Great men like Sheikh Mohamed are immortalised through their wisdom

The UAE President is a shining example of what it means to be a true leader, and his legacy will undoubtedly inspire generations to come, as it has for me

By Abdulla Mohamed Al-Riyami

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Published: Fri 19 May 2023, 6:56 PM

Last updated: Fri 19 May 2023, 7:07 PM

It has been just a year since my father, my guide, my mentor, and my President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, assumed his role as President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi. As I write this piece, I still strive to find the right words to adequately describe the impact of His Highness. It's challenging to cite someone whose track record defies the limits of my perceptions.

Once, after a long tight schedule late in the evening, His Highness left his office, walking towards his resting quarter. He made sure to greet all employees and personnel irrelevant of their designation. This was my first-hand encounter, and it taught me respect, humility, and acknowledgement of hard work.

Sheikh Mohamed's journey to becoming a father figure to his people began very early as he inherited his wisdom and learned the importance of hard work, determination, and compassion from his predecessors, the late Presidents Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Khalifa (may God bless their souls). Through their mentorship and advice, their values have guided Sheikh Mohamed throughout his life and greatly influenced his leadership style.

Learning his statesmanship from our late founding father Sheikh Zayed's school of wisdom — by accompanying him and being part of his nation's transformational journey while protecting Emirati traditions and values — His Highness's leadership style can be witnessed in his interactions with heads of state, ministers, citizens, and residents through the Majlis, an assembly known for community members. And these powerful attributes are both respected and appreciated. The many decorations and medals Sheikh Mohamed has received — both from within the UAE as well as international countries and organisations such as the UN — are a testament to this.

One year ago, we mourned the passing of our nation's second President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed. Sheikh Mohamed reiterated in his speech to the nation that we had lost a man with a big heart, a man whose achievements hold a place in our affection and devotion.

His Highness's speech to the nation underscored his profound wisdom, empathy, humility, and deep-rooted love of the UAE. In addition, he highlighted the value of the people of the Emirates, saying, "Our people are the main priority in all our future plans. Our pride in our people is infinite and, equally, our deepest appreciation for the role of our residents who consider this nation their home". The UAE is home to more than 200 nationalities, and all UAE residents consider it their second home.

His Highness is known to be a leader amongst his people, firmly believing that authentic leadership empowers men and women to forge their paths and shape the nation's future. Readers may recall how he rang up the first Emirati female mechanic to congratulate her on opening her car repair workshop. The message relayed through this call indicates the degree of empowerment he casts to all Emiratis.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed is a leader who has truly earned the respect and admiration of his people. He has established himself as a father figure to his citizens, with a leadership style based on compassion, kindness, and a deep sense of responsibility. His commitment to his people is reflected in his policies and programmes, prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable. Sheikh Mohamed is a shining example of what it means to be a true leader, and his legacy will undoubtedly inspire generations to come, as it has for me.

A major illustration of His Highness' commitment to humanity is this quote: "Effective climate action requires a shared vision and collective will." Declaring 2023 as the Year of Sustainability and hosting COP28 is a prominent example of his leadership and commitment toward a better future for people.

To close, I conclude with meaningful words from the Quran verse in the Chapter al-Baqarah: "Whoever is granted wisdom has indeed been granted abundant wealth" (2: 269).


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