x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Mix of people and safety are a winning combination

An Emirati doctor said security and opportunities helped push the UAE to the top of the list of countries Arab youth would like to live in, according to a new survey.

Dr Khuloud Al Blooshi said the UAE’s mix of cultures and peoples make it an attractive place to live for many young people. Christopher Pike / The National
Dr Khuloud Al Blooshi said the UAE’s mix of cultures and peoples make it an attractive place to live for many young people. Christopher Pike / The National

DUBAI // Safety, security and the multicultural make-up of the population are why the UAE is a favourite among Arab youth, said Emirati Dr Khuloud Al Blooshi, a resident and second year family medicine practitioner.

“We are far away from wars and trouble so people feel secure and safe here,” said Dr Al Blooshi, 26, who works at a Dubai Health Authority primary health centre,

“It is also a destination for many people because they are attracted to our country’s multicultural nature. We have so many nationalities here, and so it is interesting to exchange experiences.”

The UAE was named ahead of 20 countries including the US and Germany by thousands of respondents in an annual Arab Youth Survey asked to choose a country they would like to live in.

Young Emiratis came across as the most confident from 16 nationalities in the survey when asked about their prospects with almost 50 per cent affirming they have more opportunities now than a year ago, compared with the 40 per cent overall figure.

This pushed the UAE to the top of all 16 countries polled in terms of hope for the future.

In response to the survey’s findings, Dr Al Blooshi, said encouragement was Emiratis’ main motivation.

Due to an anonymity clause, the survey’s respondents could not be interviewed.

“Our rulers are always supporting us,” she said. “Especially Sheikh Zayed, as he taught us that women represent half of the community and in order to build our community we have to support women and give them the opportunity to develop. So it is important that we work to help our country and not just for ourselves to return some of the favours our country has given us.”

The younger generation may have different views from their grandparents but citizens are held together by a country that balances modernity with tradition, she believed.

“We may be more modern in our thinking and keep up with development and technology but we will always return to our culture,” Dr Al Blooshi said. “We will always depend on the opinion of family because they have more experience and know better. Elders also encourage us to get higher degrees and go out and work.”

This was in line with the survey, which showed Arab youth embrace modern values, but also still prioritise family, friends and religion.

In the survey, young Arabs cited obesity as their biggest health issue followed by diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

“People are consuming more fast food and do not exercise and this has lead to an increase in obesity and diabetes,” said Dr Al Blooshi.

“The government is concerned and is trying not just to treat, but to prevent this with education and communication with people through campaigns.”

She also voiced findings that young Arabs were choosing online and social networks for news over traditional newspapers and radio.

“The new generation does not have time to read newspapers and magazines. We have all the information we need on phones and laptops,” she said.

“We spend time on social media, and take information from these sites. We are attracted to information available easily on all devices, so you can reach information wherever you are.”

rtalwar@thenational.ae