On Monday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Dubai’s Ruler, is going to observe his 70th birthday.
He was born on 15 July 1949, in the Al Maktoum home in Shindagha near the Dubai Creek. His passion and vision have changed Dubai – a once small creek-side settlement into a global city, now home to over 200 nationalities. His wise and visionary leadership has forced the UAE to become a major participant on the global stage, extending inspiring messages like tolerance, giving and innovation.
As UAE observes his birthday today, let’s take a look into the life of the man and leader who has carried great responsibility for his country and people. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was born in July. He is the third son of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s four sons.
His brothers are Sheikh Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Ahmed. His mother was Sheikha Latifa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, daughter of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a former ruler of Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Mohammed’s early lessons in governance may have been started by his grandfather, the late Sheikh Saeed – then Ruler of Dubai – who showered him with love and endearment.
Sheikh Saeed used to hold his daily majlis on wooden benches near the entrance of their Shindagha home. These meetings were a good learning chance for Sheikh Mohammed, who was often seen sitting beside him.
Sheikh Mohammed was privately tutored in Arabic and Islamic studies and started his formal education in 1955 at Al Ahmadiya School, a small primary school in Deira. He also learned hunting, falconry and horsemanship at an early age.
In 1968, Sheikh Mohammed came back to Dubai and Sheikh Rashid appointed him as the head of the Dubai Police and Public Security. It was his first public position.
Later, he was appointed as Minister of Defense and became the world’s youngest defense minister.
Sheikh Mohammed was present at a desert camp, where the late Sheikh Zayed – then Ruler of Abu Dhabi – and Sheikh Rashid – then Ruler of Dubai – met to elaborate on forming a federation between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which led to the formation of the UAE.
Fast forward to 3rd January 1995, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum, then Ruler of Dubai, endorsed an order appointing Sheikh Mohammed as Crown Prince of Dubai. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed laid out many infrastructure projects for the new digital economy and started the eGovernment drive. Expectedly, Dubai and the UAE quickly evolved, leaving the world in awe of its transformation.