With more than 200 nationalities living harmoniously in the UAE, and tolerance being one of its most important pillars, the nation truly sets itself apart from the rest. To the country, the concept of tolerance is not a new one introduced as a solution to modern-day issues, but one that is rooted deep in its foundation, and held in high regard by the late HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE’s founding father. These values are upheld to this day and reflected in the country’s various projects, especially the multi-faith complex of the Abrahamic Family House where a mosque, church, and synagogue will open come 2022.
To highlight this very facet of the UAE on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, which will also be celebrated at the Ball of Arabia on December 12, Vogue Arabia enlisted a few of those who experience and live the country’s multiculturalism day-to-day. Filipino entrepreneur, and co-founder of Fashion Forward Dubai and Brag, Bong Guerrero, Syrian-Palestinian singer-songwriter Carla Saad, Emirati entrepreneur Anas Bukhash, and Columbia-raised Luz Vilamil, deputy director of Cinema Akil, sat down for a candid discussion on UAE’s diversity, and everything that makes the nation their home.
While Vilamil describes the UAE as a “safe space where different cultures can coexist,” a well-traveled Bukhash states that UAE’s inclusivity is incomparable to most major places in the world. “It is one thing to mix people together, and it’s another that they get along,” he says. Guerrero adds that in a country where he has lived for 31 years, he cannot possibly be considered a guest. He attributes it to the policies, infrastructure, and practices that the UAE has brought on to ensure that the expats do not feel alienated. “I think over the decades there has been a shift in thinking,” Guerrero continues. For Saad, it is clear that the UAE’s unity comes from the fact that “the UAE puts its people at the heart of everything.” She says, “Everyone is taken care of as if they were UAE’s child.”
Videography: Sonia Alsowaiegh