Thursday, August 12, 2010

Abu who? Dhabi where?

My former boss once opened one of her speeches with this and I thought it was fabulous because this is usually what crosses people's mind every time I say I live in Abu Dhabi.

The funny thing is, ever since I moved here, the question I hear most is: how is life in Dubai?

Let's get one thing straight: DUBAI IS NOT A COUNTRY!!!

I live in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), country located in the Arabic Peninsula, with Oman to the East and North, and Saudi Arabia to the West and South.

This young nation, made up of seven Emirates - Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Qaiwain - was established in 1971, after the Brits, who were here exploring the oil, decided to leave.

The Sheikhs, who at that time were the rulers of each of the above mentioned independent Emirates (with the exception of Ras Al Khaimah, who only joined the group in 1972), figured they would have more strength together, under one and only roof, and elected Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as the first president of the federation of the United Arab Emirates.

Sheikh Zayed led the country for 33 years, until his death in 2004.

Considered a man of vision and one of the key players in the transformation of the country, Sheikh Zayed is extremely venerated and respected by all.

If you take a few minutes to read about the history of the United Arab Emirates and see how much this country has achieved in so little time, you will easily understand why this man is so adored. Even I became a huge fan!

Sheikh Zayed strongly believed that the best way to make a country grow and develop was to invest in its people.

Back when he was implementing basic systems, such as education and health, building a solid economy and managing good relations with nations all over the world, he already had a clear understanding that the oil would not last forever and that he should prepare future generations for a very different era ahead.

His son and current president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is committed to further develop his father's plan to develop the country, especially Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Now... You are probably wondering... If Abu Dhabi is the capital of the country, and also the largest (covers almost 90% of the national territory) and the richest of the seven Emirates, why do I only hear people talk about Dubai?

Dubai became famous for its mega constructions, modern projects, luxury hotels and its capacity to attract a huge numer of investors, international corporations and expatriates to the United Arab Emirates.

Unfortunately, not even Dubai resisted the recent economic crisis that shook the world. The bubble burst and produced a hard reality constituted of debts, companies going bankrupt and cancelled projects, forcing Abu Dhabi to step in to avoid an even bigger colapse. Or so rumor has it...

Seeing all this from the inside, I am positive that from now on the world will hear more and more about Abu Dhabi and its plan for the future, which is actually already designed. It is commonly known around here as the Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan.

More on Abu Dhabi? Check out my next post!

Until then, I leave you with a few of my favorite quotes from Sheikh Zayed:

"A nation without a past is a nation without a present or future."

"There is no glory without the glory of the country and its citizens. We have to be proud of our forefathers who were able to face the harshness of the life with a strong will and dedication to shape a better collective future."

"Wealth is not money. Wealth lies in men. This is where true power lies, the power we value. This is what has convinced us to direct all our resources to building the individual, and to using the wealth which God has provided us in the service of the nation."

"It is my duty as the leader of the young people of this country to encourage them to work and to exert themselves in order to raise their own standards and to be of service to the country. The individual who is healthy and of a sound mind and body who does not work commits a crime agains himself and society."

"On land and in the sea, our forefathers lived and survived in this environment. They were able to do so because they recognized the need to conserve it, to take from it only what they needed to live, and to preserve it for succeeding generations."

"Future generations will be living in a world that is very different from that to which we are accustomed. It is essential that we prepare ourselves and our children for that new world."

"We must not rely on oil alone as the main source of our national income. We have to diversify the sources of our revenue and construct economic projects that will ensure a free, stable and dignified life for the people."


  1. Mari, to adorando seu blog, keep at it amiga!!! Bjs

  2. Amiga, adorei o olhar enigmático do sheik! E adorando ainda mais ler seus posts. Arrasando com altíssimas doses de glamour. beijoca.

  3. Que bom que estão gostando. Eu também estou curtindo muito dividir isso tudo com vocês. Keep reading!