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May 2023 Newsletter

The Emirates Society’s Latest News and Events

UK - UAE Bilateral Relations Continues to Flourish There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity between our two nations as the first UK-UAE Strategic Dialogue was held in London this month. The British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, and the Middle East Minister, Lord Ahmad, hosted the UAE’s Foreign Minister, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, and the President’s Foreign Policy Advisor, HE Dr Anwar Gargash, to mark the occasion. The Strategic Dialogue builds on the Partnership for the Future, agreed during HH Mohamed bin Zayed’s visit to London in 2021, and demonstrates the strength of the bilateral relationship. Both sides praised collaboration on global issues like tackling climate change, the coordination between the UK and the UAE on the UN Security Council, and the ever-growing trade and investment links. As James Cleverly said, “from trade to tackling climate change, the potential of our historical relationship is limitless”. UK Business and Trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, also visited Abu Dhabi and said the UK was hoping to sign a major free trade deal with the GCC soon. In addition to signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Beeah Group and meeting HE Thani AlZeyoudi, HE Omar Sultan Al Olama and HE Khaldoon Al Mubarak, she managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the superb Museum of the Future! Trade between the UK and the UAE reached an all-time high of £21.6 billion in 2022, and a free trade agreement could allow trade to blossom further. An eighth meeting of the UAE-UK Joint Economic Committee is also expected to be held later this year.

60 Seconds with…The Reverend Canon Dr Andy Thompson MBE

The Reverend Canon Dr Andy Thompson MBE is a vicar in the Diocese of London. He has recently returned from the UAE after serving as the Senior Anglican Chaplain in Abu Dhabi. Andy is a published author on religious history and inter-faith relations in the Arabian Gulf. In 2019, Prime Minister H.H. Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum honoured him with a Pioneer of the Emirates medal. What advice would you give to someone moving to the UAE? Be flexible in understanding that this is not your home country and things operate differently. It is obvious, but I usually recognize which newcomers will be gone within the year as they complain consistently about how things are not like they are at home. Enjoy the experience and invest in learning about the Emirati culture and people. I have found the Emiratis to be overwhelmingly a positive, hospitable, and generous people. What is your most memorable experience in the UAE? Travelling with the Minister of Tolerance to Rome to invite the Pope to visit Abu Dhabi has got to be up there as one of the more surreal experiences. At the other end of the spectrum, visiting the migrant worker camps and seeing the challenges that labourers face daily. Where is the best place you have visited in the UAE? Emirati homes.To sit with a family and share their food will always be the best place for me. Best way to spend a weekend in the UAE? A visit to Sir Bani Yas Island is a fabulous way to experience an open wildlife reserve, beautiful beaches, and archaeology all in one trip. The hotel there is great too. Funniest language or cultural misunderstanding in the UAE?

Wondering how to respond when everyone in a theatre stood up for me as I entered, only to find the President of the UAE was behind me . . .

May Events

British Soft Power in the UAE: The Role of Cultural and Educational Diplomacy The Emirates Society held an online discussion this month on the significant role soft power diplomacy can play in building cultural and educational reputations internationally. The discussion was moderated by the former BBC presenter and correspondent, Owen Bennett Jones and joining him on the panel of guest speakers: Amanda Buckley, Cultural Affairs Officer, British Embassy in Abu Dhabi Dr William Gueraiche, Associate Professor, University of Wollongong, Dubai Professor David Sadler, Provost, University of Birmingham, Dubai Michael Wilson, Executive Principal, Cranleigh, Abu Dhabi The discussion focused on how to harness soft power diplomacy whilst maintaining respect for local customs and culture. You can read about this event in The National. You can also watch the video of the event on our website:

The UAE in the News Click on the text to read the full article

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed (Vice-President and Minister of the Presidential Court) attended the coronation of King Charles III. Photo and article from The National.

Ambassador Mansoor Abulhoul wrote an op-ed in The National on shared beliefs of the UK and the UAE ruling royal families. Photo and article from The National.

UAE has unveiled details of a mission to send an autonomous spacecraft to an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter in 2028. The craft is called the MBR Explorer. The mission could lay the foundation for future resource extraction as the asteroid belt is believed to contain billions of dollars worth of minerals. Photo and article from The National.

The Director General of Cop28, Majid Al Suwaidi, outlined the UAE’s agenda to trigger new financing for addressing climate change. The plans were outlined at the Net Zero Delivery Summit hosted in the City of London’s Mansion House on Wednesday, 24th May. He said "First we need to fundamentally reform the international financial institutions. Second is the need to better leverage private-sector finance. Third we need to establish well-functioning carbon markets. Fourth we need to unlock finance for innovation." Photo and article from The National.

Masdar and Octopus Energy have signed a new deal to manage battery storage in the UK. The Agreement comes shortly after Masdar committed to investing $1.26bn in UK battery storage. Masdar and Octopus will also look at joint partnership possibilities in renewable energy. Photo and article from The National.

Manchester City have won the premier league for the third time in a row, a particularly rare feat that has only been achieved by four clubs in English football history. Sheikh Mansour, the club’s chairman, said: “We congratulate Manchester City for its deserved crowning of the English Premier League title, for the third time in a row, extending our sincere congratulations to all the players and the technical staff led by Guardiola and the team’s fans everywhere, looking forward to the club continuing its achievements in all tournaments and strengthening its position among the international teams.” Article from The Manchester Evening News, image from PA.

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