“Many leaders promise, we deliver” are encouraging words that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum lives by. He is the current Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. He is one of the prominent figures in the Gulf Region and is responsible for the major transformation of Dubai into the global city it is today. Transforming a nation into a global leader is certainly challenging, but according to Sheikh, the word “impossible” does not exist in the UAE’s lexicon.
The third in a family of four sons, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was privately tutored in Arabic and Islamic Studies since young but began his formal education at the age of 6. He went on to subsequently study at the
Mons Officer Cadet School, the same British military training establishment in England in which Prince William and Harry trained. He was awarded the sword of honour as the top Commonwealth student.
Sheikh Mohammed took over as the ruler following the death of his brother Sheikh Maktoum who suffered a heart attack in Australia back in 2006. He has done wonders since his accession, including launching the UAE vision 2012
which aims to make the UAE as one of the best countries in the world by year 2012. Having a strong commitment to gender equality, he also has undertaken reforms in the UAE’s government. He formed the Gender Balance Council,
placing focus in strengthening and evolving the role of women as partners in the development of the UAE.
He is also committed to the development of education. Apart from launching the Arab reading challenge, the first project of its kind in the Arab world which uses incentives to encourage children to read more, Sheikh Mohammed also launched the Dubai Cares campaign, a special campaign to raise money to educate children in poorer countries within the region. He matched the public’s AED1.65 billion and made a total of AED3.5 billion to be donated.
Under his leadership, Sheikh Mohammed is responsible for the launch of major enterprises such as Emirates Airline, DP World and the Jumeirah Group. He has also overseen plenty of projects in Dubai which has brought major changes in the nation, including the creation of a technology park, the Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, the Palm Islands, and the well-known Burj Al Arab hotel along with the Burj Khalifa. Sheikh Mohammed launched the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) to support his vision to promote humanitarian, developmental and community work building on sustainable and positive changes aimed at improving lives. Under his initiative, 42 million people in different countries have benefited from the different projects.
A man of many talents, Sheikh Mohammed is an avid equestrian as he was introduced to horse riding at a young age. He is also a poet in his native Arabic language. He began writing poetry when he was schooling and cited his father
as his greatest influencer in his development as a poet. His poems were even published in newspapers but under fictitious names as it was important for him to be sure that people admired him for his poetic skills and not just for his status.
He currently has twenty three children in total, fathered from 6 different wives. His six daughters married into royal families in the Middle East. His family wealth is estimated to be ‘in excess of’ $4 billion.