On December 2nd 2021, during Expo 2020 Dubai, we will celebrate the UAE's 50th birthday.
This will surely be an emotional and festive day all over the Expo site and, of course, the country.
For last year’s National Day celebrations Expo 2020 Dubai produced a wonderful video.
From the iconic Middle Eastern oud to the balalaika in Russia, the universal language of music provides the soundtrack to Expo 2020 Dubai’s globe-trotting celebration of the 48th UAE National Day. Stars from across the world feature in the video, which captures footage of them performing in their home countries, combining to play the UAE National Anthem.
The video begins with oud music in the UAE, before journeying around the world to bring together a diverse array of musicians including Chinese pianist and producer CORSAK, Indian slide guitarist Niki Mukhi, British trumpeter Paul Spong and Saudi musician multi-instrumentalist Hatoon Idrees, alongside individual artists from the Norwegian State Orchestra, Russia’s Minski Theatre and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. A choir of school children from Raffles World Academy provide the vocal accompaniment to the track.
Locations featured in the video include the Dubai desert, the Taj Mahal in India, the fjords of Norway, Rizal Park in Manila, as well as major world metropolises such as London and Shanghai.
The video, directed by Oscar-shortlisted Emirati Nahla Al Fahad, invokes a collaborative spirit that reflects the inclusive, forward-thinking core values of the UAE, as well as Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.
To better understand the UAE’s history we invite you to learn about the Foundation of the UAE and find out about the vision of the Founding Father Skeikh Zayed.
United Arab Emirates – From A Land of Sand to The Land of Dreams
It was the 2nd of December 1971, a new country on the map of the world appears – the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Nobody at that time knew that this small country would rise to the glories of the world. It was, no doubt, a vision of a great leader – His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al- Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, that turned this Land of Sand into The Land of Dreams.
At the time of the unification of these emirates, albeit oil exploration and export had started, but by and large there was only sand and a hot and harsh climate in this area. In fact, people considered this region uninhabitable. The only source of earning of its inhabitants was fishing and finding pearls from sea.
It was the decision of unification of all emirates by rulers of that time which changed the fate of the people of this land and brought a new dawn of success, progress, and prosperity for them. Feeling pride about their forefathers is appropriate for the current generation of Emiratis because they are harvesting a gold crop sowed by the visionary leaders of that time.
UAE has grown from a backwater hamlet to the Middle East’s most important economic hub. It has developed an excellent blend of eastern and western cultures while maintaining its own traditions. But to build skyscrapers in deserts, gather over two hundred nationalities in one country and make this multicultural society a role model of cohesion was not an ordinary task.
The UAE is a constitutional federation. On the 2nd of December 1971, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was declared as an independent, sovereign and federal state. The UAE comprises seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.
Before the formation of the federation, the Gulf was under British supervision.
In early 1968, the British declared their intention to withdraw from the Gulf by the end of 1971. This decision is attributed to several economic reasons revolving around the decline of British sterling pound, pressure to lessen the spending on defence due to criticism by the Labour Party, inability to maintain British servicemen offshore and inability to invest in social services home and in infrastructure in the UAE.
On 30 November 1971, the British left the Trucial States bringing an end to the era of British supremacy in the area. It is noteworthy that the Trucial States were the first Arab territory into which Britain extended her authority in 1820 and the last area in which she relinquished it in 1971.
Foundation of the UAE
Soon after assuming power on 6 August 1966, as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, H. H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan underscored the importance of a united country and remarked, “In harmony, in some sort of federation, we could follow the example of other developing countries.”
In the beginning of 1968, the British announced their intention to withdraw from the Arabian Gulf. H. H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the then Ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi acted rapidly to establish closer ties with the emirates.
The Union Accord of 1968 (the initial federation)
Sheikh Zayed, along with Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the then Ruler of Dubai met on 18 February 1968, at Al Samha in today’s Abu Dhabi near the south-western boundary of Dubai.
They agreed to merge their respective emirates into a union which others would be invited to join. The agreement was that the two emirates would jointly conduct foreign affairs, build common defence, security and social services and adopt a common immigration policy. However, each emirate would retain responsibility for judicial and other internal affairs.
This agreement came to be known as the Union Accord and is considered as the first step towards uniting the Trucial Coast as a whole.
The Federation of the Arab Emirates
In order to strengthen the federation further, Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid invited the Rulers of the other five emirates that formed the Trucial States, as well as Bahrain and Qatar to join the negotiations for the formation of a union.
From 25 to 27 February 1968, the Rulers of these nine states convened a constitutional conference in Dubai and formed an agreement of 11 points, which was the basis for efforts to establish the ‘Federation of the Arab Emirates’.
The agreement stipulated that the purpose of the federation was:
• to cement ties between the members in all fields
• to coordinate plans for their development and prosperity
• to reinforce the respect of each one of them for the independence and sovereignty of the others
• to unify their foreign policies and representation, and its higher policy in international, political, defence, economic, cultural and other matters
It further laid down that the Supreme Council would be responsible for issuing the necessary federal laws and that it would be the supreme authority in deciding on issues of reference, and shall take its decisions by a unanimous vote.
However, a series of events later, in August 1971, Bahrain declared its independence and Qatar followed in September the same year.
The UAE takes shape
On 18 July 1971, the Rulers of six of the seven emirates that made up the Trucial States, (except Ras Al Khaimah), decided to form a union.
This meeting made the following historical declaration:
“The Supreme Council felicitates the people of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Arab people, and our friends around the world, and declares the United Arab Emirates as an independent sovereign state being a part of the Arab World.”
A provisional Constitution was adopted and Abu Dhabi was approved as the provisional capital. Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi was elected as the first President of the United Arab Emirates, while Sheikh Rashid of Dubai was elected Vice-President; both to serve a five-year term from 2 December 1971 - the date of the UAE’s formal union.
The national assembly, which was given the name of Federal National Council, was to comprise 34 members; eight each from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, six from Sharjah and four each from the three smaller emirates of Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.
Six places were to be allocated to Ras Al Khaimah, if it decides to join the federation.
The Supreme Council of Rulers were to take decisions by a majority vote, but both Abu Dhabi and Dubai had to be part of the majority.
Complete federation with seven emirates
Finally, Ras Al Khaimah joined the federation on 10 February 1972. And, the federation was complete with the inclusion of all the seven emirates that formed the Trucial States. This newly founded federal state became officially known as Dawlat Al Imarat Al Arabiyya Al Muttahida or the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Today, the UAE enjoys full sovereignty and independence. The UAE has its own flag, coat of arms and national anthem. All UAE citizens carry the unified nationality of the United Arab Emirates, which is recognised internationally.
• UAE YearBook 2013
• The Formation of the Union - National Archives
• The Historical Background and Constitutional Basis to the Federation
• The Beginning of the Post-Imperial Era for the Trucial States from World War I to the 1960s
For more articles please visit : https://u.ae/en/about-the-uae