Abu Dhabi: Rulers of the UAE's seven emirates have for the first time taken part in signing a Royal Euro 2008 soccer ball which will be auctioned at the end of the month and the money donated to children with special needs.

The starting price for the charity auction is Dh100,000 and there is no upper limit. The event which will be held on September 28 at the Emirates Palace here is expected to attract approximately 300 people.

During a press conference on Thursday, an exclusive sculpture holding the Royal Euro 2008 soccer ball was unveiled.

The sculpture consists of the first letter of each of the seven emirates, each letter symbolising the country's identity.

The drive, which began last July, is an initiative by the Nahtam Social Responsibility under the patronage of Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the Swiss and Austrian embassies.

Wolfgang Amadeus Bruelhart, Swiss Ambassador to the UAE, who has always been passionate about art, had read about a young, talented Emirati artist while on a flight to Abu Dhabi.

"I've had my own gallery in Switzerland since I was 20. When I was on the plane I read in a magazine about a young Emirati artist who I decided to contact upon my arrival," the Ambassador told Gulf News.

Azza Al Qubaisi, a young UAE national who specialises in jewellery and sculpture, has worked with the ambassador since then.

However her biggest and most fulfilling achievement, she told Gulf News, was her part in the sculpture that holds the Royal Euro 2008 soccer ball.

Azza worked on the sculpture's concept and decided to use the Arabic letters from each emirate to represent the UAE federation set up by Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

"I chose Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE, and the emirate that features diversity in landscape and islands.

"And [it] contains two of the most important projects in the world that will create dialogue between West and East, making it the centre of cultural exchange," said Azza.

She added that in the heart of the letter "A" for Abu Dhabi, the words of the late president are engraved, reflecting the most valuable asset in his land, "the local Emirati" as she put it.

The locals are the real treasure of this island, Azza said during her speech. "Those were the [words] of the late president. That it's not the petrol nor the money, the real wealth lies in us human beings."

During Ramadan, seven female artists painted and designed the letters made out of stainless steel and welded them to create the sculpture. Noora Ramah, an artist who graduated from Zayed University, designed the letter "D" for Dubai.

"My concept reflected the tall buildings and big towers. I used several materials such as metal, copper and cement, representing the basic elements which are used for any structure, forming a tough texture, mixing all elements together," Noora said.

The letter "S" for Sharjah uses various textures and effects to reflect the conservative aspects of Sharjah, with a colourful and creative force, representing the strong roots of art that Sharjah possesses.