Sheikh Mohammed's timeline
- Born in 1949
- Appointed as Head of Dubai Police and Public Security on 1 November 1968
- Appointed as Minister of Defence in December 1971
- Served as the Crown Prince of Dubai from January 1995 to January 2006
- Appointed as the Ruler of Dubai on 4 January 2006
- Appointed as the Vice-President of the UAE on 5 January 2006
- Appointed as the Prime Minister of the UAE on 11 February 2006
Sheikh Mohammed was born in 1949, being the third of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum's four sons: Sheikh Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Ahmed.
Sheikh Mohammed enjoyed a happy and carefree early childhood in the Al Maktoum family home located at Al Shindagha.
His parents and his grandfather, late Sheikh Saeed, the then Ruler of Dubai, showered him with love and affection.
Sheikh Saeed used to hold his daily majlis on wooden benches near the entrance to their Shindagha home. These meetings were a good learning opportunity to Sheikh Mohammed who was very close to his grandfather and was often seen sitting beside him.
From an early age, he learned hunting and the noble Arabian sport of falconry. He also learned the basic skills of horsemanship from his father.
From the age of four, Sheikh Mohammed was privately tutored in Arabic and Islamic Studies. In 1955, he began his formal education at Al Ahmadiya School, a small primary school in Deira.
At the age of 10, he moved to Al Shaab School and two years later he went to Dubai Secondary School. At the end of the academic year 1964-65, he passed exams in the main streams of the school's curriculum.
On 9 September 1958, his grandfather, Sheikh Saeed passed away and his father, Sheikh Rashid became the Ruler of Dubai.
From October 1958, Sheikh Rashid began serious preparations for his sons' future in government.
Sheikh Rashid believed that a man with a character such as that of Sheikh Mohammed would be best suited to manage the increasing external and internal security demands.
In August 1966, Sheikh Mohammed flew to the UK to enrol in the Bell School of Languages in Cambridge.
Because of its international reputation, the Bell School of Languages attracted a wide range of nationalities and cultures. Sheikh Mohammed used the opportunity to learn about many of his classmates and their countries.
Sheikh Mohammed threw himself into the vibrant Cambridge student literature scene and integrated himself fully into the student life.
To prepare further for his future role in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed attended Mons Officer Cadet School - Aldershot, which is now part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
During the latter stages of the six-month course, H. H. was promoted to Senior Under-Officer of Kohema and was later awarded the sword of honour for achieving the highest mark of any foreign and commonwealth officer cadet in his intake.
The governance journey of Sheikh Mohammed
When Sheikh Mohammed returned to Dubai in 1968, Sheikh Rashid appointed him as the Head of Dubai Police and Public Security. This was his first public position.
The Ruler also made Sheikh Mohammed his Minister of Defence; thus, he had become the world's youngest defence minister.
On 18 October 1968, in a desert camp, late Sheikh Zayed, the then Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid, the then Ruler of Dubai met to discuss forming a federation between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed accompanied his father to that meeting, and he still remembers the very few words that initiated the establishment of the United Arab Emirates.
On 2 December 1971, the rulers of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and the Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain, as representative of his father, met at Sheikh Rashid Palace in Jumeirah, Dubai where they signed the Interim Constitution that regulated the establishment of the United Arab Emirates.
Despite the fact that Sheikh Mohammed was the youngest defence minister in the world and in just less than twelve months, he cleverly and wisely tackled the serious responsibility assigned to him internally and abroad.
The UAE forces undertook its first international task on 1976, when Sheikh Mohammed ordered troops to Lebanon to join the Arab Deterrent Force for a peacekeeping mission.
On 25 August 1977, Sheikh Rashid announced a formation of a committee, headed by Sheikh Mohammed, to manage Dubai Airport; consequently, developing Dubai as an international aviation hub and touristic attraction.
In this aspect, Sheikh Mohammed adopted the open skies policy and established the fundamentals of the touristic industry that boomed during the 90s.
During that period, Sheikh Mohammed handled Dubai's oil file, and this was one of the most serious tasks in Dubai Government as oil export was the most significant economic pillar.
In 1985, Sheikh Mohammed took charge of Jebel Ali Free Zone; a port-based industrial area centred around Jebel Ali port.
Sheikh Mohammed's majlis gained the same energy and pulse that characterised Sheikh Rashid's majlis.
During crises such as the Invasion of Lebanon, the Iraqi-Iranian War and the Palestinian Intifada, Sheikh Mohammed continued helping Dubai Government in its march forward.
On 7 October 1990, Sheikh Rashid passed away. For Sheikh Mohammed and his brothers, there was hardly time to draw a breath before they were consumed by the urgent need to shape the UAE's response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
The UAE's armed forces were at the forefront of coalition efforts to liberate Kuwait, and within days of the end of the war, Sheikh Mohammed had ordered the dispatch of 250 tons of aid supplies, while the army rushed medical teams to Kuwait City to revive the devastated health service.
In addition, the UAE, under the directions from late Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Mohammed played a significant role in efforts to restore peace and provide humanitarian aids around the world, including in Bosnia, Somalia, and Kosovo.
Sheikh Mohammed becomes Crown Prince of Dubai
On 3 January 1995, Sheikh Maktoum, the then Ruler of Dubai, signed a decree appointing Sheikh Mohammed as Crown Prince of Dubai.
This appointment had dramatic effects, as Sheikh Mohammed launched many initiatives and projects to prosper the future of Dubai.
In 1995, Sheikh Mohammed revealed infrastructure projects for the new digital economy and launched the eGovernment initiative.
'Destination Dubai', was the tourism brief so long championed by him. Late in 1995, Sheikh Mohammed announced the creation of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF).
On 1 April 1998, Sheikh Rashid Terminal was opened, representing the completion of the first phase of the Dubai's Government USD 540 million airport expansion plan.
Elsewhere in Dubai, an artificial island was being created, some 100 metres offshore. This was to be the base for one of Sheikh Mohammed's boldest projects, a hotel named Burj Al Arab (tower of the Arabs).
On 11 May 1999, Sheikh Mohammed announced an initiative to make Dubai Government as an online government as a whole within 18 months, which would give Dubai the distinction of becoming the world's first fully online government.
On 29 October 1999, Sheikh Mohammed announced the Dubai Internet City initiative, with a deadline of just 365 days to accomplish. The initiative was set to encompass the infrastructure, environment and attitude to enable new economic enterprises to operate out of Dubai with significant competitive advantage.
Sheikh Mohammed and his family contributed to other free zone projects such as Dubai Media City and Dubai International Financial Centre.
Early in 2001, Sheikh Mohammed announced the most extraordinary 'Destination Dubai' project; The Palm Island, a giant resort spread over two palm tree-shaped man-made islands.
In May 2001, H. H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Group Chairman, confirmed that, on instructions from Sheikh Mohammed, Emirates planned to buy up to 60 new wide-body aircraft worth 10billion USD.
Sheikh Mohammed becomes the Ruler of Dubai and the Vice-President and the Prime Minister of the UAE
On 4 January 2006, Sheikh Mohammed became the Ruler of Dubai following the death of his elder brother Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the then Ruler of Dubai.
On 5 January, the members of the UAE Supreme Council elected Sheikh Mohammed as the Vice-President of the UAE.
On 11 February 2006, H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President nominated Sheikh Mohammed to become the Prime Minister of the UAE; the Council approved this nomination.
Sheikh Mohammed and poetry
Sheikh Mohammed began composing Nabati poetry while he was still at school. His father, late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, then President influenced greatly his development as a poet.
When Sheikh Mohammed's poems were first published in the newspapers, they appeared under several fictitious names including Nedawi and Saleet. He wanted to be sure that people genuinely admired his poetry, and that the newspapers were not publishing his poetry just because he was a member of the ruling family.
Nowadays, he is widely acknowledged as one of the finest exponents of Nabati verses and his work is published under his own name. An English-language collection of his poems, 'Poems from the Desert', has been on best-seller lists for more than two years.
Poetry has allowed Sheikh Mohammed to express the creative, sensitive side of his nature, which he has little chance to display in the political arena. His poems cover a wide range of subjects; from romance to current affairs.
Sheikh Mohammed has also encouraged others to compose Nabati verses through the riddles encrypted in his poems. He composes a poem comprising many questions, unlike the traditional one-line riddle of Western cultures, and call people to answer.
Sheikh Mohammed, the equestrian
As a member of the Gulf's recognised families, it was only natural that Sheikh Mohammed be introduced to horses at an early age. He learned to ride horses in his early childhood and was a promising athlete. Equestrianism was and is his true sporting passion.
Sheikh Mohammed first visited a racecourse in 1967, in England. He and his brother, Sheikh Hamdan, watched Royal Palace win 2000 Guineas (the currency then in England). Some 10 years later, in Brighton, Hatta the filly gave Sheikh Mohammed his first victory as an owner.
Despite the great success, it was not until Sheikh Mohammed established Godolphin in 1994 that the racing world really began to acknowledge his passion for horses. Godolphin allowed him to ensure that his ideas were fully implemented, something which had not been possible previously.
The success and development of Godolphin coincided with the rise in Dubai's international profile. At the time it was established, owners tended to race their horses only on their own continent. Sheikh Mohammed wanted to race his horses all over the world and to encourage others to do the same.
The world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup, was established with this aim in mind. The American horse Cigar won the first World Cup; the race continues to attract entries from around the globe.
Sheikh Mohammed has earned international recognition as a horse owner, as evidenced by the Special Eclipse Award he received in 2001.
He is also an exceptionally gifted rider. He has chosen endurance racing which has yet to gain the international popularity of traditional horse racing. Several riders from the UAE have excelled in this sport, with Sheikh Mohammed having served as captain of the national team. He is widely acknowledged to be a master tactician, recognising exactly the time to demand maximum effort from the horses, and when to hold them back.
He led the UAE to victory in the 1999 European Championship in Spain and Portugal and was captain when they retained the title in Italy in 2001.
In the 2003 European Championship in Ireland, he was captain once again and won the race. He is also a leading figure in the campaign to have endurance racing included in the Olympics.
Sheikh Mohammed foundations and awards
Sheikh Mohammed instituted several foundations and awards that are philanthropic in nature but also aim at uplifting the lives of the people locally and regionally by providing them with facilities for health, housing, education, employment etc.
Foundations conducting general philanthropic activities
Foundations for health
Foundations for education
Sheikh Mohammed also launched many awards to boost excellence and creativity in various fields. Some of the awards he launched include:
- The Arab Journalism Award
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Patrons of the Arts Awards
- Arab Social Media Award.
Read more about Sheikh Mohammed foundations and awards.
Sheikh Mohammed, the people's person
H. H. Sheikh Mohammed is a people's person. He regularly holds online and offline consultative sessions with the public and his cabinet. He has a huge fan following on his official social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He is a pioneer of implementing eParticipation in the region.
Some of the national online brainstorming sessions were as follows:
His first online session with journalists was in April 2009 through the then official website of the UAE Prime Minister (www.uaepm.ae). He answered questions from local and regional press, which related to the global financial crisis and its impact on the UAE, demography, labour rights and the proposed GCC single currency amongst others. The current official website of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is: https://sheikhmohammed.ae/en-us.
In June 2009, Sheikh Mohammed conducted another online session; this time with the public. This session too was held through the then official website of the UAE Prime Minister (www.uaepm.ae).
Sheikh Mohammed attended world's largest brainstorming summit where a thousand experts from academia, business, civil society and government gathered to discuss pressing issues facing the world; such as energy, food security and strategic issues in education and health.
In December 2013, Sheikh Mohammed invited the people for yet another online session. He called upon the citizens and residents of the UAE to share their ideas for the development of health and education sectors.
Sheikh Mohammed used his Twitter account to invite people to participate in this largest national brainstorming session. He encouraged people to submit suggestions through the then official website of the Prime Minister (www.uaepm.ae), by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeting with the hash tag #uaebrainstorm.
The result of this brainstorming session was that in March 2014, the UAE Cabinet endorsed setting up of the UAE National Institute for Medical Specialisations (UAE Medical Board) to develop and upgrade the health sector in the UAE. The Cabinet also approved the restructure of the UAE University and Zayed University's Board of Directors.
Other channels of communication include:
Cabinet Retreats were convened for the first time in 2007 as a special meeting of the UAE Cabinet members to discuss national issues and strategic priorities.
- Mohammed Bin Rashid Policies Council
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Policies Council represents a new channel of communication with the community and a platform for creative and innovative ideas.
- Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Majlis
Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Majlis is a platform that allows everyone to participate in building the future of Dubai. It opens its doors to everyone to strengthen the position of Dubai in various fields and sectors.
Sheikh Mohammed's initiatives as the UAE's Prime Minister
As the Prime Minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed launched ground-breaking initiatives in a record time. His initiatives include:
The UAE Vision 2021 aims to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by the Golden Jubilee of the UAE formation as a federation. The Vision set six national priorities as the key focus of government strategy in the coming years:
- cohesive society and preserved identity
- safe public and fair judiciary
- competitive knowledge economy
- first-rate education system
- world-class healthcare
- sustainable environment and infrastructure
The UAE National Agenda is a seven-year plan leading to the UAE Vision 2021, which also coincides with the UAE's 50th National Day.
It includes a set of national indicators in the sectors of education, healthcare, economy, police and security, housing, infrastructure and government services, aimed at achieving the UAE's leading position as per Vision 2021.
- UAE Government Strategy Plan
On 17 April 2007, Sheikh Mohammed unveiled the first UAE Government Strategy Plan with the aim of achieving sustainable development throughout the country, investing federal resources more efficiently and ensuring due diligence, accountability and transparency across federal bodies.
On November 2013, Sheikh Mohammed called upon the people of the UAE to celebrate 'Flag Day' on November 3rd every year as a national campaign to celebrate the anniversary of the accession of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as President of the UAE.
On 22 May 2013, Sheikh Mohammed launched the Mobile Government initiative in order to provide best services to the public round the clock.
Sheikh Mohammed launched Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation in September 2014 to encourage and motivate innovation.
- Government Creativity Lab
Following the outstanding success of the 'Government Creativity Lab' during a UAE Cabinet Retreat in December 2013, Sheikh Mohammad directed all federal government bodies to adopt the 'Government Creativity Lab' experiment as an official and standardized practice to develop government services.
- Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Learning Programme
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Learning Programme was launched to establish a unique learning environment in schools through the introduction of 'Smart Classes'.
- Mohammed bin Rashid Government Excellence Award
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Government Excellence Award was launched in 2009 under the umbrella of Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Government Excellence Programme (SKGEP), which is first integrated programme for government excellence.
- Emirates Programme for Excellence in Government Services
The Emirates Programme for Excellence in Government Services was launched in March 2011 to achieve higher standards in client services by improving efficiency.
Sheikh Mohammed has called upon the public and his followers on social media networks to nominate first 43 top achievers in the UAE in various fields to honour them during the UAE's 43rd National Day celebrations. The award was given in honour of their service to the nation and their pioneering spirit and for being the first in their field.
- Minister eBriefcase and Knowledge Centre
The 'Minister eBriefcase' and 'Knowledge Centre' initiatives aim to catalyse a full-scale adoption of electronic transformation in government functioning.
- National Programme for Government Communications
The National Programme for Government Communications includes a number of nation-wide communication and awareness campaigns to address community issues prioritized by the National Agenda and guided by UAE Vision 2021.
- UAE Green Growth Strategy
The UAE Green Growth Strategy initiative aims to build the green economy of the UAE under the slogan 'A Green Economy for Sustainable Development'.
U.ae (previously Government.ae) is the official portal of the UAE government. It reflects the government's strategy to provide efficient services and boost performance by gathering and delivering all details about federal and local government entities. It also provides all information necessary for individuals, visitors, businesspersons as well as direct contact with UAE government.
Updated on 21 May 2020