„Wealth and power are a blessing. However, they can also be a curse, if not applied to the good of the people, their prosperity, and stability”, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan once said about the future of the United Arab Emirates. This is just one of the many distinctive and prospective quotes of the former President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi. With an opening ceremony on 7 May, the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Berlin honored the driving power behind the UAE’s emergence as a state on his 100th birthday.
The intimate, culture-oriented event’s focus was set on the Sheikh’s life and his teachings and was determined to showcase how the convictions and visions of the philanthropist Zayed helped shape the nation and its spirit as it is today. Within a mere 47 years after its founding, the UAE has evolved in an unparalleled manner, and has become one of the most
developed countries in the world, with happy and contented citizens and other residents, as well as sustainable growth in many other fields. To a similar extent, its impressive growth in gender equality and in the political and economic empowerment of women – up to this day - are regarded as being substantially originating from Sheikh Zayed’s long-term vision for the UAE and its people. A film shown during the Embassy reception highlighted these facets and trajectories of Zayed’s life that led him to become one of the most loved and widely revered figures in the country and the entire region.
With this in mind, the evening continued with the Syrian actor Bassam Daoud reading aphorisms of the Sheikh, who passed away in 2004, on topics such as gender equality, the issues of youth, and the future of the Arab world. A special atmosphere was created by the beautiful Oriental music played by Oud musician Athil Hamdan and Cello player Hassan Abu Alfadel who permitted for the audience to indulge in acoustic highlights throughout the evening. The guests attending the soiree - predominantly coming from the German cultural scene - seemingly enjoyed the setup of the evening and both its informative and artistic aspirations.
The event was hosted as part of a much bigger initiative for the overarching Year of Zayed, proclaimed by the UAE authorities in Abu Dhabi. The Year of Zayed celebrates Sheikh Zayed’s life and doings with a series of public cultural events organized throughout the entire year all over the UAE and by its missions abroad.