x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Google doodle to mark UAE's National Day

40 years of the UAE: The Google logo will be replaced by the doodle of a 13-year-old UAE resident on Friday to mark the UAE's 40th anniversary.

Andrew Obama Fathy, 13, a student at Abdel Jaleel Al Fahim School in Abu Dhabi, won top honours in Google's 'My UAE' contest.
Andrew Obama Fathy, 13, a student at Abdel Jaleel Al Fahim School in Abu Dhabi, won top honours in Google's 'My UAE' contest.

DUBAI // A 13-year-old's patriotic doodle will take the place of the logo on Google's UAE search engine today.

On Wednesday night, Andrew Osama Fathy's interpretation of the popular logo was chosen for the site out of 20,000 entries from 30 schools.

Schoolchildren were invited to participate in the 'My UAE' Doodle for Google competition last month by creating a logo that would represent the culture, traditions and people of the UAE.

Their entries were judged on artistic merit, creativity and relevance to the theme.

"I am so excited that my creation will be seen by everyone who goes to the Google website," said Andrew. "I will tell all my friends on Facebook about it, too."

Andrew' design will be on www.google.ae all day today, in honour of National Day.

"I wrote Google in English but wove the word Ittihad (union) within it because it represents the UAE," said the Grade 8 pupil from Abdul Jaleel Al Faheem school in Abu Dhabi.

He said the flag and Burj Khalifa within the design depict the beginnings and progress the country has made.

"The Burj Khalifa is historic and easily identifiable all over the world, so I decided it should be there."

Andrew's mum said he spent a lot of time researching before he drew the doodle. "He read about the history of the UAE and traditions and decided he had to incorporate ittihad and the flag," said Maha Fayez. "He loves to draw and finished it in one day."

Laila Saeed, 15, a runner up in the competition, said she wanted to create something that would connect people with the past.

"I drew the dallah (pot) and palm tree and fort as they signify what the UAE is to me."

"I think this was a very good competition for National Day and doing this for this important day has made me proud," said the Dibba Al Fujairah school pupil.

The first Google Doodle - a creative interpretations of the website's logo to mark a special occasion - was created in 1998 to mark the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, US.

A few years later, the search engine began hosting Doodle4Google competitions around the world for schoolchildren.

Mohammed Mourad the Gulf Regional Manager of Google said they hoped children learnt more about UAE culture through the competition.

"Playing with our logo allows them to create those magical moments," he said. "We asked them to come up with something around two questions: what is the future of UAE and what does UAE mean to you.

"It was impressive to see their creativity."

aahmed@thenational.ae