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Red Cross Meeting Held at UAE Envoy's House
Envoy's Wife Introduces UAE Costumes to Women
By Pak Hae-Won
Staff Writer
Mrs. Aida Al-Maaina, wife of UAE Ambassador to Seoul Abdulla Mohammed Al Maainah, poses for The Seoul Times at her residence during a Red Cross gathering on June 18, 2008.

Mrs. Aida Al-Maaina, wife of UAE Ambassador to Seoul Abdulla Mohammed Al-Maainah, became a hostess for a special gathering by a local Red Cross members on June 18, 2008.

Mrs. Aida Al-Maaina offered her residence in Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu for the meeting of about 30 members of the Republic of Korea National Red Cross' Special Advisory Committee of Woman's Volunteers.

The members include many spouses of top foreign envoys serving in Seoul.

Mrs. Aida Al-Maaina, wife of UAE Ambassador to Seoul Abdulla Mohammed Al Maainah, wears a traditional UAE costume at her residence during a Red Cross gathering on June 18, 2008.

During the gathering she delivered a speech in which she introduced the culture of UAE to the participants. She also prepared a buffet lunch for the members.

As part of her introduction of the oil-rich Middle Eastern country, she displayed traditional UAE costumes in a mini-fashion show at her residence.

Formed in 1955, the Special Advisory Committee of Woman's Volunteers of the Republic of Korea National Red Cross marked its 53 anniversary of its foundation.

Mrs. Aida Al-Maaina, wife of UAE Ambassador to Seoul Abdulla Mohammed Al Maainah, wears a traditional UAE costume at her residence during a Red Cross gathering on June 18, 2008.

The committee comprises high-profile women including spouses of high-ranking both local and foreign diplomats, businesspeople, and other professionals.

The following is the full text of Ms. Aida Al-Maaina's speech.

Introduction of the UAE

Location:
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is located in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsular. It is bordered by the Arabian Gulf to the north, Gulf of Omen to the west, Oman to the southeast and Saudi Arabia to the west and southwest.

Mrs. Aida Al-Maaina (second from right), wife of UAE Ambassador to Seoul Abdulla Mohammed Al-Maainah, poses for The Seoul Times with other Red Cross members at her residence.

Administrative Divisions:
The UAE is a federation of seven emirates (states) headed by rulers. These are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm-al-Quwain.

Foundation:
The UAE is founded in December 2nd, 1971 by the late president Sheikh Zayed who is considered the founding father of the country.

Major Cities:
The capital city of the UAE is Abu Dhabi. Other major cities include Dubai, Al-Ain, Sharjah and Ajman.

Mrs. Aida Al-Maaina, wife of UAE Ambassador to Seoul Abdulla Mohammed Al Maainah, wears a traditional UAE costume at her residence during a Red Cross gathering on June 18, 2008.

GCC Membership:
The UAE is a member of the Gulf cooperation council (GCC), beside the other five Arab Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Arab League Membership:
The UAE also is a member of the Arab League consisting of 22 Arabic native speaking countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Language:
Arabic is the national language of the UAE. English is widely spoken. Other languages of foreign residents are also spoken by community members.

Members of the Republic of Korea National Red Cross' Special Advisory Committee of Woman's Volunteers gather at the residence of Mrs. Aida Al-Maaina, wife of UAE Ambassador to Seoul Abdulla Mohammed Al-Maainah, on June 18, 2008.

Foreign Communities:
We have 200 Nationalities in UAE in General and we are 4 millions and approximately 1.350 million are only from UAE.

Religion:
All UAE citizens are Muslims. Islam is the official religion of the country, The UAE is a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)} comprising 57 members from around the world. Muslims represent around 80% of the UAE total population (citizens and foreigners), while other religions represent the remaining percentage.

We have a huge Buddhist temple and the biggest Coptic church in the middle east in Abu Dhabi, and a catholic church and many other church around the UAE and of course following the main religion we have many mosques. When any foreigner not from UAE wants to marry a UAE man is not obliged to convert to Islam when she wants to marry him.

Mrs. Aida Al-Maaina, wife of UAE Ambassador to Seoul Abdulla Mohammed Al-Maainah, poses with her friends at her residence.

Economy:
The UAE follows the policy of diversifying its economy. Oil and gas represent the important export and services represent more than 60% of the GDP.

Culture:
As an Arabic and Islamic nation located in the Arabian Gulf, the culture in the UAE is a mixture of Islamic culture and Arab-gulf culture. However, cultures of foreign residents are respected. The available data about the Stone Age in the UAE is limited, but the evidence that has been gathered indicates that there were small nomadic communities, which supplemented their diet by fishing and hunting.

Recent evidence, however, indicates that herding and animal husbandry were also practiced. Not much of these communities remain, other than stone objects. This evidence brings us to 6,000 years or more and than we found evidence from the Bronze Age and recently the Iron Age.

Mrs. Aida Al-Maaina, wife of UAE Ambassador to Seoul Abdulla Mohammed Al Maainah, wears a traditional UAE costume at her residence during a Red Cross gathering on June 18, 2008.

Tourism:
The UAE is considered a tourism destination for conferences and exhibitions, shopping, and sightseeing. Attractive destinations include beaches, deserts, oasis, museums and palaces. There are many gulf sports in the UAE including falconry, diving, horse racing, camel racing, and night desert safari. The UAE is also famous for modern sports like golf, tennis, cricket and F1.

Education and health are free for UAE people and also very new. Emigrants who work for the government can use its education and health care system for their children for free. An amount of money is given to anyone of the UAE for their marriage and also renting home is given from the government. We choose a land so the government provides money to build and it can be returned without interest during 20 years. Also to help people for buying a car and money can be refunded from the salary if he is working as employer with government.

The minister of education is taking care of the childhood activities so we do have free children centers where the children can explore their art skills and of course they are free for the UAE citizens and just a small fees for the foreigners and free fees for diplomats. They are our guests in UAE and we do provide many activities for them and for their children.

For details or inquiries please contact the UAE Embassy in Seoul at 790-3235/7.



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Ms. Pak Hae-Won is serving as director of planning and marketing for The Seoul Times. She graduated from ChungAng University with psychology major. Previously Ms. Pak worked for Samsung SDS, LG Chemistry, and CJ Home Shopping. Her hobbies include traveling and cooking.

 

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