Celebrations and high spirits fill all the seven emirates of the UAE as the nation gears up to celebrate its 49th National Day, and we’re taking a look at what the country has achieved this year, in addition to wishes and congratulatory messages by UAE leaders.
“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the Hope Probe!”
In a first for the Middle East, the UAE launched the first Arab interplanetary mission with the Hope Probe taking off on a 479 million kilometre-long voyage to Mars, in an attempt to study Martian atmosphere and its layers that can help answer key questions whether Mars can support life, history of climate on Mars, understanding its geological system’s evolution and the possibility of human exploration.
Since its blast off on 19th July, the Hope Probe completed 137 million kilometres at a speed of 89,330 km/h, with another 342 million kilometres to go.
Hope Probe’s launch followed with praise from around the world, and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa marked the occasion with a light show illuminated on its facade. Check it out:
September 2020 saw the historic signing of the Abraham Accord at the US White House signed by UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and US President Donald Trump, agreeing to normalise ties between the UAE and Israel after decades of political tensions.
Photograph credit: The White House
Prior to the peace deal, the UAE didn’t recognize Israel as a country and neither were its citizens allowed to visit the UAE. However, given the rise of Israel’s booming technology sector in the region and the UAE’s tech-savvy vision to go digital in the coming years, both the countries initially joined forces to explore the use of Artificial Intelligence, thanks to a collaboration by the UAE’s Mohammed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.
What’s more, the collaboration followed with the UAE inviting Israel to open a pavilion at the hotly-anticipated Expo 2020 Dubai, touted as a “portal” to the Arab World.
Both the countries’ tech sectors paved the way for the UAE and Israel agreeing to normalize diplomatic relations, not to mention secret meetings held ahead of the signing.
Following the Abraham Accord, the UAE and Israel are collaborating on a series of developments, including a Coronavirus vaccine, the UAE opening its first synagogue by 2022, Israel flying its first commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi, and a mutual agreement allowing Emiratis and Israelis to travel to the UAE and Israel visa-free.
Bahrain, too, joined the UAE in agreeing to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
Barakah Nuclear Power Plant
Taking a giant step into renewable energy, the UAE inaugurated the Arab world’s first nuclear power plant, Barakah last August, which is expected to deliver 25 per cent of the UAE’s electricity with zero carbon emissions. It’s estimated the plant can produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity and contain the release of 21 million tons of carbon emissions.
It roughly translates to removing a whopping 3.2 million cars from the UAE’s roads every year.
Photograph credit: WAM
In addition to these achievements, the UAE boasts of topping numerous global indexes, ranking first in the world for 23 indexes, followed by ranking among the top five in 59 indexes and top 10 in 106 in countries. Not to mention the 2020 World Competitiveness Annual Report by IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland, the UAE remains the number one country from the Middle East for the fourth consecutive year and ninth in the world.
Lastly, the UAE grabbed eyeballs from around the world of sports as the country played to host the UFC Fight Island, the 13th edition of Indian Premier League and will draw 2020 to a close hosting the season-closing Formula One Grand Prix race at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi this month
Photograph credit: IPL
In time for the UAE’s 49th National Day, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, says:
“This year, the UAE, along with the rest of the world, has faced the severe challenges posed by COVID-19. By the grace of God and the sincere efforts of our frontline teams, the team spirit among our institutions, the awareness of our people, our preparedness and advanced technological infrastructure, the UAE has been able to provide an effective humanitarian model to tackle the pandemic and manage its repercussions. The UAE has accorded the highest priority to people’s health and safety because people are the focus of our development project, and the compass according to which all our plans and strategies proceed. Our approach has won praise and admiration from international institutions.”HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
Meanwhile, UAE Prime Minister and Vice President, and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum shared a heartfelt poem marking the 49th National Day:
(Featured photograph credit: Dubai Media Office)