The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology – the Middle East’s first graduate research institution dedicated to alternative energy and environmental technologies – celebrated the UAE’s National Day early with an afternoon of festivities on Tuesday November 30th.
The celebrations were held on the Institute’s campus surrounding the wind tower – a six-storey structure in the central courtyard specifically designed to bring cool air down to ground level. Students and faculty as well as a number of staff and senior administration officials took part in the celebrations.
Starting off at 1:00pm with the UAE’s national anthem, visitors were able to enjoy numerous activities and attractions throughout the afternoon.
Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, stressed the importance of celebrating National Day earlier in order for everyone who worked there to be able to celebrate together. He stressed the importance of the institute’s mission to educate students to be future leaders and innovators with the breadth and depth necessary to meet future global challenges, thereby contributing to the overall development and general welfare of all the people not only in the United Arab Emirates, but also in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
“Masdar Institute is one of the great success stories of Abu Dhabi – and of the UAE as a whole – and it therefore seemed appropriate for everyone to be able to come together and have a good time, whilst at the same time allowing our international Faculty members and students to learn something about Emirati customs and the traditional way of life here,” he said.
There was a display of Yolla dancing – the traditional Emirati national dance that gets performed at weddings and special occasions, in which men form 2 rows, alternating their forward and backward steps to symbolize victory and defeat in a mock battle scenario.
Also laid on was a display of falcons, camel rides, henna painting and the chance for international visitors to get their picture taken in traditional Emirati costume. Throughout the day, traditional food from the region was served, together with “ghahwa” – Arabic coffee. Emirati students from the Institute also hosted a number of traditional games.
Youssef Al Abd, Chair of the Student Association, said he had greatly enjoyed the celebrations. “It is sometimes all too easy being in such an international environment to forget that you are living in the heart of the Arabian Gulf. The day was well organized and it was clear from the look on everyone’s faces that a good time was had by all,” she concluded.