Director General Message

The founding in 1968 of the Center for Documentation & Research (CDR) created one of the oldest archival repositories in the Arabian Gulf, home to thousands of records about the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Arabian Gulf region in general. By Federal Decree Number 7, 2008, the CDR was transformed into the National Archive (NA), at once becoming the National Archives of the UAE.

The National Archives collects, documents, translates, and preserves primary and secondary source materials that foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the history of the UAE and the Gulf. To carry out its vision, meet its mission and achieve its objectives, the National Archives; works on several fronts.

Archival Material

The National Archives ever increasing archival holdings are collected from repositories around the world - American, British, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Ottoman, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and other sources. These records cover a broad range of topics in a variety of different formats, the common thread of which sheds light on life in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf region..
In order to further enrich its holdings, the National Archives collects a wide variety of indigenous sources ranging from oral and written histories to rare books and manuscripts and audio-visual materials like photographs, films and recordings. Rewards are offered to motivate members of the community to deliver valuable records in their possession related to the UAE. These national treasures, painstakingly collected over the years, are preserved by using the latest technology and made accessible to researchers, scholars and the public.

Goverment Records

Today, the National Archives is a national body and repository for records from all UAE governmental entities. Under the expansion of its mission mandated by Federal Decree Number 7 of 2008, the National Archives adds to its sophisticated archival records collection every day.

Research & Knowledge Services

As a leading research institute, the National Archives publishes numerous scholarly books in both Arabic and English. Some of he National Archives most important publications are those that document the establishment and development of the Federation of the UAE.  Other publications encompass various aspects of the history and culture of the Arabian Gulf. These include collections of rare photographs, individual memoirs, scholarly studies by eminent experts, as well as Arabic translations of German, French and English books. Also included in the National Archives list of publications are journals, conference proceedings, and multimedia resources. 

In order to enhance awareness of history at the national level, the National Archives in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, sponsors educational competitions for secondary school students, and the winning essays are published jointly.

Conferences, Exhibits, and Workshops

Fulfilling its role as a leading research and resource center, the National Archives hosts and participates in numerous local, regional and international conferences, workshops, and exhibitions. The National Archives has been involved with the International Conference of the Round Table of Archives, conferences of the Oral History Association and Unified Arab Catalogue, the Symposium of Arabic Records and Library Catalogues, to name but a few.


The National Archives has established relationships with leading international archival centers in order to expand its archives and resources, and is a member of the International Council on Archives (ICA), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), as well as the Secretariat General of the Documentation and Research Centers of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In addition, the International Council on Archives (ICA) and Xerox International have signed Memoranda of Understanding with the National Archives. The National Archives also counts among its academic partners Zayed University, the UAE Higher Colleges of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley. In view of its iconic status and diverse achievements, the National Archives has been recognized by UNESCO as a foremost Arab cultural institution.


The National Archives state-of-the-art facilities include a 700-person auditorium, a vast library, archival material from around the world, a 3-D theater that takes visitors on a special voyage through UAE history, an in-house printing facility, as well as exhibit space that features cutting-edge displays of the nation’s history and heritage.

Abdulla Al Raisi, Ph.D.
The National Archives Director General