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The 45th National Day of UAE was celebrated with much splendour on the 29th of November 2016 at ASAD. The School was decorated ahead of time in preparation for the event. Students wore clothing in the colours of the UAE Flag. All students celebrated unity, chanted nationalistic songs, danced, and took part in different traditional activities that highlight their love and appreciation for the UAE. An entertaining program was delivered, and local food was enjoyed by all. Please see our Facebook Page for videos and photos of this event.

Principal’s Speech:
Good morning and welcome to the Australian School of Abu Dhabi’s celebration of the 45th United Arab Emirates National Day. On December 2nd 1971 the seven emirates of the UAE combined to form a unified country, headed by the Federation's first President (may he rest in peace). Each subsequent year on that date the UAE celebrates its special day of Federation. The UAE continues to prosper and for me this demonstrates the enduring strength of this young country.

Each nation celebrates its National Day, and as an expatriate and a guest in this wonderful land, I suspect that how I feel each Australia Day might be similar to how many Emiratis feel on their National Day. What I would like to do is briefly reflect upon a few experiences that this wonderful country has given me and my family.

In 1995 my family and I came to the UAE and settled into Al Ain. Settled is the right word, for even though we had never previously lived outside Australia we found that the genuine warmth and wonderful hospitality of the Emirati community quickly made us feel like we had found a second home.

Al Ain in those days was quite different than it is now. Then, there were no shopping malls, and indeed no real cinemas. The weekend at that time comprised Thu and Fri, and on Thu evenings my family would go to the Al Ain Municipality building downtown where in a beautiful but empty auditorium we would watch an English language film (whatever film it was). For 1Dh we purchased a ticket, for another 1Dh we purchased a large box of delicious hot popcorn and for yet another 1Dh we purchased a soft drink. Yes, for 3Dh each we got; a great cinema experience to ourselves - nobody else ever went – no annoying advertisements, and the film started whenever we first sat down in our seats. The screen projector was a type that was used in passenger aircraft.

We also enjoyed the terrific Iftar buffets that nearly every restaurant offered each Ramadan and the lively atmosphere of Al Ain each night during the special month. One of the best year-round buffets in Al Ain happened at the bowling alley would you believe?! I also really enjoyed visiting the Museum and the Camel Market as they both displayed amazing things. My wife once was even gifted a baby camel by a local! This would have been difficult to keep in a small villa.

At times my family would go to Dubai. IKEA was at that time located behind the airport. The opening of Deira City Centre Mall was a big event. My family still remembers the amazing crush of people during Continent’s - now Carrefour’s - 10Dh days at that mall! We recall the excitement when Lamcy Plaza opened and gave us a second shopping experience option, followed by the attractive Wafi Mall. Now, decades later, my now-grownup children still recall these things with fondness.

Whilst time marches on and changes happen for every country and its citizens, some things, often good ones remain constant. The endearing and enduring warmth and hospitality of the Emirati people remains strong, the wise and consistent leadership of the Country continues, and many expatriates still think of the UAE as their second home, indeed some would like to make it their first home. I believe that this country has a bright future ahead of it and that there will be many more National Day celebrations to come for future generations of Emiratis to enjoy.

Today, our School presents a Celebration Program which contains interesting performances and displays that showcase elements of the UAE National culture. I hope that you enjoy it. Students and staff have, amongst their normal work duties, prepared what we will now see performed today.

I thank our students and staff for their efforts, and I thank specifically the organizing committee for its effort in arranging today’s celebrations. I especially thank our students’ parents and guardians for being here today so that we can share the celebration together.

Mr Waleed our Deputy Principal will now, in Arabic, share a few thoughts of his own.