One day sheikh Zayed asked by the journalist:
“ when you building this country, why did you give your people free education, health care and free services”
Sheikh Zayed answered him:
“I gave them free education, accommodation, health care and free services because they are my children. How you cut off from your own children’s expenses?”
Sheikh Zayed was not only a president; he was a father, an adviser and a leader. He was close to his people; he sat among his people and listened to their needs, chatting and laughing with them. He didn’t put any barrier between him and his people. He could be termed as humble.
The humble nature of this icon as well as his love for his people inspired him to bring change not only to his country but also to other citizens in other countries. He could be
likened to a super hero who was always ready and willing to listen to the plight of the less fortunate and consequently do whatever was within his power to help these people. Thus, under his leadership a lot of charitable organizations were created that aimed at helping in one way or the other. One such example was the fact that he adopted as many orphans as possible not only in the EAU but also in other continents around the world. Other than his humanitarian efforts, the sheikh was a champion of environmental conservation efforts. For this, he received the champions of the earth award from the United Nations (Nādī Turāth al-Imārāt. et.al, 2001).
His ability to combine wisdom with leadership was evidenced when he advocated that both the father and mother in a family set-up should share activity that would be parenthood. This opened up the doors for women to actively seek employment. He stated that “Women have the right to work everywhere,” he reasoned that “Islam gives women their rightful status, and encourages them to work in all sectors, as long as they are afforded the appropriate respect. The basic role of women is the upbringing of children, but over and above that, we have to support and encourage any woman who chooses to perform other functions.” making him not only a shrewd leader but also a great parent to his people.
His wisdom extended to the policies that he created that were always in the best interest of his people. He shared the revenue brought in by oil to develop his people. These developments could be accessed by all his citizens and at no cost at all. He was not afraid of sharing the lands resources with his people (Morris, 1974). Furthermore his wisdom was responsible for the creation of peace without having to resort to bloodshed as was the case in the treaty of Jeddah.
His role as an insightful advisor played an important role in negotiations that he always made whether to benefit his own people or other countries in the world. His ability to provide solutions for even the toughest problem was impeccable. One such success was his key contribution in the formation of the EAU.
Sheikh Zayed was a leader like no other. He never looked down at people because of their station, gender, religion, ethnicity or even race. To him, humanity was what mattered in the long run. While the whole world benefited in one way or the other through this leaders virtuous personality, the people of EAU were the luckiest to have been under his leadership.
Thank you everyone for listening
- Morris, C. (1974). The desert falcon: The story of H. H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahiyan, President of the United Arab Emirates. London: Morris International.
- Nādī Turāth al-Imārāt., & Markaz Zāyid lil-Turāth wa-al-Tārīkh. (2001). Zayed, a photographic journey: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Abu Dhabi: Emirates Heritage Club, and Zayid Center for Heritage and History.