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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 18 August 2018

Journey of the Union will take 28 gifted pupils around the UAE

The National Day initiative, created by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, aims to teach the children about the achievements of each emirate.
Pupils and parents at a question and answer session with the Crown Prince Court at the Ministry of Education in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National
Pupils and parents at a question and answer session with the Crown Prince Court at the Ministry of Education in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

DUBAI // As the country prepares to celebrate National Day, 28 gifted Emirati school pupils will be travelling across the seven emirates on a journey of national identity.

The Journey of The Union, an initiative from Al Bayt Mitwahid, an association formed by employees of the Crown Prince Court, aims to teach the pupils about the achievements of each of the emirates over the past 43 years and foster greater awareness of the path and strength that shaped the United Arab Emirates.

Pupils from each emirate will take a 10-day bus journey visiting the likes of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and RAK Ceramics in Ras Al Khaimah. They will also meet significant figures from the Federal National Council.

Ruaa Al Shehhi, 16, from RAK was one of the chosen pupils. “It’s going to be awesome. We’re going to meet the people behind the curtains. This trip for us will be like being in the heart of the storm.” She, like her fellow applicants, is ecstatic about the experience.

“There’s still a lot to learn about the UAE and being in the heart of these places means we will learn a lot and meet the people who have witnessed great things in our country, which will give us a point of view that we never saw before,” she said. Her mother, Safyya, says she wishes she was going on the trip.

“I’m so excited for her,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity. The fact they get to know more about their country and meet great people, learning how these people reached that place, it’s great for them.”

Fatmah Al Salami, 15, from Fujairah, was one of the pupils who made the 28.

“There are things that I haven’t learnt in school and some things we just don’t get to see and this trip will show us things we have never seen,” she said.

Although she has been away twice before on academic trips, she said: “I’m going to learn more about my country and I feel I will grow from this trip.”

Rashed Al Kindi, 15, from Fujairah has travelled the Emirates but said: “I want to learn more about my country’s history, the culture. This trip is good because it makes us learn more about our national identity.”

He says that mixing with pupils from other emirates will help give the group a better insight into the diversity among the Emirati population, across emirates and tribal backgrounds.

“Mixing more with people from other emirates will help us learn more about these other emirates; their traditions, as well as us making new friends,” he said. “It’s good to know how they think, their aspirations, what they do with their time.”

At the parents’ evening on Wednesday, the pupils were comparing the way they tied their ghutras, the traditional head dress, with each tribe having a way to fold, to tuck or wrap.

Jawaher Saif Al Gufli, 15, is from Umm Al Quwain. She said the trip “will strengthen our national identity”.

“The name itself is what made me do this. Many people don’t really know the other emirates and the trip will also make us have to be more independent,” she said. If she is chosen, it would be her first time away from her family.

“I’m most excited to see Abu Dhabi as I’ve never been,” she said. “I can’t wait to see Masdar City as everything is new and modern.”

mswan@thenational.ae

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