Over the course of nearly five decades, the UAE has undergone unprecedented change, transforming into one of the most thriving modern states in the world. Today, the Emirates are renowned for being a model for all-round development and progress. At the heart of all these achievements lies the vision of one man – Sheikh Zayed.
This realisation is not lost on anyone who has lived in this country at some point. Little wonder, then, that the legacy of Sheikh Zayed is celebrated all the time. The year 2018 will mark 100 years since the birth of the founding father of the UAE, who died in 2004. To commemorate this historic occasion, President Sheikh Khalifa has designated it as the Year of Zayed, and there cannot be any better way to mark his legacy than this.
The year will feature a series of events and initiatives in the UAE and beyond to commemorate the late Sheikh Zayed, celebrate his impact and legacy and promote the values that he exhibited throughout his life in creative ways.
The year will also remind us how he was always willing to extend a helping hand to victims of humanitarian crises in the region and beyond, as well as support many educational, health, family and infrastructure projects in countries across the world. He stressed the importance of generosity, inclusivity and equality as core principles for the country and its people and made many painstaking efforts to establish a culture of philanthropy.
His vision and generosity is felt throughout the Arab world and beyond, with contributions and initiatives that reflect his unerring skill as an ideal leader. The Year of Zayed follows the Year of Reading and the Year of Giving, all of which highlighted the exclusive legacies of the leader.
Sheikh Khalifa rightly said that Sheikh Zayed laid down solid foundations for a strong and united nation that succeeds in balancing the requirements for modernity, while preserving cultural and social norms.
He pointed out said that his real wealth was not in material gain, but in his investment in people – in the men and women who build the future of their nation.
In short, all the virtues we boast today – charity, literacy, tolerance, equality, education, economy and infrastructure – are all legacies of Sheikh Zayed.
If the UAE has managed to rank among the top countries in the UN’s human development reports, excelling in regional and international indicators measuring people’s happiness and contentment indicators and score high in the Social Progress Index, it’s all because of the vision of one individual. As the country continues its journey forward, it is the vision of Sheikh Zayed that provides the guiding light.