Established in 1971, the United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates. The country’s population comprises largely of expatriates (7.8 million) and Emiratis (1.4 million). The official language of the UAE is Arabic. English is widely used in business and education, especially in Abu Dhabi (the capital of the UAE) and Dubai.
In 1966, the British announced it could no longer offer protection to the country. Abu Dhabi’s ruler, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, along with Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, promptly initiated the move towards establishing a federation. By 1971, following a period of negotiations, an agreement was reached among 6 of the Emirates. Ras al-Khaimah formally acceded to the new federation on 10 February 1972.
Visionary leader and Founding Father, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (May he rest in peace) through his tenacity and desire to improve the lives of his people is credited with building a solid infrastructure that the current rulers have since made even stronger.
December 2 (UAE National Day) celebrates national identity and the pride of a nation that has grown tremendously over the past 45 years. Festivities include National Day parades, music, entertainment and more and are enjoyed by both Emirati citizens and expatriates alike.
Quick facts about the UAE.
- Sheikh Zayed is hailed as the Father of the Nation. He was the rst president of the UAE and an outstanding leader. He oversaw the development of the Emirates and steered oil revenue into education, healthcare and infrastructure.
- UAE’s current president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Sultan Al Nahyan was elected on November 3, 2004. This was one day after his father, HH Sheikh Zayed died.
- Although elected by the Supreme Council, the presidency and prime ministership are essentially hereditary: The ruler of Abu Dhabi holds the presidency, and the ruler of Dubai is prime minister.
- UAE oil reserves are the 7th highest in the world. The country has the most advanced and developed infrastructure in the region.
- Islam is the official state religion of the UAE. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, located in Abu Dhabi is the official mosque of the country.
- On 10 February 2016, 22-year-old Oxford and NYU-Abu Dhabi graduate, Shamma bint Sohail Faris Al Mazrui was named Minister of State for Youth Affairs. She is the youngest minister in the cabinet.
- Over 2/3rds of the UAE population live in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
- The UAE is ranked 3rd, behindQatar(2nd) and Finland (1st) on the World Economic Forum’s report of safe countries to live in. (Gulf News, Oct. 11, 2016)
- The UAE has the second largest economy (377 billion) after Saudi Arabia in the GCC.
- The UAE’s win of Expo 2020 is unprecedented in the region.