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2018 marked 100 years since the birth of H.H. Sheikh Zayed who united the emirates and took the UAE to new heights of success and development Image Credit: Gulf News Archives


H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – the fountainhead of a powerful and progressive revolution

The discipline of authentic, principle-centered leadership, the intense intent to create a better world, and a series of fortunate events ushered great change into the UAE over the past 47 years, transforming the young nation into a great and thriving modern state, exemplary and influential. At the heart of this spectacular metamorphosis is the guiding wisdom of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

As the Nation’s first President, H.H. Sheikh Zayed dedicated his life to improving the welfare and wellbeing of his people by championing causes that raised the quality of their work, families and lifestyle. Today, the UAE is a role model in terms of its proactive government policies that empower citizens, residents and even visitors with world-class infrastructure, technology and an array of opportunities across every sector of industry and enterprise. The visionary blueprint was driven by H.H. Sheikh Zayed’s convictions across social, economic and environmental sustainability narratives, catapulting the country from a tiny desert outpost to a global, high-power, economic oasis.

Creating a modern country in the early 1970s required extraordinary efforts, and yet, it seemed to come very easy to the young Ruler, and his dauntless spirit, his deep compassion and unflagging energy as he worked to deliver the dream, has given him a place in history as one of the greatest founding fathers of the world. Linking modernity with the comfort of citizens, he frequently said, “Money not harnessed for serving the country and its people is not good.”

H.H. Sheikh Zayed inspects progress of work at Shawaih Bridge in this file picture from 1988 Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

A tall man of the people, the President, understood that to build unity and solidarity, he first needed to gain the trust of his people and then take care of his own home before growing the nation’s space upon the global firmament. His legendary visits to local communities are still recalled with awe and love just as his interactions with global leaders are described with respect. H.H. Sheikh Zayed was a seasoned politician with sharp acumen and extraordinary people skills. He invested his time and efforts in overseeing the establishment of various ministries and aspects of public welfare, placing great emphasis on education, equality and empowerment, on the wellbeing of the less fortunate, and the protection of natural resources.

He instructed authorities to facilitate education, paved the way for international scholarships, and ordered the establishment of schools and universities. His bequest can be evidenced today in the UAE’s staggering diversity and depth of educational institutes, in women who play prominent and pivotal roles in the country, and in its aid and charitable contributions to the world.

The country also leads global efforts in security, sustainability, space capability and shares its passion for scientific knowledge and technology side by side with strengthening its soft power quotient. Therefore it is not surprising that this vision has led to the UAE reflecting powerful narratives such as happiness and tolerance constitutionally today. Love for the nation and patriotism was intrinsic to the great leader’s ethos, and

H.H. Sheikh Zayed reiterated to his people that they not only safeguard but also elevate the esteem that the UAE enjoyed among the nations of the world.

The woman is half of the society; any country which pursues development should not leave her in poverty or illiteracy.

- The UAE’s Founding Father, the late H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

In a ranking of H.H. Sheikh Zayed’s many achievements, economic diversification undoubtedly holds the top place. At a time when it was unheard of, he channelled the surpluses from steadily growing oil revenues and insisted that they are managed creatively for future generations and for decades to come. Today, the composition of the UAE’s GDP is anchored and directed towards the facilitation of the non-oil sector. The transformation is evident in the nation’s pursuit of clean and sustainable energy, including research, development and hosting of innovative technologies that are solar powered. Today, the UAE also offers generous grants and resources in assisting other countries around the world construct solar, wind and river power plants.

The UAE government has been unstinting in its efforts to propel the nation and its people to greater glory, and this is being witnessed across a wide realm of spheres. Both public and private sector ventures have taken up the baton to continue what he started and achieved much towards fulfilling his dreams. Fifteen years after his demise, H.H. Sheikh Zayed’s legacy remains the guiding spirit of the country, and the socioeconomic shift he stimulated during his rule continues to inspire every aspect of the UAE’s progress. The journey he began has infused in this nation the spirit of unity, innovation, tolerance and collaboration.

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