Complex Made Simple

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed’s legacy built on vision and action

Today, Dubai has become a pinnacle of modernity and prosperity, a beacon of hope and inspiration for other Arab cities and nations.

This was all made possible by the contributions of Dubai’s wise leaders. The most recent of them, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, has had a major hand in molding Dubai into the developed state it is today.

In celebrating his 50 years of service to the country, Sheikh Mohammed has officially launched his autobiography, which chronicles some crucial details of his journey, and how he guided Dubai to the success it is today.

A history of service and dedication

Among the details revealed in his autobiography were the key moments that defined his service to his Emirate. He started his service at age 19, when he was appointed as the person in charge of setting up the country’s military.

Other moments remained burned in his memory, such as the time his grandfather passed away, and when he negotiated with the armed hijackers of the Japan Airlines Flight 404 that had been diverted to Dubai. He was the Minister of Defence at the time.

But besides his contributions to the military and defence of the emirate, his forward-thinking led Dubai to the success it enjoys today.

Today, he is the owner of many prestigious businesses that have contributed to the success of his state. The world-renowned Emirates airline was launched by him, in 1985. He is also the owner of Dubai World and Dubai Holding. His enterprises develop and manage hospitality projects, business parks, real estate developments, and telecommunication projects.

The iconic Burj Al Arab was commissioned by none other than him, and constructed by Jumeirah Group, a subsidiary of Dubai Holding.

His vision saw other iconic structures make the history books, like none other than Burj Khalifa, with collaboration from Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE.

With interests and endeavors that span the cultural, financial, political and much more, Sheikh Mohammed’s reign has been nothing but filled with prosperity.

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A role model for other Arab leaders

Even before he had been handed the reins, Sheikh Mohammed’s contributions had been noticed by other Arab leaders.

His autobiography reflects on the time he spent with Bashar Al-Assad and Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi in the late 90s. At the time, Assad had not been made President yet, and he and Qaddafi had been awed by the progress Dubai had been making.

Wanting to see the same prosperity and success in their own countries by adopting a model similar to Dubai, they had consulted with Sheikh Mohammed on a trip to the emirate.

“He expressed his deep admiration for Dubai, saying that he wanted to replicate the experience in Syria,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote in his book.

Qaddafi had expressed similar interest in duplicating the Dubai model.

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The reality, says Sheikh Mohammed, is that many leaders who seek to replicate the Dubai model do not understand what it involves.

“There’s a huge difference between what you wish for and what you do to fulfill your wishes and dreams. Wishes and reality are widely spread apart,” he wrote. “The space between them needs to be filled with much determination, persistence and follow-up in addition to plans, money and men. It needs constant work.”

50 years later, Dubai and the greater UAE are enjoying the fruits of Sheikh Mohammed’s labours in line with the vision of the country’s president and ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

READ: 10 years of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum