The United Arab Emirates gained its independence in 1971, and since that time, this country has transformed into a diverse and cosmopolitan society, which is open to many cultural influences. To some degree, this outcome can be attributed to rapid economic development of the UAE and the influx of people who may represent diverse ethnic, religious, and cultural groups. Moreover, much attention should be paid to the willingness of the government to make the country attractive to foreigners, especially tourists and expatriates. These are the main details that should be examined more closely.
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Nowadays, the UAE is described as a country, which is “brimming over with modern skyscrapers and unique architecture” (Romano, 2004, p. 59). Nevertheless, during the colonial era, this country was inhabited by people who were engaged primarily in camel herding, pearling, and farming. It was inconceivable to many people that this region could turn into one of the largest tourist and economic centers in the world (Romano, 2004). Furthermore, there were not many foreigners in the country. Thus, the country was not very attractive to outsiders. These are some of the main issues that can be identified.
Nevertheless, the development of oil industry changed the social, cultural, and demographic landscape of the UAE. Currently, this country attracts thousands of expatriates who may come from the United States, Europe, India, Southeast Asia, and many other regions of the world (Romano, 2004, p. 59). Additionally, the UAE appeals to many tourists. Overall, this cosmopolitanism manifests itself in various areas. For instance, tourists coming to the country can taste meals representing various cuisines (King, 2008, p. 129).
In many cases, the landscape of UAE cities is similar to that one of American or European metropolises. Moreover, a person, who comes to the country, can hear people speaking English, German, French, and many other languages. Fifty years ago, this diversity could hardly be imagined. These are some of the major distinctions that can be identified. It is possible to say that the government of the country accepted new cultural trends because this policy was important for the sustainability of the society. This is one of the reasons why the UAE is a popular destination for tourists and expatriates who usually have very diverse backgrounds.
However, one should keep in mind that people living in the UAE have been able to retain their unique identity. For example, it is necessary to mention that religious customs continue to play an important role in the life of the society. Furthermore, people’s clothing styles were not transformed even despite various foreign influences. Overall, the culture of the UAE is aimed at “creating a pleasing mixture of the old and the new” (King, 2008, p. 104). One can say that this tendency is very likely to persist in the future since in this way, the UAE can retain the status of an economic and tourist center.
On the whole, this discussion suggests that the UAE exemplifies dramatic cultural and social changes that were trigged by the economic growth of the country. To a great extent, cosmopolitanism and diversity are critical for the sustainable development of the country. It is also possible to say that the country will remain a place that attracts the attention of people with diverse backgrounds. These are the main points that can be made.
King, D. (2008). United Arab Emirates. New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.
Romano, A. (2004). A Historical Atlas of the United Arab Emirates. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group.