Shaikh Zayed was widely loved and respected as a benevolent Arab and world statesman for his humanitarian initiatives. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Abu Dhabi: The legacy of the UAE’s founding father Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan will be fondly remembered on Friday, his 15th death anniversary.

The 19th day of Ramadan is designated as Zayed Humanitarian Day across the UAE.

Shaikh Zayed, Ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1966 and UAE President from its formation on December 2, 1971 until his death in 2004, was widely loved and respected as a benevolent Arab and world statesman, having upheld the principles of benevolence and humanitarian work.

His 15th death anniversary reminds citizens and residents of the importance of humanitarian work and the culture of giving.

As part of Shaikh Zayed’s legacy, donor organisations in the UAE respond immediately to people in disaster situations and help refugees requiring assistance.

Zayed Giving Initiative intensified its humanitarian efforts in Africa through the Zayed Heart Humanitarian Hospital. Image Credit: WAM

Zayed Humanitarian Day serves as a reminder to follow the example of a leader who was ahead of his time when it came to taking up humanitarian causes.

Shaikh Zayed truly represents the spirit of generosity and giving and is the one who has instilled a love of giving in the hearts of his people.

The UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has always followed the legacy of Shaikh Zayed in providing support for the needy worldwide.

Noora Mohammad Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, said: “Today we celebrate one of our country’s significant national occasions. Zayed Humanitarian Day is a milestone commemorating the myriad philanthropic efforts of our founding father, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Shaikh Zayed was a man who dedicated his life to the service of his country and people. Humanitarian and charitable causes were close to his heart and he pursued them both with vigour and passion.

His values of solidarity and contribution have shaped the country’s growth with our leaders, citizens and residents continuing to keep his legacy alive.”

Al Kaabi added that this occasion is even more special as the UAE celebrates the Year of Tolerance, inspired by Shaikh Zayed’s teachings and legacy. “Our founding father envisioned a world where people of all nationalities and religions live in peace, prosperity and stability. As we carry his legacy forward, we will stay committed to promoting the culture of peace and tolerance for the sake of future generations,” Al Kaabi added.

Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi, said: “The generosity of our father Zayed goes beyond the emirates reaching the four corners of the world. He spread his humanitarian spirit and generosity amongst the Emirati people and instilled ideals of brotherhood and humanity among the people of the Emirates, which is how we became known as ‘Sons of Zayed’.”