Zaki Nusseibeh helped cultivate the enthusiasm of the founding fathers to connect with the world
In today’s Dubai Jumeirah 1, the Etihad Museum (formerly known as the Union Building) stands at the intersection of February 2nd Street and Jumeirah Street. This location is crucial to the history of the UAE because it is the exact location where the rulers of the armistice countries gathered on December 2, 1971 to announce the establishment of a new unified nation; this move will forever change the course of this country.
This moment was the culmination of four years of negotiations led by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who enthusiastically sought to unite his brother UAE rulers.
Zaki Nusseibeh was fortunate to share this historic joyous moment with the founding fathers. Three years ago, he was appointed as the official translator of Sheikh Zayed and grew into a close consultant.
“Sheikh Zayed was elated,” Nusebe said, describing the mood during the alliance’s announcement. He said that Sheikh Zayed recognizes that this moment is just the beginning of the efforts needed to ensure national security and ensure that it achieves its intended regional role.
“The work of establishing the infrastructure required for the country and development is arduous,” Nusseibeh explained. “It is imperative to establish institutions and systems that can protect and prepare the next generation.”
A year later, during the first anniversary celebration, “someone noticed that when Sheikh Zayed saw young and old people marching proudly together under the federal flag, his eyes were filled with tears of joy,” Nu Saibe recalled.
As the UAE entered a new stage of radical economic, social and cultural transformation, Zayed’s efforts have only intensified since then. Accompanied by Nusseibeh, the founding father expanded his efforts to build bridges and strengthen relations with countries around the world.
Journey from one of the oldest cities to one of the newest
Nusseibeh is 75 years old and was born in the multicultural land of Jerusalem. An open and free international metropolis, the three Abrahamic faiths meet here. During his growth, his parents instilled in him a passion for literature, poetry and humanities, as well as values such as the importance of accepting others, loving the community and public service.
In 1967, after graduating from Cambridge University in England, he was lucky enough to travel to Abu Dhabi, where there were fewer than 45,000 residents. In 1968, he worked as a reporter for a foreign news agency and was asked to translate Sheikh Zayed’s live interviews for British television. Soon after, Nusseibeh became Zayed’s official translator and began his tireless career to support and nurture the growth of this young country he will become a citizen and call home.
You can feel his dedication to the country from a statement he once issued. He came to the UAE to “complete my destiny”.
Catalyst for International Relations
With the development of the UAE, Nusseibeh has held many positions and acted as a spokesperson for change in many tool institutions. From the first director of the UAE Federal Ministry of Information to the Minister of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, he now serves as the cultural advisor to His Highness President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In his early years, she accompanied Sheikh Zayed to meet with Queen Elizabeth II, Nelson Mandela, former South African President Valery Giskar Destin, former French President Indira Gandhi, former Indian Prime Minister Zolfikar Ali Bhutto, To name a few, former Pakistani Prime Minister Zayed is committed to building friendship and bonds with foreign leaders.
Nusebe said: “Sheikh Zayed has learned knowledge from every country he has visited. He brings home the best ideas to adapt and serve the country’s development.”
Ministries have been established to continue the guidance of Sheikh Zayed. Nusseibeh said that the Public and Cultural Diplomacy Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that he participated in “facilitated an active foreign policy with a focus on weaving bonds of friendship through cultural exchanges. It is based on the idea that culture and art have a unified power.”
Nusseibeh said of Sheikh Zayed: “He believes that museums, galleries, and exhibition centers are important institutions-landmark architectural features of the urban environment, and centers of cultural exchange, dialogue and protection.”
These ideas still resonate with Nusseibeh to this day and have always served as a guiding concept, as he played an important role in the UAE’s booming arts and cultural fields and in strengthening the country’s foreign relations.
“The UAE’s cultural environment is an integral part of the country’s sustainable development. Initiatives to strengthen our creative industries, art, music, books and performance venues, as well as the training and promotion of artistic talents-these are integrated into our economy and Social development strategy,” Nusseibeh explained.
“The Louvre in Abu Dhabi is a key element of the UAE’s cultural strategy, focusing its global interests on the cultural environment of the region.”
He is proud of his achievements in bringing the museum to Abu Dhabi in Abu Dhabi, “creating the first general museum in the Middle East.”
The gateway to future leaders
In 1976, with the opening of the University of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed’s dedication to higher education became a reality. As the first university in the UAE, Sheikh Zayed opened the door to the future leaders of his country. It was here that Nusseibeh was also appointed as Prime Minister. “Our graduates now hold leadership positions, including advancing learning, knowledge, and practical expertise as university professors. I am inspired by their talents and am very happy to participate in the formulation of the university’s vision, which will solve the problems of the next 50 years, To meet the needs of the country,” he said.
In addition, Nusseibeh has played a role in bringing Sorbonne University to Abu Dhabi and expressed the need for international universities to establish campuses here, including New York University Abu Dhabi, “in order to benefit from their intellectual heritage and use them to Strengthening our own has greatly enriched the higher education environment in the UAE.”
Nusseibeh pointed out that he was particularly proud of the “announcement of the alliance in 1971, the opening of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi in November 2017, and the launch of the Mars Hope probe in 2020”. Although it is not stated, it can be assumed that he is also proud of receiving one of the highest honors in the UAE, as he was awarded the Union Medal in 2021 in recognition of his many years of cultural and diplomatic efforts in serving the UAE.
Bringing the spirit of the past 50 years into the next 50 years
As we celebrate the Golden Jubilee, Nusseibeh stated that the UAE “was built through faith, cooperation and determination… For the next fifty years, continue to invest in our rich cultural and educational environment and globally recognized higher education Institutions are vital, art institutions, communities and events.”
Nusseibeh believes that the sustainable development of a country is a continuous project, and the challenges facing future development are different from those in 1971.
Nusseibeh finally sent a message to future generations not to be complacent about the future of their country or the stability of the environment. “They must create, innovate and learn throughout their lives. They must find the vitality and commitment shown by the first Emirati. And, like Sheikh Zayed, they must also remain firm and optimistic about success.”