Glimpses of His Life
When the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan assumed power in Abu Dhabi on 6th August 1966, years of hard work began to develop Abu Dhabi، Petroleum income was utilized for developing public services and infrastructure.
Work began on ambitious projects to change all aspects of life، The late Sheikh Zayed used to say, “Money is not useful if it is not dedicated for serving the people.”
A few years after Sheikh Zayed assumed power, Abu Dhabi witnessed major developments in record time with hundreds of building, construction, modernization, development and service projects that included the construction of houses, modern residential compounds, hospitals, clinics, schools, universities, institutes, colleges and infrastructure such as roads, bridges, electricity, water, communication and transportation in order to build a modern country and provide a decent life for citizens.
The amount of spending on growth, services and development projects in Abu Dhabi from1968 until the end of 2002 exceeded AED 162 billion. The total amount allocated for growth during this period amounted to AED 195 billion which demonstrates an unprecedented commitment to using the resources of the country and its oil returns to build a prosperous country for citizens’ happiness.
Sheikh Zayed dedicated himself to making his people happy. He travelled all over the country supervising building and construction, moving between the suburbs, villages, deserts and villages leading an exceptional challenge to catch up with civilization and modernization. During the years of his reign, enormous achievements and drastic changes were achieved in projects including; building, industrial, agricultural, educational, health, cultural and social. A solid and modern infrastructure was completed.
Building the Union
The efforts of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan were not limited to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Since he assumed power in Abu Dhabi he aimed to unite the other Emirates. Less than two years after he became the Ruler of Abu Dhabi he initiated a call to unite the Emirates saying, “Unity is the way to strength, honour and power. Division only leads to weakness. There is no place in today’s world for weak entities. These are the lessons of history throughout the ages.”
This wise and honest call was favourably received and there was a meeting between the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai in the area of Al Samha on 18th February 1968 following the declaration made by the British Government in that year about evacuating its armies from the Conciliated Emirates in the Gulf before 1971.
The meeting focused on establishing a union between the two emirates to supervise foreign affairs, defence, internal security and health and educational services. They agreed to invite the rulers of the other Emirates to a meeting in Dubai to discuss the establishment of the United Arab Emirates, a union between the nine emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and also Bahrain and Qatar.
The result of the meeting was that the call for Union was launched. It was supported by Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid. The rulers of the other Emirates responded favourably to this honest call and held another meeting between 25th and 27th February 1968 in Dubai. It resulted in the establishment of the union, the United Arab Emirates.
There followed continuous meetings, gatherings and consultations between the Rulers until the conclusive meetings were held from 11-15 October 1969 in which it is agreed to execute the Dubai agreement, to formally declare the establishment of the United Arab Emirates. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was elected at the President and the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum was elected as the Vice President.
On 18th July 1971, the Rulers’ Council of the Union held an important meeting in Dubai where they approved the federal state, called the United Arab Emirates, in response to the wish of the people in the region.
On the 2nd December 1971, history witnessed the birth of a modern state. It joined the Arab Countries League on 6th December 1971, becoming its eighteenth state and only a week after its establishment it became the 132nd member of the United Nations on 9th December 1971. The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah joined the union on 10th February 1972. Immediately upon the declaration of the union, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed al Nahyan offered to dedicate all the Government of Abu Dhabi’s material sources and administrative and technical expertise to serve the federal state. He said, “The union is my wish and the highest goal I seek for the people of the Emirates.”
The late Sheikh Zayed said that the goal of the Union was to bring happiness to the citizens and build the modern state, “From the beginning we realized that the union is the means to our strength and progress and the way to make people happy, provide a decent life for them and for future generations with Allah’s will. We also realized that we cannot achieve this goal except under a well rooted and firmly founded federal state that realizes the past with all its lessons, lives the present with all its achievements and prosperity and moves towards a future, taking Islam as the methodology of its internal and external policy to establish the state, root its pillars and reach a decent life that we all look forward to and seek.”
Since the moment the federal state was establishment, the wheels turned in one of the largest development marches witnessed by the region. Since the day he assumed power, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan dedicated the wealth of the country’s progress and improvement of the citizens’ living standards saying, “We dedicated everything we own in terms of wealth and petroleum to improving the living standard of every person in the United Arab Emirates out of our belief that these people are the rightful owners of this wealth and that he should make up what he missed in order to catch up with the march of civilization and progress.”
The late Sheikh Zayed added that, “If Allah the Almighty had favoured us with wealth, our first commitment to seek Allah’s satisfaction and in order to express our gratitude to Him is to utilize this wealth by making this country better and to bring goodness to its people.”
A few years after its establishment, the United Arab Emirates became a modern and prosperous country where its citizens enjoy luxury and prosperity, as confirmed by the statement of His Highness that, “Hopes came true thanks to the establishment of the United Arab Emirates. Progress and prosperity was achieved in every area.”
He added that, “We did not dream of all these achievements. They are beyond imagination and the speed of this growth is exceptional.”
The way Sheikh Zayed led the march towards union has had a clear effect; his manner is rooted in the conscience of the nation and is clear to all citizens.
On several occasions, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan expressed his relief about the achievements of the union saying, “We, thanks to Allah, feel relieved and happy as the union continues its march on the right path, the way the United Arab Emirates is moving from one phase to another until it became the source of pride for all of us, seeing such achievements on the soil of our country.”
His Highness said, “Everything that I and my brothers the rulers of the emirates spent long nights caring about and being patient about, was achieved. With Allah’s help and grace, we have reached a stage where we are securely on the road to building the country and achieving goals that seemed hard to reach.”
The ‘Counsel’ Approach
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan believed in seeking counsel as his way of leading the national effort. He said, “Ruling with counsel is a command from Allah and he who does not obey Allah shall be the loser.”
His approach comes from his belief in, and reliance on, Allah the Almighty in every step. His Highness said, “My philosophy in life is that I believe that all things are in the hands of Allah the Almighty and that man should act as if inspired by his belief in Allah; with dedication and diligence. If I succeed in my quest, I thank Allah for His grace and if I was mistaken in my diligence, I return to the right path. Everything runs according to the will of Allah the Almighty, He runs and manages our lives. The worshipper should seek the approval of Allah, to act and rely on Allah. Allah guides men to success when the belief of man in his God is strong. Allah grants him peace of mind and that is the ultimate happiness.”
The ‘counsel approach’ that Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan adopted was illustrated by his strong desire, during the regular field trips he made all over the country, to hold open and direct meetings with citizens at their workplaces, deserts and residences. This facilitated the deep and honest closeness between the leadership and the people. His Highness used to emphasize the importance of this approach, which is based on an ‘open door’ policy between the ruler and his subjects, by saying, “Our door is open and shall always be like that.”
His Highness said, “The ruler should meet the members of his people continuously and there should be no barriers between him and them under any circumstances.”
His Highness continued, “The ruler, any ruler, is only there to serve his people and secure for them prosperity and progress. To achieve this, he should live among his people to feel their wishes and know their problems and this cannot be achieved if he isolates himself from them.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan was keen for his children, the citizens, to participate in assuming the responsibilities of the national effort. He said, “When the ruler is self-assured and confident, he gives the opportunity to his sons and brothers the officials to assist him to achieve what is best for the country.”
Sheikh Zayed adds that, “Our goal in life is to achieve justice, be morally right and support the weak against the dominant. We are not cautious about our children’s participation in the responsibility of ruling, as long as these are our goals. We think that our duty is to distribute responsibility among the citizens, and we did this just as Islam calls for true democracy and justice.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan made himself the example for officials by his keenness to follow-up projects’ achievements and by the continuous closeness with citizens, to feel their wishes and needs away from government offices and official reports. He said, “I want officials to see me with their own eyes at work, at any time, without preparation so that every official shall follow this path in order to reach efficiency and capability for the State.”
The keenness of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to develop people the same way as the country was built, represented the most important achievement of the United Arab Emirates. It was based on his conviction that people are at the centre of real progress and that the UAE relies on educated people, “We realized from the beginning that the human being is the basis of every civilized process and he is at the centre of every true progress.”
The United Arab Emirates worked on building an infrastructure including hospitals, schools, higher education establishments, institutes, cultural and professional centres and military, academic and technical establishments necessary to achieve this noble goal and to provide all appropriate conditions to enable the sons of the UEA to bear their national responsibilities. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan specified the goal saying, “Wealth is not money wealth but the wealth of men as they are; the true power that we are proud of. This is the plant that provides us with shade. The conviction of this truth is the reason why we were able to direct all our efforts to developing people and dedicating the wealth that Allah graced us with to serve the children of this country in order to enable them to bear their formidable responsibilities and be the support that helps us and our brothers.”
He continued, “I always said, with strong conviction, that the human being is the basis of civilization and to direct our attention to him is necessary because he is the centre of every progress. No matter how many facilities there are, schools, hospitals, bridges and otherwise, all of this remains a materialist entity without a soul because the soul of all of this is the human being who is able, with his thought, effort and faith to achieve the progress we seek.”
He said, “Progress and renaissance is not measured by buildings of cement and steel but by developing people and everything that makes the citizen happy and secures him a decent life.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan expressed his relief that the continuous efforts to develop people were successful and the children of the UAE today are assuming responsibility for work done all over the country. He said, “We had harvested a lot and harvested what the citizen, the friend or the brother did not imagine and the best thing that we harvested in this country is developing people who we prioritize with attention and care.”
With Sheikh Zayed’s approach, citizens are the means and the end at the same time. To establish this principle, all the agencies and bodies in the country joined together to develop people capable of dealing with the paths of true development and able to overcome obstacles, especially the major ones.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan said on the 13th February 1972, “The constitution of the country provided for the principles of equality and social justice and the provision of security and assurance, equal opportunities for all citizens, solidarity and compassion, to consider the family as the basis and structure of society, morality and love for the country, caring for childhood and motherhood, protecting minors and disabled people who are not capable of taking care of themselves, providing jobs for citizens, qualifying them for such jobs, protecting private and public property, to consider the wealth and natural resources of every Emirate as public property for that Emirate and to encourage cooperation and saving.”
Sheikh Zayed made developing people the first priority in the development process in its early stages. He said, “Developing people is a national necessity that takes precedence over building factories and facilities because without good people no prosperity and goodness can be achieved. Now we are developing a future generation that we will be proud of and that will bear the burdens of responsibility in the future.”
Care for Youth
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan gave considerable attention to taking care of youth. He was always keen to invite them to equip themselves with knowledge so that they could contribute to serving the country. He urged them to have a good understanding of the past and the difficult conditions and hardships that faced their fathers and grandfathers so that they could maintain the accomplishments and gains that had been achieved. He urged young people to work, in all fields of work, to consider work an honour and duty. He said, “Work is important and valuable as long as it contributes to developing people. The progress of nations is only achieved at the hands of their children.”
On several important occasions in the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed used to say, “The vast wealth that has been achieved will not last without more effort, giving and sacrifices. We should work hard in order to protect our national gains and enhance the march of our union. We should work hard to achieve more strength for the country and prosperity for the citizen. This is not possible without constructive and active participation in society.”
He added, “National work is not limited. It is your responsibility, the male and female youth of the UAE, to employ the chances that you have been given for the sake of your country and people. We view the concept of citizenship as loyalty to the country and commitment to work for it.”
Sheikh Zayed said, “The material facts you see on the land of your country did not come from nothing and its growth does not only go back the last three or four decades. These facts represent the cultural and social heritage that was rooted in us. They reach to us from our fathers and grandfathers who faced great hardships, beyond imagination. We owe them all our abilities to build, our seriousness to work and our determination to succeed. Therefore, we always say that the nation that does not understand and comprehend its past and does not take examples and lessons from it shall not be able to deal with the challenges of the present and prepare for the future.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the importance of the wide participation of the people in the country’s comprehensive development. He said, “We continue working with all our might and ability at all official and non-official levels in order to maintain our gains and achieve more accomplishments for the good of our people and country. However, we look forward to real participation from all sons and daughters of the Emirates, an active participation in the comprehensive development process with its political, economic, social and cultural aspects. The future is in your hands, Emirates youth, you will determine the way it will be. Take the chance available to you now and use it wisely. Use it in a manner that brings goodness for you, your families and your country as well.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan called on organizations to give more attention to youth saying, “We call upon all government, private and national organizations to place more importance on youth programmes to prepare them for the future, to benefit from successful human experiences and follow the lead of our own successful achievements, our roots and the values and principles that we inherited.
Although we have come an admirably long way training and qualifying our male and female youth, there is still a real need to continue and intensify this training and qualification. We think that bringing our male and female youth into the field of fruitful work is the goal that we should dedicate all our abilities to achieve and we should prepare for them the means to ensure that achievement as much as possible.
This requires us to continue modernizing our educational curriculums and follow up the latest developments in science and technology. Our programmes must be equal to this.”
Concern about Women’s Development and Their Role in Society
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan placed special care on the development of women, “Women are half of society, she is the house keeper and no country that is building itself can leave women in the darkness of ignorance and in the captivity of oppressive chains.”
With this vision, women started taking full responsibility next to men in various fields of work. They actively contributed to the economic, social and cultural changes. They enjoyed equal rights and duties whilst in compliance with the teachings of the proper Islamic religion, the gracious Islamic Sharia and inherited customs and traditions.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan said, “We have the right to speak proudly about the great accomplishments that women have achieved in our country and the enhancement of her social and economic role in the public and private sectors. We continue to be very keen to provide all assistance and support to women in everything that may enhance her role in society and increase the scope of her participation in the comprehensive development process.
We are pleased to note that women in the Emirates have shown unique determination in this regard as we see her embracing all kinds of scientific fields with remarkable enthusiasm that became an example to be followed. We also see her working efficiently and actively in the public and private sectors, while continuing to play her main role in the family. Family represents the nucleus of society and deserves from us all every care and attention. She is committed to raising her children in a good manner based on our spiritual and religious values and our genuine heritage.”
The late Sheikh Zayed confirmed that, “All fields of work are open for women in the Emirates just like men.” He pointed out that women have taken significant steps on the path to distinguished participation in national work. The General Women’s Union – under the inauguration of Her Highness Sheikh Fatima Bint Mubarak, “Emirates’ Mother”, endeavours to stimulate the role of women in society, increase their participation in development and their representation at Arab and International forums.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan supported women to hold the highest positions at work; in decision making positions and in politics. He encouraged women to fully participate serving her country, including becoming involved in political work. He said, “I’m for women. I always say this to confirm her right to work and fully participate in building her country.”
In addition, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan focused on all sectors of society, especially the disabled and those with special needs. He was keen to provide them with any facilities that enabled them to participate in society.
The Environment and Its Protection
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan cared about the environment. He believed that there needed to be a balance between developing and preserving the environment to protect the right of future generations to enjoy life in a clean, healthy and safe environment. He said, “We give our environment our utmost attention because it is a vital part of our country’s history and heritage. Our fathers and grandfathers lived on this land to preserve it, they only took from it what they needed and left what future generations will use as a source and spring of giving.”
The late Sheikh Zayed added, “We have worked, since the establishment of our state, to protect the environment and wildlife. We have developed regulations, legislation, programs and projects that made the United Arab Emirates among the first states that cared for the environment and an example to be followed at the global level. These achievements should be an incentive for us, particularly the Emirati youth, the future generation, to continue taking care of and keeping the environment safe and clean because if we don’t, we shall destroy the resources that Allah blessed us with، these resources are not ours alone, they also belong to our children and their children.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was one step ahead of the world in taking care of the environment and this is manifested by his words, “Our care for the environment is not new but it is a genuine and deep-rooted care that we have called for, practiced and implemented years before the rest of the world started to do so.”
In his opening speech at the 2nd Asian Ministerial Conference of those Party to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification held in Abu Dhabi in June 2003, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan said: “The United Arab Emirates was able to live with a desert environment that covers three quarters of its area, and adapt to its limited resources for many years. Thanks to the efforts of the devoted sons of the Emirates, the State was able to overcome the hard conditions and achieve what the experts considered to be impossible. The green area started to expand and the desert retreated before it.”
He added, “The proof is very clear as seen in the vast areas of forest, farms, parks and millions of trees and plants of all types that are increasingly and continuously taking shape amidst the desert lands. This demonstrates the huge effort that has been made and the greatness of the achievement that has been achieved.”
Over three decades, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan was a supporter of sustainable development and the planting of 100 million trees and 45 million palm trees in the Emirates to stop sand encroaching into agricultural lands. This is considered one of Sheikh Zayed’s most important achievements.
Taking care of environmental issues gained the United Arab Emirates a global reputation and prominent international position particularly in the field of maintaining the environment, combating desertification, development of wild and marine life, establishment of natural reservations, encouragement and support of international research to save various types of rare animals from extinction worldwide such as the Oryx, Arabian tiger, sea cows and green turtles in addition to advanced programs utilizing the latest technology in the reproduction of wild birds including falcons and bustards.
The United Arab Emirates received several appreciation certificates and awards from international and regional organizations for its distinguished efforts in the field of preservation and development of the environment.
It was chosen as the headquarters for the ‘General Secretariat of the Coordination Body of the International Fund for Maintaining the Environment in Order to Protect the Oryx’. It was also elected in 2000 to the position of Chairman of the Sea Turtles Group for the West Indian Ocean Area that is attached to the Global Federation for the Protection of Nature as an appreciation for its role helping endangered sea turtles.
Agriculture and Forestation
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan implemented his vision for agriculture and forestation by allocating vast areas of land to establish ambitious projects for forests and green areas. These would protect the wildlife which revived the desert environment and stopped desert encroachment. His vision contributed to the interest of citizens in agriculture and their connection to their lands.
In this regard he said, “We succeeded in transforming the land of this country although we were told that it was not fit for agriculture. We developed farms spreading to the horizon, green parks, forests and production plantations.”
Sheikh Zayed expressed his pride in what the Emirates had achieved in agriculture and forestation and said, “What makes us proud is that the United Arab Emirates was able to achieve amazing success in returning greenery to the desert areas and our success was not limited to planting vast areas of the desert but also with agriculture. Through extensive awareness campaigns, guidance, training and continuous and limitless support we were able to enforce the mutual giving relationship that exists between the land and the citizen who became more keen to possess, manage and develop agricultural lands.”
On 2nd June 2001, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations awarded Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the “Medal of International Day of Food” in recognition of his efforts to serve all of humanity.
Several international bodies commended the achievements of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in combating desertification and the protection of rare species of animals and plants.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s care for humans extended to other parts of the world. He established an award bearing His Highness’s name for the best global moral and human culture.
International bodies commended the initiative of Sheikh Zayed to allocate a US$150,000 award to be granted every two years to encourage human creativity in all fields and to protect and encourage heritage in all its forms; the best folklore and traditional cultural works and also to protect intangible cultural works threatened with loss.
Since his early childhood, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was connected to desert life, its environment and culture. This formed his close connection with his culture. He said, “Our ancestors left for us a great deal of folklore that we should be proud of. We need to maintain and develop it, make it an asset for this country and for future generations.”
In his gatherings with youth and citizens, he used to emphasize the necessity to be familiar with civic culture, to remember it and follow its example. He said, “Youth should ask and think about history, whether it was recent, medium-term or ancient history, in order to know what happened in this country and how past generations lived. I believe that those who do not know their history certainly do not know their present but if a person knows his past then he will be aware of his present and know how he should prepare for the future”. He added, “Any nation without a cultural heritage does not have a beginning or end.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his brothers Their Highnesses the Members of the Supreme Council of the Union, the Rulers of the Emirates, all offered support to folk sports such as genuine Arab camels races, folk marine races, horsemanship and falconry.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan placed great importance on maintaining the sport of falconry because it is one of the most important sports that sons inherited from fathers and grandfathers in the Gulf and Arab Peninsula Area. For a long time Emiratis have had an excellent knowledge of the different kinds of falcons, the best way to breed them, train them and look after them well, the way to tame this symbol of power and self-pride.
The late Sheikh Zayed spoke about the fact that Arabs were the first with this knowledge and then this knowledge moved other countries saying, “We are keen on maintaining genuine traditions and our heritage regardless of how far we have stepped towards the field of civilization. Falconry is an important sport and a way to learn patience and endurance. It is useful both psychologically and physically. It is a social sport full of companionable group spirit. In addition, this sport has its traditions; the speed of falcons and their ability to fly, manoeuvre, hunt or charge to feed.”
In September 2001, the “Emirates Falconers Club” was establishment under the chairmanship of H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister who confirmed that falconry is considered one of the most important Arab sports practiced by their ancestors thousands of years ago. The club aims to spread awareness and improve falconry in the United Arab Emirates and the Arab Gulf area, to maintain this sport as an important heritage in the region and to spread the morality of falconry sport. The club aims to educate about the types, habits, life phases, original habitat and migration of falcons, passing on the heritage of the grandfathers to future generations in order to ensure the continuity of this hobby in the correct way that prevents exposing falcons and bustards to extinction.
Arab and Islamic Solidarity
For over three decades Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan devoted all his efforts towards achieving agreement between brothers, to solve Arab differences by understanding and forgiveness. His Highness emphasized continuously the danger imposed by the continuation of the state of division and deterioration that the Arab nation is going through, “Since the beginning of difference in the Arab world until this day, I did not sleep one night happy about the difference between a brother, a friend and his friend.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan made extensive efforts to bring Arabs together, forgetting differences, unifying the Arab and Islamic world, improving the position of the Arab and Islamic nation and its position in the world.
The late Sheikh Zayed was always keen to get all points of view on the Arab position and make decisions about all the various things happening in the Arab world. He rejected the mindset of loss by using reason and making a conscious effort to compensate the losses that the Arab nation had suffered in order to support their common interests. He said, “The Arab nation is large, wealthy and good, thanks to Allah. We should bear the responsibility and abandon the path of loss and weakness that we are following now and we should endeavour, with every possible effort and without delay, to compensate the losses we suffered and follow the right path.”
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan said that the United Arab Emirates supports anything that enhances the Arabic reputation. He said that this needs to happen with hard work, an honest brotherly spirit and a sense of forgiving and conciliation particularly after the lessons and losses that the Arab nation has suffered.
The way Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan dealt with regional and international issues was considered to be correct. His decisions were made with wisdom, frankness, courage and standing steadily with truth. Justice and forgiveness guided his decisions in order to include human values in international relations and whatever brings goodness to humanity.
When Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan passed away in November 2004, the world lost one of its most important, wise men. He had worked to improve people and countries and did everything he could for humanity as a whole.
He was succeeded by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, long may he live, to continue the march of progress by following in the footsteps of his father “Zayed (increaser of) goodness”.
Since the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971, the Emirate model has seen to be unique. The State achieved unprecedented achievements in the field of development, diversification of the economy, development of government services and building whilst at the same time the State established the values of holding on to, developing and taking pride in cultural heritage.
Developing people is considered the foundation of the State’s strategy. The Emirate’s Vision 2021 says, “Every Emirati citizen makes a valuable contribution to the growth of his country by increasing his knowledge and investing his skills in innovation.” And, “The values of justice, equality and the spirit of solidarity in our culture support our efforts to increase the living standards of citizens. The State tries to achieve balance in the social and economic development of the Emirates and to provide main services and facilities so there should be no isolated or neglected areas. The advanced infrastructure and high quality transportation services accelerates growth and builds bridges between civil communities. Integrated planning and execution of policies guarantees that social and economic development all over the Emirates is balanced, sustainable, prudent and efficient”.
The United Arab Emirates is considered the only successful unification project so far in the whole Arab world and wider region. This success was as a result of adopting a clear strategy for developing the Emirati people. In December 2006, the first democratic elections were held in the United Arab Emirates to elect half the members of the Federal National Council.
The Emirates is considered one of the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic countries. It chose electronic development in order to facilitate performance and people’s lives. The Emirates has successfully attracted foreign investment by providing good infrastructure, services, hotels and treatment facilities and modern communications. It has big plans and programs for strategic projects some of which will require the participation of the public and private sectors.
The State’s foreign policy is based on fixed rules and clear principles of mutual respect and a ‘good-neighbour’ policy. The State places exceptional emphasis on the special relationship between the brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arabic world in general. The UAE continues to call and work to enforce the joint Arab Act, the Arab League and its special organizations.
The United Arab Emirates follows a defence policy that requires it to update its defence capabilities; as a result it has made several arms deals.
On the 6th May every year the armed forces celebrate the anniversary of their unification. This event represents a very important turn of events that ensures the success and continuity of the march of the Union.
At the economic level, the Emirates’ performance witnessed remarkable development during recent years. Growth rates in all economic sectors were a result of several factors including the increase in oil prices, diversification policies, policies to broaden the economic base and sources of income, and the launching of several projects which reflected positively on GDP growth.
The State was able to overcome the effects of the economic crisis. H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai confirmed this in a speech delivered at an investment conference in Dubai on the 19th November 2009 when he said that the darkest clouds of the crisis had vanished. His Highness pointed out that the consequences of this crisis will not discourage the UAE from trying to achieve its future aspirations and its determination to maintain its pioneer position in the region.
The following is from the 2010 National Media Council United Arab Emirates year book.
The United Arab Emirates is located between the 22 and 26.5° north latitude north and 51 and 56.5° east longitude. It shares borders with the Arabian Gulf in the north; the Gulf of Oman and the Sultanate of Oman in the east; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman in the south and the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the west.
The south coast of the United Arab Emirates, on the Arabian Gulf, is 644 km long with the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaima along it. The coast of Fujairah is 90km long and is on the Gulf of Oman.
The area of the UAE is about 83,600m². Most of it is deserts and oases. Most of the shores are sandy except the north area in Ras Al Khaimah that is mountainous.
There are hundreds of islands in the Gulf waters belonging to the UAE including about 200 islands in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The main one is Sir Bani Yas Island which has become a green oasis and natural reservation for rare animals and birds. Among the other important islands are Das Island, Abu Al Abiad Island, Abu Mousa’s two islands, Sir Bu Nair Island in Sharjah, Greater and Lesser Tunbs Islands, Al Hamraa Island in Ras Al Khaimah and Scenic Island in Um Al Quwain (103).
Geographical Note: The UAE has a distinctive strategic location due to its proximity to the Straits of Hormuz which is an active passage for international oil shipments.
Area per Emirate:
Abu Dhabi 86.7%
Ras Al Khaima 2.2%
Umm El Quwain 1.0%
(103) The following information was obtained from the official portal of the UAE Government on the internet, the following link: click here
At the end of 2010, the National Census Centre estimated the population of the UAE to be 8.26 million with an increase of 65% compared to 2006 when the population was 5.01 million. According to the Global Human Development Report 2011, the UAE’s population was about 7.9 million in 2011 with a fertility average of 1.7%.
However, the report ‘Estimates of Economic Changes in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2011-2012’ issued by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry stated that population of the Emirates had reached 7.2 million at the end of 2011 and that it would continue to grow in 2012 to 7.6 million, an increase of 5.6%.
The population of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was 2.121 million in the middle of 2011 with an annual growth rate of 7.7%. This rate is considered the highest population growth rate in the world. The main reason for population growth in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was incoming expatriate migration (104). In the 2007 census, the population of Abu Dhabi was about 1.493 million (33.27% of the total population of the country). The “Estimates of Economic Changes in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2011-2012” report estimated the population of Abu Dhabi at the end of 2011 to be about 2.9 million and that it was expected to increase to 3.1 million by the end of 2012, with an annual increase of 5.4% (105).
According to the Dubai Census Centre’s 2010 Annual Census Book, Dubai’s population was about 1.9 million of which 1.48 million were male and 420,000 female (106). The number of permanent residents exceeded 2 million and at the end of 2011, this had increased to 2,300,170. The number of people calculated to be in the Emirate during one day was 3,230,426 at the end of 2011 (107).
According to the same data, the UAE’s male population was 2,536,380 which is three times the female population. In terms of age, there were 392,800 people aged 30-34 years which is 19.61% of the total population. The majority of the population was this age. There were 391,125 people aged 25-29 which was 19.53% of the total population. There were 299,605 people aged 35-39 years 14.96% of the total population (108).
The Sharjah population was about 793,573 according to the December 2005 census. The population of Sharjah was about 19% of the UAE’s total population. According to 2008 Ministry of Economy statistics, 85% of an increased total population of 846,000 live in Sharjah City (109).
The population of Ras Al Khaimah was about 250,000 according to the December 2005 census. According to the 2012 Annual Book of the Emirates, the population had increased to about 416,600 (110).
The population of Ajman was about 206,997 according to the December 2005 census. According to the 2012 Annual Book of the Emirates, the population had increased to about 237,000 in 2009 as compared to 224,000 in 2008. The census book “Ajman in Figures 2011” issued by the Secretariat General of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Ajman estimated the population at about 262,186 with 42,186 UAE nationals (111).
The population of Fujairah was about 125,698 according to the 2005 census. In 2008, the population increased to 154,261 and in 2009 to 165,158. In 2010, the number was 176,825 (112).
The population of Umm Al Quwain was 49,159 according to the December 2005 census.
The following table, published by the National Census Centre, shows different population statistics for 2006 and 2010.
Table 1: National Population by Emirate and Year:
104. Census Centre – Abu Dhabi click here
106. Annual Census Book of the Emirate of Dubai 2010, Dubai Census Centre on the following link click here
107. Hanadi Abu Neame, “Dubai Population is Two Million”; Emirates Today Newspapers (Dubai) 01/04/2012
109. Commercial and tourism development authority in the Emirate of Sharjah, on the following link click here
110. AED 22.8 Billion the GDP of Ras Al Khaimah in 2011, on the following link click here
111. Rami Elaish, “Ajman population is 262 Thousand of whom 42 Thousand are UAE nationals”; Al Khaleej Newspaper (Sharjah) 16/08/2011
112. The data is obtained from the following link: click here
As a result of continuous developments in the health field, death rates notably decreased in recent years while the birth rate remained almost constant.
According to the two tables shown below, the birth rate dropped from 10.9 per 1,000 people in 2007 to 8.52 in 2008 before increasing again to 9.3 in 2009 and 9.64 in 2010.
However, the death rate dropped from 1.19 per 1,000 people in 2007 to 0.96 in 2008 and 0.95 in 2009 and 0.90 in 2010. The result was that natural increase recorded a drop from 9.69 per 1,000 of the population in 2007 to 8.74 in 2010.
The GDP of the United Arab Emirates grew progressively over the past decades. It increased from AED 6.5 Billion in 1971, approaching AED 1 Trillion in 2010, an increase of about 154 times. Oil contribution to the GDP dropped from 70% in 1971 to 29% in 2010 (114).
During 2009, the Emirati economy achieved a growth of 1.3%. The non-oil sectors were 71.6% of GDP compared to 66.5% in 2008. In 2009, the GDP in current prices amounted to US$ 249 billion and the GDP in fixed prices amounted to US$ 140.1(115). According to the Abu Dhabi Economic Development Department report, the Emirati non-oil economy achieved real growth at the rate of 8.3% in 2009 despite the challenges imposed by the global financial crisis while the inflation rate dropped to 1.5% compared to 12.3% in 2008 (116).
- According to the International Monetary Fund, the Emirati economy recovered from the global monetary crisis in 2011. As a result of increased oil production, GDP grew at the rate of 4.9% in 2011, exceeding expectations. The Fund said that the Emirates non-oil economy recorded growth at the rate of about 2.7% in 2011 supported by the very high level of performance in commerce, tourism and industry.
- The Fund expressed optimism about the future economic growth of the UAE and confirmed that it had recovered completely from the consequences of the global financial crisis. The Fund expected that growth in the Emirates economy would reach 2.8% in 2013 noting that the non-oil sector would lead the growth alongside the stability of growth of the oil sector. It expected that growth of non-oil GDP would reach 3.8% in 2013. According to the Fund’s estimates, it was expected that the GDP of the Emirates would reach US$ 438 billion and that it would increase to US$ 539 billion in 2013 compared to US$ 136 billion in 2011(117) .
A December 2013 report prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit expected that the Emirates’ growth rate from 2013 to 2017 would reach 5.1% per annum. The Unit expected that the UAE Government would continue to follow an expansionary financial policy supported by oil prices and that the financial surplus in the next five years would exceed 4.8% of the GDP because the Government had reined in spending during that period.
- The report expected that the Emirates’ trade surplus would exceed 16.6% of GDP between 2013 and 2017. The report expected that economic growth would exceed 3.5% in 2013 considering the slow growth in the Asian emerging markets and the world trade recession and it confirmed that growth from 2014 would increase, supported by intensive oil activity and as of 2015 – 2017 driven by higher oil production and oil prices (118).
114. In a study prepared by the Secretariat General of Dubai Economic Council: the economic growth rates in the country exceeds those similar in most of the developed countries in the world; Al Ittihad Newspapers (Abu Dhabi); 05/12/2010:
115. Emirate Economic Report: 3.2% of growth in 2010 and inflation drops to 1.1%; Middle East Newspaper (London); 30/05/2010
116. Abu Dhabi Economist: The big decrease in rents and accommodation costs contributed to the reduction of the inflation rate: the Emirati non-oil economy growth is 8.3% last year; Al Ittihad Newspaper (Abu Dhabi); 10/11/2010:
117. Supported by the revival of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the UAE economy breaks out from the cocoon of the global crisis and moves to growth in 2013; The Economist; 01/01/2013:
118. “The Economist”: Financial surplus, 4.8% of GDP in the next five years - 5.1%, the annual growth average in the Emirates until 2017; Al Bayan Newspaper (Dubai); 30/11/201
According to the International Monetary Fund’s data, per capita income from the GDP evaluated by purchasing power is about US 48.200 in 2011 (119). According to the Global Report of Human Development of 2011, per capita income from the GDP in the country amounted to US$ 59.990 (120).
119. The foregoing data are obtained from the following link: Click here
120. Abdul Hay Mohammed, “UAE is 30th worldwide and the 1st in the Arab world in human development”, Al Bayan Newspaper (Dubai), 09/01/2012; on the following link: Click here
The federal government allocates large amounts of resources to developing education at all levels; it reviews the education budget and continuously increases it in order to meet the demand for a good education.
According to the 2011 budget, the amount allocated to university education was AED 2.7 billion, the amount for general education amounted was AED 4.6 billion making the total allocation for general and university education AED 7.3 billion, 18% of the total budget. In the 2012 federal budget, the education sector was first in terms of general spending, receiving 20% of the total budget, AED 8.2 billion.
In the 2013 budget, education was allocated AED 9.9 billion, 22.2% of the total federal budget. Basic education’s share amounted to AED 6 billion, 13.5% of total general spending while the share of university education amounted to AED 3.9 billion, 8.7% of the total federal budget.
The government also placed special importance on health services and their development. Its 2012 budget allocation was AED 2 billion, 7.2% of the total. In 2013, AED 3.4 billion was allocated, 7.6% the total.
Before discovering oil, the sources of national income in the Emirates were limited to pearls and fish, trading and some limited agriculture production. After the discovery of oil in 1958, it dominated the national economy, becoming the main source of state revenues. The Emirates have about 7.3% of the confirmed world oil reserves (97.9 billion barrels), sixth worldwide after Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iran, Iraq and Kuwait. The oil production average is about 2.5 million barrels per day (13th worldwide). The UAE is fifth worldwide in natural gas reserves after Russia, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia with confirmed reserves estimated at 6 trillion cubic meters.
The State’s revenues from crude oil are a main source of its financial resources. They play a prominent role in the country’s economic development with oil revenues representing more than 85% of the total revenues of the State during the first half of the last decade. However, the State successfully used its oil income to diversify its national income, gradually minimizing the dominance of the oil sector on the national economy. According to the latest available statistics, the share of the non-oil production sectors amounted to about 69% of GDP in 2010, AED 749.2 billion compared to the 31% contributed by the oil sector, AED 343.9 billion (121).
The Most Important Production Sectors in Addition to Oil Include:
The UAE considers the non-oil industry to be the most important for its national income diversification policy. It has a vital role enhancing economic stability and progress. Through it will be found a permanent and renewable source of national income which will enable human resource development, the creation of more job opportunities for citizens in addition to its role in enforcing the production base.
The industrial sector witnessed notable developments during the last few years. Data released by the National Census Centre showed that the contribution of this sector to the GDP increased, according to current prices, from AED 70.3 billion in 2005 to AED 85.5 billion in 2007 and AED 99.6 billion in 2008. The estimate for 2009 is AED 100.3 billion (122).
According to H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the Economy Minister, the contribution of the industrial sector to GDP was about 9.1% in 2011. The number of industrial enterprises registered in the Ministry’s Industrial Register was 5,201, employing more than 399,000 employees. The volume of industrial investment increased from AED 72.6 billion in 2007 to AED 114.05 billion in 2011, an increase of about 57% (123).
Tourism is one of the major sectors that the State depends on to diversify and grow the economy. The State has built or developed: Hotels, tourism resorts, shopping malls, various entertainment centres and local and international sports. It organizes conferences, festivals and specialized exhibitions throughout the year to attract tourists from all over the world. It has prepared promotional programs to market the UAE as an attractive tourist destination and improved facilities either for tourists visiting the country or those who wish to work and invest in tourism.
To help tourism growth, the State invested about AED 100 billion building and developing its airports in just the last five years. Abu Dhabi Airport is capable of accommodating 20 million passengers, Dubai Airport can accommodate 60 million passengers and it is planned that this will increase to 90 million after the opening of the new terminal, in addition to the airports of Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Al Ain and Fujairah. Local airlines have an excellent global image and are able to connect the four sides of the globe, facilitating travel for huge numbers of tourists. The tourism sector now contributes 15% to the GDP. This is a big percentage, almost equal to the contribution of the industrial sector and exceeds the contribution of both the financial and real estate sectors.
Last year, 10 million tourists visited the UAE. They were accommodated thanks to the huge development of hotels. The number of 5 star hotels alone increased to about 100. This exceeds the number of similar hotels in the other five GCC countries together. These hotels provide all kinds of comfort, family entertainment and facilities to hold conferences and exhibitions. Exhibitions are considered one of the main tourist attractions in the country.
In general, the tourism sector grew remarkably in the last two decades. The Emirates not only holds a high position in regional tourism but also in global tourism; the UAE held the 30th position worldwide among 139 countries included in the 2011 Global Economic Forum report about competitiveness of travel and tourism.
Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries
Although the State gave special attention to this sector, to achieve food self-sufficiency, the contribution of this sector to the country’s GDP is still limited. It increased from 2.9% in 1995 to nearly 3% in 2005 then dropped to 2% in 2006 and1.75% in 2007. This is attributed to natural and climatic causes; the salty nature of the land and the scarcity of fresh water.
Finance and Banking
The United Arab Emirates has a strong finance and banking sector that includes commercial banks, banks licensed for specific activity, specialized banks, investment banks, finance companies and investment establishments, development establishments, brokers, exchange companies, insurance companies and banks’ representative offices. The commercial banking sector includes more than 50 banks including 23 national banks that have 768 branches around the country (including payment offices and customers services units), 28 foreign commercial banks that have more than 80 branches. Among the commercial banks, there are seven banks in the United Arab Emirates that operate wholly according to the Islamic banking system: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank, Nour Islamic Bank, Ajman Islamic Bank and the Crescent Bank. All of them are national banks.
There are two securities markets (two stock exchanges) in the United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi Securities Market, trading began in November 2000 and Dubai Money Market, trading started in March of the same year. Both of them are governed by the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA) which was established in February 2000 and operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. In general, the contribution of financial projects to the GDP recorded a notable increase, from about AED 47 billion in 2005 to AED 64.6 billion in 2009.
Construction and Building
This sector is a significant contributor to the GNP and also includes the largest workforce in the country. The contribution to the GDP at the current prices increased from about AED 58 billion in 2005 to AED 94.7 billion in 2007, reaching AED 117.3 billion in 2009 due to vast government investment in infrastructure, construction and building projects (124).
There are many other sectors that contribute to the diversification of the UAE’s economy including the communication and information technology sector which is a leader in the region. Other sectors include the government services sector and wholesale and retail.
Table (12) UAE Human Development Guide (125) (2009 and 2010)
Order according to the Guide of Human Development
Value of the Guide of Human Development
Expected average age at birth (years)
Average studying years (years)
Expected average studying years (years)
Per capita from the GNP(1)
Change in order 2005-2010
Annual average of the rate of growth of guide of human development%
Annual average of the rate of growth of guide of human development%
Annual average of the rate of growth of guide of human development%
Improvement in the order of the Guide of Human Development
The United Arab Emirates comprises seven Emirates located in the south east of the Arabian Peninsula. The unique character of each Emirate comes from its remarkable history and rich heritage. The integration of each of the seven Emirates with the other contributes a unified single country.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf between the two latitudes 22.5 and 25 north and the two longitudes 51 and 55 east. It is the largest of the seven Emirates with an area of about 67,340 sq. km., 86.7% of the total area of the country without the island. Abu Dhabi city is the capital of the UAE. The population of the emirate is 1,399,484 according to the 2005 census. Abu Dhabi comprises three major areas; the city of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain region and Al Dhafra region.
Abu Dhabi city is the capital of the UAE. It is the seat of the President, the Cabinet and most of the ministries, federal establishments and foreign embassies. Port Zayed, Abu Dhabi International Airport and most of petroleum companies, facilities and commercial markets are in Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi Corniche and its parks and fountains are considered one of the aesthetic landmarks of the city. Al Ain region, has very fertile land full of greenery, farms and parks and an abundance of natural water that flows through underground channels and wells. Ain Al Faida Parks, Jebel Hafit, Al Hili Games Park, the Zoo and Al Ain Archaeology Museum are among its major landmarks.
Zayed City is the capital of the Western Area. It includes many forests planted to fight desertification and has 100,000 hectares of woods that includes about 20 million trees. There are some land petroleum fields and the petroleum refinery in Al Ruwais. There are many islands attached to the Emirate including: Das, Mebraz, Zarko and Arzana. These are the major sea petroleum fields in addition to the islands of Dalma, Saadiyat, Abul Abyad and Ser Bani Yas.
Dubai is located on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. It is about 72 km long with an area of about 3,885 sq. km which is about 5% the UAE without the islands. The population of the Emirate is about 1.4 million. Despite its fast economic development, Dubai continued to be attached to its heritage. It is now known as a cosmopolitan community that simultaneously maintains a culture and civilization deeply rooted in the Islamic traditions of the Arabian Peninsula. Read more about it in, ‘Dubai, the Past’.
Dubai city is the capital of the emirate. It is divided into two parts by a gulf called Dubai Creek. The southern part is known as “Bur Dubai” and it represents the centre of official activity: It is the location of the Ruler’s Court, most company head offices, banks, custom offices and Port Rashid. The northern part is known as “Deira”. It is the centre of commercial and tourist activity including shops, markets, schools, hotels, clubs and Dubai International Airport.
An area called Jebel Ali is considered one of the most important commercial and industrial areas in the country. It accommodates the largest free zone in the Gulf and has the Dry Dock, Jebel Ali Port and Dubai Aluminium Factory. Among the major tourism landmarks in the emirate are the areas of Hatta, Al Awir and Khawanij. Read more about, Dubai Today.
There are a number of luxury hotels in Dubai that cater for the needs of visiting tourists and businessmen. In the restaurants of these hotels you find a microcosm of the world’s cuisines. There are also hundreds of small restaurants spread all over the city, convenient for all tastes and budgets.
In addition to traditional markets, there are several modern shopping centres spread all over the city where you can find all kinds of international brands at reasonable prices. The ‘Dubai Shopping Festival’ is held annually and has become a well-known international event, gathering people from all over the world to benefit from the competitive sale prices, raffles, shows and promotional activities.
The Emirate of Sharjah lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. It is over 16 km in length and extends inland more than 80 km. There are three areas attached to the emirate on the east coast overlooking the Gulf of Oman; Kalbaa, Khor Fakkan and Daba Al Hosn.
The area of the Emirate is 2,590 sq. Km, equivalent to 3.3% of the UAE without the islands. According to the December 2005 Census, its population is 793,573. Sharjah city is the capital of the emirate. It overlooks the Arabian Gulf and is the where H.H. the Ruler lives and is where you can find all government departments, companies, banks and hotels.
The city is known for its commercial markets and the way its buildings are designed in Islamic style. It includes several amusement and entertainment areas such as Al Qasbaa Channel, Al Jazeera Games Park and the Lake Corniche. The city is also characterized by a large number of high minarets.
Sharjah has an airport and port: Sharjah International Airport and Port Khalid. There are some oases inland; Al Dhaid Area is known for its fertile lands and includes many farms producing large quantities of vegetables and agricultural products. The Eastern Area overlooks the coast of Oman, the city of Khor Fakkan is attached to the Emirate and it has an important sea port. The islands of Abu Mousa and Sir Bu Naer are also attached to the Emirate.
Cultural and educational monuments give Sharjah the true image of a modern city that stays close to its history and traditions. The historic, natural, archaeological and heritage museums are witnesses to a period of time that affected modern Sharjah and made it a lighthouse for everyone who wished to obtain more of that distinctive cultural and historic wealth.
In 1998, UNESCO chose Sharjah as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. This was the crowning achievement for intensive efforts made by H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the Union, Ruler of Sharjah that made Sharjah the cultural capital of the Gulf and Arabic regions. Sharjah New Arts Museum has a rare selection of historic art pieces of great importance to the history of the United Arab Emirates.
Sharjah’s strategic location has contributed to flourishing international navigation during the last 65 years. It extends through the shores of the Gulf of Oman and also vast areas of valleys and mountains. The city of Sharjah has numerous hotels overlooking its beaches and the banks of Khalid Lake and there are several restaurants, gardens and parks.
The Emirate of Ajman lies on the cost of the Arabian Gulf. It is 16 km long between the Emirate of Sharjah and the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain. The area of the emirate is about 259 sq. km, 0.3% of the UAE without its islands. Its population was 206,997 according to the December 2005 Census.
The city of Ajman is the capital of the Emirate and it lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. It contains the Ruler’s residence, government departments, companies, banks and trading markets. Ajman Port is located on a natural creek that passes through the city.
Although Ajman has become a modern city that provides up to date services and facilities, it maintained its old traditional style. It combines the achievements of modern times and the charms of a long history. The magical beaches of Ajman with their fresh air, peace and quiet and clean water provide various marine activities that attract many sea lovers.
Massfout is an area attached to Ajman and is located about 110 km to the south east. It is known for agriculture as the soil is fertile, valleys are wide and the climate is moderate, making it a tourist attraction. Massfout is distinguished by its charming nature, vast valleys and the surrounding mountains add an amazing beauty to the area.
Ajman Fort is one of the country’s archaeological landmarks. It dates back to the eighteenth century and shows life in different eras. The Fort has been restored and transformed into a museum containing archaeological samples and showing past people’s possessions, industries and traditional professions as well as images from their old social life.
Umm Al Quwain
The Emirate of Umm Al Quwain lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf for about 24 km between Sharjah in the west and Ras Al Khaimah in the East and it is about 32 km wide. The area of the emirate is about 777 sq. km, 1% of the UAE without the islands.
The population of Umm Al Quwain is 49,159 according to the December 2005 Census. The city of Umm Al Quwain is the capital of the emirate. It lies on a deep creek that is 2m wide and about 5km long and is where the Ruler lives. All government departments, companies, banks and trading markets are in the city as well as Port Saqr and the Marine Life Research and Breeding Centre that helps in the development of the country’s fisheries.
Falaj Al Mualla is attached to the emirate, about 50 km to the south east of the city of Umm Al Quwain. The name Falaj Al Mualla is derived from Al Falaj (water channel). The water comes from underground springs and the mountains running along the side of the valley. There is an abundance of agriculture in Falaj Al Mualla due to the fertility of the land and availability of fresh water.
The Scenic Island is about 1 km from the city with an area of 90 sq. km and is attached to the emirate. The island is a natural reserve for deer and sea birds and there are lots of Crimea trees.
Along the Umm Al Quwain coast, on the south east side of the Arabian Peninsula, is the ruins of the oldest city in the area, Al Door, which flourished two thousand years ago. Excavations carried out by archaeologists have revealed stone houses, graves, pottery and Egyptian and Syrian glass.
Ras Al Khaimah
The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. It is about 64 km long and more than 128 km wide. The area of the Emirate is about 1684 sq. km, 2.2% of the UAE without the islands. The population of the Emirate was 250,000 according to the December 2005 Census. Ras Al Khaimah shares a mountain border with the Sultanate of Oman in the south and north east. There are several islands in the Gulf waters. The main ones are the two islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs which are attached to the Emirate.
The city of Ras Al Khaimah is the capital of the Emirate. It is divided into two parts by a tongue of water called Ras Al Khaimah Creek. The western part is known as Old Ras Al Khaimah where the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah and some government departments are located. The eastern part is known as Al Nakheel and it includes the Ruler’s Court, some government departments and commercial companies. The two parts are connected by a large bridge that crosses the Creek to facilitate movement between them.
Among the important areas in the Emirate there is the Khor Khowair Industrial Area that is about 25 km to the north and is known for several important industries such as cement, rocks and marbles. The main exporting port, Port Saqr is also here.
The Ras Al Khaimah National Museum contains a rare and diversified collection of ancient archaeological items that goes back to different historic eras. The museum also contains some human remains that go back to the Third Thousand Year BC and the ruins of Shommal Colonies. There are also other archaeological ruins including the conic towers used for watching and reconnaissance especially on the coastal strip.
The Emirate has abundant archaeological ruins such as Julfar City, Dhay Fort and Al Ghaf Valley. The Emirate is known for its location, mountains, beaches, agricultural areas and the hot natural springs in the resort of Ain Khit that people visit for therapeutic purposes.
The Emirate of Fujairah is distinguished from the other Emirates in the country because it is located on the Gulf of Oman and off the Hormuz Strait. Its shores extend along the Gulf of Oman for 90 km and are of strategic importance.
The area of the Emirate of Fujairah is 1165 sq. km, 1.5% of the UAE without the islands. It population was 125,698 according to the December 2005 Census. The city of Fujairah is the capital of the Emirate and is where the Court of H.H. the Ruler, government departments, commercial establishments and companies can be found.
Fujairah Port is also located in the city. The port is central to marine shipping and both the port and Fujairah International Airport are important for commercial activity in the emirate. Fujairah is distinguished by a series of rough mountains that limits the eastern coastal plane between the Emirate and the Gulf of Oman and it is considered one of the most fertile areas in the country with a large number of farms.
Fujairah enjoys tremendous tourism potential due to the existence of shores that extend on the coastal line, high mountains adjacent in many areas to the sea shore, natural valleys and water channels with marvellous scenery. The important areas in the Emirate include Daba Al Fujaira which has agriculture and livestock projects and is also known for fishing.
Fujairah heritage village is located next to the Ain Madab Park. It represents the region’s ancient history with all of its features and details including old houses, cutlery and food tools that our ancestors used and the old irrigation methods used to water the farms by using oxen. The Fujairah Museum contains archaeological and old cultural items that were discovered in Fujairah going back to 4500 BC.
Al Bidya Mosque, also known as Othman Mosque, is considered the oldest mosque in the United Arab Emirates. It is known for its unique design represented by its four small domes on the mosque’s roof.
The United Arab Emirates is a federal state comprising seven Emirates namely: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
-Name of State: The United Arab Emirates
-Capital: Abu Dhabi
-National Day: 2nd December (the union was formed on 2nd December 1971
-Timing: + 4 hours GMT
-Local Currency: AED - Arab Emirates Dirham
-Exchange Rate: One US$ equals AED 3.67. The AED has been officially connected to the US$ since February 2002.
-Flag: Equal horizontal rectangular lines. The top stripe is green, white is in the middle, black below and from the flagpole side there is a red rectangle.
-Geographical Location: The United Arab Emirates is located on the south east side of the Arabian Peninsula. It is almost a rectangular shape. Its coasts form the southern and south eastern sides of the Arabian Gulf and a side of the western coasts of the Oman Gulf.
-Location as per latitude and longitude: The United Arab Emirates is located between the 22 and 26.5° north latitude north and 51 and 56.5° east longitude.
-Area: About 83,600 km2; a little larger than Scotland. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi occupies about 87% of the total area of the country.
-Coastal Strip: The coastal strip was about 1,318 km long before the execution of several new building projects.
-Relief: Low coastal plain connected with the sand dunes of the Rub’ Al Khali desert with rough mountains along the northern borders with Oman.
-Maximum height and points below sea level: The highest point is located on Yabir Mountain within the Hajir Mountains and is 1,627 m.
-Natural Resources: The main natural resources are petroleum and natural gas. More than 90% are located in Abu Dhabi.
-Climate: The Emirates has a desert climate that is warm and sunny in winter and hot and humid in summer. The climate is more moderate and less humid in the eastern mountains.
-Political Regime: The Emirates is a federal state with sovereign authorities determined by the constitution. Other authorities are locally controlled by each Emirate.
-Constitution: It was adopted temporarily on 2nd December 1971 and it passed permanently in 1996.
-President: H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
-Vice President, Prime Minister: H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai.
-Deputy Prime Minister: H.H. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
-Deputy Prime Minister: H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs.
-Cabinet: Cabinet members are nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by the President.
-Legal System: In addition to the federal courts system, all emirates have civil courts to deal with criminal and civil commercial cases and Sharia courts to deal with issues of Sharia including heritage and marriage.
-Foreign Aid: In 2009, the Government and donation organizations (about 37 organizations) granted AED 2.80 billion (US$ 0.76 ) foreign aid in addition to other commitments amounting to AED 2.81 billion (US$ 0.77 ). The foreign aid coordination office was established in 2008 for the documentation of foreign aid. It issued its first report in 2010. The volume of foreign aid given by the UAE since the establishment of the State on 2nd December 1971 amounted to AED 163 billion as a total that the office stated as not final.
-Participation in International Organizations: The United Arab Emirates participates in many international and regional organizations including: Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, Arab Fund for Arab Social and Economic Development, Arab Monetary Fund, Economic Unity Council, CICA, International Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Seventy Seven Group, Arab Gulf Cooperation Council, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Bank of Rebuilding and Development, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Islamic Development Bank, International Agricultural Development Fund, International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent, World Health Organization, International Labor Organization, United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Islamic Conference Organization, Non-Aligned Movement, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Oil Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Arab Oil Petroleum Exporting Countries (AOPEC), ANECTAD Organization, ((ITSO, IPU, IRENA, PCA)) Organization.
-Size of Population (2010 estimate): 8.6 million.
-Official Language: Arabic.
-Religion: Islam. Other religious beliefs are allowed to be practised with full freedom.
-Classification in the UN Human Development Index (2011): The United Arab Emirates held the first position in the Arab world and 32nd worldwide amongst 169 countries listed in the Human Development Report 2010. The regional issue was launched by the United Nations Development Program on 13th December 2010 in Abu Dhabi. The report classified the UAE as one of only two countries in the region classified in the most advanced class, ‘Very High Human Development’. The UAE held the fourth position worldwide amongst the least poor countries. The poverty average did not exceed (0.0002%). The UAE held the first position regionally and 45th worldwide amongst 138 countries in the index ‘Equality between sexes in the fields of health, education, empowerment and participation in the work force’.
-Total GDP per capita: US$ 174,000.
Most private sector companies work six days a week.
-Financial Year: 1st January to 31st December.
-Actual Growth of GDP (2010, nominal): AED 3.2%.
-Actual Growth of GDP (2011, nominal): AED 3.3%.
-Non-Oil Sector Contribution to GDP (2011): 71%.
-Industries: Oil, gas, aluminium, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship maintenance, petrochemicals, building materials, medicines, foods, tourism and financial services.
-Oil Production Capacity (Estimates 2010): 878 million barrels a day.
-Confirmed Oil Reserves: 98 billion barrels
-Natural Gas Production: 4.8 million standard sq. m/day
-Confirmed Natural Gas Reserves: 227.1 trillion cubic meters
-Total Exports (2010): AED 669.5 billion
-Total Imports (2011): AED 496.2 billion
-Agricultural Products: Dates, feedstock, vegetables, fruits, livestock, poultry, eggs, dairy products and fish.
-Communications: A flourishing market with a developed infrastructure and technically advanced
-International Communication Code: 971
-Internet Code: .ae
-Number of mobile phone subscribers (2011): 12.26 million
-Information Technology and Communications: The Global Economic Forum classified the UAE as 24th in the world and the first among Arab countries in using information technology and communications to enhance competitiveness and development.
-Number of internet subscribers (2010): 3,777,900
-Sea Ports: 15 ports including these main ports: Khalifa Port (under construction), Zayed Port, Jebel Ali Port, Rashid Port, Fujairah Port, Khor Fakkan Port, Saqr Port and Sharjah Port.
-International Airports: 7
-News Agency: Emirates News Agency (WAM)
In 1918, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was born in the City of Abu Dhabi where his graceful father and mother surrounded him with good care and upbringing. He learned the Holy Quran and was raised in an environment filled with love, religion and virtue which was reflected in his life and personal behaviour. When he became an adult, love, selflessness, hard work and patience became his main characteristics (1). He had the unmistaken signs of leadership, genius and a forgiving spirit and later became the wise leader who was destined to change the face of the region and lead it from the hard nomad life to modern civilization.
Time passed and Sheikh Shakhbout, the elder brother of Sheikh Zayed, becomes the ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi after the demise of their father Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan (1922 – 1926). Sheikh Zayed was admired by his brother Sheikh Shakhbout who delegated senior leadership tasks to him as he saw in Sheikh Zayed signs of leadership and glorious traits. Sheikh Zayed became the representative of the Al Ain area in 1946 where his genius and political leadership talent was demonstrated. He believed in the ability of humans to build the State and transform the desert into a green oasis. He realized that land is the source of richness and wealth, “Give me agriculture, I guarantee civilization to you” (2).
Sheikh Zayed followed world events through Arab radio stations and newspapers, seeing the progress that was taking place in the world and the region around him. He felt pain because of the ignorance and division in his country. He set his highest goal; to save his country and transform it into a modern state that provided luxury and prosperity to its people (3). He started an urgent plan to reform agriculture in the City of Al Ain with the nationalization of nomads, building new Aflaj (water courses) and excavating canals that connected to them (4).
1. Sheikh Zayed, the dream comes true and hope is manifested; at: forum of Sheikh Zayed the life and the march (the book of first session 2010) Cultural Media Centre of H.H Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, 2010, Page 26.
2. Refer to: Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Zayed the Wisdom of the Arabs, University Library, Al Azarita – Alexandria, 2000, Page 65.
3. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates; March of Leader and Will of Nation, first book, Modern Book Establishment (Beirut)/ Arab Culture House (Sharjah), Edition 1, 1992, Pages 142-143.
4. Ibid, Page 142-143, 145 and thereafter.
The idea of the Union of the Emirates was not new but in the past it was connected to the British colonial government that, in 1937, presented to the rulers of the Emirates a project to unify them; (5) to facilitate ruling them. They repeated the call in 1952 and succeeded in establishing the Conciliated Emirates Council (6). The Council met on several occasions. In 1958, committees were formed in areas including health, agriculture and education. In 1964, the Advisory Council was established. (7) In 1965, a draft budget proposed that the rich emirates such as Abu Dhabi would finance the Conciliated Emirates Council and in the same year the Conciliated Emirates Development Council was formed (8). However these attempts were connected to colonial policies. Serious attempts to form a true federation between the various Emirates originated from local ideas and interests.
The Al Ain area was at the forefront of the new United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Zayed used to wander the vast desert that has underneath it huge natural wealth and a cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years (9). He felt he belonged to a deep-rooted culture steeped in Islam. He realized that there was a great and important mission awaiting him، the mission of building. His concern grew and with it a feeling of huge responsibility as he moved between the various tribes. He did not see natural or cultural borders separating them. He believed that religion, nature, culture, history and customs united the tribes and groups that belonged to the different Emirates (10).
From here came the idea of establishing an actual union that would gather together all the Emirates, but, like any new idea, it had to wait for the right time and the right man. Sheikh Zayed had a mysterious feeling that the region had in store huge wealth but that it needed someone to develop it materially and culturally. This was not an easy task given the scarcity of economic resources and the total lack of infrastructure; however, the will of man knows no limits. Initially, these were just meditations and feelings that needed more time to crystallize.
In the city of Al Ain, Sheikh Zayed was convinced that the area could not rise and progress unless it was truly united. One day he said, “Unity is the way to strength, honour and power and division only leads to weakness and there is no place in today’s world for weak entities (11).
5. Adel Al Tabatbaie, Federal Regime in the United Arab Emirates: comparative study, New Cairo Printing Press, Edition 1, Cairo, Page 30, quoted from: Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, United Arab Emirates, ibid, Page 50.
6. Adel Al Tabatbaie, Federal Regime in the United Arab Emirates, ibid, Page 33, quoted from: Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, United Arab Emirates, ibid, Page 50.
7. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, United Arab Emirates, ibid, Page 50.
8. ibid, Page 50.
9. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates; March of Leader and Will of Nation, first book, Modern Book Establishment (Beirut)/ Arab Culture House (Sharjah), Edition 1, 1992, Page 29 and thereafter; Amal Al Subah, Sheikh of the Arabs, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, printed at Akhbar El Youm Printing Press (Egypt), pages 18-19 and about the history of Emirates please refer to: Dr. Fatima Al Sayegh, United Arab Emirates from tribe to state, university book house, Al Ain, 2000.
10. Please refer to, for example: Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates; ibid, page 52.
11. Refer to: Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Zayed the Wise of the Arabs, University Library, Al Azarita – Alexandria, 2000, Page 80, Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates, ibid, page 52.
Sheikh Zayed expressed his ambition and vision for building his country to an international reporter:
“One day, when I was the ruler of Al Ain Region, I was walking on the roads of Al Ain، I felt, as I watched people, houses, mountains and valleys that the culture of this country is shouting at me, it pushes me hard to build a modern and contemporary country. I found myself pointing, as I was in a sweet spiritual dream: Here we shall establish a huge agriculture centre, an industrial area here and here we shall build a large station for generating electricity (12).”
Sheikh Zayed started to embody that dream and to achieve his ambition as leader of the Al Ain area. In a short time he was able to construct a strong infrastructure; administration and government buildings, large housing projects, schools, hospitals and roads. Then his vision extended to include the entire Emirate of Abu Dhabi and even the other Emirates and his feeling about the necessity of establishing a union that included the Conciliated Emirates grew (13). On 22nd December 1954, Sheikh Zayed expressed this feeling to Sir William Louis, the British Standing Politician in Bahrain, when he said, “The Union is a necessity and Abu Dhabi should provide the monies needed for this purpose (14).
On the 6th August 1966, Sheikh Zayed became the Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi after his brother, Sheikh Shakhbout, abdicated at the ruling family’s wishes and so there was a new beginning, one that made its mark on the history of the region. By now, Sheikh Zayed’s vision of the union had deepened and he started working on two integrated levels: The level of building the Emirate and the level of building the Union (15). Although the oil was not yet being utilized, because it was just the beginning of production,(16) his insight and long term vision made him realize that oil is useless unless it is utilized for achieving the Union and developing people (17), “The human being is the true wealth” (18) as he used to always say. So he dedicated the oil wealth to build and develop the nation as a union.
At the local level, the Works Department was established in 1966 to execute giant infrastructure projects in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. This department became one of the most important pillars of development in the Emirate; building roads, bridges, airports, sea ports, administration buildings, hospitals and schools (high, preparatory, elementary and kindergartens) (19). On 20th March 1968, Sheikh Zayed issued a decree which established a council for planning, in charge of development along scientific, well-researched principles. He issued his orders to transform Abu Dhabi into a modern Emirate, leading the effort towards union. He also established local constitutional ministries, preparing to establish a parliamentary democratic regime(20) and achieve the great dream of the Union.
At the federal level, along with his brothers the rulers of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed established the Supreme Council of the Rulers of the Gulf Emirates which held its first meeting under his chairmanship in Abu Dhabi on the 6th July 1968 to study the formation of the Union. In a short time, on the 2nd December 197, the dream of the Union became a reality.
12.Al Ittihad Newspaper, 4th June 1970, quoted from: Hamdan Rashid Ali Al Dirie, Zayed: the story of glory and pride of the union, ibid, page 21.
13.Please refer to: Sheikh Zayed، the dream comes true and hope is manifested; at: forum of Sheikh Zayed the life and the march (the book of first session 2010) Cultural Media Centre of H.H Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, 2010, Page 28.
14.The history of the United Arab Emirates, selections from the most important British documents 1797 – 1965, Volume Three, Britain and the pioneer leaders, verified by: Dr. Mohammed Morsi Abdullah, translation supervised by: Leslie McLoklen, London Centre for Arabic Studies, 1996, page 345, quoted from: Hamdan Rashid Ali Al Dirie, the story of glory and pride of the union, reading in the British documents and the Arab and Foreign Media 1968 – 1971, Zayed Culture and History Centre, Edition 1, Abu Dhabi, 1426/2005, page 44; please also refer to Sheikh Zayed Forum, the story and the march, ibid, page 28 – 29.
15.Sheikh Zayed، the dream comes true and hope is manifested; at: forum of Sheikh Zayed the life and the march, ibid, page 30, Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates; ibid, Page 51; Amal Al Subah, Sheikh of the Arabs Sheikh Zayed, ibid, page 65-66.
16.Although the agreement of oil exploration in Abu Dhabi goes back to 1939 between the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Petroleum Development of the Conciliated Coast Company Limited, the first shipment of Emirates oil was shipped on the Third of July 1962. Please refer to: Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates; ibid, Page 99.
17.Sheikh Zayed، the dream comes true and hope is manifested; at: forum of Sheikh Zayed the life and the march, ibid, page 29.
18.Amal Al Subah, Sheikh of the Arabs Sheikh Zayed, ibid, page 110.
19.About the achievements of the Department, please refer to: The Works Department in Abu Dhabi: achievements of 25 years of construction and building, Al Ittihad Press and Publishing Establishment, Abu Dhabi, 1412H/1991.
20.Mohammed Hassan Al Aidaros, Political Developments in the United Arab Emirates, That Al Salasil Publishing, Kuwait, Edition 1, 1983, page 351, quoted from: Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates; ibid, Page 52.
When Sheikh Zayed and his brothers the Rulers were focusing on the way to build the Union, regional and international events were also moving fast. On the 6th January 1968, the British Government announced that it intended to withdraw its armed forces from the Gulf area by the end of 1972. Immediately, Sheikh Zayed contacted his brother, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, to drive efforts towards building the Union (21). For a long time, the two leaders had been working with their brothers to achieve this dream, therefore they declared the historic Agreement of Al Smeih establishing a union between the Emirate of Dubai and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi on 18th February 1968. That was the nucleus and the starting point for a more comprehensive union that embraced the other Emirates. At the same time, a call was made to the other Emirates to join this union.
The echo of the historic words Sheikh Zayed used to comment on the Agreement of Al-Smeeh in March 1968 still resonates in every house in the United Arab Emirates, “We believe that unity is the Arab destiny that all of us should seek. We should work as best we can to overcome the hardships that prevent us from reaching it. Where there is true will and a cooperative exchange of views among brothers, then we shall reach the comprehensive unit with Allah’s will” (22).
The echo of this agreement resonated in Egypt, the beating heart of Arabism at that time and on 20th February 1968, Cairo Radio commented on the event, “The statement issued declaring the formation of a federation between the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai is a good step and a clear indication of the days to come. This step is a positive move towards Arab unity as it expresses the wishes of the masses for the formation of a wide comprehensive unity that include all Emirates in the region, or most of them.
This step is also a free expression of the Arab will at a time when Britain had announced its withdrawal from the region by the end of 1971. This will close the door on all who look to infiltrate this region under the umbrella of so-called called ‘joint defence systems’ or assertions of ‘filling the gap’. In this light, the Arab Joint Defence Agreement, represented by the union of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, had its practical meaning. The agreement made by the two emirates, a pioneering national and uniting act, gave the chance for any other Emirates to joint. As such, this union was, without doubt, a barrier to foreign infiltration and the barrier grew stronger and more powerful with the strong foundation of the union (23).
Men of History
After the Agreement of Alsmeih, the Rulers of the Emirates intensified their efforts to establish the Union. The effort of the founding leader Sheikh Zayed would have not succeeded except for men of belief who dedicated themselves to building a great enterprise.
On 18th July 1971, the Rulers’ Council issued the declaration of the Union and on the 2nd December 1971 the Rulers of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah held a historic meeting chaired by Sheikh Zayed at Al Diyafa Palace in Jumeirah (Dubai) and issued a statement declaring the temporary constitution(24) of the Union and elected Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan as the President of the United Arab Emirates and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum as the Vice President. The emirate of Ras Al Khaima joined the union on 10th February 1972.
It was not easy to quickly form the Union. Sheikh Zayed said, “I know these obstacles، but I don’t believe in the impossible… in everything that we think of as impossible we should try until the impossible becomes close to reality and then it becomes a reality we live ”(25). There were difficulties but the obstacles were overcome by Sheikh Zayed’s wisdom, patience and belief that the separate Emirates could not thrive despite their resources and wealth. His brothers the Rulers stood with him and shared his vision (26).
Sheikh Zayed and the other leaders’ dream that the two sister emirates Qatar and Bahrain join the Union did not come true. However, the Union of the seven Emirates, comprising the United Arab Emirates, had become an example that inspires Arab unions in the region (27).
The builders of the Union, particularly Sheikh Zayed, believed that the security, stability and rise of the country could not be achieved by fragile and improvised alliances but by building political, social and economic establishments that were solid and consistent. This could only be achieved by a true and strong Union(28) . The success Sheikh Zayed had convincing his brothers the Rulers about the necessity of forming a strong union was not only based on the fact that Abu Dhabi is the strongest and richest Emirate but also on his wisdom, insight and the respect he received from them, the whole region and the world (29).
Sheikh Zayed believed that the Union of the Emirates would be the future of the country and the Arab nation and that it was the request of the people, he said, “I believe that the strength of the Emirates lies in its union and honest cooperation. You can feel this belief among all their people and be sure that they all wish the same. They agree that it is the best way to secure a good living and a promising future, that it is the only thing that fulfils their wishes and hopes not only in the region but all over the Arab world. I will not hold back from using all means necessary to strengthen this Union and reinforce the building of it. I will not hesitate to do all that we should do to support a comprehensive Arab solidarity between our country and the entire Arab nation and I pray to Allah that He shall grace us with the achievement of our hopes and the hopes of our glorious Arab nation”(30) .
The Armed Forces, the Fort of the Union
The men of the union did not forget that a true unity could not be protected without federal armed forces. Therefore, once the Union was formed in 1971, Sheikh Zayed’s belief deepened that it was necessary to unite the armed forces; to form a shield that would protect the sovereignty and unity of the country. Although it was a long process, the armed forces were united by a historic decision, made by the Supreme Council of the Union on the 6th May 1976. The decision was executed on 31st January 1978.
Like other ambitious achievements, unification of the armed forces was not an easy task, but it was necessary to deeply root and protect the Union. Sheikh Zayed had always been aware of this. On the formation of the Union he had said, “The Union، should have power and such power should grow with it. We did not sacrifice and work through nights for a union that is just a formal weak one. Therefore its defence force should grow and safeguard its security”(31).
21.Al Jamhouriya Newspapers, Cairo/ 8th December 1971, quoted from: Zayed the story of glory and pride of union: reading in the British Documents and the Arab and Foreign Media 1968-1971, Zayed Culture and History Centre, Al Ain (Arab Emirates), First Edition 1426H/1005, page 48, please refer to: Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates; ibid, Page 51, 53, Amal Al Subah, Sheikh of Arabs Sheikh Zayed, ibid, page 29-30; Dr. Fatima Al Sayegh, United Arab Emirates from Tribe to State, ibid, page 285-287.
22.Sheikh Zayed in March 1968 commenting on the Agreement of Al Samih; Al Ahram Newspaper, Cairo, 16th March 1968, quoted from: Zayed the story of glory and pride of union; ibid, page 53.
23. Please refer to The Union of Arab Emirates, FCO 8/828, quoted from: Zayed the story of glory and pride of union, ibid, page 48.
24. It became permanent under the constitutional amendment no. 1 of 1996; please refer to Dr. Nawaf Kanaan, the constitutional and political regime of the United Arab Emirates; ibid, page 131.
25. Al Nuaimi, Rashid, Zayed from City of Al Ain to the presidency of the union, Cairo, quoted from: Zayed the story of glory and pride of union, ibid, page 59; and also refer to the hardships that faced the union in: Zayed the story of glory and pride of union, ibid, page 90 and thereafter; also refer to: Emirates Strategic Researches and Studies Centre (prepared), with the power of the union/ His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the Leader and the State, Abu Dhabi, Edition 2, 2005, page 249 and thereafter.
26. Please refer to: Details in: “Sheikh Zayed، the dream came true and the hope is manifested” in: the Forum of Sheikh Zayed the story and the march, ibid, page 34; also refer to: with the power of the union; ibid, page 249 and thereafter.
27.“Sheikh Zayed، the dream came true and the hope is manifested” in: the Forum of Sheikh Zayed the story and the march, ibid, page 34;
28.Emirates Strategic Researches and Studies Centre (prepared), with the power of the union/ His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the Leader and the State, Abu Dhabi, Edition 2, 2005, page 222 and thereafter.
29.See details in: Emirates Strategic Researches and Studies Centre (prepared), with the power of the union/ His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the Leader and the State, Abu Dhabi, Edition 2, 2005, page 222 and thereafter.
30.Zayed the story of glory and pride of union, ibid; page 120-121.
31.Ibid, page 158.
The men of the Union, led by Sheikh Zayed, realized that the Union needed to be built in the hearts of people before it was embodied and established in reality. This is the secret, charm and appeal of the Union’s success. Other unity attempts in the region had failed because they were built without solid foundations and others were shaken almost to the point that it destroyed them before they had the chance to take root and grow strong. The Union of the Emirates was built in people’s hearts and minds before it was built in reality and that is why it succeeded and became a unique example.
It was a union based on centralized power whilst at the same time taking into consideration the local character of every Emirate. This was the secret of its dynamic power and the way it distinguished itself from other unions that had failed in the region. This attracted the attention of an academic delegation from the University of Jordan which visited the United Arab Emirates early in 2000. One member of this delegation said: “I was impressed by many things during my last visit to the United Arab Emirates but what I liked most is the sense of focus; it seems that the various Emirates clearly realized what they wanted to achieve and every Emirate succeeded in its endeavours or were about to succeed. Dubai excelled in trading while Sharjah became a landmark of culture and heritage, and so on. Some might hastily say that money alone is behind all this progress. This is not true; all of this was achieved thanks to sound planning, good administration and proper focus (32).”
32. Please refer to: Dr. Ahmed Y. Majdoubeh, “View from Academia”; Jordan Times, April 7-8 2005, 5; quoted from: Emirates Strategic Researches and Studies Centre (prepared), with the power of the Union/ His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the Leader and the State, Abu Dhabi, Edition 2, 2005, page 297-298.
As mentioned before, what made the union of the United Arab Emirates special is that it was built in the hearts of citizens before it was built in reality. The leaders and the people joined hands to build the Union. The Union was also known for other features: it was built on general consent, Arab and Islamic traditions and the principles of cooperation, integration and the free exchange of views about all matters, within the model of counsel and advice. There was another inherent feature that could only realized by careful attention. There was a building feature that could be seen throughout the different Emirates despite the variety of buildings. If you went from Dubai to Sharjah, for example, you would witness some difference and diversification but you would feel some kind of hidden similarity and harmony in the buildings so that when you entered Sharjah you didn’t feel that you had left Dubai and vice versa. There was synchronicity and harmony in the Union’s building despite its differences and diversity. This synchronicity and harmony was a reflection of the cultural, spiritual and social unity and harmony of the people of the Emirates that formed an invincible fort that maintained and protected the Union.
This similarity and integration between the various Emirates, not only at the economic level but also at the social, cultural, geographical and historic levels, represented the safety pin of the Union. The leaders observed these facts in order to build the Union on a solid foundation (33). More importantly, the leaders were keen to evaluate the experience at all stages until it was deeply rooted and until progress was achieved. Sheikh Zayed expressed this when he said, “The march of the Union is growing and progressing from one stage to another and at each stage we have to review what has been achieved، in order to continue the march and speed up the process, in order to achieve the hopes of our people، our nation expects us to achieve what brings happiness and to move to what is better (34). So, the Union had another unique characteristic; continuous review and follow up at every stage to ensure permanent success.
The Union Maintains the Cultural, Social and National Identity
As much as building the United Arab Emirates was a response to a political, economic and social necessity, it was also an enhancement of the cultural and national identity of the country. H.H. the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed this thought when he said, “Those who do not have identity do not exist in the present and have no place in the future”. He confirmed this principle in his 2008 declaration that this was the Year of National Identity during a speech to the people on the occasion of the Thirty Sixth Anniversary of the Union. In this speech, His Highness focused on the importance of the Arabic language because it is, “the heart and shield of national identity, the spirit and sense of the nation and the guiding light and the field of its thought and culture،” This is true because language is the basis of the cultural identity of every society. Society and individuals can only express their creativity through their language, proved by modern studies and experiments (35).
Which language is considered the main one naturally relies on the culture of the society. Culture is the expression of existence, of identity and the compass that determines the direction of society. Without it, society cannot know their past or see their future because culture guides people on a clear path whilst at the same time helps them know who they are in this diversified world (36). The identity that the President, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, visualized and of which H.H. Sheikh Zayed had spoken before, is an identity that is open to others, that interacts with others but does not dissolve or fuse with theirs, it gives and takes, it is an identity based on people who take pride in their pride, established culture and religion and does not feel embarrassed to benefit from and interact with others.
His Highness said, “Our national identity is the comprehensive expression of our existence, our positive values, habits and traditions and our national language. Our society needs national programs that enhance our identity and root in us a sense of belonging and citizenship. We need programs that motivate the spirit of work and productive initiative in a manner that complements the spirit of modern time whilst maintaining our distinctive characteristics. The achievements that have been accomplished during the life of the state were possible thanks to the wise leadership of the country and its incredible ability to understand the goals and aspirations of the people for the present and the future. The meeting point of both wills is the guarantee for a winning start towards achieving the first national goal for this year, 2008, namely, to maintain and enhance the national identity and protect it from the risks surrounding its existence”. (37).
33.By the power of the union, ibid; page 231-232.
34. Ibid; page 232.
35. In this concern please refer to: Seveinn Einarsson, Language –a tool for communication or a cornerstone of our cultural diversity? In: The Art of Impossible?: Multilingualism and access to cyberspace, The Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO, Norway, 1999, pp. 10 -11.
36. Jean Pierre Varnie, Globalization of Culture, translated by Abdul Jalil Al Azadi, Egyptian Lebanese House, 1 Edition, Cairo, 1423/2003; Pp 16.
37.Website of the Ministry of Culture Youth and Social Development; the link: Click here
The constitution of the United Arab Emirates, issued in 1971, and its various amendments, determined the federal form of the State and the strength of the Union. Examples include Articles 120 – 121 and Article 122 (38). The constitution states that the federal authorities are: The Supreme Council of the Union, the President and Vice President, The Federal Cabinet, The Federal National Council and Federal Judiciary (39).
The constitution did not specify the form of regime and therefore jurists differed in defining its nature: Is it a presidential, parliamentary council or mixed regime? It could be said that it is a mixed regime because it combined the characteristics of government systems known today. On one hand, it is a presidential regime that comprises the Supreme Council of the Union and its Chairman. The Council and the Chairman lay down the general policies of the State without the Cabinet and it also confirms the independence of powers; the government does not report to the Federal National Council and as such the council cannot withdraw confidence from the government (40).
On the other hand, it is like a parliamentary system because it contains the duality of executive power (the Supreme Council and its Chairman) although there isn’t a total separation between powers but rather cooperation and participation (41).
If this regime is compared to Switzerland’s council system, there are some similarities; there is a Presidential Executive Council (the Supreme Council of the Union) whose Chairman is appointed but it is also different from the Swiss Council Regime. It could be said that the government regime in the United Arab Emirates is a mixed regime that combines all the above systems. This is not strange, the French system is mixed, it is neither presidential nor parliamentary; it is described as semi presidential. In fact there is no one single system for democratic government applied in all countries. Each country chooses the government system that is appropriate for its history, culture, habits and political development.
In addition to the executive power there are two other powers, the legislative and judicial, mentioned earlier. The judicial power comprises a hierarchal organization of judiciary headed by the Federal Supreme Court to which all courts of various degrees (first instance and appeal) are attached. The judiciary is independent according to the constitution and there is no power that overrides the power of the judge when he pronounces his sentence except his conscience according to the law (Article 94) (42) . As for the legislative power, it is distributed between the Supreme Council of the Union and the Federal National Council (43).
The National Council was established at the same time as the Union. Sheikh Zayed and his brothers the Rulers of the Emirates realized the importance of representative and national organizations in building and maintaining the Union. As a result, the Federal National Council was established and held its first meeting on 12th February 1972. Like the other organizations, it had a humble beginning but it evolved and developed until now, under the wise leadership of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, it has become a powerful and effective body for discussing, amending and rejecting bills of laws and for giving opinions about international treaties (44), in addition to its political and financial competence (45).
On the 2nd December 2005, the Council moved from the stage of establishment (during the era of Sheikh Zayed) to the stage of empowerment under the reign of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President who issued a decree to elect half the number of the Council’s members and to expand its membership and competences. In December 2006, elections were held to select 20 members of the forty members of the Council. As one of the elected members of the Council said at that time: “، in this period, the work of the Council developed with a new spirit and new hopes resulting from the principle of participation. As members, we felt this change, for example, the public can call the parliament member and ask him about his achievements or lack thereof (46).
In 2009, the term of the Council was extended from two to four years, which gave a chance for the members to form cumulative experience in parliamentary affairs and understand the citizens’ problems, concerns and hopes as encouraged by the leadership of the state. In addition, new reforms were introduced, to be considered by the Council, such as opinion about international treaties and the competence of the Council to prepare its bylaws and present them directly to the Supreme Council without consultation with the government (47).
The last elections of the National Council took place (24th September 2011) in a democratic environment within the third phase of the Political Empowerment Program as laid down by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President from 2005 (48).
38.Constitution of the United Arab Emirates and its amendments; also refer to: Dr. Nawaf Kanaan, Constitutional and Political System of the United Arab Emirates, the University Bookshop, Sharjah/ Ithraa Publishing and Distribution House, Jordan, 1st Edition, 2008; pp 107.
39.Section Four (Articles 45 – 109) of the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates.
40.Dr. Nawaf Kanaan, Constitutional and Political System of the United Arab Emirates; ibid; pp 122.
41.Please refer to details in: Dr. Nawaf Kanaan, Constitutional and Political System of the United Arab Emirates; ibid; pp 121, 123.
42.The constitution of the United Arab Emirates and its amendments; ibid;.
43.Please refer to: Dr. Nawaf Kanaan, Constitutional and Political System of the United Arab Emirates; ibid; pp 121, 188, 200 - 202.
44.Please refer to details in: Dr. Nawaf Kanaan, Constitutional and Political System of the United Arab Emirates; ibid; pp 200 and thereafter.
45.Ibid; pp 211 and thereafter.
46.Ahmad bin Shabib Al Dhahiri, ((the Federal National Council: Experience and Horizon)) in: Cultural Season Book (2010), H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Cultural Media Center, Abu Dhabi; 2010, pp 384.
47.According to the constitutional amendment no. 1 of 2009.
48.Website of the National Elections Committee: Click here
Before talking about the consultative democracy model established by the federal constitution, the fact that there is no one concept of democracy and no single constant form that does not change should be discussed. Democracy, as the ancient Greek concept is defined, is “The rule of the people by the people and for the people”. It is only a utopian thought, a kind of ideal, that cannot be applied in reality. It has never been applied in any country in the world, from ancient times until now, and could not be applied in the future (49).
As for the democracy that is currently applied in the western world, which is based on election mechanisms and separation between authorities, it does not have one form. There are different forms that vary according to the conditions of each country and their historic development. Each system is different; the Presidential system (United States), Parliamentary system (Britain), Mixed system (France) and Councils system (Switzerland).
In addition the election mechanisms are very different in these countries. The American people for example, do not elect their President directly but elect an election body in every state which elects the American President. One candidate may receive the majority of the people’s votes and still fail to win the position of President because the mechanism applied there makes the election as the right of the election body or the election group.
In Britain, the Prime Minister of the country is not elected, he/she is elected by the political parties. When a party receives the majority of votes, its leader becomes the Prime Minister automatically. However, in France, the President is elected directly. The people elect their President without mediation. This is a set of differences that makes democracy in the west itself different in forms, colour and contents.
So, democracy has concepts that differ according to the traditions of every society and its culture and historic development. Therefore, when David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, visited Zayed University in Abu Dhabi and spoke about democracy he said, “Democracy is not only the elections every four or five years but it is the provision of chances for education and studying at university and having an appropriate job.” He also said that there are many democracies in various countries that are democracies only in name (50). Cameron said this again at the Sixty Seventh meeting of the general assembly of the United Nations (26th September 2012) (51).
In the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed realized that a good government regime is one that achieves prosperity and a better life for its citizens regardless of what it is called, “So, what could we call this regime? In general, what really matters is not the names but what matters is the goal, a better life for citizens, and this is what our state is doing. The ideas of justice, progress and other modern concepts exist in Islam and we do not need to import regimes from abroad as long as our regime achieves what is good; all good to the children of this country (52).
The leadership of the Emirates by Sheikh Zayed to H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, has always sought to achieve prosperity, happiness and content for citizens and reinforce their confidence in their leadership and government. This was evidenced in a 2012 international report that ranked the Emirates number one in the world in an index of ‘Confidence in Government Procedures’ (53) prepared by the American Global Edelman Establishment (54).
The level of political and civil liberties that citizens enjoy are within the controls of law, Sharia and the customs of the country. The Emirates was accepted as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for January 2013 until the end of December 2015. This international credential demonstrates how far the Emirates has come in its human rights development.
Democracy in the United Arab Emirates is about achieving happiness and mutual trust between the leadership and the people in a way that observes the traditions, culture, religion and history of the society. The final goal is democracy, the participation of people in public life and to secure for them prosperity, security and stability under a consultation principle. This is the situation now in the United Arab Emirates; its people have had secured for them a way to make a decent living, to be prosperous and feel stabile whilst also being politically consulted.
The principle of consultation was manifested by the formation of the Federal National Council, the way it has had its competence increased and the way its election processes work. Now the Council is an important, active player in the legislative process. H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President is always keen to develop and enable the council and the coming years will witness a new stage of empowerment and development. H.H. Sheikh Khalifa said, “We shall take all efforts to make the Council more powerful and effective and closer to the issues of the citizens and their concerns through which the true values and participation and methodology of consultation shall be rooted” (55).
The concept of democracy in the Emirates is based on the concept of one Emirati family discussing its different issues, big and small, in order to improve the country and always move it to higher levels in all fields, find solutions for present problems and train the citizens through their representatives to participate in public affairs. The citizens can also, in the traditional way, in the discussions and dialogues held in salons, public halls, clubs and the Majlis of rulers and sheikhs, express their opinions, grievances and wishes; this is the definition of democracy in the Emirates. Although they are different from those prevailing in the West, the ultimate goal is the same, regardless of the means. The constitution guarantees all public liberties for individuals whether they are civil, political, social or economic (56).
The Social Researcher, Sally Findlow, says this participation, or the joint participation between the state and the people, is called the “Ideology of Participation”. She says, “Through several official plans, and spreading the idea of participation, the UAE government actively encourages all citizens to take part building an economy and infrastructure that has the ability to gather momentum. With this concept, the role of collective will and effort, in order to build a unified state, is clear. However, this does not mean the wealth, information resources and political power that can be obtained by money did not have any role. At the same time, social solidarity was achieved through permanent family ties and the everlasting tribal relation in a small society where every member in it feels that he knows the ruler in person “or at least knows one member of the royal family” (57).
49. Dr. Mohammed Abed Al Jabiri, Democracy and Human Rights, Arab Unity Studies Centre, Beirut, 3rd Edition, 2004; pp 14-16.
50. Website of Dar Al Khaleej: Click here
51. British Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth website: Click here
52. Amal Al Subah, Sheikh of the Arabs, Sheikh Zayed; ibid, pp 113.
53. For more information please refer to: website of Al Ittihad Newspaper: Click here
54. Read more: Emirates first worldwide in the index of confidence in government procedures – Al Ittihad Newspaper:
55.In his speech on the occasion of Thirty Fourth National Day Anniversary in 2005 concerning the Federal National Council.
56.Third Section (Articles 25 – 44) of the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates and its amendments; also please refer to: Dr. Nawaf Kanaan, Constitutional and Political System of the United Arab Emirates; ibid; pp 235 and thereafter.
57.Please refer to: Sally Findlow, The United Arab Emirates: Nationalism and Arab-Islamic Identity, Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, 2000, Emirates Occasional Papers 39, 20 – 21, quoted from: Emirates Strategic Research and Studies (prepared) with the power of the Union/ H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the Leader and the State; ibid, pp 307.
As we said earlier, the ultimate goal of the Union was the prosperity of the citizen and also the political, social, cultural and economic prosperity and development of the country. Naturally, all of this needed a modern and advanced infrastructure. Therefore, after structuring the political and constitutional establishment of the Union, the construction of a modern infrastructure that achieves these goals was given priority. The state was almost built from nothing because Britain did not complete any infrastructure in the Emirates; it used the Emirates as a passage to its colonies in India and elsewhere. At a press conference, Sheikh Zayed spoke about the friendship with Britain and said, “Britain never colonized us but used our region as a passage and centre of communication to serve its interests; it did not cause harm to us; actually our relation was pleasant، It is true that Britain did not build for us hospitals, schools or things like that” (58).
However, when Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan passed away on 19th Ramadan 1425H / 2nd November 2004, the United Arab Emirates had reached a level of prosperity and achieved an advanced infrastructure; schools, universities, hospitals, roads, bridges, transportation, sea ports and airports etc، Today, the United Arab Emirates is a modern country with an advanced infrastructure that competes with developed countries that had been centuries ahead. The United Arab Emirates now plays a prominent role in regional and international politics and has gained the admiration of the whole world for its unique experiment in the economic, financial, infrastructure, security and stability fields (59).
The UAE became first at a regional level and eleventh worldwide in terms of the quality of its transportation infrastructure, according to the 2012 Global Report of Enabling Commerce (60). As such it preceded several countries like the USA, Finland and Belgium (61). The UAE was the first worldwide to design high towers chosen, by the World Council of Tower Buildings and Urban Houses (CTBUH), as the best architectural design in terms of innovation, development and compatibility with the environment. The council awarded the annual innovation award to one of the towers in the capital city of Abu Dhabi that is owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council. An innovative characteristic of tower’s façade is that it’s possible to open and close the façade automatically according to the movement of the sun, which halves power consumption (62).
58. Ministry of Information, Zayed with media reporters about contemporary issues; Ministry of Information, Abu Dhabi, pp51-52; quoted from: Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates; ibid, pp 55-56.
59. Sheikh Zayed… the dream comes true and hope is manifested) in: Forum of Sheikh Zayed the Story and the March; ibid, pp44.
60. Please refer to the website of Al Ittihad Newspaper: Click here
61. Read more on Al Ittihad website at the link: Click here
62. Please refer to the website of Al Ittihad Newspaper:Click here
The examination of some general indicators demonstrate that due to the wise policies adopted by the State under the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President: The life expectancy average, 2005 – 2010, reached 72.2 years; the percentage of students in university education amounted to 22.5% of youth between 20 and 24; access to the internet was 310.8 per thousand; average general expenditure on education was 1.3% of the GDP (63). The annual growth rate in 2010 was 4% and the GDP per capita, 2010 estimates, was US $49,600 (64).
According to a report published by Forbes Magazine, of the 15 richest countries in the world in 2010, the United Arab Emirates was sixth with a total GDP per capita of US$ 47,439 (65).
The UAE was number one in the world in ‘efficiency of financial policies’ according to the report ‘Global Competitiveness 2012’; it was classified as the first regionally in the index of ‘ease of business’ according to the annual book of competitiveness 2012 report (66) issued by the International Administrative Development Institute (67) ; the Global Economic Forum in Switzerland (68)classified the UAE as the first regionally and the fourth globally in the field of electronic security.
The Emirates was also classified first amongst Arab countries and the twenty third globally in the ‘Economies Based on Innovation’ section of the ‘Report of Global Competitiveness’ (2011 – 2012) which is about a country’s ability to encourage innovation and knowledge to improve their economics in order to compete globally (69). The UAE regularly achieves record numbers or notable progress in many fields (70). Etisalat received the award of the Best Service Provider in the Middle East in 2012 (71).
63.We obtained this data from: Bertrand Baddi and Sanrine Toloti (supervision), situations of the world 2008, Arab Thought Establishment, Beirut, 1st Edition, 2008; pp 544-546
67.Please refer to the website of Al Ittihad Newspaper: Click here
68.Please refer to the website of Al Ittihad Newspaper: Click here
69.Read more on the website of Al Ittihad Newspaper at the link: click here
70. Al Ittihad Newspaper. UAE classified seventh worldwide in the number of international passengers; 82 Million and kept the second position in the passengers growth rate according to the statement made by Hussain Al Dabbas, Vice Chief Executive Officer for MENA in International Air Transportation Association (IATA).
71. Al Ittihad Newspaper: Economic Supplement: Monday 5th Moharram 1434H / corresponding to 19th November 2012.
There are many schools, universities and professional training centres in the UAE. The focus on education and the development of human resources is a result of the leadership of the country by Sheikh Zayed. H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the UAE President, who continued to focus on people, to consider them the true wealth of the country. Many giant projects have been completed as a result of this focus.
Sheikh Zayed’s words on this subject, “I always said, with strong belief, that the human being is the axis and the basis of culture and our care for him is necessary because he is the centre of every progress (72)، no matter how many facilities, schools, hospitals, bridges and otherwise that we build, this will remain a material entity without spirit because the spirit of all of this is the human being who is capable with his mind, effort and faith to achieve the desired progress”. He also said, “Wealth is not the wealth of money، it is the wealth of men، they are the true power that gives us pride and the plant that shades us، the strength of belief in this truth has enabled us to direct all our efforts to developing the human being (73) .
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, followed the strategy of his predecessor and he is truly the best successor of the best predecessor. He considered developing people a priority. This can clearly be seen in his speeches and his efforts in this field. It can also be seen in the country’s qualitative shift under his rein in the fields of education, training and knowledge.
When the Union was formed in 1971, there were only 74 schools. In 2000 this number increased to 1,150 schools that received 650,000 male and female students. In 2001, education received the largest share of the UAE’s budget (47). The state laid down a new strategy, Education Vision 2020 to develop education by using the most effective educational programs and curriculums (75) . This vision is based on a comprehensive vision for the different components of education. The state allocated 46% of its general budget for 2001 to education, health and society (76).
In 2011, there were 1,400 public and private schools and 50 universities throughout the Emirates including prestigious international universities (77) such as New York , the Sorbonne and others. According to ‘The Global Observatory Forum’ in Malaysia in 2012, the Emirates hosts the largest number of international university branches, 37, which is 19% of branches globally (78).
Of particular pride is the emphasis these universities have placed on scientific research which is the foundation of scientific advancement. For example, Emirates University in Al Ain adopted an ambitious scientific research programme and since 2010 it has financed 473 research projects, so far registering 24 patents in various fields (79).
Other educational opportunities include student exchange delegations that the state arranges every year with the most prominent universities in the world, in fields that are vital for developing people who are capable of leading their country in the twenty first century. There are intensive training courses held inside and outside the country for the same purpose. The state has established institutes and colleges specialized in micro scientific fields that the country needs, these include: The Masdar Science and Technology Institute which is specialized in renewable energy research; the Emirates Aviation College which has played an important role in preparing leaders and training them in air control and aviation engineering and the “Polytechnic Abu Dhabi” University which is specialized in nuclear engineering. It is attached to another major establishment, the Applied Technology Institute.
This attention to human development is what made the Emirates assume a prominent position in this area. The UAE is classified first in the Arab world and 30th worldwide in the index of human development for 2011. Under the auspices of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs, in the capital city of Abu Dhabi a report ‘Human Development 2011’ was launched. It was hosted by the Emirates Strategic Studies and Research Centre and organized under the UN Developmental Program and the Economic Development Department in Abu Dhabi and the Emirates Competitiveness Council (80).
His Highness Sheikh Zayed developed the Emirates’ vision to nurture people, considering them the true wealth of the country. H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan followed the path of his father and made further achievements in this field. On the occasion of the thirty ninth National Day, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa said, “Dear loyal sons of our country, at a time when the age of our state approaches its fortieth year, we confirm to you that our country is witnessing prosperity, strength and security. The plants of our father bore fruit. We are continuing to use best practices to build the state and its corporate, organizational and legal frameworks; paving the way for a strong and diversified economy, advanced infrastructure and sustainable social development. Our cultural and social organizations are moving ahead with confidence, enhancing national identity and developing people on the land of our beloved country because people are the true wealth of nations and the basis of the renaissance of countries.”
“Since the rise of our state, we were keen to continuously grow this wealth through investment in its young assets, through upbringing, education, training and care in order to prepare an enterprising generation with a deep sense of loyalty and belonging who participate in managing their society and maintaining the heritage of its people. The values of the Union will continue to be the guiding light for all generations, underpin sustainable national development and active participation between the state and citizens to build a common future. The Second of December will always be a glorious occasion from which we will take lessons and when we renew our vow of loyalty, devotion and sacrifice for the country”.
Sheikh Zayed said, “Today, when we look at the state of the Union we see the vast green areas in our country and witness hundreds of industrial projects and networks of roads, ports and airports. The State did not just provide basic services; it dedicated all its energies and abilities to serve the sons of the country, improving the living conditions and providing a better life to all citizens. The meaning of the Union is happiness to all and I don’t think that there is a reasonable citizen who denies their happiness, satisfaction and strength (81).
72.Amal Al Subah, Sheikh of the Arabs, Sheikh Zayed; ibid, pp 70.
73.Ibid; page 70.
74.Emirates Strategic Research and Studies (prepared) with the power of the Union/ H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the Leader and the State; ibid, pp 304.
75.Ibid; pp 304 - 305.
76.The website of Al Khaleej Newspaper:Click here
77.The website of Al Khaleej Newspaper: Click here
78.Website of Knowledge and Human Development Authority (Dubai): Click here
79.Read the details in Al Ittihad Newspaper, Report by: Mohsin Al Boushi, titled: “Emirates University finances 474 research projects within 35 months”: Friday, 2nd Moharram 1434H / corresponding to 16th November 2012.
80.Website of Al Khaleej Newspaper: Click here
81.Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Wise of the Arabs Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ibid; pp 82.
Sheikh Zayed saw woman as the foundation of growth and future generations and therefore launched a women’s empowerment project saying, “I encourage woman’s work in positions that are appropriate for her nature and in a manner that maintains her respect and dignity as a mother and the maker of generations (82). He also said, “Women must represent us in women’s conferences abroad in order to communicate the development of the country, to be an image that honours us, our society and the religion that granted all her rights (83).”
Empowerment of women was not limited to government efforts, as the civil and national community developed, women played a pioneering role. The flag was carried by H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairman of the General Women’s Federation. With the support of Sheikh Zayed, she participated prominently in woman’s development and empowerment. This enabled Emirati women to develop themselves and their abilities until they participated with men in all public and private areas and at international forums mentioned earlier.
The General Women’s Federation was established under the chairmanship of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, UAE Mother, the wife of H.H. Sheikh Zayed, on 27th August 1975. The Federation’s role is to promote and empower women in cooperation and coordination with government departments in fields related to women (84). Today, this Federation has become active in the Arab, regional and international federations.
H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, followed in the steps of his father, empowering women in different fields until they assumed a high position in public and private. In his speech, delivered on the occasion of the Thirty Ninth National Day, H.H. encouraged empowerment of women and the development of society; H.H. saying, “We are keen to enable women and provide several choices for youth in addition to supporting them, protecting motherhood and childhood, taking care of elders and minors and giving attention to people with special needs. Out of our absolute belief that nations do not rise except with scientific progress, during the previous federal year we allocated the major part of the federal budget for education and focused on designing educational plans and programs that will develop education in the country and we passed a law to establish the National Qualifications Authority. The health sector also received all necessary support”. Therefore, the Emirate became an example of equality between sexes in all fields “and a model for human development that takes care of people, improving his living standard at all levels (85).”
A 2012 Global Economic Forum report said, “The United Arab Emirates continued to lead the Arab region for the third year consecutively in the field of women’s economic participation. In addition, the UAE held the first position globally, jointly, in terms of equality between males and females in education and in the four main branches on which the index measures the gap between the two sexes “receiving health care, education, political participation and economic equality (86).”
The success of the empowerment of women policy in the Emirates made the United Nations elect the UAE as a member of the ‘Executive Council of the UN Organization of Equality of Sexes and Women’s Empowerment’ for the period from early 2013 until the end of December 2015.
The Emirates Constitution established the legal framework for empowering women when it secured equality between men and women in the work place. Article 35 provides that, “Public positions are open for all citizens on the basis of equality between them in conditions according to law (87).” The constitution also granted women their full rights as human beings, whilst bearing obligations as citizens, deserving all appreciation and respect according to Islamic Sharia, international treaties and human rights rules.
According to the Index ‘Gap between Sexes’ issued by the Global Economic Forum, the United Arab Emirates is considered a model of human development at all levels. It was first in the Arab world in 2011 in the Human Development report issued by the UN Developmental Program (88).
Thanks to the empowerment policy under the wise leadership of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, Emirati women have entered all leading administrative, technical and other fields. Today, she is a Judge, Minister, Executive Manager, Parliament Member, Captain, Doctor, University Instructor, Elementary and High School Instructor. Women’s participation in public life has increased; she represents 65% of the workforce in some government ministries (89).
Women play a major role in the building spectacular that the country is witnessing; in the government, business and commerce, media, technologies and sciences, academic and creative life sectors. The percentage of women who can read and write in the Emirates is 91% which is higher than men. 77% of women (compared to 24% of men) continue their higher education which is the highest of its kind in the world (90). The Emirates was classified 30th worldwide and the first in the Arab world in the Index of ‘Empowerment of Woman’ in the 2011 UN Developmental Program ‘Global Human Development Report’ (91).
Women leaders in the Emirates obtained leadership and management certificates in the United Kingdom (92). 25 outstanding Emirati female students were recently selected for training at the National Aerospace Agency (NASA). This is a qualitative development in the field of empowerment and equality between the two sexes and reflects the general intention of the state toward the implementation of the education development strategy adopted by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the UAE President (93).
82. Amal Al Subah, Sheikh of the Arabs; ibid, pp 103.
83. Ibid; pp 103.
84. The President’s Court (Documents and Research Centre) / Ministry of Education and Youth, Zayed and the Woman, 1st Edition, 1425/2004; pp 108 and thereafter.
85. The bulletin: “News of the Hour”: Emirates is keen to empower women and it became the model of equality between sexes – Al Ittihad Newspaper: Click here
87. Constitution of the United Arab Emirates and its amendments; ibid.
88. The bulletin: “News of the Hour”: Emirates is keen to empower women and it became the model of equality between sexes – Al Ittihad Newspaper: Click here
89. Mr. Humaid Al Qitami Minister of Education, Development of Human Resources in the United Arab Emirates: Challenges and horizons in the future in: Cultural Season Book (2010), H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Cultural Media Centre, Abu Dhabi; 1st Edition, 2010, pp 103.
90. According to the statement of H.E Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State; please refer to: The Emirati woman had proven her success in the government, financial and industrial sectors – Al Ittihad Newspaper: Click here
92. For more information, please refer to the website of Forbes Magazine: Click here
93. The bulletin of News of the Hour, Emirates Strategic Studies and Research, report titled: “Educational Outputs”, quoted from Al Ittihad Newspaper: Friday, 2nd Moharram 1434H / corresponding to 16th November 2012
On 12th February 1972, before the Federal National Council, Sheikh Zayed announced that the foreign policy of the State (94) is based on fixed principles namely, “Strengthening bonds of friendship and cooperation with all countries and nations on the basis of UN principles and model international morality”. In all its international relations, the UAE firmly applied these principles. It settles all its disputes amicably and according to international legitimacy and international law. This policy is followed by the State to recover its occupied islands namely, Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa.
Sheikh Zayed defined four United Arab Emirates foreign policy sections: Gulf section, Arab section, Islamic section and International section (95). At the Gulf level, the foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates pushed forward the Arab Gulf states unification. Only 10 years after the unification of the Emirates, with his wisdom and insight, Sheikh Zayed was able to play a prominent role in establishing the Gulf Cooperation Council. In February 1981, he presided over its first meeting in Abu Dhabi where the council was established. The Emirates continued to follow the cooperation and integration policy with their brothers in the Arab Gulf.
The UAE built bridges of communication and cooperation with all Arab countries from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf. Article Four of the ‘Articles of Association of the Gulf Cooperation Council’ included the principles that Sheikh Zayed had always preached, “To achieve coordination, integration and close connection between the member countries in all fields in order to reach unity”. The Palestinian cause was the centre of the United Arab Emirates’ attention. When Israel launched its aggression against the Arabs in 1967, Sheikh Zayed utilized the State to support his Arab brothers. He imposed an embargo on oil exports to the United States and made his famous statement: “Money is not more precious than blood and oil is not more precious than Arab blood (96).
The UAE continued to call for international law to be applied, that acknowledges the right of the Palestinian people to establish its own independent state. It held an international conference under the auspices of the UN focusing on how Palestinians could achieve a state and self-determination, which are fixed principles that may not be compromised. The UAE called on the international community to stop the injustice towards the Palestinian people; to protect them from the acts of violence and terrorism they suffer under the Israeli occupation. The UAE considers the intensive Jewish migration to Palestine as a threat to the area that changes the political, military and demographic characteristics of the region (97).
At the Islamic level, the efforts of the UAE to support Muslims everywhere are well known. Sheikh Zayed expressed this by saying, “The call that is resonating all over the world encourages cooperation and joint effort in the interest of humanity and peace. The teachings of the Holy Quran call all people to cooperation, joint effort, devotion, love and peace. It is most appropriate for such cooperation to take place among the Islamic countries (98).” Therefore, the Emirates provided generous aid to those Islamic countries that needed it, in compliance with its Islamic and moral duty and it supported Muslim causes in all fields.”
At the international level, the policy of the Emirates is to enhance the state’s relations with the rest of the world according to the principles of equality, justice, mutual respect and love for goodness to all without exception. Sheikh Zayed said, “The State of the Emirates is keen to develop friendly relations with other countries in order to serve the goodness and interests of the people of the UAE and the world (99).
The Emirates supported all right and just causes in the United Nations and other international organizations. In this way, the Emirates played a significant role establishing international relations based on peace and stability. Sheikh Zayed expressed this when he said, “The pioneering position that the Emirates State holds on the international relations stage is the fruit of our moderate foreign policy which supports justice and resorts to dialogue and understanding between brothers and friends. It respects international covenants and laws, complies with the United Nations Charter and observes the rules of ‘good-neighbour’ policy, sovereignty of the state, unity of its lands and does not interfere in others’ internal affairs and tends to solve disputes peacefully (100).”
H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed talked about the State’s foreign policy goals, principles and humanitarian diplomacy in his speech on the occasion of the Thirty Ninth National Day, “Our humanitarian policy is one of the main pillars of our foreign policy. The State will continue its central role by supporting international efforts during crisis and catastrophes, to answer the call for help. It will continue as a role model by investing in developing countries and offering them grants and soft loans in order to achieve sustainable economic growth that provides them with stability and ensures more job opportunities for citizens.
“Although we condemn all forms of terrorism, we express our concern for the increasing phenomenon of Islam hatred and we call upon the international community to prevent the continued abuse of the Islamic religion and provoking hatred against Muslim minorities”. H.H. added, “Our foreign policy is based on principles of peaceful coexistence, ‘good-neighbour’ policy, mutual respect and enhancing cooperative relations, non-interference in the internal affairs of countries, adopting peaceful means to settle differences and to resort to International laws, respecting ‘the other’ and consulting with him in order to achieve peace and stability.
“According to these established principles, we repeat the call to our neighbour, Iran, to respond to our calls to find a fair settlement to the issue of our three occupied islands Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa. Honest intentions and a strong will to solve outstanding problems is the first step to ensure continuing peace and stability in the region”.
H.H. the UAE President has followed in the steps of his father by leading the state with wisdom and insight. He finished establishing the constitution, a political structure and led the country towards comprehensive development in social, economic, cultural and structural fields. The wheels of the Union are turning confidently towards progress and achieving prosperity for citizens. In time, the Emirates became the role model of development, prosperity, stability and development under the wise leadership of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brothers the Rulers of the Emirates.
94. About the foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates; please refer to: Dr. Naif Ali Obaid, Foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates between Theory and Application, University Studies and Publishing Establishment, Beirut, 1st Edition, 1425/2004, Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Wise of the Arabs Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; ibid, pp 189 - 223.
95. Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Wisdom of the Arabs Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; ibid, pp 192.
96. Dr. Mohammed Hassan Al Aidaros, The Emirates between Past and Present, Al Aidaros Modern Book House, Dubai, Cairo, , Kuwait, Algeria, 1422/2002; pp 206 - 207.
97.Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Wisdom of the Arabs Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; ibid, pp 196 - 197.
98. Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Wisdom of the Arabs Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; ibid, pp 198-199.
99. Abdullah Rashid Ahmad Al Murr Al Kaabi, wonder words from the wisdom of the Arabs, Al Khalidiya Commercial Printing Press, Abu Dhabi, 1st Edition, 2003; pp 171.
100. Abdullah Rashid Ahmad Al Murr Al Kaabi, wonder words from the wisdom of the Arabs; ibid, pp 172
The vision of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President, derives from a wider perspective that reaches beyond the oil era to planning for the post-oil era, that is, a future based on knowledge (101). Since he was young, since he was the Crown Prince, he understood that the time of oil revenues will definitely pass, H.H. said, “We are thinking about how to face the future when the oil finishes, by diversifying the sources of national income،” however, what is important is “building the people of this land because he is the true wealth; money does not last but knowledge remains (102).”
The future UAE will be established on science and its economy on knowledge and entering the age of innovation and invention, in other words, to go beyond importing to becoming a producer, in harmony with the vision of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President and his brothers the Rulers of Emirates. There are challenges related to the cultural and national identity particularly in terms of demographics where there are apparent disorders that should be treated in a manner that ensures stability and prosperity of the State. On the Thirty Sixth National Day, H.H. said, “Our future and national identity are connected by roots and destiny to the population composition”.
There is another challenge that is no less important and is related to the population challenge: It is the gap between the inputs and outputs of education and the quantitative and qualitative achievements of the education system. The State is spending billions of Dirhams on education every year, expecting quality achievements. From this, other challenges emerge such as the demographic and nationalization challenges. This gap must be filled and the leadership is working to achieve this goal.
101.Sheikh Zayed، the dream comes true and hope is manifested; at: forum of Sheikh Zayed the life and the march; ibid, pp 42.
102. He said that in an interview with the Italian press delegation that accompanied the Italian Minister of Commerce in a visit to the UAE on 9th October 1987; quoted from: The Office of Deputy Prime Minister for Information Affairs, Khalifa bin Zayed… and building the generations (prepared), Abu Dhabi, 2005, pp 15-16; quoted from: “Sheikh Zayed ، the dream comes true and the hope is manifested” at: Sheikh Zayed Forum the Story and the March; ibid, pp 42.
1. References in Arabic:
- Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Zayed the Wisdom of the Arabs, University Library, Al Azarita – Alexandria, 2000.
- Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates; March of Leader and Will of Nation, first book, Modern Book Establishment (Beirut)/ Arab Culture House (Sharjah), Edition 1, 1992.
- Amal Al Subah, Sheikh of the Arabs, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, printed at Akhbar El Youm Printing Press (Egypt).
- Dr. Fatima Al Sayegh, United Arab Emirates from tribe to state, university book house, Al Ain, 2000.
- Forum of Sheikh Zayed the life and the march (the book of first session 2010) Cultural Media Centre of H.H Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, 2010.
- Works Department in Abu Dhabi: Achievement of 25 years of building; Al Ittihad Press and Publishing Establishment, Abu Dhabi, 1412H/1991.
- Zayed, the story of glory and pride of the union: reading in the British documents and the Arab and Foreign Media 1968 – 1971, Zayed Culture and History Centre, Al Ain (UAE), 1st Edition 1426H/2005.
- With the power of the union/ His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the Leader and the State, Emirates Strategic Researches and Studies Center Abu Dhabi, Edition 2, 2005.
- Jean Pierre Varnie, Globalization of Culture, translated by Abdul Jalil Al Azadi, Egyptian Lebanese House, 1 Edition, Cairo, 1423/2003;
- Dr. Nawaf Kanaan, Constitutional and Political System of the United Arab Emirates, the University Bookshop, Sharjah/ Ithraa Publishing and Distribution House, Jordan, 1st Edition, 2008;
- Ahmad bin Shabib Al Dhahiri, ((the Federal National Council: Experience and Horizon)) in: Cultural Season Book (2010), H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Cultural Media Centre, Abu Dhabi, 2010;
- Dr. Mohammed Abed Al Jabiri, Democracy and Human Rights, Arab Unity Studies Centre, Beirut, 3rd Edition, 2004;
- Bertrand Baddi and Sanrine Toloti (supervision), situations of the world 2008, Arab Thought Establishment, Beirut, 1st Edition, 2008;
- Mr. Humaid Al Qitami Minister of Education, Development of Human Resources in the United Arab Emirates: Challenges and horizons in the future in: Cultural Season Book (2010), H.H. Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Cultural Media Centre, Abu Dhabi; 1st Edition, 2010;
- Dr. Naif Ali Obaid, Foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates between Theory and Application, University Studies and Publishing Establishment, Beirut, 1st Edition, 1425/2004;
- Dr. Mohammed Hassan Al Aidaros, The Emirates between Past and Present, Al Aidaros Modern Book House, Dubai, Cairo, , Kuwait, Algeria, 1422/2002; pp 206 – 207;
- Abdullah Rashid Ahmad Al Murr Al Kaabi, wonder words from the wise of the Arabs, Al Khalidiya Commercial Printing Press, Abu Dhabi, 1st Edition, 2003; pp 171;
- The President’s Court (Documents and Research Centre) / Ministry of Education and Youth, Zayed and the Woman, 1st Edition, 1425/2004.
- French Constitution (Constitution of 4th October 1985) according to the amendments of 23rd July 2008, presentation and translation by Dr. Mohammed Khairi Al Wakeel, Dar Al Nahda Al Arabiya, Cairo (D. T.)
- Constitution of the United Arab Emirates and its amendments
3. References in Foreign Languages:
- Seveinn Einarsson, Language –a tool for communication or a cornerstone of our cultural diversity? In: The Art of Impossible?: Multilingualism and access to cyberspace, The Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO, Norway, 1999.
- Sally Findlow, The United Arab Emirates: Nationalism and Arab-Islamic Identity, Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, 2000, Emirates Occasional Papers.
- Dar Al Khaleej website: Click here
- British Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth website: Click here