Our Sheikh Zayed
Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was carved out of the same mould of greatness as his illustrious grandfather, Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifah, who was the leading figure in Gulf politics for more than half a century. Late Sheikh Zayed was revered for his leadership qualities and generosity, and highly respected for his knowledge of Bedouin practices and traditions. Zayed's dynamic leadership qualities shone early on, not only in Abu Dhabi but in the Gulf as a whole, so it was not surprising that he was chosen as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi by popular consent on 6th August, 1966. His progressive ideas, manifested in his program of revolutionary reforms, transformed Abu Dhabi in breakneck speed from a tribal society to a modern metropolis.
Zayed's early career began as the Ruler's Representative in Al Ain throughout which he played a decisive role in internal politics and showed signs of a great leader in the making. During his tenure there from 1946 to 1966, he embarked on a development plan with very limited means at his disposal, and wrought significant changes in Al Ain and its neighborhood. With his basic faith in Islam and Arabism, Late Sheikh Zayed was imbued with a lofty ideal - to serve his country to the best of his ability.
Soon after becoming the Ruler of the largest and wealthiest Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Late Sheikh Zayed devoted all his energies and resources for the uplift of his people, and lost no time in launching a programme of speedy reforms that radically transformed and modernised Abu Dhabi overnight. But material progress by itself was of little value to Zayed unless it was accompanied with socio-cultural advancement. He firmly believed that history and heritage constitute the real foundation of a civilization. And his basic philosophy of life represents a fusion and balance between modernization and tradition.