UAE Embassy in Washington, DC Celebrates 45th National Day

UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and Dubai Future Foundation CEO Highlight UAE as Hub of Innovation

Washington, DC (2 December 2016) – This year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington, DC celebrated the UAE’s 45th National Day at a gala event hosted by Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba. The event highlighted how the UAE is harnessing innovation and technology to become a hub for business and creativity.  

“In a difficult neighborhood, the UAE is creating a different path that is based on openness, tolerance and cooperation among all people. It’s a model – and a mindset – that emphasizes learning. It encourages out-of-the box thinking in order to meet the challenges of today, and anticipates the needs of tomorrow,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba during remarks at the event. “Innovation is as much a part of Emirati DNA as the welcoming hospitality of our culture. And it is grounded in the vision of Sheikh Zayed, who recognized that we must adapt to thrive in a rapidly changing world.”

According to the Ambassador, young entrepreneurs from across the Middle East region and the world move to the UAE to launch their businesses because of the country’s sophisticated infrastructure; focus on innovation and technology; and convenient location at the crossroads of emerging markets. This year, the Global Innovation Index ranked the UAE as the top country in the Arab world.

Saif Al Aleeli, CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation, also joined the UAE Embassy for its National Day celebration. He commented on the UAE’s use of innovation and investment in human capital to develop solutions to challenges facing the region.

“The UAE’s founders made sure to pass the spirit of innovation on to younger generations, creating in them the desire to innovate, create opportunities, solve challenges and think beyond what’s now,” said Al Aleeli. “We want to be better prepared for the future. We want to understand the future, and harness its potential and opportunities.”

People who attended the UAE Embassy’s National Day celebration viewed a short video that illustrated the UAE’s progress over the past 45 years and underscored how innovation and technology are propelling the country forward.

Evan Burfield, cofounder and co-CEO of Washington DC-based incubator and seed fund 1776, also participated in the Embassy’s National Day. Earlier this year, the company announced its first international campus in Dubai. 1776 will also advise UAE government officials on developing regulatory frameworks necessary to support the growth of new ventures.

“The UAE is looking to drive innovation around problems that really matter,” said Burfield. “That commitment to not just innovate, but to innovate for the betterment of the citizens and the people of the UAE and of the world, is tremendous.”

The UAE Embassy’s National Day celebration was attended by hundreds of guests, including senior US government officials, high-profile media, business and community leaders, and members of the diplomatic community. The event was held at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC.

On this festive occasion, Ambassador Al Otaiba also congratulated UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, rulers of all the other Emirates, and the people of the UAE on the 45th national anniversary of the United Arab Emirates.

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Read Ambassador Al Otaiba Full National Day Remarks Here

Watch "UAE - A Global Hub for Innovation" Here

See the UAE Innovation Infographic Here