UAE Over the Years

Here are five videos to learn about the UAE while we celebrate the country’s 50th birthday.

From the history of the UAE to the music of the Emirates, we curated some past NYU Abu Dhabi Institute videos that go in-depth on a range of topics to give us a glimpse into the country and region we live in. 

1. From rags to riches, a story of Abu Dhabi
This autobiography charts the life of Mohammed Al Fahim, who grew up barefoot and in poverty before witnessing the years when oil wealth changed his country forever, transforming a Bedouin society into a modern nation with astronomical per capita income. In this talk, the author speaks about his life and role in that remarkable history.

2. Sheikh Zayed & UAE Natural and Cultural Heritage
The late Sheikh Zayed is well-known for his interest in, and support for, the natural and cultural heritage of the UAE. This talk demonstrates his involvement in projects that have led to the preservation of two of Abu Dhabi’s most important nature reserves and to the promotion of knowledge of key archaeological sites, such as the early Christian monastery on the island of Sir Bani Yas.

3. Life on the Baynunah River: Abu Dhabi 7 Million Years Ago
Abu Dhabi today lies in one of the world's driest regions - the Saharan-Arabian desert belt. However, 7 million-year-old sediment layers in the Al Gharbia region preserve the fossilized remains of diverse species that once subsisted along a large freshwater ecosystem there, from crocodiles and hippopotamus, to elephants and monkeys.

4. Original music of the Emirates
The original music of the Emirates is very rich, uniting the many varied traditions that came to and traversed the region by land and sea. Bedouin Arab music, along with music of the mountain regions and emerging cities of the peninsula, mixes with influences from Persian, Indian, and African cultures.

5. Why is the UAE a federation
Over centuries the role of religion prohibited the area’s integration into ‘Ibadhi Oman. Tribal allegiances at times promoted, and at other times inhibited the formation of a larger political unit on the territory of the modern UAE. The exploitation of geographically-conditioned diverse economic resources re-enforced the tribal differences. However, it was the nature of the engagement of the various coastal tribal chiefs with an outside power, the British in India, which laid the foundations for the UAE’s federal political system.