x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sheikh Khalifa state visit is a live history lesson for Emirati students

Sheikh Khalifa state visit: A group of Emirati teenagers will watch the President's UK visit through the lens of history.

For Aisha Mahmoub, 17, right, and Ghanim Hableel, 18, the state visit will bring their history and current-affairs lessons at school to life. Jaime Puebla / The National
For Aisha Mahmoub, 17, right, and Ghanim Hableel, 18, the state visit will bring their history and current-affairs lessons at school to life. Jaime Puebla / The National

A group of Emirati teenagers will watch the President’s UK visit through the lens of history.

The two-day event, filled with pomp and pageantry, will bring their history and current-affairs lessons at school to life.

Ghanim Hableel, 18, is well versed in the historic ties between the UAE and UK, which he studies at school.

“The treaty that existed before the Union ensured Britain would protect our sea and land borders,” says Ghanim, who is in Grade 12 at Al Khaleej National School in Dubai. “After the UAE was formed, much of the collaboration existed to further trade, education and business.”

He says the UK-UAE Friendship Treaty, signed in 1971, has laid a strong foundation for the cooperation that still exists.

“I’ve noticed there is a rising number of UK expatriates and there are 4,000 British businesses here,” says Ghanim. “Many Emiratis are also moving to the UK.

“It is also a popular vacation destination for most of us.”

Ahmed Al Mansoori, a Grade 10 pupil at the Raha International School in Abu Dhabi, believes the UK’s presence since the mid-1800s has bolstered the nation’s development and given the UAE “a head start in a lot of things”.

“They are still working together to improve trade and look at ways to enhance renewable energy, which is great,” adds the 15-year-old pupil.

For Tala Barham, 15, reciprocal royal visits highlight the progress made by an Arab country. Queen Elizabeth visited in 2010.

“It also leads to a stronger bond between the West and the [Arabian] Gulf,” says Tala, who plans to keep herself updated during the visit.

“It opens channels for more dialogue on common world issues.”

Aisha Mahmoub, 17, from Dubai, is also looking forward to more cultural ties between the two nations.

“It will build a cultural understanding, as we display our culture to the people in the UK, and creates mutual respect,” Aisha says.

aahmed@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting by Vivian Nereim