Every year, on Dec. 2, celebration and festivities ensue to mark the UAE’s official National Day, a day when the seven Emirates united and became one entity. That was back in 1971 and since then the UAE has been achieving some incredible milestones including the construction of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa as well as sending Hazza Al Mansour, the first Emirati woman to space in 2019. Today, it continues to pave a successful path as one of the leading nations across the region.
To commemorate this special day, we’ll take a look back at the most memorable moments and accomplishments achieved by this significant Arab nation.
Hosting Expo 2020
For the first time in history, Dubai became the first Arab and Middle Eastern city to host the World Expo in 2021. With the UAE being a hub for innovation through its multitude of institutions and research facilities including the Dubai Science Park as well as the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park, it made sense why it was chosen as the official site for the world’s largest cultural gathering of over 200 countries.
Under one roof, for 182 days, world countries came together to collaborate and share together the finest in innovation, creativity, and invention within multiple pavilions dedicated to each country. From that event came some of the biggest inventions of the decade whether it’s the world’s first ropeless elevators or 3D-printed food showcasing the power of bringing global minds together in an innovative space.
Launching Its Very Own Space Agency
Back in 2014, the UAE literally took it to the stars by opening up its very own space agency that became a hub for the nation’s space sector. The agency is one that aims to raise awareness about the importance of space technology as well as enhance the nation’s space exploration and research capabilities.
Even before 2014, the Emirate had already launched another prime scientific and technological center known as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC). Since its conception, the center was able to build and operate a wide range of Earth observation satellites and share their findings with other scientific communities and research centers across the globe.
Taking its First Trip To Mars
Marking another first for the UAE and the Arab world at large was the Emirates Mars Mission, considered the very first Arab mission to reach the Maritain orbit back in 2021. This was a collective effort between the MBRSC and UAE Space Agency who worked together to build the Hope probe intended to travel to Mars to provide a comprehensive picture of the Martian atmosphere.
On Feb. 9, 2021, a major milestone was achieved when the Hope probe successfully got past the most challenging stages of the mission after traveling for more than 490 km and officially entering Mars’ orbit. From there, the Hope probe had a significant role on the planet in monitoring weather changes throughout the day and across all seasons. Beyond exploring the Red planet, the UAE has already built a lunar rover called Rashid that is scheduled to undergo the Emirate’s first mission to the moon.
Opening the Museum of the Future
Its name says it all, the Museum of the Future is a place to experience what could be possible, tapping into how our society could develop and evolve in the upcoming years. Opening its doors on Feb.22, 2022, this museum gave its visitors a chance to interact with game-changing technology with each floor of its building laid out like an interactive movie set tackling topics like the future of climate change, health and space travel. Some of the coolest exhibitions to check out include the Digital Amazon exhibition where guests get to discover the hidden world of the Amazon rainforest as well as Journey to the Future exhibition where you can take a virtual trip to space.
The building itself is an architectural marvel having been recognized by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful museums in the world especially because of its unique exterior marked by Arabic calligraphy. It was designed by Emirati artist, Mattar bin Lahej who took inspiration from a piece of poetry spoken by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Receiving Title Of Most Generous Country In The World
The UAE is known for its big accomplishments in the fields of science, technology, and the like but it also receives more heart-warming and humbling accolades with the most significant being its honorary title as one of the most generous countries in the world.
According to the CAF World Giving Index which looks into the scope and nature of giving around the world; in 2016, the UAE made it to the top 10 most generous nations in the world. At that time, it contributed 1.26% of its gross national income to development aid with most of the humanitarian aid allocated to refugees affected by crises in countries like Syria and Yemen.
Whether it’s a technological innovation or humanitarian aid, the UAE continues to be a unique and significant nation that will be celebrated today among friends, family, and loved ones to mark its 51st anniversary as a united Emirate.