Sheikh Zayed - The Founding Leader
His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, the founder of the United Arab Emirates, was born in 1918 in Abu Dhabi. He was the youngest of the four sons of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed, who ruled Abu Dhabi from 1922 – 1926. Sheikh Zayed moved with his family from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain, where he received his religious education and learned the principles of Islam and studied the Holy Qur'an. Sheikh Zayed was fond of falconry and enjoyed hunting and other traditional sports like camel and horse racing.
In 1946, Sheikh Zayed was appointed a ruler to the Eastern area of Abu Dhabi (Al Ain) and during those 20 years he spent as a ruler of Al Ain, he spared no efforts developing and modernizing the villages of the area.
In 1966, Sheikh Zayed became the Ruler of Abu Dhabi and while working on developing the emirate, building schools, hospitals and roads, his political sense and his futuristic vision turned his attention to forming a unity with the neighboring emirates of the Arabian Gulf. He was the first to call for the formation of the United Arab Emirates immediately after Britain announced it would withdraw from the region.
On December 2 nd , 1971, Sheikh Zayed and the rulers of the six neighboring emirates formally announced the United Arab Emirates and Sheikh Zayed's dream came true.
Since its establishment, Sheikh Zayed worked with his brothers, the rulers of the emirates, on modernizing the country and turning it into one of the most prosperous nations in the region. He wisely managed the country's oil revenues to raise the standard of living of the citizens and residents of the UAE and provide them with a better quality of life. Sheikh Zayed's political wisdom and rational views were felt inside and outside the country. He received unprecedented regional and international recognition and respect.
Sheikh Zayed passed away on November 2 nd 2004, but he remains alive in the world's memory of great leaders and in the hearts and minds of his people for generations to come.