A portrait of leadership: 50th anniversary of Sheikh Zayed’s accession as Ruler of Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, 6th August, 2016 (WAM) — As we mark the 50th anniversary of the accession as Ruler of Abu Dhabi of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, on 6th August, 1966, an English language daily has today published a series of pictures that reveal his intense engagement with his people In these photographs released by the National Archives to commemorate the anniversary, the seeds of Sheikh Zayed’s legacy are apparent. So often photographed among his people, it is a wonder, the paper says, that he found any time to sit at a desk. The National quotes the late Sheikh Zayed as saying, “We will be able to achieve in our bright future much more than what we were able to realise in our brief yesterday.” It was, the paper said, as if he was gazing at the United Arab Emirates through a looking glass.

“Looking back on that “brief yesterday”, how remarkable that bright future was to become almost instantaneously: he was less than five years away from bringing together the emirates as a country, on December 2nd, 1971, at which point his nation-building took on a whole new momentum.

“Expanding his community-building work as the Ruler’s Representative of the Eastern Region, Sheikh Zayed laid the building blocks of the people’s future well-being: schools and hospitals, roads and ports, land plots and oil refineries, even while extending the prosperity farther from home, through his many humanitarian projects abroad.

The paper continued, “According to Jayanti Maitra in ‘Zayed: From Challenges to Union’, the accession of the new Ruler ‘marked the beginning of a new era’. Rulers from the Trucial States came to pay him their respects, and he assured them that his approach would be one of cooperation and friendship.

“And so, while much is different about the modern Abu Dhabi 50 years on from that historic occasion, much also remains the same,” the article concluded.