Year of Zayed
Commemorating the timeless legacy of the UAE Founding Father
“Future generations will be living in a world that is very different from that to which we are accustomed. It is essential that we prepare ourselves and our children for that new world.”
- Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
To mark the 100 years since the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, the year 2018 was announced as the Year of Zayed. This historic occasion was observed through various events and initiatives intended to commemorate his legacy and promote the values that he demonstrated throughout his life.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan played a crucial role in the union of the seven emirates and was elected as the first president of the UAE. During his leadership, the country witnessed a massive transformation – from its humble beginnings to becoming a global leader and one of the most influential countries in the world.
A leader in its truest essence, he upheld the virtues of unity and openness amidst a region surrounded by conflicts. A true epitome of dignity, peace, and great vision, he left behind a legacy of honourable values such as tolerance, equality, benevolence, and generosity that have made a meaningful impact to the UAE and its people.
Achievements of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Formation of the Union
Sheik Zayed initiated the union of the federation. With a forward-thinking vision, he realised that cooperation with other emirates was needed for Abu Dhabi to achieve prosperity. The initial step was meeting Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Dubai ruler at that time. He then held continuous meetings and consultations among the rulers of different emirates. Ultimately, on 2nd December 1971, the UAE was formed consisting of six emirates –Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain). On 11th of February 1972, Ras Al Khaimah joined the union officially.
Development and Construction Projects
During Sheikh Zayed’s leadership, numerous developmental, services, and construction projects were implemented that significantly transformed the UAE, in its entirety. In Abu Dhabi alone, more than AED 162 billion were allocated for these projects from 1968 to 2002. These included the construction of residences, health care infrastructure, educational institutions as well as roads and bridges, and transportation, communication, electricity and water facilities. These initiatives became instrumental in realising Sheikh Zayed’s vision of building a modern nation and providing a high quality of life for the people of UAE.
Global Humanitarian Work
Sheikh Zayed was known for being active in charity and humanitarian works, both in the UAE and internationally. With his mandates, the UAE provided aid amounting to more than AED 98 billion until the latter part of 2000, in the form of grants, loans and financial assistance. Through his governance, the UAE became globally acclaimed as a country at the forefront of giving foreign assistance, apart from ensuring the welfare of its citizens.
Emirati Women Empowerment
Another great contribution of His Highness Sheikh Zayed is the empowerment of women in economic, political, social and cultural aspects. The dynamic leader always recognised the contributions of Emirati women and their achievements in different sectors. It was also one of his commitments to provide them with equal opportunities and offer the needed support in order to further uplift their status, enhance their capabilities, excel in their chosen field, and strengthen their role in society that will ultimately impact the country’s development.
Investment in People
Sheikh Zayed believed that true wealth can be achieved not just by acquiring material riches. He put his trust on his own people and invested in their talents and abilities. He pledged to improve the living standards of Emiratis and enhance their economic and social condition, that will, in turn, enable them to build a great future for the UAE. He utilised all available resources from oil revenues to run major developmental projects and to establish numerous initiatives that helped build better lives and founded a magnificent nation.
Year of Zayed Initiatives
In honour of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Ministry of Economy launched various initiatives and played a dynamic role in implementing activities aimed at commemorating the Founding Father of the UAE. The Ministry of Economy organised "Zayed Day for Humanitarian Action" as an expression of sincere gratitude for the great contributions of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The event highlighted the major achievements of Sheikh Zayed that led UAE to reach historic milestones and achieve global recognition.
The Ministry also distributed copies of the book entitled, “Father of our Nation - Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan”, to its employees in line with the Year of Giving. The highly acclaimed book is a collection of the most prominent quotes and words of Sheikh Zayed.