I recently travelled to interview political figures in the UAE and was surprised by what I found

Much of the time, news about Dubai and Abu Dhabi reports on human rights abuses, arcane laws and so on. But there’s another, progressive side to the UAE – and it feels like it’s going forwards at a time when my own country is going backwards

The United Arab Emirates is going to Mars, seeking to rewrite cultural history, revolutionising robotics and redefining the conversations we have about governance and statecraft.

But why should you care?

My most recent journey to the Emirati sister cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai gave me access to insights that I hope show you why it’s not just important but existentially vital to suspend cynicism and pay attention to their politics for a few moments.

The UAE is a young nation. In fact, it still has five years to go before it celebrates its golden jubilee. Yet in its 45 year history it has lost more than its fair share of diplomats and soldiers, often in the fight against extremist militants. In January, five Emirati diplomats were killed in a bomb blast while on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan.  The Emirati Ambassador, Juma Al Kaabi, sustained injuries and succumbed to his wounds a few weeks later. He was in Kandahar to lay the foundation stone for a UAE-funded orphanage.

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