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February Newsletter

From the Ambassador's Desk

Dear Emirates Society Members, In February this year, what connected the International Space Station and the British Shadow Foreign Secretary, David Lammy? Not a lot, at first glance. But both Mr Lammy and the Emirati astronaut Dr Sultan Al Neyadi were guests at the Emirates Festival of Literature, now in its 14th year. Mr Lammy was being interviewed about his powerful new book, Tribes: A Search for Belonging in a Divided Society, which was inspired by a genomic journey into his own DNA – where he found roots in Scotland, South Africa and Sierra Leone, and well as his family’s more recent origins in Guyana. But Mr Lammy’s book goes beyond familial history and extends to becoming an examination of tribalism at every level; as the centrifugal force that fosters beliefs and the gravitational force that binds societies. Dr Sultan, himself neatly suspended between such forces in orbit, was speaking primarily to school children as the UAE, like Britain before it, harnesses the experience of scientists to inspire the next generations. Science, culture, history and above all people all sit beside one another at such an event, where eclecticism is a quality all of itself. The festival itself has DNA that reaches back to the Foyle family, whose eponymous London bookstore – and Christina Foyle’s legendary literary lunches – triggered the imagination of an expatriate bookseller, who had married and settled in Dubai. She obtained financial and moral support from Emirates Airlines and its then-CEO Maurice Flanagan, one of the great British airline executives. So, the Festival was born, and is now – depending upon one’s measure – one of the top five such events in the world. As ambassador, I should be pleased that such an event in my country has so many connections to the UK. But as the son of that particular expatriate bookseller, I too have a DNA connection to the event, of which I am doubly proud. But this month also brought a sobering event to my region. The earthquake that straddled the border of Turkey and Syria, killing and injuring immeasurable numbers of victims, arrived in an area with its fair share of human, rather than tectonic, pressures and divisions. There is no good news in this story, no silver lining. But it is a relief that in the days that followed, the assistance that flooded in from across the world was largely unconcerned with political barriers and divisions, with cultural and historical disputes. The UAE, for example, has sent 118 cargo planes carrying a total of 3,375 tonnes of food, medical supplies and shelter tents to both Syria and Turkey. For the UAE and all countries like her, the focus was simply on distribution and efficacy, not leverage and promotion. The region will suffer for years to come, and one hopes that the cooperation and pooling of resources that we have seen this month will continue for as long as the need is there. Yours sincerely, Mansoor Abulhoul UAE Ambassador to the UK


The UAE in the News

HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber met with King Charles to speak about the forthcoming COP28. This meeting reinforced the vital relationship between the UAE and UK. He also addressed the World Government Summit in Dubai where he called for inclusivity and innovation in the lead up to COP28. Watch his full speech here.

The Abrahamic Family House was inaugurated on 16 February by Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior and HH Sheikh Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence. The centre brings together a mosque, church and synagogue in one complex, and is testament to the UAE's commitment to promoting interfaith dialogue and peaceful coexistence across the region. It will be open to the public from 1 March.


Upcoming Events

15 March, 16:30-17:30 GMT, Zoom

There has been a seismic shift in the attitudes towards women in the workforce in the last twenty years in the UAE. The UAE’s leadership has placed gender equality as a key element in the country’s path to growth and prosperity. Join us for a lively discussion on both the successes and challenges of women in leadership positions in the UAE and how this forward-thinking nation is driving change to elevate women in the workplace. The Rt Hon David Jones MP is joined by Diana Wilde, Co-Founder, Aurora50 Fatema Al Nuaimi, Executive Vice President, ADNOC Downstream Business Management Dr. Sara Chehab, Senior Research Fellow, Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, and the author of the Women in Diplomacy Index.


Reflections on the British Parliamentary Delegation to the UAE

Wednesday 22nd March, 10:30-11:30 GMT

Portcullis House, Westminster

Following the successful Parliamentary delegation to the UAE in February, The Emirates Society invites you to attend an event in Portcullis House. We will hear from MPs and a member of the House of Lords as they recount their experiences from their recent visit. The Rt Hon David Jones MP, Chair of the UAE APPG, and also Chair of The Emirates Society, will moderate this discussion. He will be joined by

The Lord Walney, Independent adviser on political violence and disruption in the Home Office, and the Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Tanzania, crossbench peer, House of Lords Bambos Charalambous, Shadow Minister (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs), MP for Enfield, Southgate Naz Shah, Shadow Minister for Crime Prevention, MP for Bradford West Steve McCabe, MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak Join us at this intimate, round table style discussion in Parliament. This event will take place in Portcullis House and you will need to allow 30 minutes to pass through security. Details of the room will be circulated in advance of the event.

Please book without delay, places are limited


What's On

'Early British women explorers in Arabia’ Exhibition at the Royal Geographic Society

  • The exhibition details the lives and photographs of five extraordinary British women and their varied and fascinating travels in the Middle East.

  • Free entry, open now until 5 March 2023. Click here for more information.

The UAE in Space

  • Emirati Astronaut and University of Brighton graduate Dr Sultan Al Neyadi will be the first Arab astronaut to take part in a long-duration astronaut mission.

  • Dr Sultan Al Neyadi is due to head into space on Thursday 2 March at 13:34am ET for a six-month mission. Watch his launch live here.

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