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Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Poet
--: Biography of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum :--

Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

 

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum  born on 15 July 1949, is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and constitutional monarch of Dubai.

He is the third of Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum's four sons, from the age of four, Sheikh Mohammed was privately tutored in Arabic and Islamic Studies. In 1955, he began his formal education at Al Ahmedia School. At the age of 10, he moved to Al Shaab School, and two years later, he went to Dubai Secondary School. In 1966, with his cousin Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, he attended the Bell Educational Trust's English Language School in the United Kingdom. He subsequently studied at the Mons Officer Cadet Training School, (which later was subsumed into Sandhurst), passing out with honours.

Since his accession in 2006, he has driven wide-ranging reforms in the UAE's government, starting with the UAE Federal Government Strategy in April 2007. He launched the ambitious UAE Vision 2021 in 2010 with the aim of making the UAE 'One of the best countries in the world'.

He is responsible for Dubai's growth into a global city, as well as the launch of a number of major enterprises including Emirates Airline, DP World and the Jumeirah Group. Many of these are held by Dubai Holding, the holding company with multi-diversified businesses and investments. He currently owns 99.67% of the company.

Sheikh Mohammed has overseen the development of numerous economically transformational projects in Dubai including the creation of technology park and free economic zone Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, the Dubai International Finance Centre the Palm Islands and the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel. He also promoted the construction of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world; its official opening was on Monday, 4 January 2010.

A keen equestrian, he is behind the formation of the Godolphin racing stable and the owner of Darley, the thoroughbred breeding operation with operations in six countries. In 2012, he rode Madji Du Pont 160 km to take the FEI World Endurance Championship.

On his return to Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed was appointed by his father Sheikh Rashid as head of Dubai Police and also the Dubai Defence Force, which was later to become part of the Union Defence Force.

In January 1968 he was present when Sheikh Rashid and Sheikh Zayed first met in the desert between Dubai and Abu Dhabi at Argoub El Sedirato agree the formation of a union of emirates following British withdrawal from the Trucial States. He went on, when the new nation of the United Arab Emirates was founded on December 2, 1972, to become its first Minister of Defence.

His first major challenge in his Minister of Defence post came on the 24th January 1972, when the exiled former ruler of Sharjah Sheikh Saqr bin Sultan Al Qasimi led an insurrectionist coup against the ruler, Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammed Al Qasimi.Following a spirited firefight between the Union Defence Force and Sheikh Saqr's forces - mostly Egyptian mercenaries who had entered the UAE through Ras Al Khaimah - Sheikh Mohammed accepted Sheikh Saqr's surrender. Sheikh Khalid had been killed in the action, leading to the accession of his brother Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi as Ruler of Sharjah

On the 29th October 1999, Sheikh Mohammed announced Dubai Internet City, a technology hub and free trade zone. Offering companies long leases, full ownership and fast access to government services, DIC quickly grew from its first tenants in October 2000 to a current zone employing some 15,000 people. It was joined in November 2000 by Dubai Media City, a content and media production free zone which is co-located with DIC. The launch of DMC came with assurances from Sheikh Mohammed regarding media freedoms. In fact, in 2007, he issued a decree banning the imprisonment of journalists following an incident in which local journalists were accused of libel and sentenced to jail terms.

On 3 January 1995, Sheikh Mohammed's elder brother Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum signed two decrees that appointed Sheikh Mohammed as Crown Prince of Dubai.

After roughly a decade of de facto rulership,he became the Ruler of Dubai on 4 January 2006 upon the death of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The following day, the Federal National Council selected him as the new Vice President of the UAE. On 11 February, the Council approved President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's nomination of Sheikh Mohammed for Prime Minister.

In April 2007, at a gathering of some 1,000 government leaders, Sheikh Mohammed announced a wide-ranging and fundamental strategic review of the Federation's governance at both the Federal and local government levels. The UAE Federal Government Strategy, a process of strategic reform intended to address a lack of co-ordination and strategic planning in government, as well as policy making issues and deficiencies in the legislative and regulatory framework, and would work on improvements in social development, economic development, public sector development, justice and safety, infrastructure and rural development.

This was followed on the 5th February 2010 by the announcement of an even more ambitious program of government reform and strategic goal-setting, UAE Vision 2021. UAE Vision 2021 was built around four pillars: an ambitious and confident nation grounded in its heritage; a strong union bonded by a common destiny; a competitive economy driven by knowledgeable and innovative Emiratis; and a nurturing and sustainable environment for quality living. It aims to make the UAE 'one of the best countries in the world' by the 50th Anniversary of the country's independence and formation as a Federal Union in 1971.Linked to UAE Vision 2021 is the UAE National Agenda, developed by over 300 officials from 90 federal and local government entities. The National Agenda includes a set of national indicators in the sectors of education, healthcare, economy, police and security, housing, infrastructure and government services
The Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (Previously the Dubai School of Government) is an academic and research institution in the area of  public policy and administration focused on the United Arab Emirates & the Arab world. Established in 2005 under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed , The Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government aims to promote and support excellence in governance through enhancing the region’s capacity for effective public policy.

Sheikh Mohammed is a major figure in international Thoroughbred horse racing and breeding. He owns Darley Stud, which is the biggest horse breeding operation in the world with farms in the United States, Ireland, England, and Australia. In 1985 he bought the Irish Thoroughbred Park Appeal for an undisclosed sum at the end of her second season. She went on to produce at least nine winners from twelve foals and is the ancestor of many successful horses

In the 15th Asian Games in 2006, his son Rashid took the individual gold in Endurance, his sons Rashid, Ahmed, Majid, and Hamdan took the team gold in Endurance,his niece Latifa took a bronze in Show Jumping, and his daughter Maitha led the UAE team in taekwondo. In 2013 when the UAE National football team won the Gulf Cup, Sheikh Mohammed gave the team 50 million dirhams ($13.7 million). His wife awarded the team a further 25 million dirhams ($6.8 million), while the pair's grandsons contributed 12 million dirhams ($3.3 million)

Sheikh Mohammed is an acclaimed poet in classical Arabic and Nabati style of poetry.He first started writing poetry as a young man,
using pseudonyms such as 'Saleet' so his poetry would not be associated with the son of the then Ruler of Dubai. He received encouragement from the poetess Fatat Al Arab, when she composed a reply to one of his earliest poems - a rare honour for an unknown poet.

In 1998, Sheikh Mohammed set up the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU), a not-for-profit organisation that aims to raise awareness and demystify the local culture, customs and religion of the United Arab Emirates. Operating under the motto “Open Doors. Open Minds”, SMCCU aims to improve cross-cultural understanding and communication between UAE locals and guests visiting or residing in the UAE.

A recent initiative by Sheikh Mohammed will see Dubai's Metro stations turned into art galleries in the period leading up to Art Dubai 2015


Sheikh Mohammed established Arts Awards in March 2009 to honour individuals and organisations who have contributed towards arts development in Dubai. The award allows artists and projects to benefit from the private sector’s support under four categories: Distinguished Patrons of the Arts (AED 15 million), Patrons of the Arts (AED 2-5 million), Supporters of the Arts (AED 500,000), and Friends of the Arts (AED 50,000-50,0000). The vision is to grant significant support financial or in kind, to the visual and performing arts, literature and film sectors, which significantly contributes to enriching the artistic and cultural scene in Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been known for his vast charitable donations. On May 19, 2007, he announced plans to give US$10 billion to set up the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, an educational foundation in the Middle East. Sheikh Mohammed stated that the money is meant to bridge the knowledge gap between the Arab region and the developed world. The announcement was made at the 2007 World Economic Forum in Jordan.


In September 2007, he launched the Dubai Cares campaign to raise money to educate 1 million children in poor countries. The campaign is Dubai's contribution to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals for providing Children's Primary Education to every child by 2015. The amount donated to this campaign has exceeded AED 1.65 billion (approximately US$450 million).

On September 3, 2008, Sheikh Mohammad also launched a new Ramadan initiative under the name "Noor Dubai", aiming to help the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in achieving its goals outlined in VISION 2020: the Right to Sight. Noor Dubai will treat and provide health services to one million people suffering from treatable blindness and visual impairment in developing countries on a local, regional, and international scale.

His senior wife is Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, his first cousin and
herself a member of Dubai's ruling family, whom he married in 1979. She is mother of 12 of the Sheikh's children including his heir-apparent, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum (born 1982), the Crown Prince of Dubai.

His best-known junior wife is Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan, whom he married on 10 April 2004, and with whom he has two children, a daughter, Al-Jalila, born 2 December 2007 and a son, Zayed, born 7 January 2012. Sheikh Mohammed announced the arrival of his son Zayed on Twitter. The first woman to represent her native Jordan in international equestrian sport and a participant in the 2000 Summer Olympics in show jumping, she served two terms as President of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.

Sheikh Mohammed has 23 officially acknowledged children, nine sons and fourteen daughters, of whom the following married into other Middle East royal families:

    Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (born 1977), married to Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi

    Hassa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (born 1980), married to Saeed bin Dalmouk Al Maktoum

    Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (born 1989), married to Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah
    Shaikha bint Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum (born 1992), married to Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain

    Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum (born 1987) married to Hessa Beljafla.

 

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