Sheikh Mohammed's statement on the 38th UAE National Day
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.
I would like to greet all of you on our 38th National Day, and express my best wishes and congratulations on the accomplishments and successes of our country over the past year, led by my brother UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
On this glorious day, I thank and praise God Almighty, and invoke Him to continue to shower us with his divine grace, and help us to succeed in our work, to perform our duties, to strengthen us on the right path and to guide us towards all that will bring good to our country, our people and our nation.
As we celebrate our union today, we recall our forward march and cherish the memories of our accomplishments. Our hearts beat with love for those who are not with us today, but are always present in our hearts filling us with pride and glory. I pay tribute to our father, who founded, built and cared for our nation, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and to his brother, deputy and partner in laying the first brick of our federation, my father, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. May God give them peace in their hearts.
We also remember their brothers, the rulers of the emirates who participated in the foundation of the state, and contributed to making December 2nd, 1971 a milestone in our modern history.
We also pay tribute our first generation of citizens who came forward to dedicate themselves to the nation's work and earned the honour of participating in the foundation and building of the nation.
The faces of the founding leader Sheikh Zayed and his brother and deputy Sheikh Rashid rest warmly in our hearts. From them emerges the history of glory in which we live and which lives in us. They present to us the perfect model, and instill in our souls the values of good character and ethics. They fill our minds with ambition, optimism, humility, will power and determination. They entrench the values of justice, compassion, fairness, solidarity, tolerance, benevolence, love, patriotism and the desire for achievement.
Dear compatriots, it is the will of God that I should recount the details of December 2nd, 1971 and the events that followed the meeting in Arqob Al Sadeera in February 1968, when the two founding sheikhs agreed to form the federation of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Whenever December 2nd falls, I reminiscence about our blessed march towards progress and all the events, people and symbols that followed. Then my heart becomes filled with peace and gratitude to God Almighty for our success, advancement and development.
On this day, with the passing of every year, the records grow, the images emerge clearer, and become increasingly interconnected.
I begin to see more and more. I start to wonder about how magnificent and historic the achievement was on that day. I'm not only referring to the developments in infrastructure and the physical successes that came soon after - although they have their own uniqueness and excellence. I am talking about the vast number of strategic accomplishments that have changed the region's political geography through the emergence of a new state that joined seven emirates by mutual consent and free choice. It changed the social landscape and paved way for the materialisation of a new society and a new identity. It also changed the intellectual landscape by presenting a new model of a promising federation in the Arab world and a people who were eager to embrace unity.
Year after year, these great strides and historic accomplishments gain more significance and importance. They become more established as examples to follow because of their implications, as well as their success in bearing fruit. This is demonstrated by our present state of prosperity and glory, in addition to our ambitions for further success.
Of course, these achievements would not have been possible without the fact that God had set forth for us a meeting with destiny and with the founding fathers. Thus December 2nd became starting point for the glorious march so nobly personified by Sheikh Zayed, who carried in his heart and mind the vision of unity that brought us together. A vision that turned dreams into realities, shortened distances and time, compensated the people for what they had lacked, and rapidly led them towards civilisation and progress.
Here is the march of glory and it is setting foot into the era of empowerment and building the road into a solid future. It is leading the country and its people under the vision of the leader of the march, my brother His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from success to success, from achievement into achievement and from excellence to excellence.
Here is our Union in its 38th year, getting stronger, fresher and more benevolent. Its institutions are becoming increasingly sophisticated and efficient. Here is our country, which has become more developed, its security more safeguarded and its position more revered and more effective at home and abroad. Here is our economy which has become stronger and more cohesive. Our people enjoy the benefits and stability; they rally behind the leaders with love and loyalty and engage effectively and efficiently in all work, thus participating in the building and development of our nation.
Dear compatriots, over the last year the federation has recorded several shining achievements in our march that culminated with the re-election of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the country's president. This was an affirmation of the UAE Supreme Council's confidence in its leader. It was also another expression of the peoples' loyalty, honesty and sincere love for their leader, behind whom they rally.
With this testament, the march of empowerment is heading towards broader horizons, built upon the many achievements accumulated over the years. Today our economy is one of the largest economies in the world in terms of power and stability. This is a consequence of its diversity, its vast potential, its reliance on strategic planning and its adoption of the language and tools of the knowledge age. These qualities give it the ability to react positively to the ups and downs in the global economy and arm it with the efficiency for overcoming crises and seizing opportunities.
Despite the weight of the global financial crisis, the wheels of progress and achievement in our country have not stopped turning.
Our economic prowess is secure and is on the road to recovery, boosted by intense government investment in infrastructure at a national level. This is in addition to the timely completion of large-scale, quality projects such as the Yas Marina Circuit, which positioned the UAE on the map of one of the world's most watched sports. The circuit joined other prominent landmarks of civilisation in our country such as Dubai's metro, which became region's first railway system.
Our winning bid to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was a remarkable success on many levels. For the first time the headquarters of an international organisation is housed outside the developed world. Moreover, this organisation is of paramount importance to all countries, as it is the base of international research efforts towards developing renewable energy technology. IRENA is also the platform where environmentally friendly energy sources are being developed for the provision of mankind's energy needs in the post-oil era.
This triumph was not just a stroke of luck, but was well-deserved. It was the fruit of our country's high standing in the world, and a reflection of the credibility enjoyed by our leadership arising out of sound foreign policy decision making and our much-admired development model.
It was also the fruit of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed's vision to position the UAE as a global hub for the export of renewable energy technology. With that in mind, our country will maintain its present and future position in the world, and provide future generations with the requirements of sustainable development and decent living.
The success is also the dividends of the hard work and direct supervision of my brother His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed in launching renewable energy projects, chief of which is Masdar city. It is also a result Foreign Minister His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed's efforts, leadership and efficient management to fend off the fierce competition to host the agency's headquarters.
Dear compatriots, we are on a march to empower the nation and its citizens, guided by the strategic plans of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa. We are determined to bring about a great renaissance in all areas; to raise our education standards to the highest level; to have the best infrastructure, facilities and services in the world through excellence in government performance.
The political empowerment continues with the expansion of the Federal National Council's authority, thus strengthening its role in the nation and reasserting the Shura (consultation) approach to governance.
The economic empowerment continues through developing legislation, improving the business environment, enhancing quality and competitiveness and increasing emphasis on productive and basic services.
The social empowerment continues with the development of our human resources through quality education and appropriate training. We have initiated development programs to nationalise jobs and expand housing programs.
We are also focused on enhancing the role of women in the country by enabling them to fill their national responsibilities and contribute to building the UAE. Social development is also taking place through the intensification of efforts to address troubling social phenomena such as overt displays of excess and the increasing dependence on domestic workers.
In terms of administrative empowerment, we are moving forward with determination to enhance integration between federal and local entities to increase efficiency at government authorities. This will come about by the effective application of government strategy, the development of civil service legislation, the improvement of structures at ministries and institutions, the initiation of procedures for the transition to e-governance, the launching of programmes for young leaders and the Sheikh Khalifa Award for Government Excellence.
As we swiftly move forward with cultural and knowledge empowerment, we recognise that the UAE has become the cultural capital of the Arab world that is open to all cultures. It has become the knowledge capital with its universities, institutes, colleges and branches of the world's most prestigious universities on its soil.
Knowledge is the visa for our safe passage to future. Culture is the vessel of our identity and values, as well as the framework of our human and psychological equilibrium. It is also an important element in the country's overall development and sustainability, and a tool for building the nation and achieving its goals. It has an active role in the success of the UAE's plans to achieve balance in its demographic structure.
We have always said that national human capital is the underlying resource which is indispensable in achieving the desired balance. So the development of this capital will not be possible, except in an environment that promotes the values of culture, that develops its national self, that values hard work, that respects time, quality and excellence, and that encourages creativity and innovation.
Dear compatriots, tomorrow brings a new year for the federation. We must rally around our leadership and become more certain of its vision and approach. We must be more cohesive and dignified of our union. We must be prouder of our country, more confident of ourselves, more experienced in our world, more able to face challenges and overcome difficulties and surer that there is no distant goal that we can't reach.
Ambition remains the ally of our plans and big goals will remain our objectives. The nobility of our nation and welfare of the citizens will remain the compass that guides us and orientates our work. We will not rest until our people are assured of their comfort and have all the essentials to guarantee the dignified life that they deserve.
You, dear compatriots, are the wealth and weapons of our nation; you are its pride, joy and delight. I know that your motherland is your most treasured possession and that love for your country is deeply planted in your hearts. But, the highest degree of love is self-giving. You are generous people. So gather your thoughts, light up your minds, roll up your sleeves, work hard and take the initiative. Always look forward, and believe that God will not allow good work to go without reward.
When a person performs a good deed, it stands to him, and when he does a bad deed, it stands against him.
And say this: 'Work, soon Allah, His Messenger and His believers will observe your efforts.'Tuesday, December 1, 2009