Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, celebrates his 70th birthday on Monday.
Born on July 15, 1949, in the Al Maktoum home in Shindagha near the Dubai Creek, Shaikh Mohammad is the third of four sons to Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Then to now
On January 4, 2006, Shaikh Mohammad became the Ruler of Dubai following the death of his brother Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. On January 5th of the same year, members of the UAE Supreme Council elected Shaikh Mohammad as the Vice President of the UAE.
On February 11 in 2006, UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan nominated Shaikh Mohammad as Prime Minister of the UAE. Shaikh Mohammad and the members of his Cabinet took their oaths before Shaikh Khalifa at Al Bateen Palace in Abu Dhabi.
Helping UAE and Dubai grow
Following his assumption of office as Prime Minister, Shaikh Mohammad established a new programme to further promote excellence in government and enhance public services. He rolled out his basic principles for sustainable development including fostering innovation, engaging youth, developing human capital, investing in education and scientific research, establishing good governance in the UAE government sector and promoting the growth of a knowledge-based economy.
He launched several unique initiatives targeted at raising the UAE’s international competiveness, paving the way for a new phase of economic, social and cultural development. His efforts and dedication helped the UAE achieve top global rankings in many areas.
Shaikh Mohammad’s ambitious vision is considered the catalyst for most of Dubai’s pioneering projects and initiatives. His vision is integrated and comprehensive and is focused on sustainable development. The people’s happiness and the UAE’s prosperity remain top priorities for the pioneering ruler of Dubai.
In addition to being an inspiring leader and progressive manager, Shaikh Mohammad is a prominent poet. He is widely acknowledged as one of the finest exponents of Nabati poetry, a colloquial form of Arabic poetry deeply rooted in the culture of the Arabian Peninsula, which shows the natural creativity of the Bedouins.
Shaikh Mohammad has written several classical Arabic and Nabati poems that are highly appreciated by Arab critics and poets and well received by the public. His work has been translated to several languages.
Shaikh Mohammad is an accomplished athlete. He is a prominent figure in equestrian sports, which is an essential part of UAE and Arab heritage. Shaikh Mohammad is also one of the world’s most influential horse owners and breeders.
In 1994, Shaikh Mohammad and his brother Shaikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum established Godolphin, a thoroughbred horseracing stable that quickly emerged as a force within the sport. Over the years, Godolphin horses have competed in the most prestigious racecourses in the world and produced some of the world’s strongest horses.
Shaikh Mohammad’s personal international record as an endurance rider is quite impressive. On 25 August, 2012, he secured a historic double at the FEI World Endurance Championships where he won the individual gold medal and led the UAE squad to the team gold. On 20 June, 2012, he won the 160-km European Endurance Race in Italy. Shaikh Mohammad also won many regional and international endurance races and championships.
Shaikh Mohammad’s responsibilities and engagements have not hindered his humanitarian activities, which he places a high priority on. He has made charitable donations to many projects beyond the borders of the UAE. He has also launched many philanthropic campaigns to help underprivileged people and the victims of conflicts and natural disasters.
In June 2014, Shaikh Mohammad launched UAE Water Aid, a drive aimed at providing clean drinking water to five million people around the world. UAE Water Aid later developed into an international research and development organization that had the mission of transforming lives by improving access to clean water. Shaikh Mohammad also announced a US$ 1 million prize to encourage research on sustainable solutions to water shortage across the world, including the use of solar energy to desalinate and purify water.
In 2003, Shaikh Mohammad established the International Humanitarian City in 2003, which has grown to become the world’s largest and busiest logistics hub for humanitarian aid with 60 NGOs and commercial entities based there.
Family Village for Orphans
Guided by a sound belief that education is the most effective tool to break the cycle of poverty and advance economic growth, Shaikh Mohammad launched Dubai Cares in September 2007. Dubai Cares is a philanthropic organization that works to provide children in developing countries with access to quality primary education.
In September 2008, Shaikh Mohammad launched Noor Dubai, an international initiative aimed at treating and providing health services to people suffering from treatable blindness and visual impairment in developing countries. Over the years, Shaikh Mohammad has launched many philanthropic initiatives to help disadvantaged people across the world.