Expatriates in the United Arab Emirates have praised a country of growth and opportunity as the UAE marks its 51st National Day; an annual nation-wide spectacle to mark the unification of the seven emirates.
It was on December 2, 1971, that the rulers of Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Dubai, Ajman, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain agreed to unite their emirates into one country, under the guidance of the UAE’s founding father and first president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Ras al-Khaimah decided to join the union later in February 1972, becoming the seventh emirate.
On this day each year, UAE citizens and residents celebrate both at home and on the streets, with decorations in red, white, black and green – colors resembling the Gulf country’s national flag.
After last year’s lavish Golden Jubilee celebration, UAE residents said they were excited to rejoice once more, with a long weekend of jam-packed with events, activities, and firework displays across the country.
‘Making dreams come true’
Twenty-eight-year-old Egyptian expat and entrepreneur Mohamed el-Magairy said that after four years in the UAE, he was excited to see what the future held for him in the country as Dubai’s burgeoning business ecosystem continues to grow.
“Dubai offers people the best opportunities for growth, especially for younger generations,” he said. “I have seen a lot of young people here starting up their own businesses and succeeding, and making their dreams come true.”
“Next year will be my fifth year in the UAE and I am really happy here. I love it because it is the perfect mix of Western culture and Arabic tradition, which is something I have really grown to appreciate over the years.”
He added that the UAE offered him a sense of safety that cannot be found in any other country.
“The UAE’s leadership is amazing, they have shown true leadership of how a country should be led and this is reflected in the sense of security we feel here as residents.”
The UAE recently topped the list of countries where people feel safe walking alone at night. A 2021 Gallup report found that 95 percent of residents felt safe in the Gulf country.
“The security level in Dubai, and the whole of the UAE, is very high. I feel very safe and secure, especially because my mother, who is almost 60, lives here and I have that peace of mind knowing that she is safe. This is a feeling that you don’t get anywhere else in the world and this is because of the country’s leadership.”
He added that he was excited to watch the fireworks this weekend, and was looking forward to other events in Dubai Festival City.
Italian expat, fitness influencer and comedian, Stefania Totolo, 33, also said that she initially moved to Dubai two years ago because of its large fitness community, offering her “many opportunities” for career growth.
In fact, a wellbeing study released last week found that the UAE was among the fittest countries in the world, surpassing Spain, the United Kingdom, the US, Australia and China.
“I love it here, I love that people are smiling to each other, always ready to help if you need that. Dubai is very clean – I love that,” Stefania said, adding that the high standard of living in the city has motivated her to stay and continue to pursue her career.