Did You Know? – 4

Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918-2004), the principal architect and founder of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE for over 30 years (1971-2004).


He was considered one of the wealthiest men in the world. A Forbes magazine estimate put his fortune at around USD billion. The source of this wealth could be almost exclusively attributed to the immense oil wealth of Abu Dhabi and the Emirates, which sit on a pool of a tenth of the worlds proven oil reserves.


Nevertheless, the ruler chose to live a relatively modest and traditional lifestyle, riding and hunting with falcons, though he gave up hunting with firearms, a sport at which he excelled, to set an example for wildlife conservation in his fragile desert homeland.


He was personally popular, and was regarded to be considerably pious in his religious observances.  He was well-advanced in his visionary ideas and greatly cared for his subjects’ welfare.


Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan was also an advocate for the education and participation of women in the work force, within traditional parameters. His views regarding women's rights were considerably more liberal than his contemporaries in the GCC nations.


Geeta Chhabra


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