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Sheikh Mohammed’s inspiring letter on the future of the UAE goes viral

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed’s LinkedIn post about why he appointed a Minister of Youth, Happiness and Tolerance is going viral – here’s why…

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, has some hard truths and inspiring words for the region. He laid these thoughts out in a recent LinkedIn post that explained why he appointed a Minister of Happiness, Tolerance, and a 22-year-old Minister of Youth. That letter has since gone viral, and has had more than 500,000 views on the networking site.

Showing that the UAE’s political moves are of interest beyond the region, the post is among the top three most engaging posts by a political figure on LinkedIn, with the USA, UK and Canada among the top five countries to have viewed it.

Here’s a bit of what he had to say in that open letter…

ON WHY HE APPOINTED A MINISTER OF YOUTH AFFAIRS

minister of youth

Oxford University master’s degree holder Shamma al-Mazrui is the Minister of Youth Affairs.

“The changes [in the UAE government] reflect what we have learned from events in our region over the past five years. In particular, we have learned that failure to respond effectively to the aspirations of young people, who represent more than half of the population in Arab countries, is like swimming against the tide,” the leader explains in his open letter.

In the letter, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed explains just how important listening to the youth of the UAE is: “We do not forget that the genesis of the tension in our region, the events dubbed the “Arab Spring,” was squarely rooted in the lack of opportunities for young people to achieve their dreams and ambitions.”

He even acknowledges that the youth have something to offer that his generation doesn’t: “We believe that they are faster than us in acquiring and processing knowledge, because they have grown up with tools and techniques that we lacked at their age.”

ON WHY HE APPOINTED A MINISTER OF TOLERANCE

lubna al qassimi

The much-revered Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi is the Minister of Tolerance. 

The eloquent open letter takes a sombre turn when H.H. Sheikh Mohammed explains why he appointed a Minister of Tolerance: “We have also learned from hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugees in our region that sectarian, ideological, cultural and religious bigotry only fuel the fires of rage. We cannot and will not allow this in our country. We need to study, teach, and practice tolerance – and to instill it in our children, both through education and our own example.”

He goes on to explain that when the Arab world was “tolerant and accepting of others it led the world”. Explaining that, from the civilizations of Damascus to Andalusia, Arab people “provided beacons of science, knowledge, and civilization, because humane values were the basis of our relationships with all civilizations, cultures, and religions.”

ON WHY HE APPOINTED A MINISTER OF HAPPINESS

ohoud al roumi

Ohoud Al-Roumi is the Minister of Happiness (read more about her here).

“Since the dawn of history, happiness is all that humanity has sought,” H.H. Sheikh Mohammed explains in the LinkedIn Influencer article. “Aristotle said the state is a living being which develops in seeking the achievement of moral perfection and happiness for individuals. Ibn Khaldun said the same thing. Likewise, the United States Declaration of Independence upholds the pursuit of happiness as every person’s right.”

He also notes that the Minister of Happiness’ good work will see very real economic benefits in the UAE: “Studies have shown that happy people produce more, live longer, and drive better economic development in their communities and countries.”

HIS OVERALL STRATEGY

In the letter, he points out that his aim is to shape a path for the UAE “that frees future generations from dependence on the ever-fluctuating oil market.” He notes that Dhs300 billion has been invested to diversify the economy (and build a sustainable economic model).

He also had a message for “others in our region that change can happen by our hands only”, adding “our region does not need a super-strong external power to stop its decline; we need the power from within that can overcome the hatred and intolerance that has blighted life in many neighboring countries.

“The role of government is to create an environment in which people can achieve their dreams and ambitions, not to create an environment that government can control. The point is to empower people, not hold power over them.”

He ends the letter like this: “The formula is straightforward: national development based on core values, led by youth and focused on a future in which everyone achieves happiness.”

Ali Matar, the Head of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn South Europe and Middle East and North Africa, had this to say about H.H. Sheikh Mohammed’s letter going viral: “In just the first 48 hours of publishing, Mohammed’s post garnered more than 300,000 views and is currently fast approaching half a million. Its success demonstrates the respect that he generates across geographies, and this recent piece has engaged with LinkedIn members far more than the most followed political influencers from different parts of the world.”

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Inspiring stuff – reading the letter makes us excited about the future of the city. You can read it in full here.

– Photos: Getty & Twitter/Dubai Media Office

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