40 UAE Facts for 40 Years
The UAE Embassy in Washington, DC will be sharing, via Twitter, 40 facts about the UAE in honor of the 40th UAE National Day. We encourage you to share your favorite facts about the UAE, using the hashtag #UAE40Facts so that we can retweet our favorites.
As we celebrate the 40th UAE National Day, we reflect on the spirit that ties us together, the Spirit of the Union that enables millions of people to coexist and build lives together. The Spirit of the Union is derived from the vision and leadership of the Late Sheikh Zayed and now lives on through His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and his fellow leaders of the nation’s Emirates who are shaping the UAE’s future.
It is the spirit that binds the cosmopolitan community of the UAE, connecting us under one banner, one flag, but with many voices. It is the Spirit of the Union that celebrates our culture and heritage, and yet shapes our future. This spirit needs to be celebrated and shared by all citizens and residents of the United Arab Emirates.
1) The UAE’s National Day is celebrated on December 2nd of each year and marks the unification of the emirates into a federation.
2) The UAE is a federation made up of 7 emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ra’s al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Fujairah.
3) The UAE was founded under the visionary leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, known as the father of the nation.
4) The UAE has a literacy rate of 93%.
5) The falcon is the UAE’s national symbol. Falconry is at the heart of Emirati culture and is a popular pastime.
6) UAE customers purchased $11.64 billion in US goods in 2010, making it the largest export markets for US goods in the Middle East.
7) Women in the UAE account for about 70 per cent of all university graduates in the country and fill around two thirds of government jobs.
8) The UAE is home to over 40 churches and cathedrals as well as additional places of worship for other faiths.
9) Over 12 million tourists visit the UAE per year; tourism now accounts for over 10% of the nation’s GDP.
10) Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi will be home to a new cultural complex, housing eight museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the largest Guggenheim museum in the world and Zayed National Museum.
11) Masdar City, Abu Dhabi is the world’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste, car-free city.
12) UAE Armed Forces work to improve security and stability alongside US and other coalition forces in Afghanistan. The UAE has provided $1.5 billion dollars over the last decade for rehabilitation and reconstruction programs.
13) The UAE hosts more than 2,000 US military personnel.
14) Dubai is the busiest foreign US Navy port of call and Abu Dhabi is home to the Joint Air Warfare Center, where UAE and US pilots regularly train together.
15) The UAE is only one of three countries – and the only Arab nation – to participate with the US in five coalition actions over the last 20 years: Somalia, Bosnia, First Gulf War, Afghanistan and Libya.
16) The UAE trains women as muftis – Sunni Muslim scholars who interpret Islamic law.
17) The UAE resident population consists of 200 nationalities and while Arabic is the official language, other commonly spoken languages include English, Farsi, Hindi, Urdu.
18) The UAE is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
19) A number of international universities have programs in the UAE, including: the Sorbonne, New York University, John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
20) To become a major center for world-class healthcare, the UAE has partnered with leading global institutions, including: the Cleveland Clinic, John’s Hopkins Medical School and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
21) In 2005, the UAE became the one of the first major oil-producing countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Convention on Climate Change.
22) More than 750 US firms have a presence in the UAE, from Bechtel and ExxonMobil to Starbucks and Cold Stone Creamery.
23) Every state in the United States exports to the UAE, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
24) The UAE is the largest customer for Boeing commercial passenger aircraft. Customers include Emirates Airlines, which is the world’s largest operator of 777 aircraft and the only airline to operate every Boeing model type; Etihad Airways (purchasing 45 Boeing 777 and 787 passenger jets valued at $9.4 billion); Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (100 airplanes valued at $10.9 billion); FlyDubai (54 airplanes at a catalog price of $4.2 billion); and RAK Airlines (four airplanes).
25) The UAE has funded disaster relief efforts across the globe: for Tsunami Relief ($100 million); Pakistani Earthquake Relief ($100 million); and Hurricane Katrina Relief ($100 million).
26) There are more than 50 weekly nonstop flights to the UAE from 6 different US cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC).
27) More than 30,000 Americans reside in the UAE.
28) Women in the UAE form two-thirds of government sector workers and make up 20% of the diplomatic corps.
29) In 2011, the UAE deployed a dozen fighter jets for combat missions in Libya under NATO command.
30) The Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi hosts the Formula One Grand Prix.
31) In 2009, the UAE became the first country in the Middle East to host the FIFA Club World Cup tournament.
32) In 2004, Sheikha Lubna Al Quasimi, the Minister of Foreign Trade, was appointed as the UAE’s first woman minister.
33) Sir Bani Yas, a natural island located off the coast of the UAE’s Western Region, was originally home to Arabia’s largest wildlife reserve and boasts the archeological find of the oldest pre-Islamic Christian site in the UAE.
34) Prior to the 1930s, pearling was Abu Dhabi’s most important industry and primary source of income.
35) In 1998, Sharjah was named the “Cultural Capital of the Arab World” by UNESCO.
36) Sharjah was named the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014 by the Organization of Islamic Countries.
37) Ski Dubai is the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East and has 22,500 square meters covered with real snow for skiing.
38) In 2011, Image Nation, a UAE based film production company, co-produced two top US box office films: Contagion and The Help.
39) The UAE hosts leading international film festivals, including the annual Dubai International Film Festival and Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
40) Sara Al Qaiwani, the first ever Emirati opera singer, performed with Carnegie Hall in 2011. Watch her story here.