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Khalid Al Ameri: How I prepare for the UAE’s last barrel of oil
August 24, 2015
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Members of my family asked me what my favourite speech was so far this year. What they were going for was one given by me, such as a favourite moment, venue or crowd. Although this year has been a beautiful ride for me and created many memories, my favourite moment in public speaking this year was when His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, took to the stage to address citizens and officials at the Government Summit earlier this year.

To be specific it was when they both individually said, “We are going to celebrate when the UAE sells its last barrel of oil.” When asked the reason behind my choice of this being my favourite speech it was because like every great speech their powerful words planted seeds in the minds of all who call this country home. Seeds that we all as citizens and residents must nourish and grow to create a beautiful garden.

For me those words were a glimpse into the future. A sceptical view of the Arab Gulf when oil runs out will describe the scene as depressing, sort of the trigger that takes us back to where we came from, living in tents, riding on camels, reviving the nomadic way of life in search of survival and prosperity.

It’s funny how people seem to ignore all the significant investments the UAE has made in people and different industries beyond oil, but we can save that issue for another article. I want to focus on us, the citizens and residents of the UAE for the moment. When both Sheikh Mohamed and Sheikh Abdullah discussed our last barrel of oil I felt it was the start of creating a mind shift, call it a call to action, call it a note to start preparing, call it whatever you want but we need to do something, right?

For me that mind shift has come somewhat naturally in high part because of advice from my father who always said, “Never assume that things will always be the same.” This is advice I have carried with me throughout my studies, my career and building my family. You see working on the assumption that things will never be the same creates a sense of urgency inside you to take advantage of all the opportunities you have today, to use them as a source of growth in order to individually provide and support yourself, your family and your country.

The Government provided scholarships for undergraduate education so I went and got educated because those scholarships might not always be there. The government provides job and growth opportunities, so I get to work because similar opportunities might not always be around. The Government provided scholarships for graduate education, I signed up again to study and bring that knowledge back to my country.

Believe me if they asked us to line up somewhere at 8am to start giving new PhD programme scholarships in my field of expertise I would be there at 5am. That’s the type of work ethic and hunger for growth my father instilled in me by never assuming that good things will last forever. That there will come a time in the future where we might need to provide our government with the same support that they have provided us, so it’s important to always be ready.

So that’s basically it. That’s how I prepare for the UAE’s last barrel of oil, I work as hard as I can then when I’m exhausted I work some more. I work on the assumption that I will be paying for my children’s education, I will be paying for our homes, and I will be paying for my Government to continue to provide services that ensure our safety, stability and growth.

It’s important that you do what you need to do to ensure that you can individually create stability in your family and in your community. I feel that is what makes a country great, when citizens and residents work hard together and become excellent in their respective crafts that feed into a common goal and vision to make the UAE the greatest country in the world.

These are beautiful times we live in, the opportunities are endless, they really are and it is on each one of us to take advantage of those opportunities to ensure that our future generation can enjoy the same way of life we do. Wealth and prosperity may come in different shapes and forms, it may require more effort on our behalf, but that is why we have been asked to start preparing today.

I know we are going to celebrate when we ship our last barrel of oil; it’s going to be a joyous and emotional occasion. I just feel that someone is going to have to remind us to celebrate because we will have come so far that most of us won’t even notice that the oil ran out.

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The author is a columnist on education and youth development.

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