China National Day
July 28, 2019
Pakistan Naval Ship reception at Port Sultan Qaboos
August 1, 2019

Then, Now and When

THEN

Oman was a marine hub in the past and despite active marine trade with ot

her nations, it still managed to preserve its national identity and carry it forward to the next generation. Those who can witness the changes that happened gradually to the country in terms of infrastructure and development will hardly see much change in the national identity of the people of Oman.

As a nation we really looked up to our leadership and had trust in his vision for Oman. The majority of Omanis focused more in developing their capacity so that they can be ready for the new Oman that was part of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s vision.

Life in the past was not so easy but it was promising. When you see your leader working so hard to implement the vision for the country, it gives you a sense of comfort that tomorrow will be a better day.

The thing I like about the development in Oman was the slow, steady pace of change. As a young nation, it’s true that we wanted change so badly, but our leadership understood the necessity to take things gradually which gave us time to grow, develop and not lose focus on who we are.

Oman was the hub that connected many nations together. The simplicity and the genuine love towards other nations helped Oman build strong ties with many other countries.

NOW

Many of those who meet Omanis abroad

today can easily identify them through their unique identity – be it from their dress code or their hospitable conduct. This only reflects on the efforts put in by the government and the community to preserve the most valuable thing we have – our unique identity.

As a nation we looked up to other countries that are developed and civilised.

This encouraged us to work harder to achieve our goals towards a better Oman –  Oman that is recognised in the international arena, Oman that competes with other nations in development, Oman that is now recognised on the map with many achievements in varied fields, including science and technology.

Life has changed dramatically in the past few years and the focus has changed entirely to other aspects of life.

People no longer have to worry about how to get education or health care. Rather, they are now living a better lifestyle, which is a blessing considering where we started in the seventies.

It’s always exciting to see Oman at its peak of development where there is a shift in developing the human capacity of Omanis, the main asset of this nation. The role that Oman plays currently is very essential for stability in the region. Oman understands very well the value of peace and co-existence, and tries to propagate it to surrounding regions. For sure, this is not an easy task, but Oman and its people are responsible and mature enough to carry this noble task.

WHEN

No one can really predict the future and get it right, but the only thing we can do is be optimistic towards what it holds for us.

We, as a nation, have worked so hard to create a national identity that we are proud of, and it would be a pity if we don’t put more efforts to sustain and maintain this identity. It might be challenging to get the next generation on board in our vision on Oman due to globalisation, but this should not stop us from trying to inculcate our values in them.

There is no doubt that every nation wants more development and more prosperity.

Oman is no different as the focus in the coming years will be on finding other sources of income for the country and elevating the status of citizens whether it is economically or intellectually by having more presence in the international arena.

Lifestyle in the future will definitely be different with all the new technologies being developed. There is also going to be a shift in the nature of life in terms of customs and traditions, which might be positive and suitable for the upcoming generation.

Let us hope that we, as a nation, will continue in the footsteps of our forefathers who dedicated their lives to promote peace and tolerance.

THEN

I was born in the sixties in a small village. Education was a terminology that didn’t exist in my community, let alone girls’ education. With no roads and no transportation, we were totally isolated from the rest of the country. All that we heard about the world outside our village came from the men who were lucky enough to go work in neighbouring countries.

I was about seven years old when my father came back from work with a story – a very interesting one about this handsome King who was going to transform the country and make us all happy.

All of us children were happy because we would not have to stay for months without seeing our fathers. My father came back with this crazy idea of taking me to the big city where I could attend school and become a doctor.

Not many years passed and many of our small villages became big cities with beautiful buildings.  They turned into cities with big roads, schools and shopping malls. For those who lived in Oman before the Blessed Renaissance, this was a dream come true. The progress was huge and fast – from mud houses to amazing high-rise buildings and white villas that make Oman unique and beautiful.

We have managed to maintain our culture and heritage and make this great mix between past and present. It was a real miracle the way His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said transformed Oman in a short time to make it one of the fastest growing countries in the world.

We little girls went to school along with our brothers and then we travelled abroad to attend universities. We could do that because His Majesty the Sultan made it a point from day one to make us equal.  From day one, we had equal rights for education, work, career advancement and development. We have the right to select our partners, own properties and the right to vote.

We are among the few women that didn’t have to fight for any of these rights.

Oman started progressing after 1970 when His Majesty the Sultan took over the reins of the country and created a road network and schools all over the country to provide education to all citizens without gender segregation.

Diplomatic ties with the international community also flourished and Oman was opened up to foreigners to participate in the development process.

NOW

Today, Oman has an amazing international presence. Our wise ruler, His Majesty the Sultan is being recognised as a peace maker. He fulfilled his promise to the nation to make us happy. His Majesty brought economic stability, social equality and peace. Oman is developing very fast. We have one of the best infrastructures in the region and a stable economy. The new generations of Omanis are going to continue building on to transform this country.

Because the youth work with all their hearts and take pride in what they do, they will manage to make this transformation. I see greater economic and social progress. I see less unemployment rate and more women in policy-making positions. I see growth in the private sector, which will allow for Oman’s smooth transition from an oil-based economy to a knowledge-based one.

WHEN

The government has already taken some steps to further diversify the economy, with emphasis on other important sectors like tourism, agriculture, mining and so on.

This is being supported by excellent infrastructure and a legal system, which will make it easier to draw foreign investors to further develop these sectors. Special industrial areas like Duqm are also being established to allow for a more liberalised economic environment that could spark more private industries, create new types of jobs for the Omani youth and attract foreign investment.

Even though economists make the picture look very gloomy with fast-declining oil reserves, I do believe that we can continue to prosper as a nation on other resources, especially human resources. We can benefit from the strategic location of Oman and its other natural resources which will continue attracting more foreign investors. Oman’s beautiful nature and unique culture and heritage will continue to make it a favourite destination for a growing number of tourists and investors.

THEN

After 1970 Oman moved forward very fast towards modernisation, education and economic development. This, coupled with population growth, led to several changes in lifestyle and social fabric. The country got more open to outside cultures, and the mixed local cultures got melted together and the nation’s identity was raised incredibly.

The daily life speed became faster and people got more isolated by being busy in their own life matters. However, this period was the development of the basics for a stable nation, where we noticed a tremendous change in personal freedom, human rights, legalisations, education, health care and social welfare, compared to the previous decades. Oman’s international policy, as led by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, was a shining icon of sharing peace and mutual understanding with all other countries.

NOW

Oman has come to secure a front position among Arabic nations, with best health care, free education, legalisations and personal freedom. Oman now plays an important role in international politics as a moderator and peace maker. Oman has also gained a positive reputation as a nation of peace.

The number of higher education institutes rose very rapidly, from one university and few national higher colleges with no private universities until 2004 to many national and private universities and high colleges in 2019.

Now, almost every governorate has at least one university and many colleges and higher education institutes.

WHEN

In the future, Oman will be moving towards great economic achievement by being self-sufficient in food and green power. With its strategic geographical location, economic resources, peaceful politics and people, Oman will have a major role in Middle East politics and economics in the next few decades.

As regards to environmental issues, Oman has been among the best countries in conserving the environment by having environmental regulations, many protectorates, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs and other institutions. In the future, ecological issues will be more positive as I am expecting Oman to have more fish farms that will reduce dependence on fishing from the Oman Sea and Indian Ocean. The number of farms using modern agricultural techniques such as hydroponics and aquaponics will increase, and there also will be more use for recycled and treated water for urban and agricultural uses.

In the near future, Oman will increase its use of solar and wind power for augmenting the public electricity network with a high percentage.