His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM
His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. He was born on July 15, 1949, in the Al Maktoum home in Shindagha, near Dubai's famous creek. He is the third of four sons of His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum', Their Highnesses Sheikh Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Ahmed.
Sheikh Mohammed lived a happy childhood. His parents (Sheikh Rashid and Sheikha Latifa) and his grandfather greatly loved and influenced him. He was an athletic and energetic child and enthusiastic about traditional childrens’ games. Sheikh Mohammed learned hunting and falconry in his early days as well as the rudiments of horsemanship. In fact he took to the saddle almost at once as he rode on Jumeirah beach each day.
From the age of four, Sheikh Mohammed was tutored in Arabic and Islamic Studies and soon admitted to Al Ahmadiya School, a small primary school in Deira, where he studied classic Arabic, English, Mathematics, Geography and History. Here he excelled and at 10 years he was transferred to Al Shaab School. Two years later he was admitted to the Dubai Secondary School, where he made great progress due to his photographic memory.
In August 1966, Sheikh Mohammed was enrolled in Bell Language School in Cambridge, one of Europe's best-regarded. Besides poetry, sports held great interest for him, particularly rowing and hunting expeditions.
This was followed by the Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot, which is now part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Here he was exposed to the hardship of military training. When he returned to Dubai, Sheikh Rashid appointed his third son as Head of Dubai Police and Public Security. This was his first public position. The Ruler also made His Highness, the Minister of Defense; the youngest ever until then.
On October 18, 1968, in desert camp, Rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai met to discuss forming a federation between the 2 countries, and called it the Union Accord. This served as the ignition for a bigger union.On December 2, 1971, the rulers of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and the Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain, met at Sheikh Rashid Palace in Jumeirah, Dubai, where they signed the Interim Constitution that regulated the establishment of the United Arab Emirates.
On August 25, 1977, Sheikh Rashid announced the formation of a committee, headed by His Highness, to manage Dubai Airport; consequently, developing Dubai as an international aviation hub. Thus touristic attraction became Sheikh Mohammed’s most outstanding achievement. Here he adopted the "open skies" policy that laid the foundation for the tourist boom of the 90’s.
On January 3, 1995, His Highness was appointed Crown Prince of Dubai. As Crown Prince, his greatest achievement was "Destination Dubai", a commendable initiative to boost tourism. Late in 1995, he announced the creation of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), a strategic promotion aimed at bringing together all aspects of the Emirate's economy to be extended around the world.To make this fest memorable, the Sheikh announced the inaugural of the Dubai World Cup. It was to be the world's richest horse race, boasting a purse of $4 million, $2.4 of which would be awarded to the winner.
Sheikh Mohammed also oversaw the development of numerous projects like Palm Islands and the luxurious Burj Al Arab hotel. He also encouraged the construction of Burj Khalifa, which is now the tallest building in the world. During his tenure, His Highness set up Dubai Holding, the debt laden and financially troubled holding company with multi-diversified businesses and investments. He currently owns 99.67% of the company.
His boldest innovation to date was "e-Dubai." On October 29, 1999, he launched the Dubai Internet City which would encompass the infrastructure, environment and attitude to enable new economic enterprises to operate out of Dubai with significant competitive advantage. By September 2000, more than a hundred IT companies had been granted licenses to operate in Dubai Internet City, including industry giants Microsoft, Oracle and Compaq and another 350 were in line for approval. Dubai had the distinction of becoming the world's first fully online government.
With projects like Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai International Financial Centre - to the principles of modern development laid down in the federation, the road to progress has been laid.
On January 4th, 2006, following the death of Sheikh Maktoum, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed became the Ruler of Dubai, and on January 5th, when the members of the UAE Supreme Council elected Sheikh Mohammed the UAE Vice President. On February 11th, 2006 UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan nominated him UAE Prime Minister; approved by the Supreme Council.
And eversince, revolutionary initiatives have been rolled out. On February 3rd, 2007, he announced the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015, which aims to bolster Dubai's leading position in the region and boost its role as an international economic and financial hub.
The strategy will be used as a road map for development over the coming years.
A great one for charity, in May 2007, His Highness set up an educational foundation called the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation. In September 2007, he launched the Dubai Cares campaign to raise money to educate 1 million children in poor countries. The campaign is Dubai's contribution to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals for providing Primary Education to every child by 2015. The amount donated to this campaign has exceeded AED 1.65 billion (Approximately US$ 450 million.) On September 3, 2008, Sheikh Mohammad also launched a new Ramadan initiative under the name "Noor Dubai", aiming to help the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in achieving its goals outlined in VISION 2020: the Right to Sight. Noor Dubai will treat and provide health services to one million people suffering from treatable blindness and visual impairment in developing countries on a local, regional, and international scale.
Culture & Sports: His Highness began composing Nabati poetry while he was still in school. A collection of his poems, "Poems from the Desert," has been on best-seller lists for more than two years. The Maktoums are known to be avid enthusiasts of traditional Arabic poems and arts, and take part in projects to aid developing countries such as Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Yemen.
They are also sport enthusiasts, especially in horse and camel racing.In 2013 when the UAE National football teamwon the Gulf Cup, Sheikh Mohammed gave the team 50 million dirhams ($13.7 million). His wife awarded the team a further 25 million dirhams ($6.8 million), while the pair's grandsons contributed 12 million dirhams ($3.3 million).
"Horse riding is more than merely sitting on a horse's back. It is nobility and chivalry,” says His Highness, who was a promising athlete, an accomplished player of tennis and football, but equestrianism was, and remains, his true sporting passion.
In an effort to encourage innovation, Sheikh Mohammed has announced a wide array of awards both in Dubai and the UAE, to promote a competitive climate for both the public and private sectors to strive for excellence.
The past few years have witnessed significant progress in economic and social development: e-government was introduced; the Dubai Metro, and a significant number of investment companies were established; these companies have formed global partnerships in the fields of industry, commerce, tourism, ports management and real estate investments. Making Dubai what it is today_ a dream city led by a strong, wise and able leader.