For many outsiders, the United Arab Emirates is seen as a land of deserts and camels – and the dramatic modernity that has followed on from the discovery of oil and gas. In his talk “Not Just Desert, but 9,000 Years of Trade” Peter Hellyer explains that UAE’s history is much more diverse. Yes – there are deserts and camels, but there is also a heritage of nearly 10,000 years of international trade. There is the earliest evidence of a pearling industry, mining and exporting of copper 5,000 years ago and sailing to China 2,000 years ago.
That interaction with the outside world over generations lies at the heart of the UAE and of its culture of tolerance today. This video is an extract from the launch event organized by the Cambridge University Emirati Society.