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Mohammed attends Bill Gates’ lecture

(Wam) / 10 October 2012

General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attended a lecture delivered by Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on “Catalytic philanthropy: changing the world through giving”.

Present were Deputy Ruler of Umm al-Qaiwain Shaikh Abdullah bin Rashid Al Mu’alla, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region Shaikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Speaker of the Federal National Council Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr and National Security Advisor Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Lt. General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court  Shaikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President’s Advisor Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works Shaikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Shaikhs, FNC members and diplomats.

Shaikh Mohammed paid homage to the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who had always been calling for helping people without looking to their religion, race or creed.

He recalled Shaikh Zayed’s values and vision about the need to extend helping hands to the needy people wherever they are and regardless of their ethnic backgrounds or beliefs.

He also praised Bill Gates’ efforts and contributions in the humanitarian fields.

“I have learnt that Bill Gates is active in three countries where polio is spreading. He pledged US$ 2 billion to fight that disease in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a noble scheme and we are fortunate to take part in it. I thank him for this initiative and I appreciate his persistence in overcoming all difficulties to reach his noble goals,” he said.

Bill Gates started his lecture by shedding light on his early days, saying computers were his passion and how he dreamt of programmes that would enable more interaction and creativity among people.

He said that in 2008, he decided to start a new full time career through Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and then he and his friend Warren Buffett agreed that it was time to seriously engage in charity and humanitarian work.

Bill Gates said he was proud of the partnership made in 2011 with Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to provide life saving vaccines to children in Afghanistan and Pakistan to prevent diseases, particularly polio which was responsible for rendering 300,000 children disabled every year until the world decided in 1988 to eradicate it.

“His Highness Shaikh Mohammed and I spoke earlier today about the need to continue this successful partnership. I am very excited that His Highness has shown commitment to this partnership.”

Bill Gates also cited statistics about polio fatalities among children less than five years of age.

“Our foundation spent US$ 15 billion to treat children in poor countries,” he said.

He added that around 7 million children die every year because of cholera and malaria. He referred to the cooperation of the UAE and the USA in providing vaccines for the diseases which contributed remarkably in reducing fatalities.

He also revealed that the foundation spent US$ 500 million to improve agricultural systems and to help farmers beat poverty and hunger.

Bill Gates said it was important to nurture youth who are considered “the best investment for any country in the world.”

“Investment starts from one’s own self. If you have a passion in a certain field, all you have to do is to develop your skills in that field to become an expert. You can also start a company like I did when I founded Microsoft which I was thinking of selling but I didn’t.”

“You are lucky to have all these excellent universities in Abu Dhabi. It is important to support education to create jobs specially in the private sectors.”

He concluded by saying that he founded his foundation on the same principles of Microsoft.

“Our foundation has around 1,000 employees with specialized teams for each charity scheme.”




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