A young student has won the royal seal of approval after becoming the first Emirati to earn a German education qualification.
Ahmed Al Hosani, 19, has been presented with the Abitur certificate, typically given to students who pass their secondary school education in the European country.
The teenager was one of 65 learners studying the curriculum at German International School Abu Dhabi as part of an education cultural exchange launched by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed in 2005.
He completed five exams - three written and two oral - of which some were in German.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces was quick to offer his congratulations after inviting Ahmed and his family to meet with him at Sea Palace.
Ahmed's father, Khaled Al Hosani, said the exam success was rich reward for his son's efforts.
“It was a challenge,” said Mr Al Hosani, 60.
“While most students started school at 8am, my son had to go to school an hour earlier to take German lessons and take lessons after school,” the father of seven said.
Mr Al Hosani said his son was at nursery in Abu Dhabi when he was approached about joining the course.
He said it was crucial for children to think outside of the box in order to progress in life.
“It is no longer the age of going to any university or aiming toward a bachelors degree. That is the old days, now it is about specialising and trying something unique and different,” he said.
Ahmed is proud of his achievements and grateful to his parents for supporting him.
“I was lucky to join something new and out of the ordinary. Parents should try to get their children into other systems (of education) to raise their cultural awareness and open up their pathways,” he said.
During the meeting at the Sea Palace, Sheikh Mohamed congratulated Ahmed, hailing him as a role model for other students.
Sheikh Mohamed also stressed the role of the family in providing students with the right environment to succeed.
Ahmed will now set to complete his military service, with studies in either mechanical engineering or nuclear energy in his sights.
“But I still have time to choose,” he said.
Where will he go to university? “Germany, of course," he said.