Learn More About Abu Dhabi, the Host City of FIP World Congress

5 min readJun 18, 2019


By Fabrice HUMURA

Khurram Iqbal is the Congress Liaison and is quite familiar with the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) people, environment, language and culture. He graced us with some information with regards to the United Arab Emirates.

Can you provide us with a brief history of the UAE?

The area’s history can be traced back to 6000 B.C. The UAE as a federation did not exist then. The area and the surrounding region was referred to as Arabian Peninsula. A new era began in the region during the emergence of Islam (AD630–1258). The Portuguese were amongst the first Europeans to arrive on the Arabian Peninsula in 1498. The loss of Hormuz by the Portuguese in 1622 marked the entry of the Dutch and the English to the Middle Eastern markets.

The British era (AD1720–1968)

By 1720s, trade by the British in the gulf had grown. The British were primarily concerned with asserting their naval power to safeguard trade links to India and keeping any European competitors out. By 1820, the British defeated the Qawasims.

Who brought about the idea of unifying emirates?

Interesting question, actually the idea of a united federation was brought on the table by the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed soon after assuming power and that was on 6 August 1966.

Sheikh Zayed, along with Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the then met on 18 February 1968, at Al Samha in today’s Abu Dhabi near the south-western boundary of Dubai. From 25 to 27 February 1968, the Rulers of these nine states convened a constitutional conference in Dubai and formed an agreement of 11 points, which was the basis for efforts to establish the ‘Federation of the Arab Emirates’.

On 18 July 1971, the Rulers of six of the seven emirates that made up the Trucial States, (except Ras Al Khaimah), decided to form a union. This meeting made the following historical declaration: “The Supreme Council felicitates the people of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Arab people, and our friends around the world, and declares the United Arab Emirates as an independent sovereign state being a part of the Arab World.”

Thank you for sharing that information. What are the seven Emirates?

1. Abu Dhabi,

2. Dubai,

3. Sharjah,

4. Ajman,

5. Umm Al Quwain,

6. Ras Al Khaimah

7. Fujairah.

What should we know about Abu Dhabi?

The first thing you should know is that Abu Dhabi is the largest Emirate (67,340 sq. km) in the UAE occupying 84 per cent of the national landmass territory. With 200 beautiful islands, Abu Dhabi city in the emirate is the federal capital of the UAE.

Happiness Island is among the 200 Islands in Abu Dhabi.

Ø Population

The estimated population of the emirate around mid-2016 was 2,908,173. In total; 551,535 were UAE nationals and 2,356,638 were expatriates. The average annual population growth rate for the years from 2010 to 2016 was 5.6 per cent.

Ø Geographical location

The emirate of Abu Dhabi lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf and is bordered by Sultanate of Oman to the east, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the south and the west and the emirate of Dubai to the northeast. The three main regions of the emirate are:

  • the city of Abu Dhabi
  • Al Ain in the east
  • Al Dhafrah (earlier known as Al Gharbia) in the west.

Ø Economy

The emirate of Abu Dhabi is an abundance of oil and natural gas reserves. Tourism is playing in integral role in Abu Dhabi’s economic development. GDP of Abu Dhabi for the year 2014 was AED 960,146 million (at current prices).

Ø Currency

The monetary unit is the Arab Emirate Dirham (dirham). 1 USD ($) = AED 3.67.

Ø Time Zone

The local time is GMT + 4 hours.

Ø Climate

All through summer, from early June to early September; the weather is hot and humid, with temperatures averaging typically above 40oC.

From end of September to end of May (the time when congress will take place), temperatures average a pleasant 28oC — 20oC. Air-conditioning is used in all vehicles and buildings including hotels, conference and exhibition halls and shopping malls.

Ø Clothing

Visitors (both men and women) are advised not to wear excessively revealing clothing in public places, as a sign of respect for local culture and customs. Some places such as nightclubs require guests not to wear shorts, caps or sport shoes on their premises. Unless otherwise indicated, official events usually require non-locals to wear formal attire; a suit and tie for men and an evening dress for women.

As for the weather recommendations, lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year (summer, spring and autumn), though a light sweater or cardigan could be handy when visiting a shopping mall, hotel or restaurant where the temperature might be kept low to counter the outdoor heat. Slightly warm clothes are needed for the short winter season, especially in the evenings.

Ø Culture & Lifestyle

Abu Dhabi’s culture is firmly rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. Courtesy and hospitality are among the most highly prized of virtues, and visitors are sure to be charmed by the genuine warmth and friendliness of the people. Foreigners are free to practice their own religion, alcohol is served in hotels and provided reasonable discretion is shown; the dress code is liberal. Women face no discrimination and may drive and walk around unescorted.

Local citizens dress in traditional attire and headdress. Arab culture and folklore find expression in poetry, dancing, songs and traditional art. Weddings and other celebrations are colourful occasions of feasting and music. Traditional sports such as falconry, camel racing and dhow racing at sea continue to thrive.

Ø Language & Religion

The official language of the United Arab Emirates is Arabic but English is widely spoken and understood. Both languages are commonly used in business and commerce.

Islam is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates and there are a large number of mosques throughout the city. Other religions are respected and welcomed.

Ø Photography

Normal tourist photography is allowed, however it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women. It is also courteous to request permission before photographing men.

Fun Fact!

The venue for FIP World congress in Abu Dhabi, has been registered as the “world’s furthest leaning man-made tower” by the Guinness World Records.

Venue for FIP World congress




The Young Pharmacists Group of FIP (International Pharmaceutical Federation)