Shaikh Zayed participates in a traditional dance at Al Mushrif Palace on the occasion of the wedding of his son Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on April 8, 1981 Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi

2018 marks 100 years since the birth of Shaikh Zayed — the founding father who united the emirates and took his nation to new heights of progress and prosperity.

The UAE is widely recognised today as a successful modern state that, starting from scratch just five decades ago, has managed to establish the foundations of a prosperous and advanced society.

At the heart of its spectacular achievements that allowed the country to assume a position of pre-eminence regionally and internationally lies the vision of one man — Shaikh Zayed.

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said declaring 2018 as the Year of Zayed reflects the unique standing that the late leader holds with every Emirati as the founding leader of the Union.

With his wisdom and goodness, Shaikh Zayed set the foundations of modern development across all sectors in the UAE. His generosity is experienced not only in the UAE and the Gulf region, but also throughout the Arab world and internationally, with contributions and initiatives that continue to reflect his unerring skill as a modern leader, who gained the respect of so many people around world.

Shaikh Khalifa said the late Shaikh Zayed was able to lay down solid foundations for a strong, united nation that balanced the requirements for modernity while preserving the cultural and social heritage of the UAE.

“The Year of Zayed is a great national occasion when we will proudly share memories of the life of the founding father, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his gift to us of deeply-rooted values, principles and traditions that have become part of our Emirati identity,” Shaikh Khalifa said.

The President called upon all the nation’s people to uphold the noble values instilled in them by the late Shaikh Zayed, including those of wisdom, respect, determination, loyalty, a sense of belonging to the nation, and a willingness to make sacrifices at whatever cost.

Shaikh Khalifa also called for making 2018 a year of achievements, initiatives, events and programmes that reflect the great historical personality of the late Shaikh Zayed, highlighting his pioneering role, his vision and his sound leadership.

Shaikh Khalifa said that as we celebrate the Year of Zayed, we shall reaffirm our commitment to continue his legacy and work, guided by his wisdom and vision.

The ‘School of Zayed’, he said, is a source of inspiration for every step that the UAE takes; a solid foundation for the consolidation of the federal structure of our young nation; and a stepping stone for its future, full of strength and respect, leading up to the creation of one of the finest countries in the world.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said Shaikh Zayed has instilled in us the willpower and determination to challenge and achieve the impossible. This is why we are always convinced that we are capable of being pioneers and to become one of the best countries in the world. He inspired us to see his way to the future, to follow in his footsteps with confidence and insight, and to consolidate the gains and achievements.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said the best way to celebrate the Year of Zayed would be by spreading Zayed’s glorious human and cultural legacy via all the people of the UAE, to continue his inspirational and noble values, and introduce these ideals to new generations.