For such a small island nation Maldives has a remarkably colourful and diverse culture. Its traditions are rooted in a mixture of Buddhist influences, Arab traders and the Indian sub-continent and you can still see vestiges from these periods in our architecture and art.

Traditional cuisine is heavily influenced by fish and coconut with several dishes that have no parallels elsewhere in the region. Likewise, our music and dance display strong influences from East Africa, Arabia and the Indian sub-continent.

While agriculture and manufacturing play lesser roles, the construction sector accounts for a large part of the industrial economy. Tourism is also a vitally important source of income for the country. The country is a member of international organisations such as the United Nations, World Trade Organisation, Commonwealth and Non-Aligned Movement and is an advocate for the security of small states and the protection of the environment.

The government is a republic, governed by the constitution adopted in 2008. The head of state and head of government is the president, who is elected directly by universal suffrage to a maximum of two five-year terms. The unicameral Majlis is 87 members long, with 48 elected for five-year terms from each of the 19 atolls and Male, and eight appointed by the president. The country’s legal system is based on Shari’a, Islamic law.

The Maldives is a Muslim country and despite a small population it has always maintained its independence and a sense of strong unity. It is now an internationally renowned tourist destination and a major player in the fight against climate change.

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