ABU DHABI: Tomorrow, 7th August, is the 19th day of Ramadan 1433, the eighth anniversary in the Hijri calendar of the death of the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who passed away on 2nd November 2004.
His achievements in government, first as Ruler’s Representative in Abu Dhabi’s Eastern Region, from 1946-1966, then as Abu Dhabi’s ruler and then, concurrently, as founder and first President of the UAE, from 1971 until his death, meant that, during his lifetime, he was singled out as a great nation-builder.
He remains today a role model not only for the whole of the population of the United Arab Emirates, citizens and expatriates alike, but also for the whole of the Arab world, remembered for his tolerance, determination and commitment to the building of a better life for his people, as well as his emphasis on the need for loyalty to the nation. As he himself had worked to build the nation, so, he believed, it was the duty of succeeding generations to commit themselves to protect the progress that had been achieved.
In a message delivered to Emirati youth nearly twenty years ago, but which remains clearly relevant today, Sheikh Zayed said: “What we have achieved, my dear young people of the Emirates, will not survive, unless you yourselves engage in further work and efforts, and sacrifices. You should work hard to protect our national achievements, to foster and support the continued march of our Federation, and to make more achievements that contribute to the dignity and prestige of our country and to the welfare of our people. This cannot be achieved without positive and effective participation from all of you.