Represented by the National Archives, the UAE Becomes the First Arab Country to Gain Membership of the International Oral History Association

Represented by the National Archives, the UAE Becomes the First Arab Country to Gain Membership of the International Oral History Association

The United Arab Emirates, represented by its National Archives, joined the International Oral History Association to be the first Arab state to receive the honor of having the membership. The Oral History Project, which began in 2008, is being implemented and overseen by the National Archives in order to document the events of the past and what the elderly citizens and residents have lived through in UAE.

Dr. Abdulla El Reyes, Director General of the National Archives has expressed his pleasure for having this membership, and pointed out that this success is due to our keenness to follow our wise leadership and their strategy as per the constructive approach of Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and the Chairman of the National Archives. Dr. El Reyes added, “We exert efforts to collect oral history in order to achieve our noble sublime mission in promoting the national identity and the sense of allegiance to our dear homeland by enlightening the young people about our glorious history. This process will strengthen the sense of belonging to and pride for our country.” 

His Excellency explained that the National Archives looks to excellence and leadership, both locally and globally, “We collect and document oral history as it has a major role in enriching the Nation''s memory which we save by optimal scientific ways and methodology according to the highest standards and practices. We, at the National Archives aspire to be the official and competent party in the field of collecting, sorting, analyzing, registering, recording and documenting of the content of oral narratives on certain foundations that render them with strength and credibility; we believe that oral history reveals valuable historical facts and can act as a link among the generations.” 

His Excellency continued, “As we are shifting to globalism by joining the International Oral History Association, we feel a great honor to raise the name of the UAE high among the developed countries that have shown their tribute to the efforts of the National Archives in documenting the memory of the Nation and preserving it for the generations to come.” His Excellency thanked the Research and Knowledge Services Department for their great efforts for documenting important aspects of UAE history and promoting the concepts of oral history among our young generation in schools and universities in a scientific way. 

It is noteworthy that the National Archives gained the permanent membership of Oral History Association of the USA in 2012, and the Oral History Section in the National Archives continues to monitor the oral narratives of the nation’s memory to save them for the future generations. The section records the achievements of the elders to enrich the cultural development and strengthen the national identity by preserving it for the generations to come. In this aspect, the Oral History Section has completed more than 800 interviews with hundreds of people. The Research and Knowledge Services Department gave lectures in practical methods about collecting and documenting oral history to university students, both in UAE and abroad, and the number of those attendees to date has been more than 500 students, entities and others who were interested. Lectures were also given at similar cultural forums. The National Archives seizes the opportunity of the cultural and heritage events to reach the elderly people who have lived through the important events prior to the formation of the Union with the aim of documenting the aspects of the past life for the future generations to promote national identity, allegiance and the sense of belonging.