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Challenges never deterred us from pursuing our path, says Mohammed bin Rashid

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DUBAI, 1st December 2021 (WAM) – Challenges never deterred the people of the UAE from pursuing their own path, said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

In his statement to Nation Shield, the UAE Armed Forces' magazine, on the occasion of the UAE's 50th National Day, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said, ''Challenges never deterred us from pursuing our path, and our major challenge was to challenge ourselves. We had to prove our ability to establish an efficient country and an ambitious development model.'' Following is the full text of his statement on the occasion: Peace be upon you, I congratulate you on the occasion of our 50th National Day, and I thank Allah Almighty for the blessings he gave us. I also thank him for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the formation of the UAE and its establishment.

Today, as we celebrate the achievements of the country’s first 50 years and appreciate our progress, we commemorate our fathers who established the country and the foundations of its development and prosperity.

We commemorate our father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and words cannot express our appreciation of his leadership and wisdom. Without him, the UAE would have never become a reality.

With gratitude and appreciation, we commemorate the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Sheikh Zayed's partner in establishing the country's foundations on 18th February, 1968.

We also remember their brothers, the Rulers of the Emirates, who supported them and joined them in consolidating the Union.

On this day, we remember the first generation of Emiratis who built the country and worked hard, with loyalty and devotion, to establish the state's institutions.

Even though 17 years have passed since the death of Sheikh Zayed, he is alive in our hearts, and every 2nd December, his presence is consolidated in my own heart. I have worked under his leadership since the formation of the UAE. I have learnt a lot from his values and principles, as well as his decisions and stances. He always aimed to achieve our nation's interests, make our people happy and strengthen the Union.

The late Sheikh Zayed always worked to reinforce the Union and helped establish the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and helped lead the efforts aimed at strengthening the Arab cooperation.

The legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed in terms of leadership and governance is valuable for this country’s generations. It is a lesson in establishing relations with others, reconciliation, crisis management and facing challenges.

Challenges never deterred us from pursuing our path, and our major challenge was to challenge ourselves. We had to prove our ability to establish an efficient country and an ambitious development model.

Over the past 50 years, we have faced different challenges in security, politics and economy. Nonetheless, we handled these challenges with the belief that our national worth is about confidently facing them with faith and optimism. Therefore, we were able to address challenges during the stages of the formation of the country and during the global economic recession, the first Gulf war, Kuwait's invasion, the occupation of Iraq, and the so-called Arab Spring.

Fellow citizens, On this day, we must think about where we were 50 years ago and what we have become.

I assume a big portion of the population under 50 years of age, do not know the complete picture.

There is no time now to make comparisons with figures, facts and events, as this will require many volumes of books. They are documented in words and audio-visual media and are available to the public.

Today, I will address the establishment of the Emirati national identity.

The establishment of the national identity of any people is usually a historically sensitive and complicated process sometimes accompanied by wars and violence, which led to internal conflicts in some countries.

However, the formation of our Emirati identity did not encounter any of this, because the Emirati people are one community made up of many groups united by the same faith, geography, history, culture, values and traditions.

Today, I think about the process of government performance, which started from zero but progressed to establishing ministries, institutions and legislations that were new to the Emirati people. At the same time, there was a lack of sufficient national cadres to take on such duties. Nevertheless, the government raced to implement hundreds of projects, so it was only natural to encounter obstacles, but we overcame all these challenges and trained qualified citizens. Now, our government can compete with its best counterparts in planning, performance and adapting to changes.

I also think about the process of fully developing human resources and urban spaces, to the point where the country is in the first position in the world competitiveness indexes in areas of infrastructure, digital infrastructure, economic diversification, education, health and housing sectors.

The process of building our Armed Forces is one of the best examples in this regard, being one of the main requirements for establishing the country, as it involves expertise in developing human resources and sharpening their skills.

Today, I think about the process that helped our country attain a prominent international stature full of achievements, development and humanitarian initiatives, as well as appropriate stances and policies while promoting the principles of tolerance and coexistence.

Back then, the world started to reshape itself by embracing digital technologies, and we engaged in this field at an early stage by establishing an advanced digital infrastructure that enabled us to begin the era of e-government. We then embarked on the generation of artificial intelligence and realised space is vital for the digital sphere, so we progressed from purchasing satellites to manufacturing them with Emirati minds and hands. We have participated in space discovery missions, determined to be the partners of the international space community.

Our space industries have also enriched our national scientific institutions, enhanced our strength, and created high value-added economic opportunities. The size of the space economy today exceeds a trillion dollars, and this is expected to increase steadily.

Furthermore, we share with the world a growing interest in climate change. Government authorities and departments are exerting significant efforts to address this issue, and we aim to encourage the private sector and the community to exert similar efforts.

Tomorrow, we begin our next 50 in our journey for development, guided by the UAE Centennial 2071 vision plan, the Principles of the 50 and the 10 principles approved by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as guidelines for all UAE’s institutions to strengthen the Union, build a sustainable economy, harness all possible resources to build a more prosperous society, foster positive regional and global relations to achieve national goals, and support peace and stability across the world.

With our successful Emirati model, we confidently set off our rich experience in planning and shaping the future and with our efficient national human resources. We realise that we move in an ever-changing global environment with significant impacts on international relations, national priorities, work processes and living patterns. In the past two years, we finalised the frameworks that would allow us to adapt to such changes and to respond to the needs by making the right decision at the right time and by modifying plans when necessary, in a way that would boost our capabilities to utilise the opportunities and to avoid risks associated with these changes.

Dear citizens The lessons and experiences of the past 50 years continue to inspire us to be more dedicated to serving our country. With you, and by you, we will add new achievements and will take our Emirati model to broader domains. We will continue our progress and our goal to be the number one in all sustainable development indexes.

Congratulations on this day.

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Emirates

Zee Stores becomes Ghitha Holding in strategic expansion

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ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — Zee Stores, the trading and distribution firm listed on the ADX Second Market, has announced that it will rebrand to Ghitha and expand its strategy to become a Key Player in the food industry, which will support the UAE’s food security agenda.

The holding company will add a number of related businesses to its existing portfolio, through future acquisitions and subsidiaries’ formation, which will enhance its core capabilities in wholesale importing and trading fresh and canned foods; packaging; and providing food services to industrial sites such as gas and oil fields. Its ticker symbol will then change to GHITHA from ZS.

The new strategic direction will enable Ghitha Holding to become one of the largest and most important players in the regional food trading sector.

Mohammed Somar Ajalyaqin, Chairman of Ghitha Holding, said, "With the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy aiming to make the Emirates the world’s most food-secure nation by 2051, expanding operations in food and agriculture presents an ideal opportunity to deliver shareholder value through commercial success while supporting the national development agenda. This transformation of Zee Stores into Ghitha Holding represents the next stage in the company’s journey, and through our growing operations we will continue to play an even greater role in this sector."

Ghitha Holding is a subsidiary of International Holding Company (IHC), the Abu Dhabi-headquartered multi-sector conglomerate which has implemented an ambitious strategy of consolidating and listing subsidiaries to transform them into powerful multi-sector operators. IHC holds an extensive portfolio in its Agriculture and Food & Beverage verticals and has developed deep expertise in food farming, trading and processing, empowering it to make significant contributions to the UAE’s food security strategy.

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Emirates

26,189 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered during past 24 hours: MoHAP

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ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has announced that 26,189 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given in the past 24 hours.

The total number of doses provided up to today stands at 23,339,861 with a rate of vaccine distribution of 235.99 doses per 100 people.

The vaccination drive is in line with the Ministry's plan to provide the vaccine to all members of society and acquire immunity, which will help reduce the number of cases and control the spread of the virus.

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Emirates

UAE to head ALECSO’s Permanent Committee for Arab Culture

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ABU DHABI, 24th January, 2022 (WAM) — The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) member countries have unanimously chosen the UAE to head the Permanent Committee for Arab Culture.

Salma Al Darmaki, Secretary-General of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, has been appointed to chair the Permanent Committee.

The decision comes after the 22nd edition of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, held in December 2021 at Expo 2020 Dubai. Al Darmaki is the second woman appointed to this position in ALECSO's history.

The Permanent Committee for Arab Culture is responsible for coordinating the work of various ALECSO member states in cultural fields. The Standing Committee is also mandated to prepare for the Conference of Arab Ministers of Culture.

On this occasion, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, Chair of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, said, "The UAE's selection to chair the Permanent Committee for Arab Culture reflects its pioneering position in the field of cultural and creative industries and is an affirmation of its ability to establish strong communication links between Arab countries."

"The UAE enjoys excellent cultural relations regionally and globally. The impact of its cultural project which aims to enhance people’s awareness and enhance their contribution to culture, comes in line with unique initiatives that reaffirms the UAE’s position as a global cultural hub, and an incubator for creativity and talent. The UAE’s strategic plan seeks to invest in culture as a crucial tool in developing communities and people alike," the minister added.

For her side, Al Darmaki said, "Thanks to the UAE's leadership and their long-term vision that today, Emirati talent is being acknowledged not just locally and regionally but also globally. The UAE has been investing earnestly in its youth, which has been instrumental in the success of young Emirati talent and the achievements of Emirati women. Our leadership's strategy, vision, and continuous guidance and support have helped us reach new heights of success in the Arab region and around the world."

"I will be working closely with ALECSO’s Permanent Committee for Arab Culture to launch new initiatives and projects to strengthen the role of Arab culture in our present and future endeavours," she added.

Al Darmaki has been an Assistant Under-Secretary for Knowledge and Cultural Policy at the Ministry of Culture and Youth since 2018. She has served as a Research Fellow at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development from 2017 to 2018. She was a researcher at the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations in Switzerland from 2016 to 2017; an expert on Social Policy in the General Secretariat of the Executive Council in Abu Dhabi from 2011 and 2016, and a parliamentary researcher in the General Secretariat of the Federal National Council from 2009-2010. She also worked for the Abu Dhabi Government Restructuring Committee in 2008.

Al Darmaki holds a post-graduate degree in International Law from the University of London, a Master's in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom, and a bachelor's degree in International Studies from Zayed University in the UAE.

As Secretary-General of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Al Darmaki managed the campaign for securing a seat for the UAE on the UNESCO Executive Board from 2019 to 2023. She played a crucial role in the first decision submitted by the UAE to the Executive Council of UNESCO on "A Framework for Arts and Culture Education" and the passing of a resolution on the "Building on the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development through Consolidated Action". Some of her other achievements include the declaration of World Futures Day by UNESCO as an annual international day after being proposed by the UAE. The UAE secured a seat in the intergovernmental committee of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Al Darmaki has been working with the national authorities to further the cause of cultural, educational and scientific endeavours, such as extending the registration of the falconry file for the fourth time in the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage to become the largest file in the history of the organisation. She also manages the UAE partnership with UNESCO in the pioneering "Revive the Spirit of Mosul" initiative. In addition to supporting the nomination of Abu Dhabi as a Creative City for Music, she has helped make Abu Dhabi the third Emirate to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network along with Dubai and Sharjah.

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