x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Letter to our readers: Day that marks five years of progress and change

From Hassan Fattah, editor-in-chief: Five years ago today The National rolled off the presses, offering a fresh outlook on the nation and the world around us.

Five years ago today The National rolled off the presses, offering a fresh outlook on the nation and the world around us.

We aimed to write about this country and the region as never before, putting the UAE in its rightful place as a regional leader and a rising global capital. We aimed to spark a national conversation about this society's progress, its vision and the things that must not be lost along the way.

Every day, our pages draw on the UAE's narrative of self betterment, progress, accountability and diligence. And in the process we have presented a vision for how our region's seemingly insurmountable problems can, in fact, be solved.

Of course, much has changed around us. Abu Dhabi and Dubai's skylines have grown taller, cleaner and greener. Many of the projects we wrote about then have come to fruition, while others have been reconsidered.

We have seen friends come and go and we have lost some for ever. And we sailed through the turbulent storms of the financial crisis, the Arab Spring and ever more bloody conflict in our region.

The National, too, has changed as we rethought some of our assumptions and listened to you about what mattered and what didn't. Every day you will find our smart reviews and sophisticated coverage of the arts, culture, sport and business taking you from Bollywood to Hollywood. Our foreign correspondents bring you news from around the region, India, as far afield as China.

But after five years we have never forgotten our original commitment to you, the reader: to foster a national debate and transcend surface platitudes on the critical issues. Every day we seek to offer you in-depth reporting, insightful analysis and engagement with the community around you; every day we hope you will learn something new in our pages.

We have led the Road to Safety campaign to focus attention on the dangerous conditions on the roads, and we have championed efforts to combat the scourge of child abuse. We have carried out in-depth analyses on the detention of debtors for writing bounced cheques, and of the need for effective bankruptcy laws. We have visited mothers held in prison with their children and learnt about the challenges of bringing up children with autism. Our Business section regularly moves markets.

We at The National love what we do, and feel privileged that you choose to spend some of your precious time with us every day. Thank you for being a loyal reader.