The United Arab Emirates consists of seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ra’s al-Khaimah. In 1971, the late President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan unified the seven Emirates into a federation—the only one in the Arab world. With his visionary leadership, oil wealth was used to develop the UAE into one of the world’s most open and successful economies.
Though small in size (similar to the State of Maine), the UAE has become an important player in regional and international affairs. Strategically located in the Arabian Gulf, and within an eight-hour flight of two-thirds of the world’s population, the UAE is a modern crossroads, connecting East and West. As such, the UAE’s two largest cities, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, have also emerged as regional centers for business, education, culture and tourism.
In 2004, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan became president and has since continued to strive towards an ambitious vision for the UAE. In just over four decades, the nation has transformed from a tribal culture reliant on agriculture and fishing to an entrepreneurial success story with world-class infrastructure. The leadership has improved education, advanced health care and embraced change as the UAE modernizes, consistent with its history and cultural values. Today the UAE is a strong, vibrant and modern nation that welcomes people from all around the world.