Here are 9 great quotes from Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the UAE…

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These 9 quotes show how the UAE of today is all part of Sheikh Zayed’s vision…

Born in 1918 to the Bani Yas tribe in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became the president of the UAE in 1971, a role he maintained until he passed away in 2004.

He saw the country completely transform under his rule and a new book, Father of Our Nationhas compiled his words and thoughts on everything from environmentalism to female empowerment in both Arabic and English.

You can purchase the coffee table book here, but let’s start with some of his words from it to give you further insight into the UAE’s founder…

1. On inclusion and tolerance…

“To treat every person, no matter what his creed or race, as a special soul, is a mark of Islam.”

 

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2. On the media…

“The press has the duty as well as the right to criticise. We welcome constructive criticism.”

3. On the most pertinent of priorities…

“Arab oil can never be dearer than Arab blood.”

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4. On how a country’s people are more important than its buildings…

“No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities.

Sheikh Zayed became the ruler of the UAE in 1971, when he was 53.

5. On how rulers should reinvest the bounty from natural resources back into people…

“If Allah the Almighty has favoured us with wealth, our first commitment is to seek Allah’s satisfaction and to express our gratitude to Him by utilizing this wealth to make this country better and to bring goodness to its people.”

6. On female empowerment through education…

“The woman is half of the society; any country which pursues development should not leave her in poverty or illiteracy.”

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7. On a ruler’s responsibility (words that many of today’s politicians, worldwide, should listen to)…

“The ruler, any ruler, is only there to serve his people and secure for them prosperity and progress. To achieve this, he should live among his people to feel their wishes and know their problems, and this cannot be achieved if he isolates himself from them.”

The UAE Gender Balance Council is working to make the emirates a more equitable place (you can read more about it here).

8. On how he wanted the UAE to follow the suit of the countries pursuing women’s rights last century…

“I hope that the women in my country will follow their sisters in those countries which have previously made the adjustment to the procession of progress and development.”

9. On true wealth…

“Every individual has to perform his duty. Man is mortal, but his work is not. Therefore, work is greater than wealth.”  

The coffee table book Father of Our Nation, Dhs95, is available to buy online now, and will be in all major UAE bookstores from Saturday April 29. 

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Photos: Getty Images/Father Of Our Nation.