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Mohammed bin Zayed: Policymaker of the Modern UAE, Godfather of Economic Diversity

Mohammed bin Zayed: Policymaker of the Modern UAE, Godfather of Economic Diversity

Sunday, 15 May, 2022 - 07:15
Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, arrives in London, on Sept. 16, 2021. (AP)

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed is the third president of the United Arab Emirates and the driving force behind the country's modern policies.

He is the third youngest brother to late President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.

In the past decade, he represented his country at various negotiations tackling several sectors, such as energy, defense, investment and politics, taking over from Sheikh Khalifa after he suffered a stroke in 2014.

Sheikh Mohamed also worked on bolstering the UAE's international relations, through his meeting with world leaders and participation at international events.

He is the third son of the UAE's founder and first president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He is married and a father to four sons and five daughters.

He was born on March 10, 1961. At 18, he completed his school education in Abu Dhabi and al-Ain. He completed his higher studies in the UAE and UK.

In 1979, he graduated from the UK's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In the UAE, he joined the armed forces, rising up the ranks until becoming supreme commander of the UAE armed forces.

He played a major role in developing the armed forces in terms of strategic planning, training, organizational structure and bolstering state defenses. His leadership and role helped transform the UAE armed forces into a pioneering institutions that is recognized by several international military institutions.

Sheikh Mohammed also occupies several political, legislative and economic positions in the UAE. He is known to have exerted major efforts in improving educational standards in Abu Dhabi, allowing it to become among the best internationally.

As Chairman of the Department of Education and Knowledge, he sought to establish partnerships with world renowned educational institutions. Many of them have since opened branches in Abu Dhabi.

On the economic level, he worked directly in drafting economic development plans, focusing on diversifying sources of income away from oil.

In 2015, he famously told the Government Summit in Dubai: "Our best bet at this period of time where we have wealth is to invest all our resources in education."

"There will be a time, 50 years from now, when we load the last barrel of oil aboard the ship. The question is, 50 years from now after we have loaded this last barrel of oil, are we going to feel sad? If our investment today is right, I think we will celebrate that moment."

Sheikh Mohammed also played a major role in bolstering the role of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in searching for development sectors across the UAE. He played a major role in global investments by joining ventures that align with Abu Dhabi's visions.

He has played a significant role in localizing technologies and providing jobs, especially in the oil, gas, petrochemicals, military industries, entertainment and tourism sectors.

His efforts breathed life in the oil, industry, sports, tourism and cultural sectors, cementing Abu Dhabi and the UAE's position as the second strongest in the Arab world.

Sheikh Mohammed has been recognized for his role in bolstering tolerance between various religions and sects. He paid a visit to the Vatican in 2016 and welcomed Pope Francis to the UAE in 2019, in the first papal visit to the Arabian peninsula.

He played a regional and international role in combating violent extremism and was a main signatory of the peace agreement signed between the UAE and Israel in 2020.

Sheikh Mohammed is passionate about nature and falconry. He is the founder and chairman of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and honorary president of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.

He has championed the preservation of the environment, adopting several renewable energy projects, notably the futuristic city of Masdar in Abu Dhabi.

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