Know your new UAE President: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Among his many interests, he is known for his unwavering commitment to enhance educational standards in Abu Dhabi


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sat 14 May 2022, 1:21 PM

Last updated: Sat 11 Mar 2023, 9:11 AM

[Editor's note: This story was originally published on May 14, 2022 after His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan became the UAE President.]

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the third President of the UAE.

The 61-year-old leader is also the Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi – the largest of the seven emirates constituting the Federation.

Sheikh Mohamed succeeds his brother, the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who passed away on Friday, May 13, 2022.

Since November 2004, Sheikh Mohamed has been the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. In January 2005, he was appointed the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Sheikh Mohamed was born on March 11, 1961, in Al Ain. He is the third son of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the nation and the first President of the UAE. He grew up under the watchful eye of his father and his mother, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

His Highness’ full name is Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa bin Shakhbout bin Theyab bin Issa bin Nahyan bin Falah bin Yas.

Sheikh Mohamed is married to Her Highness Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, and has four sons and five daughters.

Early days, working in the military

Sheikh Mohamed was educated at schools in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi until the age of 18. In 1979, he joined the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he trained in armour, helicopter flying, tactical flying and paratroops.

After graduating in April 1979, he returned home to the UAE to join the Officers’ Training Course in Sharjah. He has held a number of roles in the UAE military, from that of Officer in the Amiri Guard (the UAE’s elite security force) and Pilot in the UAE Air Force, to the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Guided by the directives of the late Sheikh Zayed and the late Sheikh Khalifa, Sheikh Mohamed helped develop the UAE Armed Forces in terms of strategic planning, training, organisational structure and promoting defence capabilities.

Sheikh Mohamed’s direct guidance and leadership led the UAE Armed Forces to become a leading institution that is widely admired by many international military organisations.

Among his many interests, he is known for his unwavering commitment to enhance educational standards in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and raise them to be on par with the best international standards.

Since Sheikh Mohamed took on the Chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Education Council, he has worked tirelessly to forge partnerships with prestigious world-class educational institutions and think-tanks, a number of which have subsequently announced plans to either establish a base in or join strategic joint ventures with existing academic establishments, under the direction of the late Sheikh Khalifa.

Personal interests, passion

Sheikh Mohamed is known for his passion for protecting wild falcons and bustards, as well as the Arabia Oryx.

He maintains a deep interest in poetry, especially that of the Nabati style, which is native to the region. He regularly lends support to poetry competitions and other events, allowing them to be held under his patronage and attending in person as many of them as he can.

He consistently demonstrates commitment to cultural, artistic, literary and innovation-based initiatives in the community.


Like many of his fellow countrymen, Sheikh Mohamed also follows several sports in the UAE and he regularly meets with Emirati sportsmen and women to recognise their achievements.

Sheikh Mohamed has received numerous citations and decorations from the UAE and many other countries including Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Malaysia, Pakistan, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, South Korea, Montenegro and Kosovo, as well as the United Nations.

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