Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

Sheikh Saif launches ‘Love for UAE’ campaign

Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe have expressed their affection for the UAE as part of a campaign ahead of the 45th National Day.
Children dressed in their countries’ national dress at the launch of the I Love UAE initiative, hosted under the patronage of Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The campaign leads up to the 45th UAE National Day. Christopher Pike / The National
Children dressed in their countries’ national dress at the launch of the I Love UAE initiative, hosted under the patronage of Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The campaign leads up to the 45th UAE National Day. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe will express their affection for the UAE as part of a campaign ahead of the 45th National Day.

The Love for UAE campaign was launched on Sunday by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

Sheikh Saif said that loving one’s homeland was the main motivation for youth to be creative and innovative, and contribute to their country’s development.

The campaign was the brainchild of students taking part in the Khalifa Empowerment Programme for Students, or Aqdar, also sponsored by Sheikh Saif.

Forty-four prominent figures are taking part and officials launched a contest to choose a 45th celebrity to profess their love. The public is asked to submit their expressions of love for the UAE ahead of National Day on December 2.

A video of Mr Abe’s message was played at the launch of the campaign.

“I love the UAE. I congratulate you on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the founding of the UAE,” he said. “I would like to resend greetings from the heart on behalf of Japan and its people, to our friends.”

Emirati Sara Al Senani, who won a bronze medal in the Paralympic Games, was invited by Sheikh Saif to help him launch the campaign’s website and mobile application. She also spoke of her gratitude to the country for the accomplishments she has achieved.

Officials also unveiled a clip of a new song by Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi recorded for the initiative.

Ezennia Chukwyemeka was one of six poets from around the world who were invited to read out a few verses that they had written for the occasion.

The Nigerian expatriate, 27, said he was contacted by one of the organisers and asked: “Do you love the UAE?”

“And she didn’t tell me why she was asking, more or less to see if I have the passion,” Chukwyemeka said.

He was asked to write a poem in his own dialect expressing his love for the country, a task he said he found exciting. Three hours later, he had his verses ready.

“For me I looked at it from a full perspective,” Chukwyemeka said. “If you check outside in America and Africa, there is political unrest. Here there is a sense of peace.”

Local organisations also participated in the launch ceremony. Loay Al Aamer and a group of local bikers were among the participants.

In 2014, they had started a biking festival with people from the UAE and abroad to explore hidden areas of beauty in the country, through a seven-emirate tour.

“Our target is to get all the riders together under one umbrella ‘love for UAE’,” Mr Al Aamer said.

hdajani@thenational.ae

Updated: October 9, 2016 04:00 AM

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