Hassan Arafat of Khalifa University said he felt he had been welcomed into a new family

A university professor told of his pride in receiving UAE citizenship for his significant contribution to the country.

Hassan Arafat, director of the Centre for Membranes and Advanced Water Technology at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, was among the first residents to secure citizenship as part of a new process announced by the country this year.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, outlined the decision in January to nominate leading figures, including engineers, doctors and scientists, for citizenship in recognition of their outstanding work.

A top chemical engineer, Prof Arafat, 47, from Amman, Jordan, received an Emirati passport in March, a few weeks after he received a phone call to say he was nominated based on his scientific achievements.

“I actually get very emotional thinking about it and there is a feeling of joy,» he told The National.

«It is an honour that has really humbled me.

“It’s like magic, like a switch you turn on. Suddenly I’m feeling part of something much bigger than my career.»

His new status has had a positive effect on his work, too.

“It’s quite strange, my mindset even when I come to work has suddenly become different. I’m no longer thinking of what I want to achieve that day, I’m thinking about how what I do affects my university and the UAE,” Prof Arafat said.

“This is integrated in all my planning and work on a daily basis.”

Under the scheme, people will retain their original nationality, allowing for dual citizenship.

Five key roles in the citizenship drive

“It’s like suddenly having two families you belong to,” Prof Arafat said.

“Just like when you get married you are part of two families and you are very happy to have that.

“The UAE recognises that people have very strong sentimental attachment to their place of birth and place of original citizenship. The fact that they didn’t want people to go through the pain of giving that up is amazing.”

Prof Arafat has been working in the UAE since 2010 and lives with his wife and four children who are thrilled they can plan a long-term future in the country they call home.

“We are going through a phase where two children are finishing high school this year and they were uncertain about where they would go to university,” Prof Arafat said.

“We were considering all kinds of options and now it is quite obvious. This is your country, you go to school here.”

Read more at: https://www.thenationalnews.com/uae/government/abu-dhabi-professor-tells-of-pride-at-receiving-uae-citizenship-under-new-scheme-1.1217679


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La ACIEAU es una plataforma de networking profesional de científicos e investigadores españoles que trabajan en los Emiratos Árabes Unidos. Cuenta con más de 60 miembros, incluidos destacados científicos, investigadores y expertos en una amplia gama de áreas de conocimiento: desde Ingeniería, Medio Ambiente, Salud, Veterinaria y Biología, hasta Ciencias Sociales e Inteligencia Artificial. Su propósito es difundir los logros científicos y tecnológicos de los investigadores españoles en los Emiratos Árabes Unidos.