Ambassador Edward Hobart CMG

UAE Culture

Emirati culture is a blend of Arabian, Islamic, and Persian cultures, with influences from the cultures of East Africa and Indian Subcontinent. Islam has had a prominent influence on local architecture, music, attire, cuisine, and lifestyle.

  1. Islamic Heritage: Islam plays a significant role in the culture of the UAE. The country follows the principles of Islam, and the majority of the population is Muslim. Islamic traditions are reflected in daily life, including prayers, festivals, and social customs.
  2. Traditional Dress: The traditional dress for Emirati men is the kandura, a long white robe, while women wear the abaya, a black cloak. The headscarf worn by men is called a ghutra or shemagh, and women often wear a headscarf called a sheila.
  3. Hospitality: Hospitality is highly valued in Emirati culture. Offering food and drinks to guests is a common practice, and guests are treated with great respect.
  4. Family Values: Family is a central aspect of Emirati culture, and family bonds are strong. Respect for elders and close-knit family relationships are important cultural values.
  5. Cuisine: Emirati cuisine is a blend of Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Traditional dishes include biryani, falafel, and various grilled meats. Dates and coffee hold cultural significance and are often offered to guests.
  6. Festivals: Islamic festivals, such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, are widely celebrated in the UAE. Additionally, National Day on December 2nd marks the formation of the country, and celebrations include parades, fireworks, and cultural events.
  7. Language: Arabic is the official language of the UAE. English is widely used in business and education, making the UAE a multilingual society.
  8. Modern and Traditional Arts: The UAE embraces both modern and traditional forms of art. Traditional arts include calligraphy, henna painting, and falconry, while the country also hosts modern art galleries and cultural events.
  9. Economic Prosperity: The UAE has experienced rapid economic development, particularly in cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This prosperity has contributed to a modern lifestyle, futuristic architecture, and a diverse population.
  10. Tolerance and Inclusivity: The UAE places an emphasis on tolerance and inclusivity. The government promotes a multicultural society, and people of various nationalities and religions live and work harmoniously.


Edward Hobart took up his appointment as His Majesty’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates in May 2023. He has previously served as Consul General in Dubai, from 2012 to 2015, a role which included leading Trade and Investment work in the UAE, [at the time] the UK’s fourth largest export market outside Europe. He spent a year previously as Deputy Ambassador in Abu Dhabi.

Ed’s previous role was as Director of Estates, Security and Networks in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office from 2017 to 2023. Ed was responsible for managing and developing the FCDO’s portfolio of 6000 buildings around the world as well as the security of our staff, assets and information.

He served as the FCO’s Migration Envoy, representing the UK Government internationally and working across the UK government to develop and deliver policy on migration between 2015 and 2017. He headed the FCO’s Libya Unit in 2011. In previous roles he has been responsible for the FCO’s IT and Information Management, led major IT-driven change programmes, and developed the FCO’s first digital and online presence.

Ed joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1993. In addition to the UAE, he has also served in Cuba and Malaysia.

Retired from playing, he now enjoys coaching rugby. Along with his wife, he is a founder of the West London Free School, one of the first new ‘Free Schools’ in the UK.

British Ambassador to UAE

The Ambassador represents Her Majesty The Queen and the UK government in the country to which they are appointed. They are responsible for the direction and work of the Embassy and its Consulates, including political work, trade and investment, press and cultural relations, and visa and consular services.

British Embassy UAE

The British Embassy in the United Arab Emirates maintains and develops relations between the UK and UAE. We work with the United Arab Emirates to improve links between our two countries. We have a shared agenda in many areas of political and practical co-operation, borne of many years of collaboration since before the United Arab Emirates was formed.



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