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Honoring Late Sheikh Zayed’s Ideals of Sustainability and Education on UAE’s 41st National Day

On-Campus Display of Books and Images of Late Sheikh Zayed, Heritage and Traditional Craft Reflect National Pride


Abu Dhabi-UAE: 29 November, 2012
– A massive national flag of the UAE made from recycled material wrapped the Wind Tower, the modern interpretation of the region’s most iconic traditional architecture, as Masdar Institute of Science and Technology hosted the 41st National Day celebrations to commemorate the establishment of the Federation.

Another flag displaying the portrait of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan covered the ramp of the sustainable campus that wore a traditional festive look. The timeline of the UAE’s progress into a modern state depicted by illustrations with images and videos in a specially designated area brought forth the spirit of the union.

The festivities began with the Police Band playing the UAE National Anthem, setting the tone for the day’s activities. The traditional Al Harbeya dance was next on the agenda.

Images of the Late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE, who was instrumental in bringing together the emirates, were on display, emphasizing his contribution to the country’s remarkable and sustainable progress. A dedicated section on Late Shaikh Zayed offered books written about the great leader.

Reflecting the ‘sustainability’ theme of the campus for preserving nature, Masdar Institute students used recycled materials to create the figures of an Emirati male and female. ‘Watani Ana’, renowned for creating the UAE National Flag with fingerprints, encouraged visitors to come forward and contribute to coloring the flag. Giveaways were also distributed to visitors.

Dr Nidal Hilal, Professor in Nano-membranology and Water Technologies, said: “Wise and strong leadership, intuitive planning and objective organization have created a cosmopolitan, prosperous, developed country with an infrastructure built virtually from scratch. UAE is a modern country respecting its roots and preserving natural and cultural heritage emerging as a global cultural hub. Congratulations on the 41st anniversary of the establishment of UAE.”

Dr. Michael Perrott, Professor – Microsystems Engineering, congratulated the leadership and said: “May you continue to transform the desert of your fathers into a green land for your children.”

Vintage was back in vogue as a 1953 Chevrolet pick-up was on display, much to the amusement of the digital-day ‘netizens’. Radio, gramophone, and antique telephones – some items from the bygone era – brought back memories of the days that witnessed the onset of modern technology in the 20th century.

Camel and falcons, integral components of a sustainable desert life in the past, were part of the celebrations. Underlining the concept of sustaining wild life as recommended by the Late Sheikh Zayed, one of the students offered falconry for those interested in the art. Proudly holding a young falcon, he explained the key features of the art of becoming friendly with the falcon.

Traditional sweets and candies that brought back childhood memories were on offer at the old souq, along with souvenirs. Reflecting the UAE’s heritage, traditional games added to the spirit of the day’s festivities. A quiz competition tested their memories of the assembled on the UAE’s heritage and history.

‘Areesh’ woven with palm fronds and other tents exhibited traditional handicraft and Emirati artifacts, while stalls offered local food items such as Rqaaq, Chebab and Lqeemat, prepared on the spot, along with special ‘henna’ painting. Students offered tips on the old art of making incense. Several student groups engaged guests and visitors, underscoring the spirit of Arab hospitality that has welcomed a multitude of nationalities to the UAE. Songs about the UAE continued to echo around the campus, further enlivening the day’s events.

Ameirah Al Dahmani, an Engineering Systems and Management student, said: “The UAE National Day signifies our unity as one nation, one heart, and one spirit. To me, the National Day means Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He was the first statesman to call for a union. A father who had taught us the importance of unity, and who believed in unity as a dynamic mechanism that brings about world peace and harmony. In celebration of UAE’s 41st National Day, I quote the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan "The Union shall forever remain”.

Students Khaled Al Attar and Hamad Al Khateri of the Engineering Systems and Management program recited traditional Arabic poetry to bring an intellectual element to the festivities. Other students engaged the visitors, explaining the key features at the campus and Masdar Institute’s contribution to sustainable development in the UAE.

Khaled Al Attar said: “The UAE represents a union of pride. The coming together of seven emirates reflects unity that is built on sacrifice and respect for one another. Of course, this union was possible only because of Late Sheikh Zayed and the country continues to march ahead under the leadership of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa.”

Abeer Al Maazmi, another ESM student said: “On the occasion of the 41st UAE National Day, I wish many more years of peace and prosperity for my beloved country. I pray that the UAE remains blessed, staying on the road to sustainable development. We are fortunate that our forefathers have laid a path that has brought remarkable success to this great nation.”

Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.

Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.
 

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