Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum (R) with author Raed Barqawi (L) during the launch of ‘Dare to Dream: How Mohammed bin Rashid Made His Dream Come True’ at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on Sunday in Dubai

Dubai: A new book about His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was launched at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on Sunday in Dubai.

‘Dare to Dream: How Mohammed bin Rashid Made His Dream Come True’ by Raed Barqawi, Executive Editor-in-Chief of Al Khaleej newspaper, was unveiled in the presence of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

Published by Motivate Media Group, the book highlights how the vision and leadership of Sheikh Mohammed turned Dubai into a success story, a leading global hub for talent, and a place where they can find resources and opportunities to fulfil their dreams.

Addressing key questions

Barqawi is a renowned journalist for over three decades and has enjoyed a front-row seat witnessing Sheikh Mohammed’s dream turn into reality. He said: “I have tried to address two key questions in my book: one, just how did Mohammed bin Rashid do the impossible and turn Dubai into a unique global role model? And two, how did His Highness manage to empower a culture of dreaming in the Arab world, a world that had stopped dreaming decades ago?”

He added: “It is fascinating to be around a personality like His Highness, who has been racing against time to improve the present and future of not just Emiratis but all Arabs. His persistence and ambition pushed me to dig deeper into the history of the UAE over the past 50 years and shed light on how dreams can be achieved in the race to be counted among the top 10 nations in the world. With assertiveness and will, His Highness decided to dream for his country and his people, and today we are reaping the rewards of these dreams.”

‘A miracle every day’

Barqawi told Gulf News that the story of Dubai under Sheikh Mohammed’s leadership is nothing short of “a miracle”. He said: “We have to tell the world what we did here in Dubai and the UAE is a miracle – a place that used to be a desert, with a difficult life, has transformed into a paradise. It’s a miracle that you can see every day.”

He added that due to his extensive coverage of business stories during a large part of his journalism career, he was privileged to report on major Dubai projects, which in turn deepened his understanding of the strategic path the emirate was undertaking in its transformation.

Barqawi said an English version of the book is planned for release by the end of March.

From past to present

In this book, Barqawi dives into the history of the UAE and takes the reader on a journey to the past, to Sheikh Mohammed’s childhood and youth to analyse the factors that helped shape his personality. He then transports the reader to the present to demonstrate the impact of those very factors in Dubai’s success, which have made it the cynosure of the world. Based on his privileged position as a journalist closely tracking the rise of Dubai, Barqawi also offers his take on the future of the emirate and its unprecedented pace of growth.

“I don’t know when I wake up what this nation would have achieved,” he says.

The book examines Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid as a philosopher who transformed fiction into reality, be it economically, socially, administratively and as a leader. The book is divided into three chapters: Working Wonders, A Man Destined to Lead and The Oasis of Imagination, and includes an introduction (The Wind Beneath His Wings) and an epilogue (Life is a Story of Our Dreams).

Barwaqi’s royalties from the book’s sales are being donated to Dubai-based Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities.

Book signing

On Sunday, Barqawi held a book signing session at the festival, which was attended by several officials and media persons. He said: “I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to my publisher and all those who helped in making this book see the light of day.”

Ian Fairservice, Managing Partner and Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group, said: “We are proud to have published this phenomenal book about His Highness. This book talks about the wisdom and foresight of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and the impressive development of the UAE. Raed is one of the most distinguished voices in journalism and this will be a fascinating read for anyone who has marvelled at the incredible growth story of the Emirate of Dubai and the UAE.”

Other highlights

-Children’s author David Walliams had two sold out sessions diving into his Mega Monster and Gangster Granny Strikes Again stories.

-Hana Al Hashimi and Mona Ali Khalil discussed the future of diplomacy following the rise of the COVID-19.

-Illustrator and author Rob Biddulph's second LitFest session saw him share the story of how he became an illustrator.

-UAE-based author Julia Johnson and author-illustrator Maitha Al Khayat led a session on their new book published by ELF Publishing, called Aisha's Pearl.

-Actress and writer Mira Sethi shared excerpts from her recently published book, Are You Enjoying, and talked about the complexities of being a modern Pakistani.

-Assistant Curator for the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim project, Jessica Cerasi, offered a primer on contemporary art.

-Human rights lawyer and newly-published author Marina Wheeler discussed her new book, The Lost Homestead, and her experience writing about her mother's life and how the partition of India impacted her

-Al Arabiya news anchor Fatima Daoui discussed her new book, Don't Look Down, and offered tips to other young women looking for a career in journalism

Coming up Monday

-Emirates LitFest is throwing ‘Miss Havisham's Wedding’, with Charles Dickens' descendant Lucinda Dickens-Hawksley in attendance, to help celebrate the beloved author's 100th anniversary — and give this iconic character the wedding she's been waiting for.

-Poetry Evening with Afra Atiq, Brent Shuttleworth, and Carlos Andres Gomez at Expo 2020 Dubai.