Cultural Personality of the Year: A Deserved Choice

  • 16 April 2015

Naming His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai (may God protect him) the Cultural Personality of the Year at the 9th edition of the Shaikh Zayed Book Award recognizes his valuable role in enriching local, Arab and world cultures, and promoting dialogue between cultures and civilizations.

The choice of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for the award, the Cultural Personality of the Year, came as the result of many factors. Firstly, His Highness is a model of the leadership that combines the attributes of a good ruler and an educated polymath with a passion for literature, poetry and writing. He has authored books on literature, sociology and development and most notably, his first book My Vision, in which he reveals his foresight as a learned man and a social and political researcher with a comprehensive vision for development. In his book, Flashes of Thought, he provides many creative and innovative ideas that reflect his life experiences, which could serve as a road map for the success of any leader or official in any place. There is no doubt that these intellectual contributions have enriched local, Arab and world cultures, demonstrating the successful UAE development model.

Second, His Highness has launched several leading cultural initiatives, regionally and internationally, with his name which have enriched UAE, Arab and world cultures. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, established in 1998 with the aim of introducing Emirati culture to UAE visitors and residents, gives them the opportunity to integrate into the community within the institutions they are working in and outside through modern awareness campaigns and programs carefully designed to enhance their understanding of the UAE community, customs and traditions, and encourage them to be more closely familiar with the state’s culture and history. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed announced at the World Economic Forum held in Jordan in 2007 he would establish an institution that bears his name, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, through which he would bestow $10 billion for the purpose of establishing a solid knowledge base in the region. The money would fund projects aimed at enabling the younger generations in the Arab world to acquire knowledge and use it to face the challenges of development.

Third, the leading role of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in establishing culture as one of the main foundations of sustainable development in the United Arab Emirates. His Highness, through his multiple initiatives, has contributed to promoting the image of the UAE abroad as a model of multicultural co-existence. This has resulted in positive development outcomes, as the prevailing image of a country plays a significant role in promoting confidence in its development model, increasing its ability to attract foreign investment and expertise.

The statement of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (may God protect him) congratulating His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for being named Cultural Personality of the Year, testifies to the leading role played by His Highness in the UAE’s development and his contribution to the enrichment of global culture: “We congratulate Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for this deserved honor. He has devoted his life to planting the seeds of hope, spreading tolerance and moderation, fostering dialogue, supporting the pursuit of knowledge and science, and encouraging innovation and excellence in all fields, instilling these in the life of the nation as well as building a better future for Emiratis who represent a role model for all mankind.”