Today marks the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi's birthday - let's celebrate with some of our favourite moments from the royal in the past year
10 of our favourite Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed moments
Today is the birthday of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
With his reputation for visiting those in the community and often stopping to chat to residents and citizens alike, we look back at 10 of our favourite Sheikh Mohammed moments from the past year.
1. When he surprised an Afghani carpet merchant with a visit
Moosa Khan became a social media star last October when he was filmed refusing a high offer on a carpet with the image of the UAE’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed on it. Sheikh Mohammed then surprised Khan with a visit. Hours after his visit, state news agency Wam reported that he had issued directives to begin redevelopment of the Mina Zayed port area and the restructuring of its traditional souqs.
2. When he listened to young Dana's poetry
Last October, in an incredibly moving moment, Dana, the daughter of fallen serviceman Waleed Al Thanhani, recited a poem to Sheikh Mohammed as he listened respectfully and intently before leading the applause for the young poet.
3. When he took time to thank the construction workers who helped build Louvre Abu Dhabi
This moment took place during a September tour of Louvre Abu Dhabi (which opened to the public in November). He was introduced to and chatted to some of the thousands of workers who worked since 2013 to build what is described as the first universal museum in the Middle East.
4. When he asked for this mosque to be renamed
In June last year, Sheikh Mohammed asked that this Abu Dhabi mosque - which is just steps away from the capital's St Andrew's Church - be renamed to Mariam Umm Eisa or Mary, Mother of Jesus Mosque.
It was initially named Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Mosque, after him.
It was a gesture of tolerance as well as, as an editorial in The National wrote at the time, "a grand educational call for the many who are unaware that Jesus is one of the prophets of Islam and his mother, Mary, one of its four leading women – with an entire chapter devoted to her in the Quran (and also one for Joseph)."
5. When he shared this video on Emirati Women's Day
August 28 marks Emirati Women's Day and is all about celebrating how the women of the UAE are shaping its future (and have also been integral to the country that it is today).
Sheikh Mohammed celebrated the many roles women take on in society by sharing this video on the day, which shows military personnel, educators, scientists, police, doctors and more.
6. When people took to Twitter to thank him
In January, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, ruler of Dubai, shared this video to thank Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed:
He then asked people "to thank him by means of a sincere speech ... or with a picture that is expressive ... or with a good gesture," adding that "Bu Khaled" has all our thanks, love and appreciation. According to analytics tool Export Tweet, the tweets with the related hashtag have reached more than 1.28 million people. Here were some of the responses on Twitter:
7. When he met with his former teacher and mentor
In October, Sheikh Mohammed met with his mentor and former teacher, Ahmed Ibrahim Mandi Al Tamimi, at his home in Khalifa City.
Mr Al Tamimi is a teacher who contributed to the country's education system in the early days of the union. Sheikh Mohammed said he appreciated his hard work and dedication along with that of all distinguished teachers and educators whose work left a mark on so many through their enthusiasm and determination when educating future generations, reported state news agency Wam.
8. When he visited India and paid his respects
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed laid a wreath at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial in New Delhi during his visit to India in January.
“In the history of nations and the memory of peoples, there are immortal personalities and symbols that brought about major transformations in the march of their countries – personalities that were not deterred by challenges and obstacles from accomplishing national objectives in order to achieve a better life for their people,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote in the guest book at the memorial.
9. When he donated Dh18.4 million to Gavi, and then...
Sheikh Mohammed has personally donated Dh121.2 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation between 2011 to 2015. In August last year he committed Dh18.4 million to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to support a major initiative aimed at protecting children's lives in the developing world.
And, in November last year he pledged US$20 million (Dh73 million) to help tackle diseases that include river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, which afflict millions worldwide.
Since 2011, Sheikh Mohammed has personally committed at least US$235 million (Dh863 million) to global efforts to infectious diseases, with the UAE prominent in campaigns to end polio, which is now restricted to a handful of cases in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
10. When he spoke about his vision for the UAE's open future
Last month, Sheikh Mohammed spoke in front of the UAE's many diplomats at Al Bahr Palace. He talked about the importance of global relationships for the future of the Emirates: “The UAE has won trust of the world and gained an international reputation thanks to its balanced, open foreign policy and following in the step of Zayed’s policy for building close, strong relations. You are today representing the UAE and you are the best to do that and your efforts are commendable and appreciated."
“However, we are seeking through you more diplomatic dynamism and work in order to strengthen our ties with other countries not only politically, but also in other spheres so as to entrench the UAE’s standing and its leadership as well as its aspirations to join the club of advanced nations.”