Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Arabic: محمد بن زايد بن سلطان آل نهيان; born 11 March 1961), colloquially known by his initials as MBZ, is the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. He is seen as the driving force behind the UAE's activist foreign policy and is a leader of a campaign against Islamist movements in Arabia. Due to the ill health of the UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, Mohammed bin Zayed was entrusted with most day-to-day decision making of the emirate of Abu Dhabi as the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and most of the presidential public affairs of the state and hence, he is sometimes considered as the UAE's de facto ruler. In 2019, he was named as the most powerful Arab ruler by The New York Times. He was also named as one of the '100 Most Influential People' of 2019 by Time magazine.
|Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan|
|Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (more)|
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed
|Born||11 March 1961|
Al Ain, Trucial States
(now United Arab Emirates)
|Spouse||Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan|
|Arabic||محمد بن زايد بن سلطان آل نهيان|
|Father||Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan|
|Mother||Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi|
|Allegiance||United Arab Emirates|
|Service/||United Arab Emirates Air Force|
|Years of service||1979 – present|
|Commands held||Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces|
Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces
Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence
- 1 Early life
- 2 Political career
- 3 Economic policy
- 4 Supreme Petroleum Council Role
- 5 Interests, activities and philanthropic work
- 6 Military
- 7 Sporting interests
- 8 Personal life
- 9 Titles, styles, honours and awards
- 10 Ancestry
- 11 References
Mohamed bin Zayed, full name Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa bin Shakhbout bin Theyab bin Issa bin Nahyan bin Falah bin Yas was born in Al Ain on 11 March 1961 in what was then the Trucial States. He is the third son of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi, and his third wife, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi. Mohamed's brothers are: Khalifa (current UAE President), Sultan, Hamdan, Hazza, Saeed, Isa, Nahyan, Saif, Tahnoun, Mansour, Falah, Diab, Omar, and Khalid (as well as two deceased brothers, i.e. Nasser and Ahmed). In addition to these, he has a few sisters. He has five younger full-brothers: Hamdan, Hazza, Tahnoun, Mansour, and Abdullah. They are known as Bani Fatima or sons of Fatima.
Al-Nahyan was educated at The Royal Academy in Rabat until the age of 10, where he was a classmate of King Mohammed VI of Morocco. He was further educated at schools in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi until the age of 18. In 1979, he joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst graduating in April 1979. During his time at Sandhurst, he completed a fundamental armor course, a fundamental flying course, a parachutist course, and training on tactical planes and helicopters, including the Gazelle squadron. He then returned home to the UAE to join the Officers' Training Course in Sharjah. He has held a number of roles in the UAE military, from that of an Officer in the Amiri Guard (now called Presidential Guard) to a pilot in the UAE Air Force.
In November 2003, his father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan appointed Sheikh Mohamed as Deputy Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Upon the death of his father, Al-Nayhan became Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in November 2004 and was appointed Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in January 2005. Later that month, he was promoted to the rank of General. Since December 2004 he has also been the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, which is responsible for the development and planning of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and is a member of the Supreme Petroleum Council. He also serves as a special adviser to the President of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, his older brother.
As a result of the ill health of the current UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, Al Nahyan welcomes many foreign dignitaries in the capital district of the United Arab Emirates in the city of Abu Dhabi. In November 2010, Al-Nayhan and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan welcomed Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to the UAE for their second state visit. Al-Nahyan also accompanied the Queen and the Duke on a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at the beginning of their visit.
He has played a leading role in the UAE’s foreign policy by facilitating increased engagement with nations outside the MENA region. French President Emmanuel Macron invited Mohamed bin Zayed to Paris in 2018 to discuss strategies for countering extremism and to formulate a bilateral roadmap for future partnership. The joint statement included provisions for increased cooperation and exchange in matters related to education, culture, heritage, economy, investments, energy, space, regional peace and security, defense cooperation, countering extremism, and fighting climate change, among other items.
In 2019, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi attended the signing ceremony of the Singapore-UAE Comprehensive Partnership in which both nations agreed to strengthen cooperation in business, finance, investment, defense, development, and education. They also signed three Memoranda of Understanding in which they agreed to collaborate on environmental protection and sustainable consumption endeavors. The same year, he travelled to Afghanistan and signed several memoranda committing to cooperation in culture, education, sports, mining, energy, and agriculture.
He has also provided substantial financial aid on behalf of the UAE to strengthen its position on the international stage. In 2018, he travelled to Ethiopia to meet Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ahead of the first installment of a $3 billion donation from the UAE to Ethiopia, intended to tide over its foreign exchange shortage. Furthermore, the UAE provided aid to Somalia during periods of drought.
In September 2019, Mohammed bin Zayed made his first official visit to Belarus to held discussions on previous arrangements, issues of mutual interest, and other avenues in various sectors like trade, economy and investment cooperation. Al-Nahyan was received at the Independence Palace in Minsk by President Alexander Lukashenko.
In January 2011, Al-Nahyan received US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In 2017, the Government of India Invited Al-Nahyan as Chief Guest for the 68th Republic Day Celebration on 26 January 2017.Al-Nahyan represented the United Arab Emirates in the Nuclear Security Summit of 2012 and 2014, which were hosted by South Korea and the Netherlands respectively.
As a child, Mohammed's father Sheikh Zayed unknowingly assigned a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member, Ezzedine Ibrahim, as Mohammed's tutor. His tutor attempted an indoctrination that backfired. As Sheikh Mohammed explains, “I am an Arab, I am a Muslim and I pray. And in the 1970s and early 1980s I was one of them,” Prince Mohammed told visiting American diplomats in 2007 to explain his distrust of the Muslim Brotherhood, as they reported in a classified cable released by WikiLeaks. He stated “I believe these guys have an agenda.”
In August 2016, Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with George Nader who informed Trump Jr. that Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman were eager for Trump to win the election. The meeting included Joel Zamel, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation, and American businessman Erik Prince. Prince Mohammed bin Zayed was named in the final report of special counsel Robert Mueller III on the alleged collusion between Trump campaign and Russia.
According to The Intercept, as a result of the Qatar diplomatic crisis, Saudi Arabia was planning to invade Qatar but then US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pressured Saudi Arabia to back down, which caused a dispute between Al-Nahyan and Tillerson. This might have caused Tillerson to be fired by President Donald Trump due to the need to preserve US-Emirati relations due to strategic American interests regarding UAE.
Military intervention in YemenEdit
Al-Nahyan is also a supporter of Yemen's Aden-based government after the Yemen civil war and supported the Saudi-led, western-backed intervention in Yemen to drive out Houthi Shia militants after the Houthi takeover in Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition has been repeatedly accused of conducting indiscriminate and unlawful airstrikes on civilian targets. During Al-Nahyan's visit to France in November 2018, a group of rights activists filed a lawsuit against the crown prince accusing him of "war crimes and complicity in torture and inhumane treatment in Yemen". The complaint filed on behalf of the French rights group AIDL said: "It’s in this capacity that he has ordered bombings on Yemeni territory."
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi visited Pope Francis in 2016, and in February 2019, he welcomed the Pope Francis to the UAE, marking the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula. Pope Francis's arrival coincided with a conference entitled “Global Conference of Human Fraternity,” hosted under the patronage of Mohamed bin Zayed. The conference featured talks and workshops about how fostering tolerance and mutual understanding could help prevent conflict and extremism. As part of this visit, Pope Francis held the first Papal Mass to be celebrated in the Arabian Peninsula at Zayed Sports City in which 180,000 worshippers from 100 countries, including 4,000 Muslims, were present.
He has travelled around the world promoting the UAE's theme for 2019: Year of Tolerance. He has also been involved in regional and global efforts to counter violent extremism by speaking with officials in India, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and other leaders about partnering in such efforts.
In 2019 the Zayed Global Fund for Coexistence was launched, an initiative that expounds upon the principles and goals detailed in the Human Fraternity Document signed by Pope Francis and Dr Ahmad Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar.
Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan heads the Abu Dhabi council for economic development (ADCED), which is the economic policy advisory council in Abu Dhabi. Al-Nahyan is also the head of the Mubadala Development Company which, since its establishment in 2002, represents the main investment vehicle for the government of Abu Dhabi. Al-Nahyan is also a Director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi.
In addition, he is the head of the Tawazun Economic Council, formerly known as UAE offsets programme bureau established in 1992 and is the head of the Abu Dhabi Education Council which was established in 2005. His efforts in the realm of economic development are aimed at increasing economic diversification in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. As the head of the UAE offsets group, Al-Nahyan is involved with the task of channelling defence-related investments into profitable projects across different sectors in order to help diversify the economy of the UAE.
According to The Intercept and referencing the hacked emails of Yousef Al Otiaba, an American citizen Khaled Hassen received a $10 million in 2013 for an alleged torture settlement after a lawsuit presented in the federal court in L.A. against three top members of the royal family of Abu Dhabi, including Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
He is the chairman of the Mubadala Development Company which, since its establishment in 2002, represents the main investment vehicle for the government of Abu Dhabi. Mubadala aims to cultivate long-term social and economic benefits for the Emirates through economic diversification and global investment.
In addition to this, he also serves as Head of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED), which is the main economic planning institution in the country. In this capacity, he launched the Sharaka initiative, which seeks to bolster the UAE's private sector and make it easier to conduct business and invest in Abu Dhabi. Under his leadership, ADCED has pursued numerous initiatives to increase entrepreneurship in the UAE.
In June 2018, he approved a 3-year 50 billion AED stimulus package aimed at facilitating long-term economic benefits for Emiratis and investors alike. He also commissioned a comprehensive review of building regulations in an effort to galvanize urban development.
He is the Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), which invests funds on behalf of the people of Abu Dhabi with the goal of diversifying and globalizing the economy. ADIA's portfolio spans more than two dozen asset classes and sub-categories.
He approved one billion AED's worth of incentive packages for agricultural technology has helped fund projects related to precision farming, agricultural robots, bio-energy, and indoor farming.
Supreme Petroleum Council RoleEdit
Mohamed bin Zayed is Vice Chairman of the Supreme Petroleum Council of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the primary governing body in charge of Abu Dhabi's hydrocarbon resources. He has overseen the implementation of several development and diversification strategies, particularly those relating to crude oil, gasoline, and aromatics production; gas pricing; and polyolefin capacity.
Interests, activities and philanthropic workEdit
Support of the ArtsEdit
In an effort to promote tourism and to diversify the local art scene, Mohamed bin Zayed has supported the construction of art museums—including the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the upcoming Guggenheim Abu Dhabi—as well as cultural heritage sites such as Qasr Al Hosn.
In June 2009, al-Nayhan and then President Nicolas Sarkozy of France inaugurated an exhibition at the Emirates Palace Hotel, which included works of art purchased for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as well as loans from the French national museums to mark the beginning of the construction work of the Louvre outpost, located in the cultural district in Saadiyat Island. The museum was inaugurated in November 2017.
His support extends beyond the visual arts to the oral ones. A lover of Nabati poetry, he frequently extends support to local poetry competitions, hosting some of them under his patronage.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi focused on protecting nature by spearheading the UAE's efforts in protecting wild falcons, bustards, and the Arabian Oryx, and has donated $1 million to an initiative aimed at preventing the power line-related deaths of wild birds. This latter effort is part of launching of the $20-million-dollar Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Raptor Conservation Foundation.
Additionally, he heads the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, a philanthropic endowment established that provides targeted grants to individual species conservation initiatives, recognise leaders in the field of species conservation and elevate the importance of species in public discourse. The Fund also aims to inspire additional contributions to species conservation efforts around the world.
A species of woodlizard--Enyalioides binzayedi—was named after him as the creator of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund that provided financial support to the expeditions leading to the discovery of the specie in the Cordillera Azul National Park in Peru. In 2017, a rare and majestic specie of maple tree was named after him. Acer binzayedii is found in the mountainous cloud forest of Jalisco in Western México.
He has pledged $15 billion towards the development of solar, wind, and hydrogen power technologies in his country. Through Mubadala-owned facility GlobalFoundries, Mohamed bin Zayed has helped develop the UAE's semi-conductor manufacturing program, paving the way for advanced technologies, including in the energy sector.
Education and Innovation InitiativesEdit
Mohamed bin Zayed has also worked on elevating the level of education in the UAE to be on par with the highest international standards, through his position as chairman of the Abu Dhabi Education Council, which was established in 2005 to develop and implement strategies for improving both private and public P-12 and higher education.
Additionally, he chairs the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR). ECSSR furthers academic engagement with the economic, socio-political, and security issues that are relevant to the region.
He has helped foster the development of UAE's technology and encouraged a culture of innovation by sponsoring events such as the National Science, Technology and Innovation Festival. He has also founded the Mohamed bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge to transform the UAE into a regional hub for research into robotics and autonomous systems.
In 2008, the first group of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed University scholars were selected as part of an initiative with New York University Abu Dhabi, recognising outstanding students in the United Arab Emirates and providing them with special academic and leadership opportunities.
In 2011, Al-Nahyan and the Gates Foundation pledged $50 million each to fund the purchase and delivery of vaccines for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Two-thirds of the total $100 million were given to the GAVI Alliance to purchase and administer the pentavalent vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine, immunizing approximately 5 million Afghan children against six diseases. The remainder of the donation was allocated to the World Health Organization, which used it to purchase and administer the oral polio vaccine to approximately 35 million children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The GPEI announced in April 2018 that the UAE had completed the US$120 million commitment made by Mohamed bin Zayed by dispersing the final US$12 million of the pledge made at the 2013 Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi.
His contributions to global health initiatives also include a $30 million donation to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership to help fight malaria. A month after announcing the donation, Abu Dhabi hosted a global health forum centered on efforts to eliminate worldwide diseases such as malaria, polio, and river blindness.
He has also gifted 55 million AED to the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking.
The Zayed Charity Marathon, which takes place in New York City, has raised millions of dollars since its inauguration in 2005. The race raises awareness about kidney disease, and the proceeds go to the US's National Kidney Foundation. Mohamed bin Zayed launched the event in honor of his father, who received a kidney transplant at the Cleveland Clinic in 2000.
He has contributed to improving world health by launching the Reaching Last Mile Fund. In 2017, he launched the fund to raise $100 million with the aim of eradicating, eliminating, and controlling preventable diseases that affect the health and economic prospects of the world's poorest people.
Mohamed bin Zayed committed $20 million to the Fund. Other contributors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the British government. The donations will be managed by the END Fund, a philanthropic investment platform focused on tackling the five most common neglected tropical diseases: river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, polio, malaria, and Guinea worm disease. In addition to this, Mohamed bin Zayed announced his intention to found an Abu Dhabi-based research institute to develop policies to combat infectious disease.
University of Texas chair for scientific and medical knowledge in cancer research is named after Al-Nahyan as a result of a funding grant to MD Anderson Cancer Center from Al-Nahyan to support genetic-analysis based research.
A champion of female empowerment, Mohamed bin Zayed has supported their increased presence in a number of traditionally male-dominated fields. In April 2019, he welcomed a delegation of female officers from the Military and Peacekeeping Programme for Arab Women, who were undergoing training in Abu Dhabi to prepare for United Nations global peacekeeping operations. He emphasized the importance of the role female officers play in peacekeeping and security operations.
He has encouraged the presence of women in the public service sector as well. In 2019, he hosted the first certified Emirati women firefighters, emphasizing the role of women as “true partners and contributors to national development” and said they “drive strategic plans for the nation’s present and future.”
Furthermore, he has made it a point to regularly meet with the female representatives of many UAE institutions to express his confidence in their ability to help the nation realize its aspirations.
He arranged specialized medical care and a transfer to the UK via a UAE air ambulance for Malala Yousafzai after she was shot in the head and neck by the Taliban in October 2012. She received long-term care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK.
Under Mohamed bin Zayed's direction, UAE officials worked closely with Pakistani authorities to arrange for Malala's specialized care and transfer. In May 2013, on her way to perform Umrah rituals, Malala stopped over in Abu Dhabi to thank the UAE and Mohamed bin Zayed for their assistance and support, noting that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi's role highlighted the humanitarian aspects of Islamic teachings.
Mohamed bin Zayed served as an officer in the Amiri Guard (now known as Presidential Guard), as a pilot in the UAE's Air Force, as Commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense, and as Deputy Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff.
A lifelong fan of falconry, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi established the Mohamed bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School with the goal of promoting and sustaining the ancient tradition by teaching it to new generations of Emiratis. He himself learned the practice from his late father.
In March 2019, the Special Olympics World Games were hosted in Abu Dhabi. During the Games, Mohamed bin Zayed affirmed the importance of solidarity with and empowerment of participants during the event, as well as in their respective countries.
Mohammed bin Zayed is married to Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan. They married in 1981. They have nine children together, four sons and five daughters. His children are:
- Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
- Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
- Sheikha Shamsa bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
- Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
- Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
- Sheikha Fatima bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
- Sheikha Shamma bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
- Sheikh Zayed bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
- Sheikha Hassa bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Titles, styles, honours and awardsEdit
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
|Reference style||His Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Highness|
- 3 June 1980 – 4 November 2004: Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
- 4 November 2004 – present: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
- UAE: Grand Master of the Medal of Outstanding Service awarded by the Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, (May 1992)
- Morocco: Monarch Medal for Officers awarded by Hassan II (June 1986)
- USA: Legion of Merit awarded by General Norman Schwarzkopf, Commander of US troops and Coalition Forces, in appreciation of his role in the Kuwait Liberation War (April 1991)
- Morocco: Outstanding Class of Military Order of Merit (April 1994)
- Kuwait: Member Excellent Class of Kuwait Liberation Medal in appreciation of his role and efforts in the Kuwait Liberation War (September 1994)
- China: Medal of Grand Yellow Sparkling Flag by Liang Cheng, Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China (September 1994)
- Kuwait: Order of Kuwait of Excellent Class awarded by the Amir of Kuwait, Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah (June 1995)
- Jordan: Member Excellent Class of Supreme Order of the Renaissance, awarded by Hussein bin Talal of Jordan (December 1996)
- Jordan: Member Excellent Class of Supreme Order of the Renaissance awarded by Abdullah II bin Hussein of Jordan (June 1999)
- Oman: Member Second Class of Oman Order of Military Merit awarded by Qaboos bin Said of Oman (February 2000)
- France: Grand Officer of the Order of Merit awarded by Jacques Chirac, French President (June 2002)
- Qatar: Badge of Honour of Independence (January 2005)
- Palestine: Legion of Merit of Jerusalem awarded by Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian President (October 2008)
- Germany: Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany with Star and Stash awarded by Dr Frank Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister (October 2008)
- Spain: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit awarded by Juan Carlos of Spain (23 May 2008)
- Malaysia: Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender of the Realm with the title of Tun conferred by Al Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin of Malaysia in recognition of Mohamed bin Zayed's efforts in taking Malaysia-UAE friendship and cooperation to new heights (17 June 2011)
- South Korea: Grand Order of Mugunghwa, presented to crown princes and heads of government, conferred by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (21 November 2012)
- France: Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit, conferred by French President Francois Hollande, in recognition of the growing cooperation between the UAE and France (15 January 2013)
- Montenegro: Order of the Montenegrin Great Star, conferred by President Filip Vujanovic of Montenegro (12 December 2013)
- Kosovo: Order of Independence, Kosovo's highest honor to international figures (21 April 2014)
- Morocco: Member First Class of Order of Muhammad conferred by Mohammed VI of Morocco (17 March 2015)
- Jordan: Order of Al-Hussein bin Ali, the highest honor in Jordan awarded to kings and heads of state, awarded by Abdullah II bin Al Hussein of Jordan, in appreciation of the role Mohamed bin Zayed has played in upholding brotherly ties and collaboration between the two nations across different sectors (20 November 2018)
- United Nations: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Golden Badge of Honour Golden Badge of Honour, presented by Dr Jack Diouf, Director General of FAO, (April 2007)
- United Nations: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Badge of Honour for Food Security and an international recognition certificate from the Environmental Practices Certification Institute presented by Dr Jack Diouf, Director General of FAO, (September 2008)
- United Nations: Global Villages of Children Founder's Golden Medal (March 2009)
|Ancestors of Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan|
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Media related to Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Wikimedia Commons