Abu Dhabi, UAE: His Excellency Minister Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh said that in the past few years, the United Arab Emirates has managed to transform itself into a global platform for innovation which embraces talent, and inspires its own as well as Arab youth to harness modern science and technology for the good of humanity; urging them to learn how to employ science, innovation, and creativity in the service of their communities.
He confirmed that the story of UAE’ success over the last 50 years is a testimony to our determination, as we celebrate sending the first Arab probe to Mars and enjoy the benefits of renewable and nuclear energy, to prepare for the next 50 years with equal ambitions and resolve.
His speech came in the first session of the webinar series entitled: “Dialogues on Innovation. The Pandemic, Human Civilization and the Frontiers of Technology” organized by the Italian Cultural Institute Abu Dhabi, attended by His Excellency Nicola Lener, Ambassador of the Italian Republic to the United Arab Emirates, and directed by Professor Ida Zilio-Grandi, the institute’s Managing Director.
“We in the UAE are proud that our collective response to the covid-19 crisis, a vicious pandemic that has decimated the global economy, causing great suffering and loss across large sections of the world population, was both determined and successful. Our Government was able to fully mitigate the outbreak of this contagious disease within our own borders, while extending a hand of assistance and help to other nations. This is because we believe that overcoming such a global calamity requires true collaboration across nations, and that we are as strong as our weakest member”, he continued.
His Excellency added: “This conviction, rooted in our core values as a nation, is reflected in our full support of the World Health Organization (WHO), and our unwavering provision of aid to vulnerable communities around the world. As of end-August, the UAE had provided more than 1328 tons of food and medical aid to more than 111 countries, with over 1.3 million medical professionals assisted across the globe. This speaks to the country’s unwavering support to cross-border collaboration and multilateral action, especially in times of crises.”
“Our government’s success in mitigating the effects of Covid-19 of course is a reflection of its long-standing policy to coopt the newest technologies and innovations in order to create a knowledge-based economy, and a digitalized public and private infrastructure that can face the challenges of the future. It has been preparing for over a decade how to anticipate future trends by working towards mastering the mind-set and the tools of tomorrow.” His excellency Zaki Nusseibeh confirmed.
He pointed out that the world class communications infrastructure enabled our entire student population, both public and private, attending our multi-ethnic schools, universities, and institutions of technical formation, to move to e-learning seamlessly. Our businesses adapted to the new Covid-19 world by moving much of its transactions online. We were able to convene international conferences virtually while avoiding physical contact for our invitees. Our Government services continued to be offered through e-government without causing any disruption to public or business life.
“As the world learns to cope with this new pandemic, we in the UAE move forward in our advance planning to work with other nations in testing an innovative vaccine that could mitigate its terrible legacy”, his Excellency concluded his speech.
On his behalf the Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, H.E. Nicola Lener, underlined the invaluable role of the technology in helping us staying connected during the lockdown months after the pandemic outbreak, stressing that “technology can hardly replace in the long run the physical interaction between people, the physical sharing of spaces, activities, experiences.
“The challenge, in other words – he went on - is to understand how much ‘humanity’ we are giving up in exchange for technology and whether this trade-off, necessary in an emergency phase, is sustainable in a context of rediscovered normality”.
The Ambassador closed his intervention mentioning that the “Dialogues” are the first initiative organized by the brand new Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi, that the Italian Government recently established with the objective to strengthen the institutional and people-to-people relations between Italy and the UAE, as well as to support UAE’ role as a global connecting hub between civilizations and cultures, also in view of EXPO 2021.