His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

[1949-]

Early Life

Sheikh Mohammed was born on July 15, 1949 in the family of Al Maktoum, in Shindagha near the famous creek in Dubai. 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, His Highness Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, the late Ruler of Dubai, showered him with love, and he enjoyed his close-knit family. Sheikh Mohammed and his brothers found their natural playmates among their cousins and the children of Dubai's major trading families, the sheikhdom's equivalent of an aristocracy. Sheikh Mohammed was a fit and energetic child; an enthusiastic participant in traditional children's games, he liked nothing better than to kick a ball around the sandy courtyard of the house.  He was a physically active child, constantly on the move, playing games, and was curious about the world around him.  Sheikh Saeed’s Majlis was a friendly and good learning environment.  Sheikh Mohammed was close to his grandfather Sheikh Saeed and was often seen sitting next to him.

Education

From the age of four, Sheikh Mohammed was tutored in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He was soon admitted to Al Ahmadiya School, a small primary school in Deira, where he studied classical Arabic, English, mathematics, geography and history. Sheikh Mohammed excelled in his studies, and at the age of 10, he was transferred to Al Shaab School. Two years later, he went to Dubai Secondary School, and graduated from it in 1965.

Responsibilities

On February 18, 1968, he attended a meeting between Sheikh Zayed, Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid, Ruler of Dubai, to discuss forming a federation between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which led to the creation of the United Arab Emirates on 02/12/1971. Despite the fact that Sheikh Mohammed was the youngest Defense Minister in the world, in less than a year, he wisely tackled the serious responsibility assigned to him during the Arab-Israeli War. Meanwhile, he was trying to form a national federal defense force. The UAE Forces undertook its first international task in 1976 when Sheikh Mohammed ordered troops to Lebanon to join the Arab Deterrent Force for a peacekeeping mission in that troubled country.

Sheikh Mohammed chaired the committee, which managed the Dubai Airport; consequently, developing Dubai as an international aviation hub and tourist attraction, and in this respect, Sheikh Mohammed adopted the "open skies" policy and laid the foundation for a vibrant tourist industry. He also assumed Dubai oil responsibilities.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid was Crown Prince of Dubai, and then became the Ruler of Dubai on January 4, 2006. On January 5, Members of the Federal Supreme Council appointed him Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates.  On February 11, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, nominated His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid as Prime Minister, and the Council approved the nomination. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the Members of his Cabinet were sworn in before His Highness Sheikh Khalifa at Al Bateen Palace, Abu Dhabi.  He has made history by putting Dubai on the world map in record time, and as a wise statesman, put the state on a unique path.

Experience

Sheikh Rashid took over as ruler of Dubai in 1958, and began to prepare seriously for the future of his son in government. In the fifties, Sheikh Rashid attracted the most talented members of the community who became his inner circle. They belonged to different regions of the world, and Sheikh Mohammed grew up as a member of this unique group, and participated in their discussions, despite his young age.

Sheikh Rashid considered military training for his third son, but the young Sheikh needed training in English.  Accordingly, Sheikh Mohammed traveled to London, accompanied by his cousin, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, where they attended the Bell School of Languages at Cambridge in 1966.

The school was an amazing melting pot of different cultures and nationalities, and Sheikh Mohammed took advantage of that, and learned a lot from his classmates about their respective countries. To be prepared further for his future role in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed attended Mons Officer Cadet Academy, and had more military training in the British Army. He was promoted to Lieutenant Trainee, and given the "Sword of Honour" for receiving the highest score in his specialty.

In his twenties, he gained further experience in the fields of literature, sport, military and politics. When he returned to Dubai, his first appointment was Head of the Dubai Police and Public Security, and then became Defense Minister. He was the youngest in the world to hold such a post.

Hobbies

Sheikh Mohammed practiced hunting from an early age, especially the Arabic art of falconry, and he learned the principles of equestrianism alongside his brothers, thanks to the encouragement of their father, the Late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.  Sheikh Mohammed was the keenest on it, and he practiced this sport daily with his friends on Jumeirah Beach.

Achievements

Sheikh Mohammed is an advocate of free speech. This tolerant climate leads to a real dialogue, and urges people to think and perform better.  Sheikh Mohammed continued to assist the Government of Dubai in its march forward by spending more on infrastructure projects, and laying down the foundations for the bright future that we see there today. He adopted the tourist slogan "Destination Dubai", and announced the establishment of the Dubai Shopping Festival in late 1995.

Sheikh Mohammed took over the responsibility of the Jebel Ali Free Zone, and the industrial area, which is centered around the Port of Jebel Ali.  Perhaps the most daring project of Sheikh Mohammed was "Dubai eGovernment”, which was launched in 1995. He launched the initiative "Dubai Internet City" in 1999. The Sheikh Mohammed Godolphin horseracing team participated in the Breeders Cup in New York, and donated the tournament revenues to the families of firefighters, police officers, and members of the emergency services in New York City.

Sheikh Mohammed laid down plans for Dubai’s most important projects: Dubai Internet City, Dubai International Media Production Zone, and the Dubai International Financial Centre.  On February 3, 2007, Sheikh Mohammed announced Dubai Strategic Plan for 2015.

He revealed on April 17, 2007 a map of the UAE government’s strategy, which was to achieve sustainable development, and invest federal resources more efficiently.  The most notable achievement was the launching of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation in 2007.

On September 20, 2007, Sheikh Mohammed launched the campaign "Dubai Cares" as one of the largest humanitarian movements in the world to fight poverty, disseminate knowledge, and provide education for poor children.

Sheikh Mohammed announced a number of local and international awards, including the Arab Journalism Award, the Dubai Government Excellence Award, Dubai International Holy Quran Award, and Young Entrepreneur Awards. Several cultural projects were launched, including the Prophet Muhammad Museum (Peace be upon Him), the outline of comprehensive museums, and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Gardens.

Mohammed Bin Rashid, the Poet

Sheikh Mohammed began composing Nabati Poetry while at school.  He says that in this respect, he was greatly influenced by his father, Sheikh Rashid, and by Sheikh Zayed.  Poetry enabled Sheikh Mohammed to express his creative side.

Mohammed Bin Rashid, the Equestrian

“Love of horses runs through my veins; the Arab tribes bred horses for centuries, and horseback riding is more than just riding the horse, it is nobility and chivalry."

Sheikh Mohammed is well known worldwide as the owner of Horses. He leads the national team, and Emirates Knights are considered the best athletes in this field worldwide. Sheikh Mohammed is one of the most prominent figures involved in the campaign for the inclusion of endurance racing in the official Olympic Games.

Some of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid’s Quotes

  • “The United Arab Emirates led the coalition efforts to liberate Kuwait, and we have felt very proud of the courage of these forces and their commitment to justice."
  • “The United Arab Emirates continues to stand peacefully and firmly in support of her friends. The Emirates will remain as a place in the world where cultures and religions meet and coexist in peace."
  • “I do not know if I am a good leader, but I am a leader, and I have a vision; I look to the future twenty or thirty years from now. I learned that from my father, Sheikh Rashid, who was the Real Father of Dubai. And I am following in his footsteps."
  • “There is a worldwide consensus on the war on terror. We in the Arab and Muslim nations are part of this world, and we have a genuine interest in the eradication of this sinister phenomenon."
  • “Islam is a religion of justice, tolerance and world peace. There are unbiased people in the West who know the true Muslims, and the true teachings of Islam, which call for peaceful coexistence among all religions and sects."