Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed honoured the first graduates of a nationwide scheme aiming to develop the UAE's next generation of talent.
The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces were in attendance for the maiden graduation ceremony of the National Experts Programme, held at Qasr Al Watan.
The scheme was launched by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince in January to help unlock the potential of Emirati youth who will drive the country's progress in a range of key sectors.
In the first year of the programme, twenty Emiratis were mentored by some of the nation's leading figures, including Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chief executive of Mubadala, Saif Ghobash, the undersecretary of Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism, and Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said the UAE drew power from the abilities of its people, making it crucial for the government to invest in its 'human wealth'.
"The UAE is powerful today thanks to its people by virtue of whom we're optimistic of delivering the future for generations to come," said Sheikh Mohammed.
"It's our human wealth that established the solid foundation of the country in the past and today we have a proactive, creative generation capable of setting a model to be copied for their peers across various fronts."
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed heaped praise on the young achievers who he believes will help shape the future vision of the Emirates.
"I feel elated to see these ambitious Emiratis who will be capable of driving the country's comprehensive development drive across various domains over the years to come," said Sheikh Mohamed.
"While fortifying the development pillars of our nation, we're relying on qualified Emirati hands to realise our developmental ambitions, as this is exactly the approach pursued by advanced countries all over the world to ensure progress and utilise their resources.
"In the UAE, our people are our most cherished assets, and therefore we are bent on maintaining our long-running investment in building qualified human cadres capable of steering the helm of our country and addressing future challenges."
He thanked the graduates for their "relentless and creative efforts to establish an integrated and evolving base of entrepreneurs capable of feeding various sectors with qualified national expertise."
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed sported Expo 2020 Dubai wristbands at the ceremony, with less than one year to go until the global event lands in the emirate.
The ceremony was attended by a number of leading government figures, including Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance.