MBZ, Awarding champions in civil society is the way to progress

The indispensable pillars that constitute a nation include government, the private sector and civil society. For any nation to continually progress, it must ensure that these pillars are constantly strengthened and that they remain – not just functional and healthy – but also evolve with the times.

As the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the country can trace its rapid and holistic development to these aforementioned pillars. The government and private sector have played stellar roles in the UAE’s progress. But as the country’s leaders have frequently acknowledged, the contributions of the people, of civil society, in the process of nation-building have been no less crucial.

The UAE’s society has progressed with figures from all sectors leading the way. Steps such as the golden visa and residency permits for those people who distinguish themselves in their chosen fields have recently indicated how the UAE places a premium on individual merit.

For their contribution to the development of Abu Dhabi, a dozen people across a spectrum – from humanitarians involved in volunteer work to militarymen, conservationists and those in the healthcare sector – notable people, men and women, Emiratis and overseas citizens, were this week duly awarded for their contributions to the growth of the capital, and ultimately, to that of the country.

As Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces said: “The UAE’s values continue to reflect the deeply held faith of our Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who believed in the kindness, humanity, and generosity of people.”

For a country to shine the spotlight on members of society is telling sign of the ambition of a nation

The idea of growth of a community and individual contributions are central to what makes a healthy society and by extension, a developed country. Indeed, smart governance and a thriving economy are only two aspects of the UAE’s success story. As the country has grown over the years, so has the role of civil society.

The inspiration that these 12 outstanding members of the community offer their contemporaries and residents of the country, and beyond the UAE’s borders, cannot be overstated. This is all the more relevant and especially true during the pandemic, when society has been hit hard in countless ways. In such trying times, examples of others doing good work can be buoying and a great propelling force for an individual to strive harder and do more. Importantly, these awards are bound to inspire young people to aim high. It’s not just about inspiring the young though. The motivation to excel, to achieve and to give back to the community is a meaningful endeavour, applicable to all, the value of which is immeasurable.

For a country to shine the spotlight on members of society is telling sign of the ambition of a nation. Such steps also inspire people, regardless of demographic, to realise their talents and push the limits of their skill, enterprise and determination. It is when civil society strives to do its best and give back, that is when a country is truly rewarded.