To mark 100 years since the birth of the country’s Founding Father, 2018 has been declared the “Year of Zayed” by the President, Sheikh Khalifa.
The announcement takes place on the anniversary of Sheikh Zayed's Accession Day - the day he assumed leadership in Abu Dhabi on August 6, 1966, marking the start of a new epoch in the history of the UAE.
The Year of Zayed will highlight his role in establishing the Federation, and his local, regional and international achievements.
Sheikh Khalifa said that establishing 2018 as the Year of Zayed reflected the unique standing that the late leader held in the hearts of every Emirati.
“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 said.
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The President called on the nation's people to uphold the noble values instilled in them by Sheikh Zayed - wisdom, respect, determination, loyalty, a sense of belonging to the nation, and a willingness to make sacrifices at whatever cost.
Sheikh Khalifa 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.
In response to the President's directives and to achieve the year’s goals, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, called for a comprehensive framework for an integrated and consolidated agenda of initiatives within all federal and local institutions.
“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,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
"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.”
"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, said Sheikh Mohammed, were to invest in education that focused 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.
"Sheikh Zayed has instilled in us the willpower and determination to challenge and achieve the impossible," he said, "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."
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said the Year of Zayed was an occasion to celebrate the achievements of the late Founding Father 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," Sheikh Mohammed said. "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."
"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."
He highlighted Sheikh Zayed's unique system of morals and values, and how they shaped the conscience of the UAE people – and the country’s positive reputation abroad.
"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."