Stock Abu Dhabi skyline
The Abu Dhabi skyline. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: As part of the UAE’s 50th year celebrations, residents across the UAE have been invited to share stories of individuals who have shaped the UAE thus far.

The Early Dreamers initiative, launched by the UAE’s Golden Jubilee Committee in collaboration with the Federal Youth Authority, will accept entries from today until June 30. From then on, these stories — collected as video clips, pictures and texts — will be shared to celebrate the UAE’s 50 years, and to inspire further contributions from today’s communities.

The initiative was launched during a media briefing on Sunday, in which organisers said that the personal stories about early UAE residents will help make the last 50 years more meaningful, personal and memorable.

“Through our Early Dreamers, we hope to give names and faces to the people whose ambitions have contributed to the UAE’s success story. These dreamers can be found in every household across the country. Hearing their stories will help us understand what it took to get to where we are today, and allow us to recognise and celebrate their contributions as we prepare for the future,” said Shamma Al Mazrui, UAE Minister of State for Youth and member of the UAE Golden Jubilee Committee.

Golden Jubilee

The Early Dreamers initiative is one of many other activations to mark the UAE’s golden jubilee year, which will officially be marked from April 6, 2021 to March 31, 2022, and will coincide with UAE’s hosting of Expo 2020. Contributors can share stories about early dreamers from today onwards through the website. Entries are welcome from all who call the UAE home.

Submission guidelines
* 3-5 photographs of the ‘early dreamer’ who is the subject of the story. It can be a family member, a pioneer or an ordinary member of early UAE society who made an impact on the story teller.
* 250-word text that answers the following questions:
1. Who is the ‘dreamer’ you are sharing a story about?
2. What is the person’s relation to you?
3. When and where was this person born?
4. When do the details of your story unfold?
5. What makes this person or story special?
6. What did you learn from this person or their story?
7. What makes you proud of this person?
There are also prompts to answer the questions separately, and to upload images and clips. Submit your story on their website.

Learnings for youth

Saeed Al Nazari

“The ‘Early Dreamers’ initiative is an ideal opportunity for young people to get acquainted with the stories of those heroes who built this country and spearheaded its development. It is essential that young people play a part in telling these stories; it allows them to truly grasp all that has happened in the past 50 years, and motivates them to plan the next 50 years,” said Saeed Al Nazari, director general at the Federal Youth Authority.

“Our objective is to create a written record of the thousands of stories from those who have witnessed the establishment of the UAE, lived through its successive stages of development and construction, and now enjoy the progress and prosperity we have achieved. These dreamers set the perfect example for our youth today, inspiring them to work hard and persevere in order to achieve our country’s development goals and its ambitions to be a leader in every sector,” he added.

Organisers also urged residents to capitalise on the family spirit of Ramadan to learn more about the first ‘dreamers’, and to use the Conversation Guide on the website to guide their process of capturing these stories.