such a short time. My family was able to establish a successful business because of the professional and corporate culture and work ethics. One of the most unforgettable memories that I really cherish is witnessing the grand opening of the Burj Khalifa. I was only 15 then and was new to the country. It was such a beautiful experience.
Shelina Jokhiya, British, businessperson
I have been in the UAE for more than 16 years and consider this beautiful country my second home. I am so proud of what the country has achieved and think it is wonderful that we get to celebrate this important milestone. I cannot forget the first time when I walked into Dubai airport in 2005. That is a very precious memory for me. I feel very fortunate to be based here where our leaders continue to overcome challenges and make remarkable progress for the benefit and welfare of its citizens and residents.
Edna DaHonog, Filipina, beautician
I came to the UAE 18 years ago, in 2003, at the age of 23 to work as a beautician. Like most Filipina professionals, I was hopeful of achieving my dreams. I can say with pride and happiness that this beautiful country helped me fulfil my dreams. I was able to build my home in Manila. I was also able to get my brother and sister here on employment visas. For me, the most precious memory of UAE is watching the Burj Khalifa New Year fireworks. These are easily the best in the world. My siblings and I feel privileged to actually watch this in person each year!
Edris Ahmadi, Iranian, event host and presenter
I came to the UAE as a two-year old and have spent all my life in this country. It is but natural that the UAE is home to me. Living in Dubai, I have seen the UAE go from strength to strength. Not just that, what touches me most is that the UAE is a melting pot and has helped people of different nationalities to realise their dreams. My best memories in the UAE are building life-long friendships. I have met so many genuine people who have become my close friends.
Necip Camcigil, Turkish, owner-manager of a cafe
I’ve been in the UAE since I was 12 years old. If the UAE can achieve what it has in 50 years, there is so much potential for the UAE to grow in the next 50 years. The UAE is safe and secure for all of us. Moreover, it is a very chilled-out place to stay. The multi-cultural aspect of the nation makes it a tolerant country. I am so happy to live here. My best times were spent at the Hilton Beach Club (now the Four Seasons in Jumeirah) where as a child, I was lucky enough to meet superstars such as Alessandro Del Piero. Another great memory for me is when I had lunch at the Madinat Jumeirah, at The Noodle House. Sitting next to me was the Dubai Ruler. It was a surreal moment.
Tahir Munir Tahir, Pakistani, retired engineer
I have lived in the Gulf region for 35 years, 20 years of which have been spent in the UAE. The kind of growth that we have witnessed in the UAE is amazing. I have a cherished memory with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. I was invited to a horse race in 2001. In the evening some of us were invited to a dinner with His Highness. I had the privilege of shaking hands with him. It was an unforgettable moment. I was witness to his kindness and hospitality. It felt wonderful.
Ai Takenaga, Japanese, head baker
I have been living in the UAE for the last four years. I am originally from Osaka in Japan. The 50th National Day is a very proud moment for all of us and I am grateful that I am able to witness it in person. I feel so lucky to be in Dubai at present. I remember when I was in UAE before the opening of our restaurant. I was amazed by the beauty and cultural diversity here. I am so thankful to the UAE for making my first trip extremely memorable, one which I could cherish for life. I am proud to call UAE as my second home. And I wish lots of good luck to this nation.
Shraddha Barot Amariei, Indian, entrepreneur
I have been residing in the UAE for the past 16 years. I came to UAE in 2005 with nothing in my hand. I just had a dream to start my business. Since I came to the UAE, I have started seven businesses here, out of which, I run four currently. It truly has given me everything that I ever desired — right from meeting my husband, my businesses, to buying a home. My most cherished memory here is the birth of my daughter Antonia in 2019. I met my Romanian husband at a supermarket here 16 years ago. He was my first friend in the UAE and luckily my husband too.
Ahmed Al Banna, Palestinian, public relations and communications professional
The UAE has achieved what was thought to be impossible. In 50 years only, this country has accomplished more than what other nations did in thousands of years. I’ve learned from the UAE’s leadership that everything is possible. Here, if you can dream it, you can have it. And that’s what makes me feel determined and confident. I feel blessed to live here and I thank God for that everyday. My most cherished memory here is attending the opening ceremony of Burj Khalifa. I was standing next to the building when the fireworks started. The view was breath-taking and mesmerising.
Dr Martina Saeid, Czech, consultant internal medicine
Coincidentally, I am also celebrating my 50th birthday this year. I have many golden memories associated with the UAE and particularly Abu Dhabi. One of the unforgettable memories here is when I assisted the ‘Women’s Heritage Walk’ from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain. Since its formation, the UAE has witnessed tremendous development. UAE is a country where safety is paramount, professional opportunities are vast and culture grows and thrives here.
Garry Roxas Cobilla, Filipino, public relations, events and marketing specialist
The UAE’s Year of the 50th celebrations remind me of how this country opened its doors to the world and gave expats opportunities to become part of its society. The UAE showed the world what it means to unite people and live in tolerance and respect for all cultures. I’ve been here in the UAE for almost two decades. Being safe and secure is something that I will always cherish as an expatriate. I want to congratulate the Rulers of the UAE. For the past 50 years, the country has evolved from pearl-diving and fishing villages to one of the most advanced metropolitan cities in the world.
Dr Asma Nasir, Pakistani, specialist gynaecologist and obstetrician
The UAE is celebrating its Golden Jubilee with a golden heart. Here, every wish comes true. Every moment spent here is a cherished memory — especially the way the pandemic was managed. Everyday we experience respect and value accorded to human life. The practise of equality and tolerance in every walk of life here is truly commendable. UAE is the best place to live in the entire world.
Mariben Christine Eustaquio, Filipina, entrepreneur
The UAE National Day marks the foundation of a beloved country that my family and me consider our second home. As we celebrate UAE’s 50th year, we can’t help but be proud of how the country has progressed over the years. My most cherished memory of the UAE is of my three children growing up — happy and safe in the home they know. The UAE has allowed us as parents to provide a good life to our family by giving us the opportunity and stability to grow as entrepreneurs and individuals. I would like to share my admiration and respect for the UAE leaders.
Lejpathroy S, Indian, health care and marketing professional
With pride and gratitude, I say that the UAE is a country that has made steady progress under its able leaders. Being at the forefront of development, the nation has accommodated more than 200 nationalities, providing one of the best work-life environments in the world. As we celebrate 50 years of the UAE, I would like to thank the country and its leaders for making this my second home and making it such an amazing place to live and work. Thank you UAE, you will always be my first love!
Joanne Rico, Filipina, marketing professional
I first arrived in the UAE nine years ago, after three years in Qatar. One of my favourite memories was a dhow cruise I took along the Dubai Marina in my first month here. I loved seeing the beautiful city and I loved immediately the joy with which the UAE welcomed people of different cultures. What I love the most is how the UAE allows women to spread their wings, as I have. There is no limit to how much I can grow here. I consider myself privileged to be here as the UAE celebrates its 50th National Day, and I feel honoured to be a part of the community marking this special occasion.
Chloe Ramamonhisoa, French, communications manager
There are so many opportunities for the youth in the UAE, which offers its unique hospitality and spurs innovation in everyone. I am lucky to be here since November 2016 and I love the multicultural nature of the community. People are so kind and warm. In fact, I met some of my best friends in the UAE and I want to continue staying on. On its Golden Jubilee, I hope for the very best for the UAE. In fact, I want to be here to build a better economy for its future generations.
Sabina Sultana, Bangladeshi, small business owner
Like the UAE, this is a special year for me: I too have turned 50 in 2021! So the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations have a special resonance for me. I moved in here because my husband took up an engineering job in the UAE in 2008. I had still not come over at the time and my husband used to rave about the UAE’s beaches to me. So within days of arriving here in 2011, I rushed to visit Jumeirah Beach in Dubai. Since then, I have always headed to the beaches whenever I needed to relax. This is the safest country in the world for women. Its tolerance for people of all faith and communities is also something I love.