The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan remains a spiritual leader of the United Arab Emirates.
Ruler of Abu Dhabi between 1966 and 2004, and founder of the UAE itself in 1971, Sheikh Zayed’s life was dedicated to working closely with people from all backgrounds to find lasting solutions to the challenges of his time.
values that to this day shape the culture of the people of the UAE.
Under Sheikh Zayed’s leadership, Abu Dhabi was transformed from a pearl trading outpost to the modern global centre of business and tourism we recognise today.
His style of leadership was collaborative and unafraid to embrace contrasting points of view for the good of all. His regular majlis – informal forum – was an opportunity for all opinions and voices to be aired, in order to further debate and to shape policy.
Sheikh Zayed recognised the imperative for unity and cooperation in order to achieve progress. He also believed real investment in people cannot occur without true understanding, acquired by listening, of their priorities and ambitions.
His achievements remain a source of great pride to the people of Abu Dhabi, who remember the manner in which he unified the UAE to facilitate cooperation and laid the foundations for the infrastructure, healthcare and education systems of today.
Ultimately, Sheikh Zayed was a champion of all humanity – young, old, rich, poor, male and female. He walked among his people and provided aid to those in need, while inviting all cultures and nationalities to make a home in the emirate and work toward its advancement.
It is hard to encapsulate in words the enormity of Sheikh Zayed’s legacy to the region and to the world
Perhaps the most fitting embodiment of the mark he left is Abu Dhabi itself – a thriving beacon of peaceful coexistence, inclusion and unity, built upon the very ideals of human fraternity.