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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

School pupils earn world record after mass UAE national anthem singalong

Pupils from 119 nationalities at 40 Gems schools in UAE sing National Anthem.
Pupils from Gems schools await the announcement of their Guinness World Record. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Pupils from Gems schools await the announcement of their Guinness World Record. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

DUBAI // The UAE can boast yet another Guinness World Record – the largest number of nationalities singing a national anthem at the same time.

The record was set when 100,000 Gems Education staff, pupils and parents from 119 countries sang their hearts out to the UAE anthem on Monday morning.

Pupils from the company’s 40 schools in the UAE took part in the event at their schools.

“It’s something we are thrilled to have achieved,” said Dino Varkey, executive director of Gems.

“Having so many excited pupils in one place made for a fantastic atmosphere and we are delighted to have got the record for the UAE.”

The focal point for the event was the Gems Wellington Academy in Silicon Oasis, where 4,500 pupils, including those from other schools, took part.

The company came up with the idea after a brainstorming session to find the best way to celebrate National Day.

“We have been in the UAE for 55 years and this country has given us an amazing opportunity to be successful, so we wanted to do something significant,” said Mr Varkey.

The UAE’s long multicultural tradition made it easy to find a wide range of nationalities.

“The UAE has given so many families from all over the world the opportunity to start a new life and seeing how proud the children were to be a part of the world record was fantastic,” Mr Varkey said.

The event was organised online and pupils and staff sang the UAE national anthem, Ishy Biladi, or Long Live My Nation.

Officials from Guinness World Records were present to verify the claim, and other officials checked passports to make sure the record could be verified.

“Today is a celebration of the coming together of the seven emirates and 43 years of achievements, thanks to the vision and wisdom of the UAE leadership,” said Amal Al Bayari, director of government relations at Gems.

Ms Al Bayari, an Emirati, praised the founders of the UAE, in particular the founding President Sheikh Zayed, the late Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed, and their brothers.

She also congratulated the country’s leadership.

“Our world record-breaking rendition of the UAE National Anthem is a celebration of unity through diversity, represented by 119 of the 200 nationalities who call the UAE home, and who are eager to give thanks and acknowledge the opportunities they have been given by our nation,” Ms Al Bayari said.

The company organised the event to promote diversity and reflect Sheikh Zayed’s words on tolerance, said Mr Varkey.

“By encouraging students, parents and staff to take part in our celebrations, Gems is conveying a message to the world – that diversity and tolerance is evidence of a nation’s vitality and proof of its ability to achieve wonders.”

The successful record attempt was broadcast simultaneously to all 40 Gems schools.

Each of the schools was given a certificate after the record by Guinness World Records.

nhanif@thenational.ae