His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan – The UAE President
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the second President of the United Arab Emirates which was established in 2 December 1971, and the 16th Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi; the largest of the seven established Emirates forming the Union.
His Highness assumed his federal constitutional power as President of the State and became Ruler of Abu Dhabi on 3 November 2004, succeeding his father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who died on 2 November 2004.
His Highness, the eldest son of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, was born in 1948 in the Eastern province of Abu Dhabi and received his formal education in the city of Al Ain, the administrative centre of the regions.
His Highness is a descendant of the tribe of Bany Yas, which is considered the mother tribe of most of the Arabian tribes who settled down in what is known today as the United Arab Emirates, and which spearheaded a coalition of Arabian tribes known historically as the “Coalition of Bany Yas”.
His full name is: Khalifa Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Bin Khalifa Bin Shakhbout Bin Ziab Bin Eissa Bin Nahyan Bin Falah Bin Yas. Nahyan Bin Falah was the first Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi during the second half of the 18th century.
His Highness is married with 8 children, two sons, 6 daughters and he also has a number of grandchildren. His sons are: His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa assumed his first official post as Representative of the Ruler in the Eastern Region and Head of the Courts Department on 18 December 1966. During that post in Al Ain City, Sheikh Khalifa followed in the footsteps of his father by continuing the implementation of major developmental projects, particularly those designed to improve agriculture. His Highness assumed his leadership role effortlessly, enjoying the opportunities he had to interact with citizens on a daily basis, review their living conditions and become aware of their hopes and aspirations.
His Highness was appointed Crown Prince for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in February 1969 and was also assigned leadership of the Abu Dhabi Department of Defence. His Highness played a major role as Head of the Defence Force in which post he oversaw its development and transformation from a small force of guards into a multi task force supplied with modern equipment.
On 1 July 1971, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa became Prime Minister and Head of the first local Cabinet for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, prior to the establishment of the UAE Federation, for which he assumed the portfolios for Defence and Finance.
Following the declaration of the Federal State and, in addition to his domestic responsibilities, His Highness assumed the post of Deputy Prime Minister in the Federal Cabinet which was formed in December 1973.
In February 1974 after the abolishment of the local Cabinet, His Highness became the first Chairman of the Executive Council which replaced the Cabinet of the Emirate in its entire domain.
During his Chairmanship of the Executive Council, His Highness supervised and followed up modernization and development of projects transforming the Emirate. He also undertook the management and supervision of what was to become known as the Oil Partnership Negotiations which reformulated the oil policy and established the foundations of a better and fair relationship with operating oil companies. In continuation of this role, His Highness has assumed the Presidency of the Supreme Council for Oil, a post which continues until now. The Supreme Council for Oil is considered the highest reference in relation to oil companies operating in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and it is the supreme supervisor for the oil industry policy in the Emirate regarding regulation, exploration and production.
Besides his responsibilities as the head of the Executive Council, in 1976 His Highness assumed the foundation and chair of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority which supervises the management of financial investments in the Emirate, operating within a strategic vision of developing financial resources and maintaining stable sources of income for the coming generations. The Investment Authority contributed, thanks to the efforts and supervision of His Highness, in the training and qualification of a group of extremely capable nationals, who undertook higher level posts in governmental agencies and authorities, both federal and local.
Among the most outstanding development initiatives of His Highness which yielded a deep social influence, was the establishment of a social services and commercial buildings department which became known as The Sheikh Khalifa Committee. The activities of this department interpreted the deep philosophical concept of distribution of wealth among citizens since it offered generous funds to all, without any interest, for the establishment of commercial buildings that generate regular financial revenues. This contributed to increasing citizens’ income and improving their social and economic level on the one hand and also helped in flourishing the community development of the country on the other hand. The total investment in projects carried out by the department reached more than 35 Billion Dirhams since its establishment in 1981, with which it executed more than 6 thousand residential towers and modern commercial complexes in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and other places within the Emirate.
The occupation of His Highness with the domestic affairs of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi did not prevent him from contributing to many other federal tasks and affairs. In addition to the role he played in the establishment of the Federation through his post as Deputy Prime Minister, His Highness assumed the post of Deputy for the Supreme Commander of The Armed Forces. This followed the historical decision taken by the Federal Supreme Council in 1976 to merge local defence forces in each Emirate in the federation under the unified banner of the federation so that defence affairs became the exclusive responsibility of the federation.
During his Presidency of the Executive Council, His Highness gave great attention to development, infrastructure and various facilities projects and worked on establishing a modern administration for the state and also an integrated legislation system as being a basis for the process of economic and social development.
Following the assumption of His Highness of the Presidency, he launched an initiative for reforming the legislative power to modify the process of selecting members of the Federal National Council to include both appointment and election as a first step, which allowed for the selection of council members by direct election at the end.
His Highness is known for his punctuality and commitment to a strict working day which is divided between several official duties and meetings with the general public.
He is calm, a good listener and known for his courtesy and modesty in dealing with others which makes him popular among citizens.
His Highness is keen that the Emirates become an example for offering a helping hand and support for everyone in need regardless of race, color, religion or sex. With that in mind, Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation contributes effectively in various projects in more than 35 countries and has created an ideal, strong and unique developmental model which has gained the attention of the world.
His Highness practices a number of hobbies and enjoys history, poetry and literature. In addition, he is fond of outdoor pursuits such as fishing and is also an expert in eagle hunting, a hobby he acquired from his late father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Due to his interest in these sports, His Highness contributes in sponsoring programs and projects for the preservation of the natural environment in hunting areas, a top priority of which is the release of eagles for return to their natural habitat at the end of each hunting season. There are also breeding programs of Houbara Bustard birds (which are considered the favorite prey of eagles) and release of those into the wild, in addition to sponsored research on bird movement and migration by means of modern satellite technology. The efforts and contributions of His Highness in this field have been met with global appreciation on more than one occasion. The role His Highness plays in preserving the environment in hunting areas has resulted in a number of personal friendships with world leaders whose countries form well known hunting areas, especially those in Central Asia.
His Highness is also interested in various other sporting activities especially football which he is particularly keen to sponsor. His Highness attends its major events and, in addition, honors local sporting teams who win local, regional or international championships.
His Highness, may God save and bless him, gives special care to environmental concerns making it one of the main criteria for development projects and a principal part of the legislative system and public policies. This became clear with the appointment of a Minister concerned with the environment in the first Cabinet formed during his term.