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Arab Federation: the United Arab Emirates, then and now – Dr Frauke Heard-Bey

Arab Federation: the United Arab Emirates, then and now – Dr Frauke Heard-Bey

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Not long ago the UAE was considered a ‘developing’ country. Yet, since the seven member emirates came together in a federation in 1971, nearly five decades have past and the country holds the record of being the only surviving Arab federation. The history, which predates the formation of this federation led to predictions of instant failure at the outset. Why has this federation survived during the first decades and flourished ever since?

Frauke Heard-Bey studied history and political science in Heidelberg and received her Ph.D. from the ‘Freie Universität’ of West Berlin in 1967. She followed her husband David to Abu Dhabi in the same year. David had already been with the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Company since 1963. Frauke joined the Centre for Documentation and Research (now the National Archive) in Abu Dhabi in 1969. The Centre, which at the time specialized in collecting archival material about the Gulf from foreign sources such as the India Office Library in London, the state archives of Portugal, Holland, Germany, France and several other countries, was her sphere of work for 39 years.

Frauke’s research into the social, economic and constitutional history and current developments of the countries of the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula resulted in several books and articles.

Her publications include:

From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates: A Society in Transition (1st. edn. London, Longman, 1982); 3rd edn. Motivate Dubai 2004.

Die arabischen Golfstaaten im Zeichen der islamischen Revolution. Innen-aussen- und sicherheitspolitische Zusammenarbeit im Golf-Rat (Bonn: Europa Verlag, 1983), a historical and political study about the origins of the GCC.

The United Arab Emirates: Transition in a Federal State (London: SOAS, 2001).

From Tribe to State. The Transformation of Political Structure in Five States of the GCC, (Milan: Università Cattolica, 2008).

Her latest book: Abu Dhabi, The United Arab Emirates and the Gulf. Fifty Years of Transformation was published in November 2016 in Berlin and London by Gerlach Press.

Frauke was honoured with the Abu Dhabi Award in 2007.

Frauke and David have been members of the RSAA since 1970.

Frauke gave the Centenary Lecture to the Society on 8 January 2002 entitled “The Gulf in the 20th Century”.

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