UAE 2010s Highlights Decade Expo 2020 Hazza Al Mansoori Expo 2020 Burj Khalifa Dubai
Photograph credit: Dubai Media Office

A Look Back At The UAE’s Biggest Highlights Of The Last Decade

As we say goodbye to the 2010s and we begin 2020, we’re reflecting on the UAE’s top decade-defining moments that shot our amazing country to global stardom.

Burj Khalifa opens

When: 4th January, 2010

About: Four days into the 2010s, and the UAE caught the world’s attention inaugurating what is still to this day the world’s tallest building; the Burj Khalifa. At over 200-storeys, the building stands at 828 metres (2,716.5 ft), dwarfing surrounding skyscrapers. The Emir of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was there on the opening night to cut the ceremonial ribbon, with an array of UAE rulers and scores of onlookers. In true UAE style, the Burj Khalifa was opened with a fantastic celebration featuring a spectacle of fireworks and lights. The amazing construction which attracts millions of visitors each year will celebrate its 10th anniversary on 4th January 2020.

The Burj Khalifa is three times bigger than the Eiffel Tower and nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building and has featured in Hollywood blockbuster films like ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ and ‘Geostorm.’

Dubai wins Expo 2020 bid

When: 27th November, 2013

About: Celebrations and fireworks soared across the city after The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) general assembly in Paris awarded Dubai the role of host of Expo 2020. The six month long spectacle will bring the world to the emirate from 20th October, 2020 to 10th April, 2021.

With the Expo site taking shape in time for its inauguration this year, more than 180 countries will feature in pavilions across three thematic districts. It’s touted to be the biggest Expo in the Arab World, held under the theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating The Future.”

Check out the infamous moment Fazza went on top of Burj Khalifa and waved the UAE flag to mark Dubai’s winning bid.

KhalifaSat launches

When: 30th October, 2018

About: Regarded as one of the UAE’s biggest achievements in technology, KhalifaSat was developed entirely by Emiratis involving 70 astronauts and engineers at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Space Centre (MBRSC). The satellite launched into space bearing the name of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and orbits the Earth almost 14 and a half times daily.

UAE passport ranks as the most powerful in the world

When: 2nd December, 2018

About: Just in time for the UAE’s 47th National Day, the Global Passport Power Index ranked the UAE’s passport as the most powerful in the world and in December 2019 it went onto be named the greatest of the decade with a record breaking mobility score. Read more about that here.

UAE 2010s Highlights Decade Expo 2020 Hazza Al Mansoori Expo 2020 Burj Khalifa Dubai
Photograph credit: Dubai Media Office

You’d be surprised to know the UAE’s passport ranked 27th three years ago. Talk about progress!

Hazza Al Mansouri visits the International Space Station

When: 25th September, 2019

About: 35-year-old astronaut, Hazza Al Mansouri made history as the first Emirati astronaut to launch into space and visit the International Space Station (ISS). He embarked on an eight-day journey to conduct earth observations, interact with ground stations and learn from veteran astronauts onboard the satellite.

UAE Rulers, Royals and the entire country received his arrival back in the UAE with a series of praises.

Pope Francis visits the UAE and becomes the first Catholic Pontiff to set foot in the Arabian Peninsula

When: 3rd February, 2019

Marking another historic moment for the UAE, Pope Francis touched down in Abu Dhabi for what was one of the most significant interreligious events in modern memory. At the invite of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis was welcomed to the UAE to participate in an “International Interfaith Meeting on Human Fraternity”. Taking place in the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, Pope Francis met with the country’s leaders before delivering an hour-and-a-half long mass, in a combination of Arabic, English and Latin. Thousands of Catholic worshippers attended the event and the event garnered worldwide attention.

The UAE continues to be at the forefront of the modern world and as his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum himself said, 2020 will be a, “Year of goodness and optimism .. a year of hope and work .. a year of preparation and achievement”. We can’t wait to see what the next decade brings for the UAE.