UAE: He cares deeply about his people, say residents, citizens who met Sheikh Mohamed

He imbibes all the traits of a great leader and has faith in the immense potential of the UAE


Nasreen Abdulla

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Sheikh Mohamed with Mohammed Abdullatif Galadari, co-chairman of Galadari Brothers, and KT illustrator Emadeldin Abdelsalam when they presented him with a portrait.
Sheikh Mohamed with Mohammed Abdullatif Galadari, co-chairman of Galadari Brothers, and KT illustrator Emadeldin Abdelsalam when they presented him with a portrait.

Published: Tue 17 May 2022, 12:50 AM

Last updated: Tue 17 May 2022, 5:52 PM

For everyone who has met the new UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the biggest takeaway has been what a simple man he is. Hailing the people’s leader, Emiratis and expats who have interacted with him recalled his “down to earth” nature and how he listened to what they had to say.

When Khaleej Times gifted a Dh1 million portrait

In 2019, Khaleej Times gifted a portrait of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan made of shredded banknotes worth Dh1 million to Sheikh Mohamed. Conceptualised by Mohammed Abdullatif Galadari, Director of Galadari Brothers, and executed by Emadeldin Abdelsalam, Khaleej Times artist, the labour of love took 21 days to put together.

In the end, the effort was worth it as Sheikh Mohamed accorded a warm welcome to Galadari and Emadeldin as they went to present the portrait to him.

Recalling the reception, Galadari recalled how the leader put his arm around his shoulder. “He was the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince then and, of course, had a tight schedule. Despite that, he took the time to meet us and receive the portrait.

“As we were waiting for him, his car pulled up and I saw that he himself was driving it. I was expecting a driver to be with him, but he was on his own.”

According to Galadari, Sheikh Mohamed was very curious to know how long it took to put together the artwork. “That shows the straightforward and unassuming nature of our leadership. I am 100 per cent sure that His Highness will take our country to greater heights.”

Emadeldin Abdelsalam with Sheikh Mohamed
Emadeldin Abdelsalam with Sheikh Mohamed

The artist behind the portrait, Emad, recalled the hug he got from the leader.

“He was so happy to see the painting that he came and hugged me. And then he pulled me over to his side, put his hand on my shoulder and posed for a photo with me. I was floored. He was such a simple man.

“He also asked me where I was from. When I said Egypt, he started telling me about the time he lived in Egypt for four years. I have seen politicians from all over the world, but rarely have I seen someone so simple and so down to earth,” added Emad.

‘His majlis is always open’

Emirati Hamad Al Hosani
Emirati Hamad Al Hosani

For Emirati Hamad Al Hosani, Chief Corporate Officer at Burjeel group, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is an epitome of simplicity and grace. “I regularly attend his majlis,” he said.

“He is one of the finest leaders in the world, if you ask me. For one, we have seen a lot of changes in the country ever since he became the Crown Prince. He cares deeply for the Emirati people. If anyone approaches him with any problem, whether it is about loans for building homes or treatment for an illness, he will make sure that it is taken care of. He always tells us that his majlis is always open for us if we have any kind of issues. Where will you find a leader who is so passionate about his own people?”

He has negotiated peaceful relations with almost every country in the region, said Al Hosani. “He has promoted UAE’s standing as a tolerant country and that is something I admire him for.”

‘I am in awe of his humility’

Adeeb Ahmed, MD of LuLu Financial Holdings
Adeeb Ahmed, MD of LuLu Financial Holdings

The charismatic leader’s compassion and care for people is not limited to Emiratis.

“Over the years, I have been privileged to meet Sheikh Mohamed on several occasions, and every time, I have been left in awe of his humility and compassion,” said expat entrepreneur Adeeb Ahmed, who is the Managing Director of Abu Dhabi based LuLu Financial Holdings and Twenty14 Holdings. “He imbibes all the traits that we have come to expect from a great leader, is a good listener, and has faith in the immense potential of the UAE and its people to become an icon of hope, both regionally and internationally.”

Adeeb referred to how Sheikh Mohamed led from the front during challenging times.

“Whether it be in diversifying the economy, or introducing welfare measures for citizens and residents, or ringing in women- and child-friendly policies to make the UAE one of the world’s best destinations to live and work in, he has been an active participant and witness to UAE’s transformation. Above all, he enjoys immense respect among world leaders and is a statesman par excellence.”

Adeeb is hopeful for the future. “As he takes on the mantle of UAE’s third President, the roadmap of growth ahead of him is one he has helped architect and design. This, coupled with his fond love for the people of UAE, is a surefooted testament to the fact that Sheikh Mohamed will continue to be an inspiration for millions of people in the Arab world and beyond.”

‘He greets everyone in a room’

Expat Mohammed Shad
Expat Mohammed Shad

Expat Mohammed Shad has met Sheikh Mohamed several times at public events. “The first time I met him was at a wedding.

“I was accompanying my boss to the event and Sheikh Mohamed was one of the invitees there. When he came, he went around the room shaking hands with everyone and greeting them. For a couple of minutes, I was dumbstruck. He is someone I have huge respect for. To be in the same room as him was so amazing. Then he came to me, shook hands with me, looked me in my eye and spoke to me.

“If I hadn’t known who he was, I would have never guessed that he was the Crown Prince of the country. He has no airs. He is such a simple man. I consider myself lucky that I live in a country led by him.”


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