In pics: 10 heartwarming Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid moments throughout the years

Today, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates celebrates 17 years as Ruler of Dubai.

Since January 4, 2006, Sheikh Mohammed has turned Dubai into a beacon of hope through his profound leadership skills and remarkable feat over the year. He has always been a source of inspiration for many in the UAE and across the globe throughout the years.

As the Dubai Ruler marks a milestone in his career, we look back on some of His Highness’ special moments over the years.

Family man at heart

While Sheikh Mohammed is one of the key figureheads of this nation, he’s also a family man at heart, particularly when it comes to spending time with his grandchildren. His Highness is regularly seen doting on his grandchildren.

To mark the end of Ramadan, during Eid Al Fitr, this year, the Dubai Ruler was at a family gathering with 23 of his grandchildren in a photo posted by his son, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.

True people person

Time and time again the Dubai Ruler has proven he’s very in touch with his people. A perfect example of this was when he surprised a group of students at Expo 2020 Dubai earlier this year.

In a video shared on Instagram, the group of schoolchildren were lined up posing for a photo, but what they were unaware of was that His Highness was standing right behind them. The footage, shared by Khalifa Saeed on Instagram, showed the children being treated to a royal surprise. His Highness then took the time to have a chat with the students.

Changing lives

Being the compassionate individual he is, the Dubai Ruler is always ensuring he helps those who are less fortunate.

In February 2021, Sheikh Mohammed pledged Dhs8 million to Massar Mundharr and her daughter who was suffering from a degenerative disease and needed urgent treatment. The little girl was diagnosed with type 2 spinal muscle atrophy which leads to the motor neuron nerve cells in the brain which enable the body to speak, walk, breathe, talk and more. Mundar and her husband were told by doctors at Al Jalila Hosptial that His Highness had agreed to cover Laveen’s medical costs.

When he met his biggest fan

Four years ago, in January 2017, the Mohammed bin Rashid Government Excellence Award ceremony was held at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum presented policewoman Halima Al Matroushi the award for Best Administrative Employee. However, chose not to receive the award herself. Instead, she let her mother take her place up on stage.

Al Matroushi’s mother has always dreamt of meeting Sheikh Mohammed, so when her daughter realised it was a possibility, she gave her the opportunity.

Advocating young talent

Sheikh Mohammed has consistently championed young talent in the region.

In 2020, His Highness sent a heartfelt message to an Emirati student who has graduated from university.

The Ruler of Dubai first met student Fatima Ahmad Bin Bakhit Al Nuaimi four years ago, posted the sweet message on Twitter.

“I had laid a kiss on my daughter’s head in 2016 as she ranked first at the state level in the reading challenge,” His Highness said. “Yesterday, my daughter Fatima Al Nuaimi graduated from Abu Dhabi New York University with distinction.

“Congratulations. The country flourishes with you, thrives in reading and rises with knowledge.”

Along with the message, Sheikh Mohammed shared two photos – one of their first meeting in 2016 and one of Al Nuaimi’s recent remote graduation.

Looking to space

At the start of December 2017, he put the call out for young people who were keen to be the first Emiratis in space.

“The people of the UAE will break new barriers; nothing can stand in the way of those who believe nothing is impossible,” Sheikh Mohammed wrote on Instagram. “Our ambitious goals are fuelled by dedicated people, who support us until, without hesitation or scepticism, we succeed.”

His Highness has gone on to spearhead the UAE making a mark in space, in particular with the Emirates Mars Mission where the Hope Probe entered the planet’s orbit in February 2021.

Royal friends

Back in 2017, Sheikh Mohammed met with the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Windsor Endurance Race, and from the looks of things, they had a great time together. At the time, the Dubai Media Office said the pair of royals discussed “historic ties, friendship, and cooperation between the UAE and the United Kingdom”.

A helping hand

Throughout the years, Sheikh Mohammed has ensured offering humanitarian aid is a big priority for the UAE.

In 2020, after the catastrophic explosion in Lebanon leaving around 300,000 people homeless and many injured, His Highness ordered 30 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies to be sent immediately on his personal aircraft in response to the devastating blast.

Looking to the future

In August 2020, the Ruler of Dubai opened a new medical research centre has opened in Dubai that not only studies COVID-19, but also other communicable diseases. The Dhs300 million centre aims to study an array of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, obesity and more.

Praising the women of the nation

Honouring women across the UAE, the Ruler of Dubai issued a message in August 2020.

Posting a video to his 10.3 million Twitter followers which paid tribute to Emirati women, he expressed his pride towards every female from the UAE.

“To the Emirati women, you worked hard, you accomplished and prove to the world who you are,” he said. “[We are] proud of you, proud of your partnership in the development process, we raise our heads with your achievements. Every year you are better and more beautiful.”

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