UAE National Day 2020 marks 49 years since the country’s formal nationalisation and the start of the federal unification of the emirates in 1971.

The official them of National Day celebrations is the ‘Spirit of the Union’, it is derived from the vision and leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founder of the UAE. The theme is complemented with a logo that has a silhouette of the iconic image of the first congregation of the Founding Fathers of the UAE, on 2 December 1971.

In just under five decades, the UAE has changed drastically becoming a hub for travel, culture, business and more, and offers opportunities for so many people globally.

With that, we spoke to nine of the most inspiring women we know about the pride they hold for their country.

Yasmin Baker
Emirati Aerialist

 


(Image: UAE Embassy in Washington, DC Facebook page)

This year marks the 49th UAE National Day. What makes you proud to be from the UAE?

There is so much that makes me proud to be from the UAE. I am so proud of how welcoming the country, the leadership, and the community are; welcoming to others, welcoming to new ideas, and most importantly, welcoming to change. I have never seen, heard of, or imagined a place where shifts towards progress and improvement happen so quickly without lengthy and complicated processes. I think this uncanny resourcefulness, willingness to enact change (and when necessary, to take a calculated risk) is extremely admirable, and really showcases the dedication of the leaders of the UAE and the community to a peaceful, safe, harmonious, healthy, and overall quality living. We have seen many bold and impressive changes made and initiatives launched from political, economic, governance, social and communal angles, and in such a short duration. And at the same time, we have managed to maintain a grasp on our cultural roots and traditions. And I personally think this balance is our strength and our unifying factor.

In just 49 years so much has happened in the country. What, to you, stands out as the UAE’s biggest achievement?

While of course, the UAE is well- known for its physical infrastructure, its position as a business and trade hub, and the economic prospects, as a 29-year-old Emirati female, I believe the biggest achievement is the dedication of the country to the development of its people. There is such a strong sense of support from the government when it comes to elevating the standards of education and work environments and so on, and in striving to ensure that we as people are put in positions where we can not just utilize but maximize our potential. There are and always will be area for improvement, that’s a given in this day and time, but the opportunities here are vast and plentiful. So the biggest achievement, in my opinion, is a generation of driven, sharp, inspiring young people who are entering any and all fields, and who are trailblazers for the generations ahead.

What are your hopes for the future of the country?

I hope that as a society we continue to live and prosper in balance; balance between different cultures and backgrounds, balance between people and the natural environment, balance between employment and quality of living, and maintaining safety and security through whatever turbulent times may come. And as a person, I am so excited about the opportunities in the works, and for what can be achieved by the generation after me. I am grateful to be able to have so many unique experiences and to grow as a person simply by way of discovering opportunities here that I cannot imagine what the youth will be able to accomplish in a decade or even less. We have transformed from a nomadic desert community to a community of astronauts, scientists, political leaders, athletes, artists and so on. So whatever the future holds, I hope that we continue on this path, that we perpetuate the values upon which this country was built, and that we humbly remember the traditions and roots of the previous generations who paved the way forward for us.

Salama Khalfan
Founder of Salama Khalfan Fine Jewelry

This year marks the 49th UAE National Day. What makes you proud to be from the UAE?

Everything about the UAE makes me feel extremely grateful to be from this nation. The fact that the UAE in the past 49 years has undergone so much development and growth on a multitude of scales which creates a strong sense of adaptability in its people. I feel thankful that I am from a country that does not believe in the impossible. I feel that I grew up in an environment and surrounding that instilled within me the feeling that everything is possible and that collapsed any boundaries of limitations set by any external ideologies. That in itself is something very profound.

In just 49 years so much has happened in the country. What, to you, stands out as the UAE’s biggest achievement?

Breeding a sense of adaptability in people, I think Emiratis and people who have been part of the UAE from inception or the early stages of its development have developed a strong sense of being able to adapt to change, they welcome it and they are able to embrace it and move forward instead of resisting it. In all of my encounters with people from different parts of the world, I think this is the one thing that stands out the most about people in the UAE.

What are your hopes for the future of the country?

I hope that we continue to be able to welcome people from all over the world. For this place to be a magnet for talent and great minds, where you meet people from different cultures, backgrounds, and sets of beliefs. To have a true sense of appreciation for everything that they believe in. To continue being a nation that not only promotes tolerance, but lives it every single day, and a nation that constantly and continuously strives to become better and improve in any possible aspect.

Yasmin Al Mulla, Co-founder and Creative Director of fashion brand YNM

Yasmin Al Mulla

This year marks the 49th UAE National Day. What makes you proud to be from the UAE?

I feel very proud of our heritage, culture, and history — The United Arab Emirates is captivating multiculturalism of nationalities and ethnicities all living in unity together، and this what makes us stronger.

In just 49 years so much has happened in the country. What, to you, stands out as the UAE’s biggest achievement?

Outlining a single achievement won’t justify my country. I admire each and every accomplishment — And I truly believe that every new achievement/project is nothing but a beginning to a whole new window. Growing up in the UAE is a privilege, beautiful, and inspiring thing, as the rapid developments urge us to set high boundaries, and work hard to achieve our ambitions.

What are your hopes for the future of the country?

I would love to highlight that we are fortunate for being celebrated every single day by just living in the UAE, I am proud to be in a country well known for its humanity and generosity and I can’t express how glad I am to be born an Emirati. My hopes for the UAE to remain safe, futuristic, and impressive today and forever.

Nayla Al Khaja
The first female film director-producer in the UAE

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This year marks the 49th UAE National Day. What makes you proud to be from the UAE?

I am extremely proud to be a UAE National especially that I was born in the 70s meaning I was able to witness first hand the development and the changes that were taking place. The incredible progress and prosperity over such a short period of time is phenomenal. I’m proud to have a nation that celebrates tolerance, multicultural differences and a comfortable safe lifestyle that we could at times be taken for granted. I’m proud to be in a country where both genders are appreciated equally and where there is a big push for challenging the norms to achieve the impossible.

In just 49 years so much has happened in the country. What, to you, stands out as the UAE’s biggest achievement?

I recently directed a UAE national film for Mubadala where my hero takes us through the multitude of our countries achievements; there are plenty to list but what stands out for me is the sheer and constant emphasis on developing our potential as people. Our leaders always take care of their population and their needs first and then everything else follows and for that, we are eternally grateful.

What are your hopes for the future of the country?

I hope we will continue to be a shining example for other nations to follow. I hope we will continue to strive for excellence and always keep the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed al Nahyan’s lessons in mind. For in his moral values we will continuously flourish and be able to challenge any adversity and overcome obstacles. I hope that the next 50 will be as incredible and even more impressive than the past. The UAE will always be ahead of the curve.

Aisha Baker
Founder of Aisha Baker Jewellery

Aisha Baker

This year marks the 49th UAE National Day. What makes you proud to be from the UAE?

As much as I am proud of UAE’s heritage and the vision which led us to this moment of marking the country’s 49th birthday, I am also proud of how we are privileged here to feel safe and enjoy the life despite the current pandemic. The UAE has proven repeatedly to have strong leadership, ready to adapt and anticipate the challenges of the new world.

In just 49 years so much has happened in the country. What, to you, stands out as the UAE’s biggest achievement?

The biggest achievement in 49 years is the fact that UAE transformed from unknown piece of a desert to a major international hub for business, tourism, technology, logistics, innovation, science, exploration etc. In addition, I am always stunned by the architectural achievements of some of the world’s landmarks we enjoy and appreciate in the UAE daily.

What are your hopes for the future of the country?

Considering the past, the future has “big shoes to fill”. However, I have no doubt the country will continue to impress and keep up the momentum in future.

Amna Al Qubaisi
The first female Emirati racing driver

emirati racing driver Amna Al Qubaisi beauty routine

This year marks the 49th UAE National Day. What makes you proud to be from the UAE?

The fact that they not just support women but empower women in many sectors not just in sports.

In just 49 years so much has happened in the country. What, to you, stands out as the UAE’s biggest achievement?

Seeing many women in male-dominated positions reaching the top of the top and being the best of the best.

What are your hopes for the future of the country?

My hope is we will see a huge quantity of women in those specific sectors and normalize what’s considered a male-dominated area.

Dr. Suaad Al Shamsi
The first UAE female aircraft engineer

This year marks the 49th UAE National Day. What makes you proud to be from the UAE?

Everything surrounding me makes me proud that I am from UAE, from the history of our country to the present to the future, proud that Ian an Emirati from a country where all the factors of love, peace, goodness and happiness beside a multinational, multicultural and religious are United all here all are one and equal. And having leaders are treating us as a father so am really proud.

In just 49 years so much has happened in the country. What, to you, stands out as the UAE’s biggest achievement?

Every achievement stand out and mean a lot to me every day we saw an achievement in our country but the most one is going to Mars, flying to space and growing in the aviation and aerospace industry and being part of one of those project – the midfield terminal of Abu Dhabi international new airport terminal.

What are your hopes for the future of the country?

Hope is always there for our country being a leader and role model for other countries and being in the top always as always we are beyond the expectations.

Asma Hilal Lootah
Founder of The Hundred Wellness Centre

asma hilal lootah

This year marks the 49th UAE National Day. What makes you proud to be from the UAE?

This year’s National Day is even more special. During challenges such as the events of 2020, the UAE has given us even more reason to feel proud. We are truly blessed to have remained safe and felt secure and at peace in the UAE year after year. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the gift our leadership has given us, a beautiful country to live in. We are equally grateful to the UAE’s citizens and residents, its amazing people, who work hard to contribute to their communities, making the UAE the best country one can call home.

Even though we are a small enterprise, we are in line with the vision 2021 and will continue to work hard with determination to contribute to the growth of our beloved country and serve everyone living in its land.

In just 49 years so much has happened in the country. What, to you, stands out as the UAE’s biggest achievement?

To me, the biggest achievement of the UAE is its ability to create harmony and safety for its residents. I feel incredibly grateful that we can relax in the knowledge that we are safe and cared for by our rulers and governing bodies. There is a real sense of unity in the UAE, a country that has brought all nationalities and religions together with kindness and acceptance.

What are your hopes for the future of the country?

As an environmentalist, my biggest hope is that residents will begin to care more for the environment and continue the government’s aims of becoming a sustainable city. It filled me with pride and excitement when the municipality announced that Dubai will soon be home to the largest plant in the Middle East to convert waste-to-energy. I hope that we begin to see more recycling, composting and a reduction of wastage, plastic and our carbon footprints.

Fatima Al Qubaisi
The first Emirati woman to graduate from Harvard Law School

This year marks the 49th UAE National Day. What makes you proud to be from the UAE?

The UAE’s sense of innovation, not shying away from what seems impossible and the country’s adaptability and agility. Gender equality is of the utmost importance in the country. In addition to legislating for equal pay and political involvement, the UAE values women’s role greatly in the development & advancement of the nation.

In just 49 years so much has happened in the country. What, to you, stands out as the UAE’s biggest achievement?

The UAE’s biggest achievement is its work with women. Women’s lives have drastically changed looking at the social norms that surround them. Women represent the highest literacy rate, percentage of university graduates and are thriving in the workplace. The 50% women quota for the Federal National Council and women assuming roles such as ambassadors, board members and founders of enterprises has changed women’s roles in the societal fabric.

What are your hopes for the future of the country?

My hopes for my country are that we continue to constantly develop, the UAE is at the forefront of the world in terms of technology, human capital, economic prosperity and ingenuity.

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Images: Supplied