Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

President Sheikh Khalifa hails education as 'path to the future' in National Day address

UAE leaders celebrate the country's history and look to the future as nation prepares to mark 48th anniversary

President Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, at Al Rawda Palace in 2013. Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed addressed the country before the 48th National Day. Wam    
President Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, at Al Rawda Palace in 2013. Sheikh Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed addressed the country before the 48th National Day. Wam    

Education, young people and human rights are the cornerstones of national development, President Sheikh Khalifa said on the eve of the UAE’s 48th National Day.

In a wide-ranging address, Sheikh Khalifa reflected on the education sector, Emiratisation, entrepreneurship and space travel.

He said the goal of the country’s leadership was to make the UAE the best and most secure place it can be for all sections of society.

“In the UAE, economic growth indicators, although very important, have never been measured by the amount of success made in the goods produced or services offered but by the quality of life and the added value offered,” Sheikh Khalifa told National Shield, the magazine of the Armed Forces.

“They are also measured by balanced and sustainable development and by the job opportunities created and training provided. Our goal is to make our country the best and most secure place for all community members.”

More than half of the Dh60.3 billion federal budget of 2019 was allocated to education and community development. The President pledged “education will remain a priority and our path to the future”.

Emiratisation is “a true measure for success”. He said: “By Emiratisation, we do not mean the mechanism for employing nationals, but rather a tool for enabling.”

To that end, the Cabinet has approved a national fund for Emirati jobseekers and guaranteed Emiratis in the private sector a comparable pension.

Young people have been at the forefront of government policies, with Cabinet resolutions to increase their participation in private companies and government. In addition, the government has prioritised support for small and medium-sized businesses, and investment in the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as artificial intelligence and robots, and the space industry.

The voyage of first Emirati to space was a “monumental achievement”, the President said.

“What Hazza Al Mansouri achieved represents the first phase of the UAE’s ambitious space programme for the next 100 years, which aims to enhance the country’s stature as a global platform for space research and projects to support sustainable development,” Sheikh Khalifa said.

While the country looks to the future, the preservation of heritage and national customs remains “the driving force of our journey and the bridge connecting us to the people of the world”.

The rule of law and human rights are the foundation for economic and social development, he said.

Our goal is to make our country the best and most secure place for all community members

Sheikh Khalifa

“We also look at security as a key measure for economic and social development. There is no development without sustainable security, without the rule of law and without respect for human rights.”

Emiratis have made the UAE a model for tolerance and peace, the President said.

“You have been instrumental in making your country a global role model for tolerance and sent a strong message to the world that people can peacefully co-exist if they adopted tolerance as a way of life,” Sheikh Khalifa said.

“Tolerance is a key value in our religion of Islam. It does not mean submission or leniency but helps ensure justice, impartiality, acceptance of others and equal opportunities under internationally recognised laws, rights and freedoms.”

In foreign policy, the UAE will continue its longstanding approach of active engagement to eliminate poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy. Sheikh Khalifa thanked the country’s soldiers, saying the Armed Forces will continue to enhance their capabilities.

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Gallery: How far the UAE has come

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He concluded: "May Allah the Almighty keep you safe and bring joy and happiness to you all.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said the drive and ambition of the Emirati people ensured that nothing is impossible for the country’s future.

“As Emiratis bask in pride and satisfaction with the achievements and successes of their country, I am sure that they also carry a full sense of responsibility for preserving, developing and growing those achievements,” he told National Shield.

“The Spirit of the Union that runs through us has rendered the word ‘impossible’ void in our dictionary, and with that, we have turned making achievements into a way of life, and made progress a part of our plans and actions.

“We will continue to deliver the future for our generations to come. The occasion we are celebrating today is teeming with myriad lessons that we have learned from our Founding Fathers, who instilled in us an ambition and will to cope with the changes in the world and to utilise our full potential.”

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said the UAE should place no limit on its ambitions.

“On this historic day, we remember everyone who lay a brick in building our homeland and all those who toiled for the UAE to attain the progress and prosperity that is the envy of the whole world,” Sheikh Mohamed told National Shield.

“The UAE is entering the future with optimism, and our belief that we are on the right path has been reaffirmed.

“Our country sets no limits to its aspirations and trusts in its abilities, potential and unity. It bets on its children, whom it regards as its most precious asset and an assurance of a bright future. The UAE opens its doors to co-operate with all those who desire the prosperity of mankind.”

Updated: December 2, 2019 11:41 AM

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