In Memory of the UAE's Founding Leader, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan

  • 3 November 2008

Great leaders never die. Only their bodies wither but their memory lingers and their great work remains eternal in the hearts of their people. Of these is the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may he rest in peace, who passed away four years ago yesterday and whose presence continues in the hearts of all Emiratis. He was the founding father, the founder of the modern renaissance being experienced by the UAE at all levels, and the symbol of wisdom and giving not only at home and around the Gulf but on the Arab and world stages.

Sheikh Zayed confronted the most difficult of circumstances with certainty and believed in the ability of the Emirati citizen to achieve progress. He thus gave him all of his attention; as a ruler of al-Ain, a ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and when he became Federation President on December 2, 1971. He recognized that unity is the foundation for power, steadfastness, and progress toward elevating the human spirit in this part of the world. He devoted his time to strengthening this unity and succeeded in establishing the model state and in making it the most successful unification attempt in the Arab world. He believed that people are the most important asset in the UAE and devoted everything to their service so that they could achieve the development they need. He also affirmed the principles of popular consultation and participation in public affairs and kept his door open to opinions, ideas, and requests. That was why the Emirates during his tenure joined the club of advanced countries, witnessed high rates of development at all levels, and prepared its citizens to be essential elements in its development drive.

Sheikh Zayed lives on not only in Emirati hearts but also in the hearts of Arabs whose rightful causes he supported, battles he fought, and crises he helped resolve. He also exerted all efforts to support their unity and cooperation and worked to mend relations between them and to help their development and progress. In return, they commemorated him in their cities and streets and held him in their hearts as a symbol of goodness, dignity, and generosity. The sadness that engulfed the Arab countries after hearing the news of his passing on the second of November, 2004, and scenes of grief by millions were expressions of the position he held in the Arab mind from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf.

Sheikh Zayed was a historic figure with international presence because of his wisdom and the deep humanitarian dimension he imbued in UAE foreign policy which helped the country in cultivating a distinguished position on the world arena.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan put down the foundations of a renaissance that the present Emirati leadership, under the direction of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, affirms, strengthens, and augments with its wisdom and experience. The Emirates thus marches forward in security, stability, and prosperity because the students of Zayed are loyal to the oath and understand the road ahead.