Dear compatriots, Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you. I greet you all on our 38th National Day, and congratulate us all for the accomplishments and successes of our country in the past year, led by my brother President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. On this glorious day, I thank and praise God Almighty, and invoke Him to perpetuate his divine grace on us, and help us to succeed in our work, to perform our duties, to strengthen us in the right path and to guide us towards all that will bring good to our country, our people and our nation. As we celebrate today our union, we reminiscence about the march of our life 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 and built and cared for our nation, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and to his brother, deputy and partner in placing the first brick of our federation, my father the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. May God grant them the abode of peace. We also remember their brothers, the rulers who participated in the founding of the state, and contributed to making the 2nd of December 1971, a hallmarkin our modern history. We also offer tribute to the first generation of citizens who came forward to dedicate themselves to national work and embraced the honor of participating in the founding and building of our nation. The faces of the founding leader Sheikh Zayed and his brother and deputy Sheikh Rashid surface in our hearts. With them emerge the history of glory in which we live and which lives in us. They also present us with the exemplary model, which instills in our souls the values of good character and ethics, fills our minds with ambition, sublimity, optimism, humility, power of will and determination, and entrench the values of justice, compassion, fairness, solidarity, tolerance, benevolence, love, patriotism and the penchant for achievements. Dear compatriots, it was the decision of God that I should live the details of the 2nd of December 1971 and the events that have proceeded since the Arqob Al-Sadeera Meeting in February 1968, where the two founder Sheikhs agreed between themselves to form a federation of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Every 2nd of December, I reminiscence as scenes flashing on a screen, our blessed march into progress and all its events, persons and symbols. Then my heart becomes filled with peace and gratitude to God Almighty for our success, progress and development. With the passing of every new year on this day, the tape of scenes becomes longer, the images emerge clearer, and become increasingly interconnected. I begin to see more and more. I start to wonder: how huge and great and historic was the achievement on that day. I'm not talking here only about the achievements of physical importance, which surely have their uniqueness, excellence and international reknown. I am alluding also to a range of strategic accomplishments that have changed the region's political geography through the emergence of a new state that joined the seven entities by mutual consent and free choice. It changed the social landscape and paved the way for the emergence of a new society and a new identity. It also changed the intellectual landscape presenting the model of a promising federation in the Arab region in front of a people who were eager to embrace unity, as the previous models had agonized their consciousness.
Year after year, these huge and historic accomplishments grow in significance and radiance. They become more established as models to follow because of their implications, as well as their success in bringing their fruits, as evidenced by our present state of prosperity and glory, as well as by our ambitions for more glory and prosperity. Of course, these achievements would not have been possible if God had not set for us a rendezvous between history and the founding fathers. Thus the 2nd of December became the starting point for the march of glory that Sheikh Zayed had epitomized in his noble personality, carried in his heart and mind as the vision of unity that closed the ranks. A vision that turned dreams into realities, shortened the distances and time, compensated the people for what they had missed, and led them by hand within a short span of time in the march to civilization and progress. Here is the march of glory and it is setting foot in the era of empowerment and is building the road into the solid future. It is leading the country and its people under the vision of the leader of the march, my brother HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from success to success, from achievement to achievement and from excellence to excellence.
Here is our Union in its thirty-eighth year, getting stronger and more generous. 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 stability, rally behind the leaders with love and loyalty and engage effectively and efficiently in all works, thus participating in the building and development of our nation. Dear compatriots, The federation's last year recorded several shining achievements, culminating with the re-election of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the country's president in a reaffirmation of the confidence of the UAE Supreme Council in its Head. It was also another expression of the loyalty of the people, the honesty of their nationality and the sincerity of their love for their leader, behind whom they rally. With this precious testimonial the march of empowerment is heading towards wider horizons relying upon the achievements accumulated over the years in all areas. Today our economy is one of the largest economies in the world in terms of power and stability due to its diversity, its vast potential, its reliance on strategic planning, its adoption of the language and tools of the Knowledge Age. These qualities gave it the ability to interact positively with the ups and downs in the global economy and provided it with the efficiency for overcoming the crises and for taking advantage of opportunities. In spite of the weight of the consequences of the global financial crisis, the wheel of progress and achievement in our country has not stopped turning. It safeguarded the power of our economy, placed it on the road to recovery and boosted it by way of the intensification of government investment in infrastructure at the national level. This is in addition to the timely completion of huge quality projects such as the Yas Circuit which put the UAE on the map of one of the world's most watched sports, and like the Dubai Metro, which joined the prominent landmarks of civilization in our country and introduced a railway systema for the first time into the infrastructure of the region's cities. Our winning of the bid to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was a remarkable success on more than one level. For the first time the headquarters of an international organization is housed outside the developed world. Moreover, this organization is of paramount importance to the entire world as it is the umbrella of the international effort in research and technologies of renewable energy, and a platform to develop environmentally friendly energy sources for the provision of mankind's energy needs in the post-oil era. This victory was not a stroke of luck, but was well-deserved. It is the fruit of respectable status enjoyed by our country in the world, and the fruit of credibility enjoyed by our leadership, by our foreign policy and our development model as well as our economic methodology. It is also the fruit of the vision of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed to make UAE a global hub for the export of renewable energy technologies, and to allow it to remain a major source of energy both in the presence of oil as well as after its depletion. With that, our country will maintain its position in the world, ensure an effective presence in the future, and provide the future generations with the requirements of sustainable development and decent living.
This win is also the fruit of hard work and the direct supervision of my brother Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed for the launch of renewable energy projects, at the helm of which is the Masdar city. It is also the fruit of the efforts made by Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, his successful leadership and his efficient management in face of the fierce competition to host the headquarters of the agency. Dear compatriots, we are determined to achieve a great renaissance in all areas, to attain the highest levels in education, to excel in our infrastructure, facilities and services and to the best known practices in the world with the excellence in government performance. The political empowerment continues with the expansion of the powers of the Federal National Council, strengthening its role on the national stage and reasserting the Shoura (Consultation) approach to governance. Economic empowerment continues through the development of legislation, improvement of the business environment, enhancement of the levels of quality and competitiveness, and increasing emphasis on productive sectors and the basic services. Social empowerment continues through the development of our human resources through quality education and appropriate training, programs to nationalise jobs and expansion of housing programs. It also continues through the enhancement of the role of women enabling them to take up national responsibility. Social empowerment is also continuing through the intensification of efforts to address troubling social phenomena like excessive attention to showing-off and increasing dependence on domestic workers. On the side of administrative empowerment, we are moving forth with strong will for enhancing integration between the federal and local frameworks, for raising the efficiency of government authorities through the effective application of the government's strategy, the development of civil service legislation, improvement of the structures of the ministries and institutions, initiation of procedures for the transition to e-governance and launching of programmes for young leaders and Sheikh Khalifa Award for Government Excellence. And we move forward at a fast pace in the process of cultural and knowledge empowerment, especially since the UAE has become the Arab cultural capital that is open to the cultures of the world. 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 the 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 overall development and its sustainability, and an element for building the national model and achieving its goals. It has an active role in the success of the country's plans to achieve the balance in demographic structure. We always said that the national human capital is the main element which is indispensable in achieving the desired balance. So the building of this capital, its development and the expansion of its base encompassing all citizens, men and women, will not be possible except in an environment that radiates with the values of a culture that develops national self, grows upholding work, sanctifies the respect for time, quality and excellence, and encourages creativity and innovation. Dear compatriots, we will receive tomorrow a new federal year rallying around our leadership, becoming more certain of its vision and approach, more unified, integrated and dignified of our union and more proud of our country, more confident of ourselves, more experienced of our world, more capable to face challenges and overcome difficulties and more faithful that there is no distant goal that we can't reach and sublime position that we can't conquer. Ambitions will remain the ally of our plans, big goals will remain our objectives, 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 ensured their comfort and all the requirements that guarantee a dignified life they deserve. You, dear compatriots, are the wealth and weapon of our nation, you are its pride, joy and delight. I know that your motherland is the most cherished thing you have and the love for your country is deeply planted in your hearts. But the highest degree of love is self-giving. You are the people of generosity. So gather your thoughts, light up your minds, roll up your sleeves, work hard and take initiatives, always look forward, and believe that God will not let good work go without reward. When a person does a good deed, it stands for him, and when he does a bad deed, it stands against him. And Say: Work, soon will Allah observe your work and His Messenger and the believers'. *WAM