A word from the Ambassador
I am now preparing for my second Ramadan in the UAE and it is a time of the year I have come to look forward to with great anticipation. It is a special time – obviously for Muslims worldwide but also for all people in the UAE and the broader region. Ramadan is an opportunity to develop deeper community relationships and to take a small step back from our busy lives and take stock of what is most valuable to us. Fasting, charity, and self-reflection are of significant importance at this holy time. The act of sharing meals with family, friends and neighbours is a welcome ritual that allows for a greater understanding of other faiths and the establishment of links across different cultural communities.
The success of Australia’s multiculturalism is built on tolerance, mutual respect and care for others. These themes have particular resonance here in the UAE. During my time as Ambassador I have been struck by how Australians in the UAE often exemplify these qualities, along with a dynamism that the UAE encourages so well. I wish all of you a safe and blessed Ramadan period. On a more practical level, I would also like to remind those of you planning to travel to make sure your passports are up to date and that you engage the Australian Embassy or Consulate-General early to make sure your travel plans proceed smoothly.
Already this year we have had a series of well received visits from Australian Ministers including the Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Investment in April, and a visit by the Minister for Defence Industry in February. We have also had the good fortune to have senior officials including our Ambassador for Counter Terrorism, Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as well as senior Defence representatives including the Heads of all the services (Army, Navy and Airforce) and the Chief of the Defence Forces. We also welcomed Princess Haya to Australia in March to focus on how we might work together on humanitarian assistance.
These visits are often the catalysts for discussions with the UAE about our partnership and its future direction. We have also been focused on increasing trade and economic links including through our annual trade promotion event Australia Unlimited, which took place in March with the theme of ‘Collaborate to Innovate” and a focus on mining and education opportunities. I am pleased to see our relationship with the UAE continuing to grow – the business community is at the very centre of the Australian story here and I wish you every success.