200317 Mohamed bin Zayed
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. (file photo) Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: UAE residents took to social networking sites to celebrate the birthday of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The Arabic hashtag #Mohamed_Bin_Zayed and #birthday_of_the_UAE_lion became the two top trending topics on Twitter on Thursday, as netizens joined together to congratulate the leader on his 60th birthday.

Sheikh Mohamed, who was born in Al Ain on March 11, 1961, is the son of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Father of the Nation and the first President of the UAE, and brother of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.

Sheikh Mohamed is married to Her Highness Sheikha Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan and have nine children together, including four sons and five daughters.

Early years

Sheikh Mohamed was educated at schools in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi until the age of 18. In 1979, he joined the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he trained in armour, helicopter flying, tactical flying and paratroops. After graduating in April 1979, he returned home to the UAE to join the Officers' Training Course in Sharjah. He has held a number of roles in the UAE military, from an officer in the Amiri Guard – the UAE's elite security force – to a pilot in the UAE Air Force. His current role now comprises as Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Guided by the directives of the late Sheikh Zayed and President Sheikh Khalifa, Sheikh Mohamed helped develop the UAE Armed Forces in terms of strategic planning, training, organizational structure and promoting defense capabilities. His direct guidance and leadership led the UAE Armed Forces to become a leading institution that is widely admired by many international military organisations.

Sheikh Mohamed also holds a number of political and economic roles in Abu Dhabi and on a wider federal level in the UAE.