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The UAE-China relationship in 2021: A golden year, a golden future: UAE Ambassador to China

BEIJING, 2nd December, 2021 (WAM) — The 2021 is a highly significant year for the United Arab Emirates and as the Emirati people stand in solidarity with global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, ''we are also celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the UAE's foundation on Dec. 2'', Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to China, said.

In an Op-Ed written for China Daily on the occasion of the UAE's Golden Jubilee, Al Dhaheri said: ''The Golden Jubilee is a great milestone for reviewing the UAE's achievements over the five decades. The country has been transformed from a society once reliant on the trading of pearls to a regional economic powerhouse, with technological and ambitions for space exploration. In 1971, the UAE's
total volume of GDP was valued at approximately $11 billion. By 2020, our GDP totaled $421 billion and enjoys a GDP per capita of approximately $43,000, one of the highest in the world.

These achievements did not happen in isolation, but rather through cooperation with like-minded neighbors, partners and friends like China. Our strategic partnerships and engagements with China are making investments into future generations, supported by our national initiatives like "Projects of the 50", "UAE Net Zero by 2050" and China's Belt and Road Initiative. These projects are the cornerstone for the UAE's next 50 years of prosperity and sustainable growth.

This year marks the 37th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and China. The UAE is China's largest export market and the largest non-oil trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa. Conversely, China is also the UAE's largest trading partner.

Currently, our bilateral trade relationship is valued at $50 billion by trade volume and is on track to expand to $200 billion by 2030. This accelerated growth is in part due to the UAE being among the first countries to join the Belt and Road Initiative and our strategic comprehensive partnership. As a result, the UAE is now the largest logistics hub for China in the Middle East and more than 60 percent of China's trade in the region now transits through the UAE.

In the past few years, more than 6,000 Chinese companies have located operations in the UAE and numerous MoUs and agreements have been signed, which have opened new opportunities in areas such as sustainable energy, food and energy security, financial services, education and international humanitarian assistance. The Emirati and Chinese peoples have grown closer through these commercial ties, in addition to our existing cultural and language exchanges.

Expo in the city of tomorrow

Expo 2020 Dubai is an example of the UAE's ability to be an international platform for global exchange. It is the first world expo held in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. As the largest cultural global event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE will welcome over 25 million visitors and 192 participating countries from around the world.

The theme of Expo 2020 Dubai is "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future", which is predicated on the belief innovation and progress are the results of people and ideas coming together in inspiring new ways. Echoing this theme, the UAE is committed to building a meaningful, measurable, and long-term legacy from this event. More than 80 percent of Expo 2020 Dubai's infrastructure will live on and be continued to be used in the future city of District 2020.

China's committed participation in Expo 2020 Dubai is also remarkable. The Chinese Pavilion, known as "The Light of China", is one of the central attractions and showcases China's finest achievements in the fields of science, technology and sustainability. The pavilion is expected to receive over two million visitors, physical and virtual.

The campaign against COVID-19

The mutual trust between the UAE and China has become invaluable over the last 21 months, enabling the UAE to become the vaccination hub and logistics link of the Middle East for China's Sinopharm vaccine. In cooperation with Sinopharm, the UAE has been producing Hayat-Vax, the first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine in the Middle East.

To date, more than 90 percent of the UAE's population has already received free vaccines. While these are already impressive achievements, it is projected the UAE's vaccine production capacity will eventually reach 200 million doses per year.

Innovation and sustainability: Laying a foundation for the next 50 years

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE's visionary founding father, first laid out the blueprint to transform our arid country into an oasis. In the spirit and honor of this vision, the UAE will host COP28 in Abu Dhabi next year.

COP28 will be a great opportunity for the UAE and the world, as we come together to share experiences, standards and technologies. Having announced our ambitious UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, the UAE will further demonstrate our commitment and leadership for climate change among the Middle East and North African nations.

We have launched transformational domestic projects such as the widespread building of solar power plants, ushered in a national transition to eco-friendly EV cars, and have constructed several green cities. Emirati cities today already enjoy solar energy cheaper than any other traditional or alternative fuel sources, and will have access to carbon-free nuclear energy.

Beyond domestic efforts, the UAE has also extended visions for a green future and invested approximately $17 billion in clean and renewable energy projects across six continents.

A golden future

On the date of my country's Golden Jubilee, let us celebrate the progress achieved over these past five fortunate decades, as well as the profound friendship that exists between the UAE and China.

The Emirati and Chinese governments will continue to work to the synergy of our strengths. Whether it be cooperating to keep the world safe from COVID-19 or perhaps planning future joint manned missions to Mars, the future is bright so long as we work toward our shared future for openness, sustainable development and raising the living standards of our peoples.''

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Young Arab Media Leaders Programme addresses environmental journalism, climate change, sustainability

ABU DHABI, 24th September, 2023 (WAM) – Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Chairman of the Arab Youth Center, the activities of the second week of the fifth edition of the Young Arab Media Leaders Programme are continuing, with the participation of 51 young men and women from 18 Arab countries.

The programme included interactive workshops and practical lectures that discussed a variety of topics and issues, including environmental journalism, climate change, and sustainability at the Dubai Youth Center, the Dubai Press Club in cooperation with Google, the Al-Mashhad TV, the Bloomberg TV, the American University in Dubai, the New Media Academy, Al-Bayan newspaper, Sky News, CNN, and the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The programme, which is organised by the Arab Youth Center, is one of the largest training functions that focus on practical skills at the level of the Arab world, in partnership with media institutions and academies, and targets outstanding young people in the final stages of university studies or at the beginning of their professional career after graduation, with the aim of enhancing their skills, building their capabilities, enriching their experiences, and raising their competitiveness for the labor market.

Addressing the programme, Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, Director-General of the Emirates News Agency (WAM), spoke about the tools and requirements for ensuring success and excellence in the media field. He addressed the issue during a special discussion session on the role of media and youth in Arab cultural work where he focused on the importance of acquiring knowledge and continuous learning, and keeping pace with and adopting modern technological tools and artificial intelligence in the media field, and developing the media skills of young cadres through specialised training courses.

Al Rayssi stressed that the media field in the coming stage will face a major challenge as “AI tools and technologies today enable the preparation of content in smart ways, without human intervention, and it has also become easy to insert false information into content that no one notices, and to spread it widely to have negative effects, which requires us to adopt and keep pace with technology in a positive way and harness it to serve the media and society in the right way.”

He added that despite the existing challenges, “the current time is ripe for excellence in the field of media, away from the private and directed agendas of some international media institutions, noting the qualified and trained media human resources in the Arab world that can achieve the goals and aspirations of their countries and contribute to the development of their societies.”

He added: "We need well qualified, specialised media professionals in the Arab world in the coming period, such as the environment, technology, science, and others, who have the knowledge and ability to deliver information and raise awareness of various issues."

Al-Rayssi touched on the importance of providing meaningful content that benefits society and “serves the process of development and progress in the Arab world, and reflects our true values that we were raised on.”

He stressed that it is "an important matter, especially in a changing world, and there are few countries that are keen to keep these values, and it should be paid attention to, especially in the case of media and electronic wars on values in different countries."

At the end of the session, Al-Rayssi answered the questions of the participants, which focused on the role of national media as a tool for conveying the achievements of the country and its civilisational message. The participants also asked about the preparations for the next session of the World Media Congress.

He affirmed that the national media is keen to perform its developmental role to the fullest possible extent thanks to the support and patronage of the UAE wise leadership. “The media carries a lofty message in introducing the world to the developmental achievements of the country and its vision for the future.”

A session titled "The Role of Content in Developing the Tool" was held at the Creative Youth Centre in Dubai. During the session, Saud Al Darbi, Head of the News and Publishing Centre at Dubai Media Incorporated, and Editor-in-Chief of Al Bayan newspaper, spoke about the need for media institutions to keep pace with the developments of artificial intelligence tools. He astressed the importance of elevating the content and promoting professionalism of the media message.
Hanada Taha Thomure, Director, Zayed University, Zai Arabic Language Research Center, spoke about the importance of the Arabic language in the media. She cited examples of media programmes whose content is in Arabic and the impact they have had on the public. She called on young people to the importance of speaking Arabic and preserving it to safeguard heritage and identity.

Al-Mashhad organsed a lecture entitled "Youth and Media: Skills and Opportunities". During the lecture, head of the news department, Jaafar Al-Zaabi, spoke about "mobile journalism" and the most important skills that a journalist should have to keep up with technological developments and competition on social media.

Sky News Arabia Academy organised a number of lectures focusing on developing the skills of participants in "journalism and journalistic writing", "television media", "photojournalism and video", and "media production". Abdulla Jadallah, news director at Sky News Arabia, presented a session in which he shed light on the dimensions of development in the field of media and the modern technologies used. He explained that "the acceleration and development of media content over the past years is mainly due to technological development." He also exchanged with the youth audience on the discussion of patterns of producing influential content and modern media outlets.

Michele Haddad, a presenter and host, spoke the skills of writing, preparing, and presenting news bulletins and reports, as well as the mental skills required in a news presenter. Bassem Kamel, director of Sky News Arabia radio, also presented a lecture on "podcasting".

Google organised a workshop on environmental tools for journalists that discussed the latest technological tools that the company offers to help journalists in their work.

The American University in Dubai held a lecture on the role of the media in achieving a sustainable society. Nezar Ajaj Andary. Associate Professor of Digital Production and Storytelling, spoke about the challenges of achieving sustainability and environmental issues, especially with the upcoming COP28. Sophie Boutros, Executive Director, Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication. Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication, also discussed in a workshop the most important things that a content creator should consider, as well as enhancing values and credibility in addition to developing Arab cinema.

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Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment unveils 136 new villas for citizens in Al Warqaa Fourth

DUBAI, 24th September, 2023 (WAM) — Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment (MBRHE) announced today that it has commenced the allocation of modern residential units as part of its efforts to enhance the living standards of citizens and further enhance social cohesiveness in the emirate.
MBRHE today unveiled 136 modern residential villas in the Al Warqaa Fourth area in Dubai spanning over 728,510 square feet. Part of the framework of the Dubai 2040 Urban Plan, the project features the highest urban planning standards. Work on the project commenced at the beginning of last year.
Omar Hamad BuShihab, CEO of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment, said the completion of 136 residential villas in Al Warqaa Fourth is part of a series of initiatives undertaken by the institution to address the prospective housing needs of citizens and achieve the vision to develop integrated communities that feature the highest standards of urban planning. The project aligns with Dubai’s long-term vision to raise the quality of life and welfare of citizens over the next two decades.
"We are actively engaged in rolling out residential projects across Dubai to ensure the availability of adequate housing and amenities, in accordance with the Dubai 2040 Urban Plan. Our efforts are aimed at maintaining world-class standards, reinforcing social stability, and ensuring a dignified life for citizens and their families,” he noted.
This project spans an area of 728,510 square feet (67,680 square metres) and features a total construction area of 511,250 square feet (47,497 square metres). The architectural designs are diverse, and cater to the varied preferences of citizens. The development is focused on optimal use of both indoor and outdoor spaces, reflecting the establishment’s commitment to premium housing services.
Each villa, varying in exterior façade, has two floors, and is interspersed with paved and landscaped interiors. The ground floor features a family hall, a kitchen, maid's room, laundry room and a guest room, creating a multi-functional living space. The first floor has four bedrooms, each equipped with individual services, facilitating a harmonious blend of shared and personal spaces.

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India’s first Lighthouse Festival opens in Goa

From Krishnan Nayar

NEW DELHI, 24th September, 2023 (WAM) – India has embarked on a novel effort to develop its 203 lighthouses along the country’s sprawling 7,517-km coastline as tourist attractions.

As part of this effort, India’s first Lighthouse Festival opened in the popular tourist destination of Fort Aguada in Goa yesterday.

Fort Aguada is one of 75 such lighthouses along India’s coastline to be developed for tourism in the first phase of this initiative.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his monthly interactive radio address to the nation that “in all these lighthouses, depending on their capacities, museums, amphi-theatres, open air stages, cafeterias, children’s parks, eco-friendly cottages and landscapes will be built as centres of attraction for tourists.”

Making a case for developing tourism facilities around the light house complexes, Modi pointed out that lighthouse Chennai is one of the few lighthouses in the world which has elevators. “Such lighthouses are unique in terms of tourism.”

Modi’s radio address, known as “Mann ki Baat,” translates randomly as “Thoughts from the Mind,” and has millions of listeners, usually on the last weekend of every month.

Inaugurating the festival, India’s Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal, said “while ships continue to be guided for safe sailing by these lighthouses, they will now also offer opportunities to people to relish their magnificent beauty with nature.”

Goa’s Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on this occasion that “Goa has played an important role in India's maritime history. Lighthouses are beacons of hope and symbols of strength.”

The festival has been organised like a carnival with a variety of local artists and dance troupes, culinary and ethnic food stalls, music concerts and similar activities. Historians, archaeologists and cultural anthropologists will participate in discussions on maritime history.

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