Page 24 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine II

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She i kh Kha l i fa Bi n Zay ed Al Nahyan
Today the UAE enjoys a visionary leadership under its
new President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al
Nahyan. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
(born 25 January 1948 in Al Muwaiji Fort, Al Ain;
referred to as Sheikh Khalifa) is the current President of
the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and emir of Abu Dhabi.
He replaced his father Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, just
a day after his death, on 3 November 2004. It is clear
from his Presidential style that he was very close to the
leadership of his late father and has been inspired by his
When the late President passed peacefully, it was natural
that his son and Crown Prince became the Ruler of Abu
Dhabi. His confirmation as the new leader signalled
to the people of the UAE that as an historic era of the
foundation of the state came to its close, during which an
ambitious vision was achieved, a new era had arrived. His
leadership role has seen him come to the fore in a new
stage of development for the UAE that will witness the
empowerment of his nation as it strives for excellence and
its emergence on the global scene as a major world player.
Promoting prosperity for all
Sheikh Khalifa received his early education in the sole
school that had been built in Al Ain by his father at
that time. His father had a strong belief that the best
kind of education is received in public majalis – daily
congregations that take place in the presence of a ruler
or senior tribal leader. Sheikh Khalifa benefitted from
two such public councils and working closely with the
tribes, he developed their ethos and characteristics and
acquired first rate management and communication
skills that are apparent in his political leadership today.
From an early age Shiekh Zayed instilled in his son
values of responsibility and trust and so Shiekh Khalifa
has followed in his father’s footsteps with unique
characteristics inspired by his father’s modest and open
management style. Fully dedicated to bringing prosperity
and progress to his people, Sheikh Khalifa respects those
who work with him, giving them flexibility to take the
initiative, skilfully maintaining their trust and motivating
them to achieve greatness. He cares greatly for the
environment and works tirelessly to preserve the heritage
of his country.
Looking back on his education, Sheikh Khalifa especially
acknowledged how the closeness to his charismatic father
trained and influenced him in a way no school education
could: “My father is my teacher. I learn something from
him every day, follow his path and absorb from him his
values, and the need for patience and prudence in all
things.” (1990)
Only eighteen years old, Sheikh Khalifa was appointed
representative of the Eastern Region in 1966 when
Sheikh Zayed became Ruler of Abu Dhabi Emirate and
consequently moved to Abu Dhabi City. In Al Ain Sheikh
Khalifa continued the development projects, especially
restoring the underground watering systems and digging
new wells.
Establishing himself as the main executive leader of
his late father’s government, he was appointed as Abu
Dhabi Crown Prince in 1969 and later the first Prime
Minister of the Abu Dhabi government, also taking care
of the defence and financing sectors to establish their
infrastructures and services for the Emirate.
When the United Arab Emirates were founded in
1971, and new challenges arose for the young country’s
rulership, Sheikh Khalifa assumed the position of Deputy
Prime Minister in the first federal cabinet. In 1974 the
local cabinet of Abu Dhabi Emirate was replaced by the
Executive Council as the executive entity for the local
government, and Sheikh Khalifa was its first president.
Two years later his role in the defense sector of the
country became more pivotal with his promotion to
Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
As such he focused on military training and equipment
in order to establish an optimised defensive capability for
the nation.
Another important post was the chairmanship of the
Supreme Petroleum Council, which Sheikh Khalifa
assumed in the late 1980’s. The development of the UAE’s
downstream petrochemicals and industrial complex
at Ruwais, as part of wide reaching programme for the
country’s economic diversification, was one of Sheikh
Khalifa’s key concerns.
As right hand of his father and following Sheikh Zayed’s
example of leadership, Sheikh Khalifa opened his house
to all people wishing to meet him in order to discuss their
worries and problems with utter eagerness and honesty as
well as a sense of responsibility. This closeness to his people
is reflected in his notable concern for social aid and various
support programmes originated in personal encounters and a
constantly open ear to people’s concerns.
Following his unanimous election as President by the
Supreme Federal Council to replace his late father, Sheikh
Khalifa has continued to lead the country on a path
towards prosperity. Guided by his father’s principles in his
first National Day address, in December 2004, he pledged
that he would continue to work to serve the citizens of the
state. True to his word, early in his term, in April 2005,
he authorized a 100% salary increase for employees of the
state highlighting his commitment to prosperity for his
Following his election as President, Sheikh Khalifa has
shown great consideration for people throughout the
country, especially in remote areas. In December 2005,
Shaikh Khalifa outlined plans to reform the structure of
government to give a more important role to the Federal
National Council so it could deal effectively with issues
that concern the country and to introduce citizens to
the concept of Shura – democracy. He also urged the
country’s youth to learn more about their history and
heritage and pledged himself to devote all necessary
resources to the development of the UAE’s human capital.
In early 2007 he ordered Dh 1.5 billion to be spent
in a first phase of a programme to provide services to
remote areas in the northern emirates, including health,
education, housing, roads, electricity and water supplies.
He has also worked in other areas to build much needed
hospitals and housing. He is passionate about continuing
the work of his father who devoted his life to build the
country and to provide good living conditions to both
Emiratis and residents.
AWorld class leader
Abu Dhabi’s policy agenda sets out a vision for the overall
development of the country that ensures the welfare
of its citizens. Programmes have been set in motion to
develop an open economy that provides the best services
in education, health and developed infrastructure within a
legislative environment. The emirate’s strategy documents
give equal importance to developing a transparent and
efficient government to ensure the implementation of
plans with a high-level of effectiveness and coordination,
and to make use of all the country’s potential and
resources, including the participation of the private sector,
both locally and internationally. The country’s security, its
international relations, safeguarding its environment, and
promoting its heritage and culture remain cornerstones
of the UAE’s vision. Sheikh Khalifa is committed to
consolidating a political system based on consultation,
justice and security, which enables all men and women
to actively and positively participate in running their
Under his leadership the Government have been
instrumental in launching new programmes and
legislation to support culture, family development,
education and health as an integral development project.
Since his highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nayan
became President of the United Emirates in 2004,
the country has embarked on a well considered drive
to continue the great progressive work carried out in
previous years under the leadership of the founder of the
state, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Everywhere we go in Abu Dhabi there are reminders of
the spirit of Sheikh Zayed and we have huge admiration
for the way in which Sheikh Khalifa is following in the
footsteps of such a wonderful leader. Sheikh Khalifa is
renowned for his passion in sports that are traditional to
the UAE including horse and camel racing. He is held in
high esteem as a pro-Western innovator. Thanks to his
vision and leadership he has created peace and prosperity
and A&J would like to extend to him our own personal
gratitude for this status quo as we have fully enjoyed the
benefits of this ordered society during our incredible stay
in Abu Dhabi and the many excursions and activities we
have been fortunate enough to experience during this