Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Saturday attended the Zayed Humanitarian Day, which falls on Ramadan 19, marking the anniversary of the death of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, at Dubai World Trade Centre.
After the rendition of the UAE national anthem and a recital of verses from the holy Qur’an, the ceremony kicked off with a documentary about the legacy of the late Shaikh Zayed; an embodiment of the virtues of giving and charity work. Shaikh Zayed is a well respected leader whose name echoed on the local, regional and international level. Emirati charity institutions are now walking in the footsteps of the late Shaikh Zayed.
Shaikh Mohammad ordered that the ‘UAE Humanitarian Day’ be renamed ‘Zayed Humanitarian Day’ in honour of the late Shaikh Zayed.
During the event, which was organised by the General Secretariat of the Prime Minister’s Office, Shaikh Mohammad received a number of honorary certificates from a number of institutions from the United Nations.
Shaikh Mohammad received a certificate of appreciation from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered by Sayed Agha, the Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in the UAE. He also received a certificate of appreciation from Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the UN the Right Honourable Baroness Valerie Amos, which was delivered by Head of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Gulf Khalid Khalifa.
Shaikh Mohammad received another certificate of appreciation from Antonio Guterres UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which was delivered by the Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Representative to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states Omran Ridha.
Another certificate of appreciation was delivered to His Highness Shaikh Mohammed by the Regional Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Bureau for the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Hajj Dhiyab on behalf of the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme Ertharin Cousin.
Shaikh Mohammad expressed his pleasure with the honouring and thanked UN institutions that were keen to honour the memory of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the United Arab Emirates for being a key supporter of alleviating the suffering of millions around the world.
Additionally, Shaikh Mohammed praised the wise leadership of the UAE manifested in the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan who continues in the footsteps of the Father of the UAE and adheres to his legacy in supporting the needy regardless of religion or ethnicity.
“We gather here to honour the memory of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ? may God rest his soul in peace ? who taught us well the virtues of giving. These virtues truly reflect Arab and Islamic qualities. We follow in his footsteps and the next generations will do so,” Shaikh Mohammed said.
Shaikh Mohammed also commended Emirati institutions that follow the path of giving with more than 1,500 initiatives launched on the ‘Zayed Humanitarian Day.”
: “Today is the 19th of Ramadan, which coincides with the 9th anniversary of the passing away of the founding leader of the UAE and pioneer of philanthropy-the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan,” Shaikh Mohammad said in his speech.
The Cabinet approved that the 19th of Ramadan, which marks the death anniversary of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, be dedicated as the “Emirati Humanitarian Day" in recognition of his role in founding the UAE's humanitarian march.
The move was taken at the Cabinet meeting, which was held on November 27 at the Union House 2012 on the occasion of the 41st National Day, to commemorate Shaikh Zayed and his humanitarian deeds, which constituted an essential part of his life.
“This day will be an annual event in remembrance of the founder of humanitarian work and cultivating and establishing the values of benevolence, giving and generousity in younger generations, and to plan a year ahead for the UAE humanitarian work, making the UAE a global capital for humanitarian work and an international destination for relieving and helping the needy,” Shaikh Mohammad said.
“One can not speak about charitable work without remembering the late Shaikh Zayed, the teacher and role model of humanity not only for the Emirati people, but also for many people around the world.
“What distinguishes the Shaikh Zayed’s humanitarian work is that philanthropy was an essential part of his personality and nature-as he never liked to boast or show off or talk about what he used to give. The charity work emanated from his nature and giving was a part of his personality and his daily work, this is why people loved him. This also earned him the love and respect of people. I was close to Shaikh Zayed and learnt a lot from him. He truly loved people, he also loved seeing them happy and well satisfied,” Shaikh Mohammad said.
The Vice-President also referred to Shaikh Zayed’s natural charitable nature and spirit.
“Shaikh Zayed does not need our testimonies as his charitable works speak for him and Allah knows what he contributed throughout his life. Shaikh Zayed always responded to calls for help, and he was always there when needed in times of crises and calamities. One can not forget his historical stands with the Palestinian people through housing, educational and healthcare projects and his care for Islamic landmarks,” the Vice President added.
Shaikh Zayed adopted a clear and straightforward stand on the Arabs’ first cause, Shaikh Mohammad said.
“The entire world stood witness of his stance about the humanitarian catastrophe of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as his stand against injustice and tyranny, and his support for unjustly treated people via humanitarian, medical, housing and military assistance.”
Shaikh Zayed’s marks are very clear in Egypt, Pakistan and Morocco where he ordered hospitals and schools, orphanages be set up in these countries, and other African and Asian countries.
President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is following in the footsteps of, and is continuing the same path laid down by his father, Shaikh Mohammad said.
The event was held in the presence of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, and Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.
Also present were Mohammad Ahmad Al Murr, Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC), Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, in addition to other shaikhs and senior officials, dignitaries and business, charitable, educational and media communities.
An Iftar banquet was also held as part of the event.