His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, has declared 2018 the "Year of Zayed" in the United Arab Emirates.
The year 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of the late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and today's announcement is being held on the anniversary of the late Sheikh Zayed's Accession Day - the day he assumed leadership in Abu Dhabi on 6th August 1966, marking the start of a new epoch in the history of United Arab Emirates.
The 'Year of Zayed' will highlight the role of the late leader in establishing the UAE Federation, and his local, regional and international achievements.
The 'Year of Zayed' will seek to achieve several objectives, including being a time to highlight the role of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in establishing the UAE and consolidating its foundations of modern development, with an emphasis on the nation's local, regional and global achievements, and continue to form the basis of this country's progress.
The Year of Zayed will seek to share Sheikh Zayed's values and principles, as well as one of the greatest world leaders, with an inspirational wisdom, vision and patience.
This celebration will strengthen Sheikh Zayed's stature as a symbol of patriotism and love for the nation.
The Year will be an opportunity to portray Sheikh Zayed's legacy in forthcoming projects and initiatives that express his vision and values.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that setting 2018 as the Year of Zayed reflects the unique standing that the late leader holds with every Emirati as the founding leader of the Union.
With his wisdom and goodness, Sheikh Zayed set the foundations of modern development across all sectors in the UAE. His generosity is experienced not only in the UAE and the Gulf region, but also throughout the Arab world and internationally, with contributions and initiatives that continue to reflect his unerring skill as a modern leader, who gained the respect of so many people around world.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa said, "On this day, August 6th, a new era dawned upon us all when the late Sheikh Zayed assumed command of the Abu Dhabi government, and began the march towards unity, prosperity and societal development."
President Sheikh Khalifa pointed out that the late Sheikh Zayed was able to lay down solid foundations for a strong, united nation that balanced the requirements for modernity while preserving the cultural and social heritage of the UAE. This effective model has been a source of inspiration for countries seeking progress.
President Sheikh Khalifa said, "The Year of Zayed is a great national occasion when we will proudly share memories of the life of the founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his gift to us of deeply-rooted values, principles and traditions that have become part of our Emirati identity."
He added that this is especially true since the Union that Sheikh Zayed established with his brothers, the Rulers of the UAE, was based on unity and solidarity to build a progressive society that benefits everyone, and in which people live in security and stability.
The President called upon all the nation's people to uphold the noble values instilled in them by the late Sheikh Zayed, including those of wisdom, respect, determination, loyalty, a sense of belonging to the nation, and a willingness to make sacrifices at whatever cost.
President Khalifa continued to say, the recognition of these values and our fulfillment of them will encourage the unity of our nation and strengthen our resilience in facing risks and challenges.
His Highness also called for making 2018 a year of achievements, initiatives, events and programmes that reflect the great historical personality of the late Sheikh Zayed, highlighting his pioneering role, his vision and his sound leadership.
President Khalifa said that as we celebrate the Year of Zayed, we shall reaffirm our commitment to continue his legacy and work, guided by his wisdom and vision.
The 'School of Zayed', he said, is a source of inspiration for every step that the UAE takes; a solid foundation for the consolidation of the federal structure of our young nation; and a stepping stone for its future, full of strength and respect, leading up to the creation of one of the finest countries in the world.
He went on to say that Sheikh Zayed's real wealth was not in materialism, but in his investment in the men and women who build the future of their nation. Therefore, we are a nation determined to follow in his footsteps, empowering Emirati people in all fields to contribute to their country's comprehensive and sustainable development.
His Highness the President stressed that the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed will remain alive not only in the hearts of the UAE people and Arab and Muslim nations, but throughout the world.
This, the President said, is because the generosity of the late Sheikh Zayed whose initiatives and campaigns helped those in need around the world. Thus, declaring 2017 as the 'Year of Giving' was an extension of his limitless giving.
The President added, "The Year of Zayed will be a year in which the nation preserves the legacy of Zayed, and our people will live the values of Zayed, and work together to fulfil the vision of Zayed."
Accordingly, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in response to the President's directives and to achieve the year's goals, called for the launch of a comprehensive framework to develop an integrated and consolidated agenda that activates initiatives within all federal and local institutions.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, "We celebrate the centennial anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest and most noble men who dedicated his life for the present and future of the nation."
The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai added, "We are inspired by the Zayed school of leadership and management. With the founding blocks of the Union State placed by the late Sheikh Zayed, from which we are all reaping the benefits, we will continue this path and look forward with optimism to the future.
He continued, "This is why we have launched the "UAE Centennial 2071", which includes a comprehensive government programme with a national strategy to enhance the country's reputation and soft power and ensure that there are sustainable and diverse sources of government revenues."
The aims, His Highness said, are to invest in education that focuses on advanced technology, to build a system of ethical values for our future generations, to boost productivity of the national economy, and to enhance community cohesion.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid went on to say, "the noble values and traditions of the late Sheikh Zayed represent a true wealth and a source of pride for all those in the UAE, an inexhaustible well of giving from which current and future generations learn how to sacrifice all that is precious for the homeland. This is a supreme goal that we adhere to, and one to which we all work towards, to have the strength needed to survive difficulties no matter how large they may be, armed with perseverance and patience."
"Sheikh Zayed has instilled in us the willpower and determination to challenge and achieve the impossible. This is why we are always convinced that we are capable of being pioneers and to become one of the best countries in the world. He inspired us to see his way to the future, to follow in his footsteps with confidence and insight, and to consolidate the gains and achievements," he added.
Sheikh Mohammed noted how the late founding father was a role model of how a ruler interacted with his people. "He was modest, and he personally checked on the needs of citizens. He would visit their homes and attend their occasions, thereby creating a unique bond with the people, becoming an inspiration to many in our region and the world."
The Ruler of Dubai also highlighted the successful management skills of the late Sheikh Zayed, who, he said, had the ability to make the right decisions in all fields and implement them, thus establishing the foundations for a successful and effective government administration for our time.
Also speaking on the occasion, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said, "The Year of Zayed is an occasion to celebrate the achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and their future impact. The UAE, under his leadership, has been able to rise to the ranks of developed nations and achieve great development at all levels."
He continued, "The Emirati citizen was the most important element of development, as Sheikh Zayed's main objective was to invest in building the Emirati person, believing in his or her ability to actively participate in the building of the nation. He has always emphasised that man is the most essential element of progress, and that the most precious wealth of this country is its people, who we must take care of well. There is no use for money without men. This is the philosophy that drives the process of comprehensive and sustainable development of this country."
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said, "The best way to celebrate the Year of Zayed would be by spreading Zayed's glorious human and cultural legacy via all the people of the UAE, to continue his inspirational and noble values, and introduce these ideals to new generations."
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan added that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan laid the foundations for an integrated school of thought in governance and politics through interactions with UAE people. The late Ruler's doors were always open to the citizens of the UAE to enable him to be better acquainted with their needs. He had an ability to make decisions without hesitation, especially those related to the security and stability of the homeland and its interests.
His Highness the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince emphasised that Sheikh Zayed applied a unique system of noble morals and values that shaped the conscience of the UAE people, creating a positive image of the UAE held globally. "The UAE's image is founded on a core belief system of tolerance and coexistence. Nations across the world call to uphold and strengthen this belief in light of the growing fanaticism and hatred that threatens international peace and security."
"The late Sheikh Zayed established a global school of tolerance and coexistence because he knew that from the Union's beginnings, the UAE's uniqueness lay in its ability to welcome different races, religions, and cultures without abandoning its social and cultural identity. The principles in which the late ruler believed, and strived for, were aimed at creating a world of coexistence and peace," he added.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said, "to celebrate the Year of Zayed in the best way possible, we must ensure that the glorious journey is continued, sharing the human and cultural heritage with all the people of the UAE, to carry forward its noble legacy and values, and inspire future generations."
"Sheikh Zayed is an example for every Emirati citizen, and loyalty to his legacy must be followed through his principles and values. Today, we need to learn from these authentic national values, and draw lessons from them in order to continue developing the nation's renaissance on the global map."
He went on to say that Sheikh Zayed's legacy is a homogenous, harmonious system of human values and ethics. The late Sheikh Zayed principles will continue to inspire leadership, sacrifice and sincerity, and provide future generations with an on-going learning experience from his school of thought. President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's directives to strengthen the path of progress by remembering our past, living in the present, and aspiring to the future are the foundations and principles upon which the late Sheikh Zayed set the course of the UAE.
H.H. Sheikh Mohamed explained that the late ruler had a significant impact on the promotion of the principles of humanitarian action, and was a pioneer of charitable and developmental aid in the 20th century. Sheikh Zayed's name is in the hearts and minds of individuals who have benefited from the various charitable projects and organisations that the late ruler set up and supported.
In 1971, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development was established to assist and contribute to humanitarian development projects. In 1992, the late Sheikh Zayed established the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation to be a helping hand for underprivileged individuals, both within and outside the country, in addition to the pivotal supporting role played by the Emirates Red Crescent.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi affirmed that Sheikh Zayed was a symbol of Arab unity and solidarity. History sheds light on his role in strengthening the bonds of Arab solidarity and supporting brotherly nations in times of adversity, including the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), which was established in Abu Dhabi in 1981. The late Sheikh Zayed worked wholeheartedly to promote joint Gulf action based on the belief in unity as a path of excellence, pride and progress.
Sheikh Mohamed said that the late ruler gained a reputation throughout the Arab world for his intellect and actions that ignored division, difference, and rivalry between Arab states, in addition to his insightful vision in international relations, acting as a guarantor of security, stability and development for all people of the world.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs