What Does the Future Hold for the UAE?
The UAE combines international prominence with a conscious focus on what’s best for its people and the world, says Sulaiman al-Fahim.
As a business leader and property developer in the United Arab Emirates, I have seen our geographically tiny nation develop a wide global influence. To manage this power responsibly and conscientiously takes both an understanding of the country’s needs, along with those of the world at large.
Few know this fact more intimately than the nation’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, known as Sheikh Mohammed. For over a decade, his leadership has been marked by a strong consciousness about the UAE’s unique place in the world, and its responsibility to set an example through a strong economy, partnerships, anti-terrorism and philanthropy.
As chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the crown prince oversees all that happens within the borders of his continually growing nation.
Leadership in Prosperity
The UAE, blessed with substantial fossil fuel reserves, is forever seeking to grow beyond this ephemeral source of capital and enhance its position in the international order. To that end, bold plans have been enacted, such as Vision 2021.
Launched in 2010, the aim of Vision 2021 is to cement the UAE as a leader in the Middle East and worldwide by developing a formidable knowledge economy, one not beholden to oil reserves but centering true, permanent leadership in education and finance. In Sheikh Mohammed’s own words, the people of his country “are the real wealth, not the 3 million barrels of oil.”
New York University Abu Dhabi, opened in 2010, represents perhaps the Emirates’ most noteworthy step toward international educational preeminence. The keynote speech from Bill Clinton to the inaugural graduating class set the tone for this new generation of leaders, uniquely prepared to help bring the vision of a better world into reality.
Leadership in International Relations
One of the ways to ensure the economic viability of the United Arab Emirates is to forge and sustain strong relations with partner countries. The UAE’s international stance is important not just in the Middle East, but in terms of the world at large. For the nation to reach the goals of Vision 2021 and beyond, its place in the international order must be unyieldingly firm.
The principles of diplomacy put in place by Sheikh Mohammed’s predecessor, Sheikh Zayed, have held strong and been the foundation for the future. The UAE is to be a partner and friend to fellow global leaders, and the cooperation-based partnerships built and grown on his watch are the pathway to a more peaceful world, equipped to handle any problem laid before it.
Partnerships with nations like the US, the UK, France, China, South Korea and many more — not to mention its fellow Arab states — make the UAE ever-ready to engage in constructive international endeavors.
Leadership in Safety
As a leading figure in the Middle East, Sheikh Mohammed has taken a powerful and principled stance against forces seeking to do harm. While the UAE itself has extremely low rates of crime, the international order depends on leading figures to keep a watchful eye on malevolent forces that pass within their purview.
An unmistakable part of 20th-century leadership is ensuring the safety of citizens from the nefarious forces behind international terrorism, drug trafficking and other destructive actions. In this regard, the crown prince has proudly taken a leading stance, overseeing one of the Middle East’s most formidable anti-terror frameworks. Recognized by the UN as a leading force against terrorism, the UAE stands firm against those who wish to do harm to the peaceful citizens of the world.
Prevention being a vital form of anti-terror action, the 2012 establishment of the Hedayah center in Abu Dhabi stands as a monument to the UAE’s commitment to ending large-scale violence by fostering a peaceful international order.
Leadership in Philanthropy
Charitable endeavors, especially for a nation as prosperous as the UAE, must always be a leading concern. To achieve the goal of uplifting those in need, Sheikh Mohammed has been a continual example of generosity and support. Whether fighting disease or threats to nature, his work has always been toward preserving and protecting the good in the world.
In partnership with the Gates Foundation, the crown prince has committed $100 million to the delivery of lifesaving vaccines to impoverished children in the Middle East. His commitment to curing destructive disease goes even further, with a $120 million contribution to the fight against debilitating polio infections. Every child deserves a life unencumbered by disease, and these efforts are helping the international community reach that goal.
Extending his mission to protect the vulnerable, Sheikh Mohammed established his Species Conservation Fund to sustain animal populations worldwide. The fund provides necessary support for conservation initiatives around the world, with an additional goal of increasing awareness of these crucial causes. A generosity of spirit distinguishes these goals, which fit well into the overall drive of the UAE: to leverage the good fortune into being a leading force in a more free and sustainable world.
A geographically small nation with grand importance on the world stage, the United Arab Emirates combines international prominence with a conscious focus on what’s simultaneously best for its people and the world.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.