Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum: biography

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum: biography

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed was born on July 15, 1949. He is the third son of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. His brothers are Sheikh Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Ahmed.

Sheikh Mohammed’s early years

Sheikh Mohammed was born and raised in the Al Maktoum family home in Al Shindagha along the Dubai Creek where he enjoyed a happy and carefree early childhood.

He was very close to his grandfather, the late Sheikh Saeed, then Ruler of Dubai. He often sat beside Sheikh Saeed as the latter held his daily majlis on wooden benches near the entrance to their Shindagha home.

From an early age, Sheikh Mohammed learned hunting and falconry. He learned horsemanship from his father.

From the age of four, Sheikh Mohammed was privately tutored in Arabic and Islamic studies. He began primary school at Al Ahmadiya School in Deira In 1955. At the age of 10, he moved to Al Shaab School and two years later he went to Dubai Secondary School.

Sheikh Mohammed’s father, Sheikh Rashid, became the Ruler of Dubai when Sheikh Saeed died on September 9, 1958. Sheikh Rashid then groomed his sons to become future leaders.

In August 1966, Sheikh Mohammed flew to the UK to enrol in the Bell School of Languages in Cambridge, which he used as an opportunity to learn about his multi-national classmates.

He also attended a six-month course at Mons Officer Cadet School, which is now part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was awarded the sword of honor for achieving the highest mark of any foreign and commonwealth officer cadet.

Sheikh Mohammed’s governance journey

Sheikh Mohammed’s father, Sheikh Rashid, appointed him as head of Dubai Police and Public Security when he returned to Dubai in 1968. He was 19 and it was his first public position. He was also appointed as Minister of Defence, becoming the world’s youngest defence minister.

Sheikh Rashid with 28 year old Sheikh Mohammed in 1977

In 1977, Sheikh Mohammed headed the committee to manage the Dubai Airport and adopted an open skies policy that helped Dubai’s tourism industry boom. Sheikh Mohammed was also in charge of Dubai’s oil file and the Jebel Ali Free Zone.

Sheikh Mohammed’s father died on October 7, 1990, and his eldest brother, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, became Dubai Ruler. On January 3, 1995, Sheikh Maktoum appointed Sheikh Mohammed as Crown Prince of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed served that role until January 4, 2006 when Sheikh Maktoum died and he became the Ruler of Dubai.

The next day, members of the UAE Supreme Council elected Sheikh Mohammed as the Vice-President of the UAE. On February 11, 2006, then president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan nominated him as Prime Minister of the UAE and the council approved the nomination.

Sheikh Mohammed and his love for horses

Sheikh Mohammed was introduced to horses at an early age by his father. He learned to ride horses in his early childhood and was a promising athlete. He is an exceptionally gifted horse rider and was once captain of the national team. As captain, he led the UAE to several victories, including the European Championship in 1999, 2001 and 2003, Equestrianism was and is his true sporting passion.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum rides a horse

Sheikh Mohammed established Godolphin in 1994, his stable of horses that have wowed the racing world. Sheikh Mohammed wanted to race his horses all over the world and to encourage others to do the same.

He also established the Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race that is held annually at the Meydan.

Sheikh Mohammed and his love for poetry

Sheikh Mohammed also loves writing poetry. He began composing Nabati poetry when he was still at school. His greatest influences were his father and the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. His first poems were published in newspapers, under his pseudonyms Nedawi and Saleet. He wanted to make sure that people and editors liked his poetry for its art, and not because of his royal name.

Sheikh Mohammed is now widely acknowledged as one of the finest exponents of Nabati verses. An English-language collection of his poems, ‘Poems from the Desert’, has been on best-seller lists for more than two years. Sheikh Mohammed’s poems cover a wide range of subjects, from love to current affairs. ICA/Expat Media


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