Mohamed bin Zayed: 2nd of December is a day that will be remembered forever

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has said that the 2nd of December is a day that will be remembered forever; a day that witnessed the establishment of a country that would become, within just a few decades, a model of successful state building and a fine example of a united and cohesive nation.
 
In a statement to Nation Shield magazine on the occasion of the UAE’s 46th National Day, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed added that the UAE has become a source of inspiration for states that seek unity, progress and excellence and for states that aspire to overcome challenges and step confidently into the future. In that, he said, the UAE truly serves as a role model not only for the region's countries, but for the rest of the world.
 
"Brothers and Sisters
 
Some days in the history of nations are remembered forever - and the 2nd of December is such a day in the history of the United Arab Emirates. This is a day that is associated with a fond memory that lives deep in the heart and mind of each and every single UAE citizen – it is the day that witnessed the founding of our beloved country; it is  the day that saw the establishment of a country that would become, within the space of just a few decades, a model of successful state building and a fine example of the united and cohesive nation. Indeed, the UAE has become a source of inspiration for states that seek unity, progress and excellence and for states that aspire to overcome challenges and step confidently into the future. In that, the UAE, truly, serves as a role model not only for the region's countries, but for the rest of the world.
 
As we celebrate this glorious day, we remember, with our hearts filled with pride and appreciation, the Nation's Founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his brothers the Founding Fathers, who, together, built a great nation, a nation that is based on universal values. It is upon the strong foundations that our Founding Fathers laid that our country developed and will keep prospering.
 
Brothers and Sisters
 
We should celebrate the 46th National Day by reflecting on the experience of our Founding Fathers, who, collectively, provide us with a wealth of knowledge that we should learn from. We should learn from them how to sharpen our sense of belonging to our homeland, how to work together so that our country remains strong and united, how to work together to keep our country safe and stable, how to provide for our people the means of a prosperous life, how to plant the values of loyalty to our country and people in everyone's heart, how to teach our people that our own lives are of little value when it comes to defending the integrity of our nation.
 
The 2nd of December visits us every year to remind us of our national values, which teach us that sacrifice for the sake of our country and work for the sake of its progress should be the highest and noblest of goals that we should all strive to reach. This day should fuel all of us with an inexhaustible energy to do more and to work harder to preserve our national heritage that was bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers; to do more to keep the UAE a beacon of unity and strength and a center of charity and unconditional giving that extends to the entire human race.
 
As we mark the 46th Anniversary of the founding of our nation, we also remember the great achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE, and his brothers, the Rulers of the Emirates. We remember their historic role in creating and strengthening our union. This year, we have the more reason to rejoice because our celebrations coincide with an initiative by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan that has declared 2018 as the "Year of Zayed" to mark 100 years since the birth of the country's founder. Truly, Sheikh Zayed is celebrated as a universal symbol of charity and unlimited giving and global proponent of peaceful coexistence among all nations.
 
Brothers and Sisters
 
On this auspicious occasion, we renew our pledge that we will stay on the path that was first trodden by Zayed and his brothers - the founding fathers - and that we will save no effort to foster and strengthen our unity and cohesiveness. As we renew this solemn pledge, we realise that our unity is the source of our strength in the face of adversities, that our unity is the point from which we move into building and growing our nation, that our unity is the most important guarantee that we have to maintain the state of security and stability that our country has enjoyed for decades. Maintaining this stability is more pressing than ever as nation states, in many parts of the world, face challenges to their very existence.
 
We will work together so that our country remain united, as it has always been; we will work together to keep it as a symbol, as a role model of the successful federal state not only in our region but across the globe. We will do this by developing its different institutions and enhancing the work of the government so that it to keep up to date with the requirements of development. This is the path that our country will take so that it remains young and prosperous, so that its people enjoy a life of peace and prosperity, so that we keep our country in the vanguard of great nations.
 
Our aspirations for our nation have no limits; our ambitions are boundless.
 
We aspire to be one of the best states in the world in all fields because we believe that the wheel of development is not limited to a specific culture or civilisation. Rather, we believe that development is a right for all countries to enjoy as long as they have a strong will and a true driving force. Once a nation arms itself with knowledge and science, once it believes in the capabilities and talents of its people, once a state creates for its people the right environment that embraces their innovations -  once all of that happens, the state will become a developed one in every sense of the word.
 
It is because of this that we look to the future of our nation with full confidence and optimism; we see the future of our nation not only as a developed one, but also as a nation that contributes to the enrichment of human civilisation and its development.
 
Indeed, we are able to place our country on the map of the best countries of the world in different fields in the coming years. We are already moving in that direction because we have drawn up the right plans, came up with accurate outlooks, trained our sons and daughters and enabled them to be future leaders in different areas; we are moving in that direction because we have developed the way our government works so that it is able to deal with the requirements of development.
 
Brothers and Sisters
 
The high rankings achieved by the UAE in international indices - compiled by distinguished global institutions in areas of competitiveness, development, happiness, investment in both people and infrastructure - surely boost our confidence that we are moving in the right direction, which has been set down for our country under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa and the support of his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and their brothers Their Highnesses the members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates. But as much as these achievements satisfy us, they also put us in a perpetual state of self-challenge, not only to maintain them, but also to build on them and to add new successes that help boost the UAE's leading position in the world's map.
 
Indeed, we are capable of positioning our country among the world's most developed nations within the coming years. Just as the Nation's Founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the other Founding Fathers, bequeathed to us a young and powerful country that made us proud to be part of it before the entire world, it is our responsibility to hand it to future generation as one of the best countries in the world. It is in this spirit that I and my brother Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the "UAE Centennial 2071" project at the end of the First Annual Government meeting in September 2017. In its essence, the "UAE Centennial 2071" reflects the ambition of the UAE to be a global pioneer. It includes major goals and mechanisms that will help us continue in the journey of construction and development, that will help us work to secure a better future for the coming generations, that will help us elevate the status of the UAE among the world's most developed nations.
 
Brothers and Sisters
 
We are betting on the young sons and daughters of the UAE to execute the goals of the "UAE Centennial 2071"; to turn the grand plan into a reality.
 
Our young are our true and perpetual wealth, they are the pillars on which our renaissance stands, the pivot of our development and the leaders of the future. Our young have already proven that they are fit to carry this great responsibility, being already armed with knowledge and confidence. We will continue to develop their capabilities by providing them with first-class education that will help them develop their talents and utilise their positive energies; an education that qualifies them to deal with and lead the UAE's post-oil economy, towards which we have already been working for many years. They will lead a post-oil economy that is based on science and knowledge.
 
Make no mistake that, while we bet on the strength of our young to venture into the future, armed with their knowledge and qualifications, we are also keen on sowing high moral values in the hearts and souls of our young so that the symphony of knowledge and morality is orchestrated masterfully.
 
Undoubtedly, high moral values help maintain the stability and balance of societies, because, no matter how developed nations become, their development and success will always be fragile if it is not based on a solid moral grounding. The UAE has always been a nurturing home for tolerance and a deep-rooted value system, which we work hard to instil in our current and future generations.
 
Brothers and Sisters
 
As we celebrate today the limitless giving of our Founding Fathers, who laid down the foundations of the UAE and built its pillars, we can never forget our martyrs who sacrificed their own lives in defense of our nation, in defence of our values, in defence of our way of life. Indeed, they went far and beyond the call of duty and proved to all that the UAE and its people are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice in support of its friends and allies in time of crisis. Truly, the heroic actions of our martyrs on the battlefield will be written in letters of light and will always be a bright page in our history and the history of Arab and Muslim nations. Their sacrifices unmistakably show that when the people of the UAE respond to the call of duty, they spare no effort in safeguarding our homeland and protecting their right to development and stability.
 
The Arab world faces today an intertwined set of threats and challenges, namely the menace of terrorism and extremism, the escalating sectarian tension, the continuous attempts by foreign parties to meddle in the region's internal affairs; these are parties that aim to achieve their own agenda and ambitions at the expense of the region and its peoples. Under these conditions, the Arab states need, today and more than ever, to promote their cooperation and common action. Their increased and effective cooperation is needed not only to face these challenges, but also to change the bitter realities that the peoples of the Arab world are facing on a daily basis. It is imperative that we bring the Arab peoples hope and to boost their morale, it is important that we do not leave them a vulnerable prey to extremist groups and terrorist organisations, which seek to brainwash the young and bring them up under the dark shadow of their nihilist ideologies.
 
It is now, more than ever, a pressing need that the Arab peoples, the young in particular, know that these ideologies are maiming the beautiful and shining face of our faith, that the version of Islam that they have produced has nothing to do with the true Islam that rejects extremism and encourages tolerance, moderation and peaceful dialogue among all people.
 
Therefore, we will continue to do all in our power to confront these groups and those who stand behind them, support them or incite them to carry out acts of hatred and terror. We will do so armed with a comprehensive strategy that is based on boosting the values of tolerance, moderation and acceptance of others; a strategy that is based on reforming existing religious discourse and promoting the true, civilised face of Islam. We will do so through effective participation in any reginal or international efforts to confront the dark forces of extremism and terror, because we believe that the war on extremism and terrorism is a war that must be won. We should emerge out of this war victorious because it concerns the very safety and well-being of the peoples of the region. Undoubtedly, this is a war that concerns the entire world, because the menace of terror makes no exceptions and targets all of us. Therefore, fighting terrorism should be a joint and comprehensive global effort.
 
The UAE realises its historic responsibility to stand by its friends and allies, to help them overcome their plights and crises. We will spare no effort to provide any form of support that helps to make the region and the entire world a better place, because we believe that security is the bedrock of development.
 
We live in a world that is fraught with accelerating changes in all areas and we cannot, therefore, live in isolation. It is because of this that we believe in the importance of opening up to others and the importance of learning from the successful experiences of others in all fields of technology and development. As a result, we are working on diversifying our foreign policy by making it open to all of the world's countries. Our foreign policy is based on building effective relationships with the major powers in a way that promotes our country's position on the map of the world's advanced economies and boosts its active participation in both the regional and global arenas.
 
Brothers and Sisters: On this eternal day, we renew our pledge to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan that we will do our best to meet the aspirations of our people, to work with sincerity and dedication for the sake of our homeland, so that it remains a symbol of giving and charity, so that it remains a beacon of tolerance and coexistence and so that it continues to carry the torch of hope.
 
Happy National Day"

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