UAE launches Dh20 billion humanitarian initiative to honour Sheikh Zayed

President Sheikh Mohamed makes announcement as part of tribute to UAE Founding Father on Zayed Humanitarian Day

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President Sheikh Mohamed has announced the launch of a Dh20 billion initiative to support humanitarian projects around the world.

The Zayed Humanitarian Legacy Initiative pays tribute to the humanitarian vision of the UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

It aims to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable communities in the world, state news agency Wam reported on Friday.

The announcement comes on Zayed Humanitarian Day and the 20th anniversary of Sheikh Zayed's death.

“On Zayed Humanitarian Day and the 20th anniversary of the passing of the late Sheikh Zayed, we continue to uphold the legacy of the UAE's Founding Father through our ongoing commitment to support communities worldwide,” Sheikh Mohamed wrote on X.

“Reflecting Sheikh Zayed's enduring values of care and compassion for the welfare of others, today we announce the launch of Zayed Humanitarian Legacy Initiative, a Dh20 billion initiative to support humanitarian projects around the world.”

Sheikh Zayed's death is marked each year on the 19th day of Ramadan, which at the time of his passing in 2004 fell on November 2.

The significant contributions of the country's first President are recognised each year on this day, through Zayed Humanitarian Day.

The occasion honours the philanthropic path laid down by Sheikh Zayed for generations of Emiratis to follow.

Tributes to Sheikh Zayed

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, also shared a message in tribute of Sheikh Zayed.

“His goodness remains with us, he is present with us with his giving, he has not left us,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote on X.

“How can someone who built a state for good, leave?”

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, said the “Zayed Humanitarian Legacy Initiative is a continuation of his approach and consolidation of his values”.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai said Sheikh Zayed's influence has resulted in millions of people around the world benefitting from charitable and humanitarian projects and initiatives.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and chairman of Dubai Media Council, also honoured Sheikh Zayed by recalling his history of generosity.

“On Zayed Humanitarian Work Day, the UAE renews its pledge to continue following Zayed's approach to spreading goodness and giving,” he wrote.

“On this day, we recall the history of generosity whose impact extended from the land of the Emirates to include millions around the world.”

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, also paid tribute to Sheikh Zayed in a post shared to X.

“Following the path laid out by our Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, we continue to strive for human progress,” he wrote.

“Our youth, through their global humanitarian efforts, exemplify the values of brotherhood and generosity that he has instilled in us.”

Hazza Al Mansouri, the UAE's first astronaut in space, said Sheikh Zayed's legacy of humanitarianism changed millions of lives.

“Millions of people's lives have changed for the better. Thousands of projects and initiatives have been implemented. Hundreds of countries have benefited,” he said.

Sheikh Zayed's legacy

Under Sheikh Zayed's leadership of a fledging nation, the Abu Dhabi Development Fund was established in 1971, while the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation was set up in 1992.

The UAE delivered aid worth Dh90.5 million ($24.64 billion) to more than 100 countries during his 33-year presidency.

His environmental legacy lives on through projects such as the Zayed Sustainability Prize, which promotes global efforts to combat climate change and support needy communities.

The country has upheld these values in the years since, with crucial assistance being pledged in recent months to support Palestinians affected by the war in Gaza, as well as the recent Mothers' Endowment campaign, which was launched at the beginning of Ramadan.

The education fund launched by Sheikh Mohammed to help disadvantaged families worldwide has already raised Dh770 million ($209.6 million) in two weeks.

Updated: March 29, 2024, 6:27 PM