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His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah Image Credit: WAM

Fujairah: Today, September 18, marks the anniversary of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah, assuming the rule of the Emirate of Fujairah, succeeding his late father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Abdullah Al Sharqi.

After the death of his father in 1974, Sheikh Hamad took over as the Ruler of the Emirate of Fujairah. Since then, he has followed in his father’s footsteps in developing the emirate in all fields turning it to a hub for investment and a very distinctive tourist destination, WAM reported.

Sheikh Hamad carried on his father’s legacy of serving his country, building the nation and developing its foundations in all sectors, making the people and their prosperity his ultimate priority.

“This date constitutes an important national occasion in the history of the UAE and the Emirate of Fujairah. It tells a history full of dedication, giving and responsibility, and shows a track record full of local and global achievements that have contributed to strengthening the UAE’s position as one of the world’s most developed countries,” WAM reported.

Since His Highness assumed the rule of the Emirate of Fujairah, it has taken rapid steps towards human and urban development, thanks to his wise vision, careful follow-up, and the firm will to implement development plans in the fields of economy, education, culture, construction and healthcare. His diligent work in planning and implementing development projects that put people first, made Fujairah into a fertile ground for economic investment, a destination open to culture and tourism, a land of natural and environmental wealth, and a leading city in terms of security, safety and stability.

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Sheikh Hamad with President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Image Credit: WAM

A father and a leader

The leadership style of His Highness the Ruler of Fujairah stems from a vision, which is a product of 50 years of wisdom drawing on the vision of the founding fathers of the Union, under the umbrella of national unity, and the principles of foreseeing a better future for the region, and putting people first to ensure a decent life for everyone who lives in the UAE.

Early days

Sheikh Hamad grew up with a passion for learning and knowledge. He learned the principles of leadership and methods of foresight, drawing on the unique personal traits of his late father, and the environment in which he was born and raised.

He was raised on the values of perseverance, determination and ambition that knows no bounds. His Highness received his primary education at Al Sabahiya School, the first regular school established in Fujairah. He then joined “London College” in the UK in 1967 to learn the English language to complete his higher studies. He subsequently studied at Hendon Police College and at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After graduation, he returned home to stand by his father.

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Sheikh Hamad with UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan Image Credit: WAM

Sheikh Hamad was keen on overseeing the affairs of the emirate from an early age, and to engage in field work to develop the emerging region. When he was the Crown Prince, he was appointed Chief of Police and Security in Fujairah. Then, he worked as the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, as part of the first cabinet of the UAE in 1971. Under his leadership, the agricultural production projects and farmers’ support programmes increased as he focused on benefiting from international experiences to make the UAE’s agricultural and livestock development system successful.

A new era in education

Since he became the ruler, Sheikh Hamad has directed special attention to education. He used to visit schools, meet students and teachers, find out their needs, listen to their future aspirations, and honour outstanding students to encourage them. This was followed by a number of projects that support the educational process in Fujairah. In 2000, Sheikh Hamad opened the Higher Colleges of Technology - Women’s College, and the Higher Colleges of Technology - Fujairah Men’s College in 2005, the University of Fujairah in 2006, and established the Education and Academic Affairs Council within the structure of the local government of Fujairah in 2005. He also directed and supported building more schools and other higher education institutions.

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Sheikh Hamad with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Image Credit: WAM

Cultural and arts destination

Fujairah has become distinguished over the past decades with its exceptional initiatives in arts and culture.

Under Sheikh Hamad, it saw the launch of several international cultural and artistic projects; the first of which was the Fujairah International Monodrama Festival, one of the most important theatrical festivals in the world. It later expanded becoming the Fujairah International Arts Festival.

Fujairah also launched a number of Arab creativity awards, cultural competitions, and established entities that supported art and artists, such as the Fujairah Fine Arts Academy.

People first

Throughout his reign, Sheikh Hamad was the guiding father and the caring heart of his people. He was present at their occasions, sharing their joys and sorrows, celebrating their accomplishments and encouraging them to realise their dreams and aspirations. His Highness believed in the importance of developing and investing in human resources in order to effectively contribute to the nation-building process and achieve comprehensive development.

His Highness also periodically visits citizens in their homes, listens to them, and considers their living needs. He personally supervised many field and development projects in all regions of the Emirate, and followed the progress of work in them, thus embodying the image of the leader who is always in the field, gaining knowledge about the interests of his country and people.

Medal of the martyr

Sheikh Hamad took a remarkable humanitarian and paternal stance towards the families of the UAE’s martyrs from the UAE Armed Forces. On the occasion of Martyr’s Day, which was held in Wahat Al Karama in Abu Dhabi 2021, His Highness honoured a number of martyrs’ families with the “Medal of the Martyr” in appreciation of their heroism in the fields of chivalry and honour.

Safest city

In August, 2022, the Emirate of Fujairah ranked first internationally in the Numbeo Safety Index 2022 with a score of 93.23, ranking higher than 466 cities around the world. This achievement, made under the leadership of the Ruler of Fujairah, embodies the level of safety that citizens and residents enjoy in Fujairah.

Building and development

During the reign of Sheikh Hamad, many infrastructure and urban development projects emerged, which directly contributed to serving individuals, raising the quality of their lives and facilitating their movement between the various regions of the Emirate.

His Highness directed the establishment and development of main and internal road network within the city and other Fujairah regions, and to provide them with the necessary services.

Fujairah also made remarkable leaps in the urbanisation and construction sector; tall towers and buildings rose alongside the archaeological monuments and historical castles and forts that Fujairah is famous for. His Highness also directed to restore heritage houses, and ancient archaeological monuments and preserve their history and authenticity to highlight the civilisation of the place. The pace of work has accelerated and more tourist facilities such as hotels, tourist resorts, recreational sites provide unique experiences to residents and visitors.

Preserving unique biodiversity

Fujairah is also famous for its land and marine reserves that contain unique biodiversity. The Government of Fujairah, following directives from Sheikh Hamad, has paid great attention to preserving them, including working on the “Fujairah Cultured Coral Reef Gardens” with the aim of protecting the marine environment, developing its resources and revitalising its tourism side.

In March 2022, Wadi Wurayah National Park, UAE’s first mountain nature reserve has been inscribed in the tentative list of nominations for UNESCO World Heritage Site status; a national achievement in the environmental work sector.

Internationally acclaimed economy

Due to its strategic geographical location, Fujairah witnessed great economic activity in the field of petroleum industries and marine navigation. Many decrees were issued to establish huge economic institutions concerned with the development of the Emirate in this vital sector.

In 1982, the first Rock Wool factory in GCC was opened in Fujairah. Today, the factory ranks as the largest insulation materials company in the Middle East, and supplies countries around the world with insulation materials used in the construction sector.

Fujairah Free Zone

His Highness issued an Emiri decree in 1987 establishing the Fujairah Free Zone. Working with the Port of Fujairah, it has promoted economic activity and attracted foreign investments, which contributed to increasing the emirate’s GDP.

Sheikh Hamad issued a decree establishing the Fujairah Petroleum Industries Zone (FOIZ) in 2011. FOIZ has enhanced navigation, petroleum activity, oil and gas industries, and the establishment of economic and logistics projects in the field of petroleum industries. Today, Fujairah Port is the second largest bunkering hub in the world.

In 2012, Sheikh Hamad announced the project of oil export operations through the Abu Dhabi-Fujairah pipeline, in an important strategic step that reflects his vision to boost economic development. His Highness is also following the stages of work on the “Etihad Rail” project, which passes through Fujairah, and ensures providing all forms of support to help with the completion of the UAE’s largest land transport project.

International participation

Since his work as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, His Highness the Ruler of Fujairah has been interested in personally learning about the experiences and practices followed around the world by attending conferences, summits and sharing experiences with other countries. After assuming the rule of Fujairah.

Spearheading sports

Sheikh Hamad has always supported sports clubs and encouraged athletes to train and participate in local, regional and international competitions and championships. Fujairah’s reputation has grown internationally in the field of organising international championships for various types of sports, including bodybuilding championships, mental sports, and the international marine championships organised by the Fujairah Marine Sports Club. His Highness has also supported the Fujairah Sports Club since its establishment, and in 2019. He ordered the construction of the Dibba Al-Fujairah Sports Club Stadium at a cost of Dh100 million.

Martial arts in the Emirate of Fujairah also achieved several records, thanks to the support of Sheikh Hamad.

Government excellence

In November 2021, Sheikh Hamad issued a decree establishing the “Fujairah Government Excellence Programme” based on his belief in the importance of developing performance in government institutions, and moving to an advanced level in improving the competencies of its employees, by establishing strategic partnerships between local departments and the private sector.

Health an absolute priority

The health and medical care sector has always been on the list of priorities to advance the standard of living in Fujairah. His Highness followed the development of medical services and the establishment of hospitals.

During the COVID-19 pandemic that swept the world, His Highness carefully followed the repercussions of the pandemic and the requirements to control it, and directed the recruitment of medical and technical cadres to contain the pandemic and preserve the safety of community members in cooperation with health institutions in the UAE. Under the patronage of His Highness, a number of health care centres were opened. The new expansion project in Fujairah Hospital was also done.

The journey continues

Fujairah is still making major strides, under the wise leadership of Sheikh Hamad and thanks to his insightful planning and hard work, to make the Emirate a global city, within a country with global features and dimensions, offering exceptional models of development, and achieving record numbers in global indicators.