Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

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His Highness

Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.png
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
Assumed office
2 November 2004
Emir Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Preceded by Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces
Assumed office
30 December 2004
President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Supreme Commander Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Preceded by Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Personal details
Born (1961-03-11) 11 March 1961 (age 57)
Al Ain, Trucial States
Spouse(s) Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan
Mother Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al-Ketbi
Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan
Alma mater Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
House Al-Nahyan
Military service
Allegiance United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates
Service/branch United Arab Emirates Air Force
Years of service 1979–present
Rank General
Commands Deputy Supreme Commander
Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces
Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces
Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence

H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan (Arabic: محمد بن زايد بن سلطان آل نهيان‎; born 11 March 1961), is the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE's Armed Forces. He is seen as being the driving force behind the UAE's activist foreign policy[1] and is the leader of a campaign against Arab Islamist movements.[2] Due to the ill health of the current UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, Mohammed bin Zayed has assumed most of the presidential duties as the crown prince and hence, he is sometimes considered as the UAE’s de facto ruler.[3]

Early life[edit]

President of the United States George W Bush walks with Al-Nahyan through an honour guard upon his arrival at Camp David in June 2008

Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan was born on 11 March 1961.[4] He is the third son of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi, and his third wife, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi.[5][6] He has five younger full-brothers: Hamdan, Hazza, Tahnoun, Mansour, and Abdullah.[7] They are known as Bani Fatima or sons of Fatima.[8][9]

Political and business career[edit]

In November 2003, his father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan appointed Sheikh Mohammed as Deputy Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.[5] Upon the death of his father, Al-Nayhan became Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in November 2004 and was appointed Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in January 2005. Later that month, he was promoted to the rank of General. Since December 2004 he has also been the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, which is responsible for the development and planning of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and is a member of the Supreme Petroleum Council.[10] He also serves as a special adviser to the President of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, his older brother. He is also head of the Abu Dhabi council for economic development (ADCED), which is the economic policy advisory council in Abu Dhabi.

Al-Nahyan is also the head of the Mubadala Development Company which, since its establishment in 2002, represents the main investment vehicle for the government of Abu Dhabi. Al-Nahyan is also a Director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi.

In addition, he is the head of the UAE offsets programme bureau and is the head of the Abu Dhabi Education Council which was established in 2005. His efforts in the realm of economic development are aimed at increasing economic diversification in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. As the head of the UAE offsets group, Al-Nahyan is involved with the task of channelling defence-related investments into profitable projects across different sectors in order to help diversify the economy of the UAE.[11]

In 2008, the first group of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed University scholars were selected as part of an initiative with New York University Abu Dhabi, recognising outstanding students in the United Arab Emirates and providing them with special academic and leadership opportunities.[12]

Al-Nahyan with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Abu Dhabi, February 2017

June 2009 saw Al-Nayhan and then President Nicolas Sarkozy of France inaugurate an exhibition at the Emirates Palace Hotel, which included works of art purchased for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as well as loans from the French national museums to mark the beginning of the construction work of the Louvre outpost, located in the cultural district in Saadiyat Island. Al-Nayhan also stated that he was confident that the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi would be able to "accumulate a prestigious art collection" by the time of its opening in 2012.[13]

In November 2010, Al-Nayhan and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan welcomed Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to the UAE for their second state visit.[14][15] Al-Nahyan also accompanied the Queen and the Duke on a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at the beginning of their visit.[16] In January 2011, Al-Nahyan received US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.[17]

An American citizen Khaled Hassen won a rare $10 million torture settlement granted by federal court in L.A., against three top members of the ruling family in the United Arab Emirates, including Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, after State Department cables proved the man had indeed been detained and tortured as he had claimed.[18]

Sheikh Mohammed representing UAE in the NSS 2012

He represented the United Arab Emirates in the Nuclear Security Summit of 2012 and 2014, which were hosted by South Korea and the Netherlands respectively.

In August 2016, Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with envoy representing Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The envoy offered help to the Trump presidential campaign.[19] The meeting included Joel Zamel, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation, and American businessman Erik Prince.[20][19] Dubai based political advisor to Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan hinted at bin Zayed’s involvement in sacking of Rex Tillerson from the position of US Secretary of State in March 2018. A source close to Hamad al Mazroui, Zayed's de facto head of intelligence, said Mohammed bin Zayed was also gloating about Tillerson’s firing.[21] Later, in August 2018, involvement of Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan in a failed invasion of Qatar in June'17 was highlighted. The invasion didn't succeed as it was meddled by Tillerson days before it was supposed to take place. [22]

In 2017 the Government of India Invited Sheikh Mohammed as Chief Guest for the 68th Republic Day Celebration on 26 January 2017.

Al-Nahyan is one of the significant members of the Saudi-led, western-backed coalition fighting in Yemen to drive out Houthi militants since 2015.[23] According to a report by the UN, coalition forces have deprived innocent Yemenis from vital supplies by imposing restrictions on Red Sea ports and Sanaa airport. Coalition airstrikes, Houthi torture and children recruitment, may all amount to war crimes, as cited by the report.[24]

UAE Government Summit 2015[edit]

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan was a key speaker in UAE government summit in 2015, in which he expressed his views to build a future beyond oil in the UAE.[25]

Interests, activities and philanthropic work[edit]

Al-Nahyan and U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., May 2017

Mohammed Bin Zayed is actively engaged in several projects targeted at increasing the welfare of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He has initiated projects in various areas, such as economic development, education and environmental protection.

He also heads the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, a philanthropic endowment established to provide targeted grants to individual species conservation initiatives, recognise leaders in the field of species conservation and elevate the importance of species in the broader conservation debate.[26]

Moreover, in the realm of humanitarian affairs, Al-Nahyan has been underlining his commitment to the fight against human trafficking by funding the 'Global Report on Trafficking Persons' through a Dh55 million donation to the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT).[27][28]

In 2011 Al-Nahyan and the Gates Foundation pledged $50 million each to fund the purchase and delivery of vaccines for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[29]

Another area of interest of Al-Nahyan is the education sector. His activities in this field include his role as President of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR). The centre is dedicated to the publication of academic analyses on topics relevant to the region. In the area of school curricula and higher education, Al-Nahyan is also Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), which was founded in 2005 as the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC).

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the Cityscape Abu Dhabi in 2008

ADEK monitors and develops the educational system of the Emirate. Methods of the council’s work include running surveys, aiming at an integration of students and parents in assessment processes and increasing the exchange of ideas with international educational institutions in order to foster development in the educational sector. Mohammed bin Zayed's interest in education has also led to his patronage of the Abu Dhabi Science Festival, an annual event in Abu Dhabi's cultural calendar.[30]

In addition, Mohammed Bin Zayed is committed to environmental protection. He set up the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund motivated by his interest in the preservation and protection, both locally and on an international level, of endangered species and plants. A passionate falconer himself, Al-Nahyan is committed to the protection of falcons, as well as other species, including the Oryx and the Houbara from Arabian Peninsula.[11][31] In line with his dedication to environment protection, he has also taken a lead in alternative energy projects in Abu Dhabi, primarily Masdar City.[11]

Awards and honours[edit]

As well as the UAE, Mohammed Bin Zayed has received numerous[vague] citations and decorations from Bahrain, Qatar, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, United States, United Kingdom, Spain,[32] France and Italy.

A species of woodlizard—Enyalioides binzayedi—has been named after him as the creator of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund that provided financial support to the expeditions leading to the discovery of the specie in the Cordillera Azul National Park in Peru.[33]

In 2017, a rare and majestic specie of maple tree was named after him to honor his dedication to biological conservation around the world. Acer binzayedii is found in the unique and distinctive mountainous cloud forest of Jalisco in Western México.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Mohammed Bin Zayed is married to Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan.[35] They married in 1981.[36] They have nine children.[citation needed]


Foreign honours[edit]

  • Order of Civil Merit (Spain) GC.svg Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit (Kingdom of Spain, 23/05/2008).[37]
  • Monarch Medal for Officers, awarded by the late King Hassan II of Morocco, June 1986.
    • Order of Merit, awarded by General Norman Schwarzkopf, Commander of US troops and Coalition Forces, in appreciation of his Highness' role in the Kuwait Liberation War, April 1991.
    • Medal of Outstanding Service, awarded by Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, May 1992.
    • Military Order of Merit of Outstanding Class, awarded by the late King Hassan II of Morocco, April 1994.
    • Kuwait Liberation Medal of Excellent Class, awarded by Ibrahim Abdulla Al Mansour, Kuwait's Ambassador to the UAE, in appreciation of his role and efforts in the Kuwait Liberation War, September 1994.
    • Medal of Grand Yellow Sparkling Flag, awarded by Liang Cheng, Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China, September 1994.
    • Kuwait Medal of Excellent Class, awarded by the late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah, June 1995.
    • Renaissance Badge of Honour of Excellent Class, awarded by the late King Hussain bin Talal of Jordan, December 1996.
    • Renaissance Badge of Honour of Excellent Class, awarded by King Abdullah II bin Hussein of Jordan, June 1999.
    • Oman Order of Military Merit of Second Class, awarded by Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, February 2000.
    • Legion of Merit of Great Officer, awarded by Jacques Chirac, French President, June 2002
    • Badge of Honour of Independence, awarded by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, January 2005.
    • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Golden Badge of Honour, presented by Dr Jack Diouf, Director General of the FAO, April 2007.
    • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Badge of Honour for Food Security and an international recognition certificate from the Environmental Practices Certification Institute, presented by Dr Jack Diouf, Director General of the FAO, September 2008.
    • Legion of Merit of Jerusalem, awarded by Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian President, October 2008.
    • Federal Order of Merit, awarded by Dr Frank Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister, awarded October 2008.
    • Legion of Merit of Excellent Class, awarded by King Juan Carlos of Spain, May 2008.
    • Global Villages of Children Founder's Golden Medal, March 2009.
    • Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender of the Realm with the title of Tun, conferred by HM King Al Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin of Malaysia on 17 June 2011 in recognition of His Highness’ efforts in taking Malaysia-UAE relations of friendship and cooperation to new heights.
    • Gunghwa Order, presented to crown princes and heads of government, conferred by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on 21 November 2012.
    • France’s National Order of Merit, conferred by French President Francois Hollande on 15 January 2013 in recognition of the growing cooperation ties between the UAE and France.
    • Order of the Montenegrin Great Star, conferred by President Filip Vujanovic of Montenegro on 12 December 2013, in appreciation of his huge contribution to the development of the relations between the UAE and Montenegro. The order is conferred on those who contribute to development of ties of cooperation and friendship between Montenegro and other countries.
    • Order of Independence, Kosovo's highest honour to international figures, presented by President of the Republic of Kosovo, Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga, on 21 April 2014. Kosovo's Order of Independence recognises U.A.E.'s contribution to peace-keeping in Kosovo, its social and economic aid to the Balkan country as well as its recognition of independent Kosovo, as well as the efforts of His Highness the Crown Prince to back and follow up the peace-keeping process in Kosovo.
    • Order of the Mohammedi of first class, conferred by King Mohammed VI of Morocco on 17 March 2015, in recognition of his contributions and efforts to support the UAE-Moroccan ties and his keenness to solidify them in the service of mutual interests of the two countries and people.[38]
    • Order of the Republic of Serbia, conferred by President Tomislav Nikolic on 24 May 2017, in recognition of his efforts to develop bilateral relations between Serbia and the UAE.[39]



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  33. ^ Venegas, P.; Torres-Carvajal, O.; Duran, V.; De Queiroz, K. (2013). "Two sympatric new species of woodlizards (Hoplocercinae, Enyalioides) from Cordillera Azul National Park in northeastern Peru". ZooKeys. 277 (277): 69–90. doi:10.3897/zookeys.277.3594. PMC 3677373Freely accessible. PMID 23794824. 
  34. ^ Vargas-Rodriguez, Yalma L.; Urbatsch, Lowell E.; Karaman-Castro, Vesna; Figueroa-Rangel, Blanca L. (2017-06-01). "Acer binzayedii (Sapindaceae), a new maple species from Mexico". Brittonia. 69 (2): 246–252. doi:10.1007/s12228-017-9465-5. ISSN 0007-196X. 
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Media related to Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Wikimedia Commons