Biography of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the second president of the United Arab Emirates, whose establishment was declared on the 2 nd of December, 1971. He is the sixteenth ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is the largest one of the seven emirates constituting the federation.
His Highness assumed the federal constitutional authority as a president of the UAE and became a ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi on the 3 rd of November of 2004, succeeding his late father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan who passed away on the 2 nd of November of 2004.
His Highness was born in 1948 in the eastern region of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and received his primary education in the city of Al Ain, which is the administrative hub for the region. He is the biggest son of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his mother is Her Highness Sheikha Hissa Bint Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
His Highness kinship belongs to the tribe of Bani Yas, which is considered to be the mother tribe for the most of Arab tribes that settled in what is known nowadays to be the United Arab Emirates. This tribe led an alliance from the Arab tribes, which is historically known as “Bani Yas Alliance”.
His Highness followed suit his late father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan throughout all the stages of his entire life. The first post he served was “ruler representative in the eastern region, and chief of courts there” on the 18 th of September, 1966. This position was of a great significance in his life. While His Highness was staying in city of Al Ain, he was given a great opportunity to contact with UAE national citizens on daily basis, be fully aware of their conditions and identify their aspirations and hopes.
His Highness was appointed as crown prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi on the 1 st of February, 1969 and head of defense department. Due to this position, he assumed leadership of defense force in the emirate and played a key role in its development and turning it from a small security guard force into a multifunction force that is equipped with modern equipment.
On the 1 st of May, 1971, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa held the position of “president of the first local cabinet for the emirate of Abu Dhabi” and assumed portfolios of defense and finance at this cabinet.
Following the declaration of the federal state, His Highness occupied in addition to his local responsibilities the post of “vice president of the cabinet of the federal government, which was formed in December of 1973.
In February of 1974, and following the annulment of the local cabinet, His Highness became the first president of the executive council that replaced the cabinet of the emirate including all its responsibilities .
During the tenure of his presidency of the executive council, His Highness supervised and followed up development projects witnessed across all parts of the emirate of Abu Dhabi . Moreover, His Highness has given a great attention to the development and modernization of the infrastructure projects as well as facilities of the various services. He has also strived to build a modern administrative apparatus, and fully integrated legislative regulations, as this is the solid foundation for the social and economic development process.
In addition to his responsibilities as president of the executive council, His Highness was in charge of establishment and presidency of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in 1976. This authority supervises management of financial investments of the emirate as part of a strategic vision for the development of the financial resources and conservation of a stable source of income for the generations to come.
One of the major development initiatives of profound social impact made by His Highness is establishment of social services and commercial buildings department, which is commonly known as “Sheikh Khalifa Committee”. Activities of the department helped in achieving prosperity of construction development in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
His Highness also assumed the post of deputy supreme commander of UAE Armed Forces of federal government, where he has given special attention and increasing interest in the armed forces. During that period, a great leap occurred on the level of supply, training and ability to absorb modern technologies and advanced techniques that His Highness strived to provide to all sectors of such forces.
A significant contribution is made by His Highness in the area of formulating a military creed, which is based on constants of the supreme policy of the state. This supreme policy is based on adoption of moderate approach, non-intervention of others affairs and respect of mutual interests as well. In light of these constants, His Highness saved no effort in drafting a defense policy that maintains independence, sovereignty and interest of the state. This policy has contributed to placing the UAE Armed Forces in an advanced position that gained the respect of the entire world.
After His Highness assumed office, the first strategic plan for the government of the UAE was launched under his reign. In addition, His Highness also launched an initiative for developing legislative authority experience in order to modify the technique of selecting members of the federal national council in such a manner that would combine election and appointment as a first step. By so doing, this would provide by the end of the day the opportunity to select members of the council via direct elections.
His Highness is interested in sports activities carried out in the UAE, especially football. He strives to sponsor them and honor the local sports teams that attain local, regional and international achievements and championships.