World leaders are arriving in the UAE and calling on their friend, the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to offer condolences on the passing of his brother and the late president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Sheikh Mohamed now occupies the highest office in the country but is still the same warm person they know of as he greets them. Congratulatory messages are, meanwhile, pouring in for the new leader. Not many know that the President puts in 18-hour workdays.
The last couple of days have been very stressful for Sheikh Mohamed as he mourns the loss of his dear brother.
But through his grief, he has held his composure while receiving leaders and people from all walks of life. It speaks of his humanity and compassion that flow from lofty Emirati ideals that ensure people from far and wide feel welcome in his home and country.
He will go the distance to make them comfortable in the UAE. These are his ‘friends’. No country but the UAE can claim more than 200 nationalities living and working in harmony, in the spirit of tolerance.
The UAE is not just about living, it is a life-changing experience for many that keeps on giving to the people around the world. That’s the kind of friendship that the new President aims to take forward.
Over the years, Sheikh Mohamed has risen in stature as a statesman world leaders can trust, someone who will rush to their aid in times of crisis, and forge stronger partnerships between people, industry and leaders.
There’s a new respect for the country that has emerged as a softpower that values friendships. We have much to write about the UAE’s humanitarian work around the world, the latest being the one billion meals for the poor during the holy month of Ramadan.
Over the last decade, the UAE has provided developmental, humanitarian and charitable aid worth $54 billion to countries in need. There is no country on the planet that hasn’t been touched by the Emirati way that is premised on giving.
This country is led by the President who has a large heart. In good times and bad, when the chips are down and when things are looking up, people and nations all over the world can count on the UAE. The outpouring of grief from all over the world proves the President’s influence on people and leaders. Such ties need nurturing, and who better than Sheikh Mohamed to show the way.
The UAE is not a fair-weather friend, and Sheikh Mohamed has set an example by walking the extra mile and extending a hand of friendship to countries that were once on the sidelines.
He has broken the shackles of old-world diplomacy with new-age charm by creating a refreshing paradigm for country-to-country relationships. How else could the Abraham Accords with Israel have been signed?
It was a brave decision to reach out to a country once viewed with suspicion. Many warned of a cold peace but the bold hand of friendship extended by Sheikh Mohamed sealed the deal. Free trade pacts with other countries are in the pipeline. In him, we have a statesman and friend.
One never ever gets to hear of attendant chaos unfolding here — unlike other 'busiest' airports in the world