Man of the Year: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed
Celebrating a pioneering leader...
Born on July 15 1949, in the Al Maktoum house in Shindagha, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the United Arab Emirates' much-loved Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Since his accession in 2006, 65-year-old Sheikh Mohammed has created a myriad of major reforms and initiatives in the aim of making the UAE "One of the best countries in the world" by 2021.
Sheikh Mohammed lived a happy childhood filled with love – his parents and his grandfather (His Highness Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, the late Ruler of Dubai) showered him with affection, which he now emanates onto the city of Dubai and its people. "My mother, may her soul rest in peace, shaped my personality; thanks to her, I have acquired many values, good traits and skills." stated Sheikh Mohammed.
He is responsible for the growth of Dubai and turning it into a major global city, as well as the launch of a number of innovative companies including Emirates Airline, DP World and the Jumeirah Group. In Feburary this year, Dubai was ranked the 3rd most dynamic city in the world – via the City Momentum Index, with San Francisco and London taking the 1st and 2nd places respectively.
"Your talent and creativity will invite visitors, citizens and residents to explore the many facets of Dubai's rich diversity and pioneering spirit."
Among his numerous achievements since coming into power, 2014 has been a busy year for the recognised Arabic poet and keen equestrian. With goals to make Dubai a global hotspot for art and culture, in May, Sheikh Mohammed launched Dubai Speaks to You, a project that aims to unite the country's best artists in a revelry of the city and its people. "We celebrate innovation, art and beauty. Your talent and creativity will invite visitors, citizens and residents to explore the many facets of Dubai's rich diversity and pioneering spirit."
Earlier this year, the government released a celebratory video in honour of Sheikh Mohammed, titled The Journey, detailing and celebrating what he has done for the city – all the while mapping out his place of birth in 1949 to it's successful Expo 2020 bid last year.
During the Islamic Holy Month in July, Sheikh Mohammed also launched the UAE Water Aid Foundation, with an international prize of $1 million for finding sustainable solutions to water shortages around the world. Always one to help others, his hopes for the initiative are to conduct research and studies to support the production of clean water using solar energy to provide new, cost-effective and innovative solutions for the millions of people who have polluted drinking water.
"A flexible and creative economy based on a national culture of innovation is the fastest and most sustainable way to reinforce the UAE's competitiveness on a global level."
Dubai's 'Smart Sustainable City' is another incentive championed by Sheikh Mohammed – the project will completely sustainable and built close by to the Al Aweer Roundabout in Dubai and accommodate around 160,000 people over a total area of 14,000 acres.
Recently, Sheikh Mohammed launched a new strategy to make the UAE one of the world's most innovative countries within the next seven years. The National Innovation Strategy was announced in October and will focus on seven sectors over the next seven years – renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space.
"A flexible and creative economy based on a national culture of innovation is the fastest and most sustainable way to reinforce the UAE's competitiveness on a global level." Sheikh Mohammed said on the new seven-year strategy.
In November, the pioneering Sheikh established the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for World Peace (MRAWP), and according to a report published by WAM, the award aims to spotlight “Islam’s teachings of peace as a doctrine that promotes harmony, tolerance and moderation, and build bridges of cooperation between diverse cultures, thereby fortifying international relations.”
Sheikh Mohammed was also honoured by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, last month – who named Abu Dhabi's tallest tower after the Dubai ruler.
Fashion-wise, the leader was instrumental in the formation of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) – which aims to provide a sustainable future for the city's fashion industry. The council was formed by a royal decree from Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in August, and includes top leaders from across the retail, education, and tourism in the emirate. The DDFC recently revealed its plans to create an acclaimed design school for Dubai by 2020.
This month, along with his son and Dubai's Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan, the Dubai 2021 plan was also revealed – and this project starts with the city's people. Wishing that, come 2021, Dubai is filled with a creative, empowered and happy community, making the UAE city the best place to work, live and visit. According to the plan, a smart and sustainable city will be the hub of the global economy run by a pioneering and successful government.
So, here is to a bright future captained by the one-and-only Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Buro 24/7 Middle East's 'Man of the Year'...