We let the facts do the talking.


My children live in a state of constant wonder. Every new object, face and sound transcends their concept of the given and expands their horizons, and while it happens, I can see their eyes widening as the world opens up in entirely new ways for them.

As we all know, this is a joy to behold; however, for many adults it is also an alien sensation. This is because as we mature, we tend to sacrifice our sense of wonder for the certain, the probable and the feasible. When we limit our worldview to the realm of the possible, it can take something miraculous to provoke true awe, which is why I feel immensely grateful and lucky to have been born and raised in the home of wonder — the UAE.

Once again I feel compelled to comment on the UAE’s achievements, because as I read the news recently, I experienced a swell of amazement and pride as I read that the country we live in has ranked first in 50 growth indices according to the World Forum’s ‘Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018’. The list of indices is staggering, encompassing the government, public-private sector relationships, technology, tourism, infrastructure, gender equality, tolerance and safety, to name only a few.

On top of this, the article highlighted some of the UAE’s other recent achievements, and at this point I have to enter bullet point format to express the mounting wonder I experienced as I continued to read:

  • In the ‘Davos World Economic Forum Report’, the UAE topped Arab countries in global competitiveness and was among the top 20 most competitive economies in the world for the fifth year in a row.
  • The UAE was ranked number one regionally and tenth globally among the most competitive countries in the world, outpacing the Gulf States and the MENA region, in the IMD ‘World Competiveness Yearbook 2017’.
  • In its ‘Ease of Doing Business Report’, the International Monetary Fund ranked the UAE first in the Arab world for the fifth year in a row, and the country also jumped from 26th to 21st place globally.
  • The Human Development Report by the World Economic Forum in Switzerland placed the UAE as the first Arab and regional country in the Global Human Capital Index at a growth rate of over 65%, also highlighting the UAE’s success in preparing for the future.

These are just four of 11 examples that I could share but won’t for the sake of brevity, and all of this has been achieved within only a decade of the government launching the first federal strategy focused on positioning the UAE as number one globally.

This unprecedented level of progress has stemmed from our leadership and particularly the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Their capacity to dream the impossible and make it a reality for the good of their people, not only in one sector but across every field of human endeavour, is nothing short of miraculous.

As the UAE achieved its greatest feat to date, they also remained humble and stood together in unity with each other and us, their people. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid commented that “Our experience is always open to Arab brethren”, while His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed highlighted that “Human capital is the source of our excellence and progress.”

For making us part of their vision, I offer them my thanks; to live here is to know the true meaning of gratitude.

I am grateful that as the UAE continues its march toward becoming ‘Number One’ in the world, neither me or my children will never lose our sense of wonder; it will be renewed with every milestone.

Ahmad Itani is the Founder and CEO of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |