On December 2nd, 2020, the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC hosted a virtual celebration to honor the UAE’s 49th National Day. Each year, this national holiday commemorates the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. All National Day celebrations follow the recurring theme, ‘Spirit of the Union,’ and traditional festivities include nationwide performances, fireworks, light installations, art exhibitions and more.
To mark the UAE’s 49th anniversary, the Embassy’s National Day event was live-streamed worldwide and featured several special guests including former US President George W. Bush, Chef José Andrés and Steve Harvey.
Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba kicked off the virtual program by thanking dedicated partners for their attendance and hard work over the course of 2020. He went on to highlight some of the biggest shared achievements of the year such as the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), the Abraham Accords and the UAE’s growing partnership with the Special Olympics USA.
Paying tribute to the region’s founding values and future vision, he stated “As we mark the 49th anniversary of the UAE’s founding, we celebrate the progress our country has made to fulfill the vision of our founder, Sheikh Zayed…At the same time, we look ahead and continue on our path to build a better future, grounded in tolerance, peace and innovative solutions to the challenges of the 21st century.”
During the video conference, UAE Embassy diplomats commended Emirati doctors who stayed on the front lines in the US to treat coronavirus patients. They also highlighted the successful repatriation of thousands of Emirati citizens and the UAE’s overarching commitment to global cooperation to combat the spread of COVID-19.
In addition, leaders from prominent US partnerships including the Children’s National Hospital and NASA shared personalized greetings to express their gratitude for the UAE’s long-time support and dedication.
Ambassador Al Otaiba ended the event by reflecting on the UAE’s upcoming Golden Jubilee in 2021. He concluded, “As we look ahead to the next 50 years, I know we can accomplish great things together. In the coming year, the Hope Probe will enter its Mars orbit, Expo will welcome the world to Dubai and hopefully we will move beyond the coronavirus and recover stronger than ever before.”