Alraisi: The UAE ranks as one of the top five countries in the world in documenting its national history

Alraisi: The UAE ranks as one of the top five countries in the world in documenting its national history

In a symposium on the role of the National Archives in preserving the Memory of the Nation:

Alraisi: The UAE ranks as one of the top five countries in the world in documenting its national history

Dubai, January 13, 2020. The Cultural Majlis of Hanif Hassan Al Qassim organized a symposium entitled: “The National Archives, A Pioneering March in Preserving the Memory of the Nation”, during which His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Mohammed Alraisi, Director General of the National Archives, reviewed the efforts of the UAE in preserving its national heritage and history in line with the leadership’s ambitions, while preparing the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the UAE. 

The symposium was attended by retired Major General Abdul Rahman Rafee, Dr. Ahmed Saif Belhassa, Abdulla Al Mazroui, Awad Bin Meqren, and others who are interested in cultural and national affairs.
His Excellency Hanif Al Qassim, member of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), praised the achievements of the National Archives in documenting and preserving the Nation's history in accordance with international specifications under the direct supervision and follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. Al-Qassim added: “The efforts of the National Archives to preserve the history of the UAE in various political, economic and social fields have undoubtedly contributed to creating a national memory that holds over 2.5 million documents containing events that took place hundreds of years ago on this good land”.

Alraisi highlighted our wise leadership’s genuine interest in preserving the history of the Nation, as the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan established Documents and Research Bureau in1968. Since then, efforts are incessantly exerted to document national history. As a result, the National Archives holds today the top five global ranks in professionalism and institutional excellence. Therefore, the UAE is fully prepared for the future to preserve the Nation’s march during the next fifty years.
Alraisi indicated that states usually preserve only 5% of their history, which requires great efforts in sorting and selecting. The National Archives responsibility has now increased as it is mandated to review and approve the publishing of any material related to ancient and modern history of the Emirates. Additionally, it works with more than 260 Local and federal government bodies regarding the preservation, or safe destruction, of millions of their documents.

In a visual presentation, Alraisi reviewed the most important initiatives launched by the National Archives, such as the launch of the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive, which includes hundreds of thousands of documents related to the history of our region, in addition to dozens of various forms of publications to document the history of the UAE.  HE pointed out that the UAE is preparing to host the International Council on Archives (ICA) Abu Dhabi 2020 Congress, which is considered the largest event of its kind, where more than four thousand experts from all over the world discuss the future of the archival sector. It is noteworthy that this Congress will coincide with Expo 2020 Dubai.

Alraisi stressed the importance of the role of Emirati talents in this national mission, as they now make about 82% of the National Archives’ total workforce. He pointed out that undergraduate and postgraduate academic programs were created in the field of archival studies and information systems in cooperation with the French Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi and other institutions to prepare a new generation of specialized national competencies.

Finally, Alraisi pointed out the challenges that the National Archives faced in documenting the history of the UAE since its establishment in 1971, as copies of documents related to the period prior to the establishment of the Union were obtained from British archives and others. However, the post-Union period depends heavily on media archive, oral heritage and a few documents that require efforts in preserving and archiving according to international standards and modern technology. Despite its importance, digital transformation in archiving entails other precautions to face the challenges of maintaining its electronic security against viral attacks or piracy.

Photos: Dr. Hanif, Dr. Abdulla Araisi, Al-Mazroui, Ahmed belhassa, Bin Maqren, and other attendees.