The nation’s President has just made a heartwarming pledge for the year ahead.

With various elections, referendums and celebrity passings, the last 12 months have been universally acknowledged as a bit of a disappointment for many.

However 2017 looks set to change all that – in the UAE in particular.

Why? Well, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has just announced that the next 12 months will form the “Year of Giving”.

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The aim is to promote a culture of giving back to the community and to enhance the spirit of volunteering and loyalty to one’s country, according to WAM.

The initiative will focus on creating a sense of “community responsibility” in the private sector, encouraging specialised volunteer programs to help social development, and “instilling commitment in the next generation to serve their country”.

The philanthropic message is all based around the idea of helping others without expecting anything in return, said Sheikh Khalifa, which follows in the footsteps of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan.

And after a year of wars, bloodshed and attacks around the world, a message of benevolence couldn’t be more needed.

Sheikh Mohammed

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, echoed the directive, saying that a plan will be put in place to “promote a culture of social responsibility”.

“The UAE has given unconditionally to us, the Year of Giving is about citizens and organisations giving back to the nation,” he said.

“Our goal is to create an ecosystem whereby individuals, the government and the private sector work in tandem for the UAE’s development. Volunteering will be a central theme in our initiative, we invite our people to contribute their expertise to serve their nation.”

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The royal cited Sheikh Khalifa and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, as leading examples of beneficence.

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“Their generosity is the reason the UAE is the most giving nation in the world,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“When citizens and institutions benevolently unite for their country, civilised nations prosper; that is our goal for the Year of Giving.”

The humanitarian initiative follows 2016’s “Year of Reading”, which saw the launch of a new law that gives employees a dedicated time for specialised reading, as well as approval for a Dhs1 billion Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library in Dubai.

And now we’re so looking forward to what 2017 holds for the Emirates.

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Images: Dubai Media Office