50U is a book about the United Arab Emirates, the UAE. It was published on the occasion of the UAE’s golden jubilee: 50 years ago – December 2, 1971 – the confederation of seven Gulf states was officially declared. 

“What started as a conversation amongst family and friends between Dubai and Amsterdam, led us here to the launch of a collection of tales. Our hope for the book is that it honors our past, documents our present, and is used in the future as a tool for cultural exchange. Working across borders, we have created something that demonstrates the UAE’s principles of tolerance and our country’s richly diverse community. The result is a beautifully produced book with immaculate design and creativity; something that is also an important part of the fabric of present-day UAE. We are so delighted to now be able to share ‘50U’ with everyone, everywhere.”

Yasser Bin Khediya, Commissioner

50U tells the story of the UAE in 50 portraits of people, plants and places, painting an intimate picture of life in the Emirates, with the memories and expectations of its inhabitants. Over a period of just fifty years, they have witnessed the transformation of a partly nomadic, partly town-based community into a globally active metropolitan society. Interviews with a former minister, a fisherman, an astronaut, a fashion designer, an AI specialist, a female racing driver, a contemporary artist, a conservation expert, a Japanese baker, a tailor and many more tell first-hand what it is like to grow up in the UAE or to spend better part of one’s life in the region. 

An extensive photo essay by Charlie Koolhaas documents the present of ‘where the people are’, while a documentation of plant life shows what an amazing variety of species the desert contains.

352 pages full of surprising content, beautifully designed by Irma Boom Office:
50U waiting for U!

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50U is not Archis’ first publication on the Gulf: in 2007, the special Volume issue Al Manakh was released, followed in 2010 by Al Manakh Cont’d. Both 500-pages publications expose the facts and figures of the region, its economic, cultural and historic developments, plus reflections on contemporary conditions. To these rich in-depth studies, 50U adds the personal voice.

“50U is an incredible addition to books available on the history and development of the UAE. Bringing together the collective experience of citizens and residents, the book skillfully encapsulates the essence of this young and dynamic nation. It's an inspiring journey brought alive with engaging visuals.”

Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

“Real stories from real people. A compelling X-ray of the United Arab Emirates as they are, 50-years young, forever evolving, forever defying stereotypes—like nowhere else, yet remarkably familiar.”

Reinier de Graaf, Partner OMA

“This book is a fantastic portrait of the UAE through the eyes of all the visionary people who took part in the process. It's a fascinating archive and testimony — and a beautiful object that comes in handy as the most useful and convenient work tool.”

India Mahdavi, Architect and Designer

1U

The Dedication

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum

2U

The Draftsman

John Michael Houghton

3U

The Initiator

Yasser Bin Khediya

4U

The Editorial Team

50U

5U

The Analyst

Rem Koolhaas

6U

The Cultural Diplomats

Zaki Nusseibeh & Noura Al Kaabi

7U

The Historian Couple

Frauke Heard-Bey & David Heard

8U

The Sea Expert

Juma Khalifa Bin Thalith

9U

The Conservation Advocate

Maryam Mudhaffar Ahli

10U

The Architect Advisor

Peter Jackson

11U

The Fashion Designer

Fatma Al Fahim

12U

The Urban Development

Satellite Views

13U

The Place-Maker

Dariush Zandi

14U

The Contemporary Observer

Charlie Koolhaas

15U

The Cultural Beacon

Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal

16U

The Art Gallerist

Sunny Rahbar

17U

The Up-and-Coming Artist

Farah Al Qasimi

18U

The Contemporary Artist

Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim

19U

The Singer-Songwriter

Hamdan Al Abri

20U

The Folk Poetry Researcher

Rashid Al Mazrouei

21U

The Wisdom

Glossary: Local Proverbs

22U

The Youthful Historian

Rashid Saif Al Amimi

23U

The Literature Leader

Isobel Abulhoul

24U

The Instagrammer

@jumeira2323

25U

The Media Man

Peter Hellyer

26U

The Award-Winning Filmmaker

Abdulla Al Kaabi

27U

The Royal Photographer

Ramesh Shukla

28U

The Power-Map

Pink Tank

29U

The Largest Permanent Work of Art

The Mastaba (Christo & Jeanne-Claude)

30U

The Trade Magnate

Tony Jashanmal

31U

The Herald of Trade

Mohammed Saeed Al Mulla

32U

The Tailor of Dubai

Mohammed Al Madani

33U

The Footwear Entrepreneur

Mohammed Kazim

34U

The Fashion Collector

Reem el Mutwalli

35U

The Photo-Chronicler

Ammar Al Attar

36U

The Japanese Baker

Suhail Al Maktoum

37U

The Cross-Cultural Engineer

Salem Ghanem Al-Marri

38U

The Pioneer of Photojournalism

Eve Arnold

39U

The Local Flora

Plants of the UAE

40U

The Hero of Organic

Khalid Butti Al Shamsi

41U

The Aviation Trailblazer

Mohi Din BinHendi

42U

The Tech Leader

Khalifa Al Qama

43U

The AI Specialist

Yousef Alhammadi

44U

The First Female Minister

Lubna Al Qasimi

45U

The First Female Astronaut

Nora Al Matrooshi

46U

The First Female Racing Driver

Amna Al Qubaisi

47U

The Mars Mission Director

Omran Sharaf

48U

The First Emirati in Space

Hazzaa al-Mansoori

49U

The Future

Lamya Bin Khediya

50U

The Historical Flags

Seven Emirates

352 pages, Softcover with Silver foil
24cm x 17cm x 3cm, full color 300 illustrations
English/Arabic

Commissioner Yasser Bin Khediya

Initial concept Yasser Bin Khediya, Roadha Bin Khediya, Irma Boom

Concept development Ahmed & Rashid bin Shabib, Archis, IBO

Editors Ahmed & Rashid bin Shabib, Anna Seaman, Arjen Oosterman, Francesco Degl’Innocenti, Lilet Breddels, Irma Boom

Project director Khawla Bin Khediya

Managing director Francesco Degl’Innocenti

Editorial assistant Idil Gökgöz

English copy editors David Cross Kane, Ban Kattan

Transcription and translation Lien Sulaiman, Noor Refaie, Awad Mustafa, Asha Sherwood, Dana Alomar

Arabic translation and editing Soul Sisters: Nour Sulaiman, Lien Sulaiman, Lojain Sulaiman, Badiah Ezzi

Arabic page setting Huda AbiFarès

Design Irma Boom assisted by Lulu van Dijck, Jan van der Kleijn

Printer Zwaan Lenoir

Printed and Bound in the Netherlands
ISBN 978 90 77966 921

Publisher Archis
Distributors Jashanmal (MENA region), Ideabooks (rest of the world)
Sales price €35,00

This publication was generously supported by DP World and A.R.M. Holding

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