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Marie Priscilla Pamela Cattaree, 51, Mauritian, CEO and founder of a hospitality services firm

“We took a leap of faith and moved to the UAE almost a decade ago. It has been the most successful endeavour — it feels great to live here in harmony with so many nationalities as one nation. For my son and me, the UAE has been a land of opportunity, where we have thrived and grown on all levels while enjoying a balanced lifestyle. Despite shores away from our native, pristine island, we feel at home and will continue to stay here.”

Jeetu Kataria, 36, Indian, co-founder of a financial technology business

“I have lived in the UAE for around 12 years, seen this country set benchmarks, transform and progress with favourable measures. It creates a global environment and attractive framework for aspiring entrepreneurs. I started my Arabian journey as a venture capitalist, and in 2019, I started my company in advanced financial technology in Dubai. I brought my family here in 2017 as you find a perfect balance of culture, lifestyle, security, economy, governance and education in the UAE.”

Anna Chukhleb, 40, Russian, accountant

“I was born and raised in the Caucasus region in Russia, where over 50 ethnic groups live. Being around different cultures has always fascinated me, something that drew me to Dubai, a city that brings together people from all over the world — be it through mega events such as Expo 2020 Dubai, and annual fairs such as Global Village, or by just living and working here. The UAE managed to transform itself from a place in the desert to a business and innovation hub very fast. The variety of school curricula available here makes it an attractive place for me to raise my son as well.”

Jonathan Howell-Jones, 51, British, communications expert

“I’ve lived in Dubai since 2002, and loved living here no matter what life has thrown at me. This is an international city. While most cosmopolitan cities eventually subsume the identities of the various immigrant communities that arrive there, the UAE represents the national identities and cultures of the many people from around the world who live here. It’s a metropolis of nations, that’s why it’s so fitting that Expo 2020 is held in Dubai.”

Dr Sheena Tan Go, 43, Filipino, general practitioner

“My mother started working in the UAE in 1987 and she still lives here. She often spoke fondly of this country that was not so well known in the world back then. When I first arrived in the UAE, I realised people of different nationalities work alongside each other here, carrying hopes and aspirations of personal growth and family welfare. Moving here opened up opportunities for me to pursue my dreams in the medical field. I got married recently, and we are excited to grow our family here.”

Roshan Weerasuriya, 50, Sri Lankan, director of a document management solutions firm

“I came to the UAE in 2008 with my family, which turned out to be one of the best decisions. It has provided us all with a strong, growing and healthy economic background to build our businesses and blessed us with many opportunities. Working together, despite cultural differences, comes naturally in the UAE. My kids have grown up here, studied here and are now exploring further opportunities for themselves.”

Andrew Covill, 51, British, founder of a real estate company

“The UAE has always been a leader in forming unity in diversity. We work with people of different backgrounds, religions, nationalities and cultures. I have been in Abu Dhabi for 13 years, particularly enjoying its climate and travel opportunities, connecting easily with my family in the UK and my wife in Australia.”

Wendy Shaw, 54, UK, trainer and coach

“I have spent 21 years in the UAE, meeting amazing people of so many nationalities. What fascinates me is the values and visionary beliefs of the leadership and their love for embracing innovation. Dubai is constantly evolving. When I first arrived here, Dubai Marina was a mass of water surrounded by sand, with five beach hotels in the distance. Downtown was a camel racetrack; today, it’s a whole new world.”

Kessington Gabriel Isiayei, 32, Nigerian, digital designer

“After staying in the UAE for around five years, I can say it is one of the few places where the government puts the people’s interest above all else. The country is intolerant to bullies and racism, and how it treats the people of determination makes the UAE a hero in my heart. With the long-term visa schemes introduced recently, the country celebrates people who have made a positive impact on society. I hope to be a part of the scheme some day.”

Joana Portela, 38, Portuguese, business coordinator for a tech company

“I first fell in love with the UAE for its skyline and architecture. After living here for seven years, I can say that no other country can compete with the UAE for its diversity, fast-paced working days and laid-back lifestyle on weekends, making me love this country more and more. The UAE lends a sense of positivity, the feeling that anything I set out to do can be accomplished.”

Dr Amaka Kate Uzu, 43, Sudanese, consultant – family medicine

The handling of the Covid-19 pandemic speaks volumes and is a testament to how the UAE is a role model of cohesion. Through the guidance of the great leaders, everyone from different walks of life and nationalities had a role to play and they understood the task ahead. A proper foresight, timely, and cautious approach have led to the UAE’s success throughout the pandemic and 50 years since its foundation.

Mohannad Abou Hammoud, 41, Syrian, Founder and CEO of a marketing agency

I’ve been lucky to call the UAE my home for more than 18 years now. I’m grateful that this country has treated me and made me feel at home away from home. It’s an exciting and vibrant place where nothing is constant; every new day is a new opportunity. You can achieve anything you want — the only limit is one’s imagination.

Walid Daniel Dib, 30, German-Jordanian, CEO of an insurance company

From its inception, the Emirati way has been to carve one’s path, proving that happiness does not come from searching for it but rather by living it. My brother and I started our company in the UAE with nothing but an idea, and the support from the country’s innovation hubs has propelled our little start-up into a fully-fledged firm with almost 30 colleagues. The UAE leadership understands innovation, and this is the reason why I started my business here.

Edwin Duria, 42, Filipino, managing director of a business consultancy

As a resident for over 16 years, I have experienced first-class services provided by the UAE government, extended to all residents regardless of race, nationality and belief. My wife and I consider the UAE a family-friendly place and a great choice to raise a family as it offers learning opportunities in diverse, multicultural environments. The country’s tolerance to all faiths and cultures makes it an excellent destination for expats to live with their families.

Nurlela Rosidi Ahmad, 48, Indonesian, owner and founder of a hospitality and brokerage firm

I started my career as a professional make-up artist and I am now also an entrepreneur owning a company. I’m grateful that there are numerous opportunities in this city, especially for women and the entertainment industry. I enjoy living here because the place offers immense safety that is extended throughout the UAE.

Amit Vardhan, 52, Indian, CEO and managing director of an advertising firm

I have started my business, raised my family and grown with the UAE over the past 20 years. This place is the land of opportunities, a melting pot of cultures, religions, and nationalities, offering the best from across the world. My gratitude and honour for this country grows each year, as forward-thinking leadership and a favourable business environment have helped me succeed as an entrepreneur. With new visa rules in place, we see a brighter future here in the UAE.

Dianna Dewi Connolly, 50, British, freelancer and traditional dancer

The diversity in the UAE is fantastic; I feel safer here than in any country. In the last two years, Covid-19 threw up massive challenges for the world, and the UAE handled it extremely well. The leadership continues its efforts to make this nation better for all locals and expats.

Beenish Batool Haider, 32, Pakistani, lawyer

Professionally, the UAE has allowed me to be an entrepreneur and provide service to numerous jurisdictions from this hub, retain dynamic and diverse team members, and expand the business without limiting my growth potential. On a personal level, we, as a unit, are currently undergoing a critical illness in the immediate family. However, the UAE has provided medical facilities and services that are par excellence to keep our hopes alive.