(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)
Published: Tue 17 May 2022, 7:30 PM
Last updated: Tue 17 May 2022, 7:31 PM
When Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan succeeded his father, the late Sheikh Zayed as the President of the UAE and the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, he had big shoes to fill. But following in the footsteps of his legendary father, Sheikh Khalifa built on the solid foundations and accelerated the growth of the Emirates as a modern nation.
Sheikh Zayed gave the young Khalifa responsibilities from an early age. He wanted him to become a visionary leader and a strong humanitarian.
As a young boy growing up in Al Ain and Al Buraimi, he would watch his father, who governed Al Ain region at that time, hold majlis and interact with citizens and tribal leaders, giving them a patient ear and solving their problems. He accompanied Sheikh Zayed on field trips and learned the values of trust, patience, justice, and fairness.
Born on September 7, 1948, at the Al Muwaiji Fort in Al Ain, Sheikh Khalifa was the eldest son of the founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. His mother was Sheikha Hessa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
When he assumed the leadership of the country at the age of 57, Sheikh Khalifa was already a people's leader. He served as the Ruler's Representative in Al Ain when his father moved to Abu Dhabi as the Ruler. In 1969, as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, he started assisting his father in crucial tasks of nation-building. As the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Defence, he was also responsible for modernising the UAE's armed forces.
Over the years, he assumed bigger responsibilities and has served in various capacities as Defence and Finance Minister, Chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
On assuming charge as the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa vowed to continue his father's 'open door policy' where people from all nationalities and religion could coexist in peace.
One of Sheikh Khalifa's greatest legacies is the establishment of strong social security schemes for Emiratis. He founded the Sheikh Khalifa Committee and generously provided loans to citizens.
Under him, a grand scheme of building free houses for UAE citizens started and a Housing Loans Authority was established in 1991. While Sheikh Zayed built infrastructure, Khalifa focused on nurturing communities across the UAE and the world to make them resilient and prepared for modern challenges.
Ministerial reforms helped build accountability into the system of governance during his tenure. The Federal National Council (FNC) was expanded and given more powers during his rule, and indirect elections were held to the legislature. Landmark legislative reforms saw more women participating in government. It stemmed from his vision of making the UAE a more inclusive and community-focused nation that put gender equality at its core.
Sheikh Khalifa presided over the country at a time when regional conflicts and unrest were tearing down Arab governments. But the UAE remained an oasis of peace and security thanks to Sheikh Khalifa's strong leadership and inclusive policies.
The Emirates also established itself as a regional leader and led many humanitarian missions to war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya under the Red Crescent.
The UAE's peaceful nuclear project also started under Sheikh Khalifa and steered the nation toward a new era of renewable energy.
As the President, he had his eyes set on the future and his policies reflected that vision.
With his passing, the UAE has lost a leader who knew the pulse of the nation and its people. His legacy will live on through his works.
Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.