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  Middle East & Africa
Year of Zayed: A Glance at Some of the Achievements of the UAE Founder
Late President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the United Arab Emirates

The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Founding Father of the United Arab Emirates, the late President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, May Allah rest his soul in peace. The UAE is celebrating this year with a series of events and initiatives designed to showcase his impact and legacy, promote the values that he displayed throughout his life in creative and interactive ways as well as highlight of his achievements.

This article is meant to shed light on some of these achievements as understanding the history of UAE will be incomplete without knowing some of the achievements he made based on his vision, determination and hard work; his generosity at home and abroad; and the way in which he devoted his life to serving his people, the region and beyond.

Here are some of the countless achievements of Sheikh Zayed on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Sheikh Zayed’s leadership fame began with the taking of his first major post as Ruler of Al Ain in 1946. By the late 1950s, he managed to develop the different services sectors in the City including education, healthcare and road networks.

On August 6, 1966, Sheikh Zayed became the Ruler of the Abu Dhabi Emirate. He was able to develop various sectors in this Emirate including education, healthcare and housing. It is worth-noting here that the unique social and economic development that the Abu Dhabi Emirate had seen in just few years under the ruling of Sheikh Zayed has become the main focus of the region and beyond.

A new chapter in the political transformation took place On December 2, 1971. In that day, Sheikh Zayed announced the establishment of the United Arab Emirates. Only six Emirates were then under the new federation until the joining of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah on February 10, 1972.

Consequently, Sheikh Zayed was chosen as President of the Federation and the Supreme Commander of the unified armed forces.

After the announcement of the establishment of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed began to build all the federal institutions and agencies based on a systematic and modern approach. One of his living philosophies as a leader and a statesman is that the resources of the country should mainly be used for the prosperity of its people.

Sheikh Zayed has significantly contributed to the shift achieved by modern UAE that is duly recognized worldwide. He made education mandatory and free for all UAE citizens, men as well as women. He believed that educating women means educating the whole nation. He also paid attention to healthcare that provides best medical services to the people.

Sheikh Zayed was the one who is credited for his vision to modernize the UAE. His vision has turned the yellow sand into a modern nation with huge towers and skyscrapers on the shore of the Arabian Gulf.

Regionally, the unification of the seven emirates of the UAE into one solid country envisioned Sheikh Zayed to see neighboring nations in the region are unified. He called for the establishment of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). His efforts resulted in the inauguration of the GCC in the early 1980s.

At the global level, Sheikh Zayed was also aware of the importance of being a key player far beyond his country and region and sharing the fortune of his homeland with other developing nations. In the 1990s, he realized that the UAE could play an active role in peacekeeping efforts around the world. While ensuring that the UAE should increasingly shoulder external responsibilities, Sheikh Zayed made it clear that the country’s envisioned role should be a one that focuses mainly on relief and rehabilitation. The policy adopted by the UAE since then reflects the appeal of Sheikh Zayed to share the good fortune of his country with less-fortunate ones.

Thus, the UAE now plays a major role in the provision of relief and development assistance worldwide, through bodies including the Zayed Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development – both were established by Sheikh Zayed before the foundation of the UAE – as s well as through institutions like the Red Crescent Society.

Sheikh Zayed was born at Qasr Al Hosn in Abu Dhabi in 1918. At that time, his father, Sheikh Sultan, was the ruler of Abu Dhabi. He passed away in 2004 in his late eighties, leaving behind a legacy as the Founding Father of the UAE. The principles and philosophy that the late Sheikh Zayed had brought to governance, however, has remained at the core of the country’s national, regional and international policies to this date.

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