Birth and Childhood
Sheikh Mohammad Al-Maktoom was born at Al-Maktoom's home in "Shandagha" near “Khoor Dubai” on the 15th of July 1949. He is the third son of Sheikh Rashed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoom’ four sons: Being Sheikh Maktoom, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Ahmad.
The childhood of Sheikh Mohammed was happy with caring father Sheikh Rashed and mother Sheikha Latifah as well as his Grandfather Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoom who provided his little grandson with much love and care. Sheikh Mohammed and his brothers found have had close friends among their cousins and other children from high class wealthy families in the society.
Sheikh Mohammed was an energetic child who loved sports and authentically participated in local popular games: he particularly enjoyed playing football with peers in the sandy backyard. In his early youth years, his highness developed a strong sense of questioning everything going around him. Moreover, he was close to his grandfather and often seen sitting by his side during the public gatherings which can be looked at as an educating environment in an amicable atmosphere.
As early as the age of four and through a private tutor, Sheikh Mohammed started learning Arabic Language lessons and basic Islamic studies. Few years later, he started his formal education and joined “Al-Ahmadiah Elementary School” in “Deerah” where he studied Arabic, English, mathematics, geography and history. He excelled in his studies and moved at the age of 10 to “Al-shaab School”. After a couple of years he enrolled in “Dubai Secondary School” and graduated in 1965.
On 18th February 1968, Sheikh Mohammed attended a meeting which was held between Sheikh Zayid and the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Saeed. During that meeting, the union between Dubai and Abu Dhabi was discussed as an initial step to then declare the union on the 2nd of December 1971. At that time, young Sheikh Mohammed was a Defense Minister and he brilliantly interacted with the surrounding circumstances. He closely followed the events of the Arab-Israeli war. Also his highness established a federal national defense force that undertook its first overseas operations in 1976 when he gave them his orders to join the Arab Deterrent Force in Lebanon.
In addition, Sheikh Mohammed presided a committee that was responsible of Dubai International Airport, and adopted “Open Skies Policy” as well as laying groundwork for tourism industry and being in charge of Dubai's oil.
Sheikh Mohammed was the Crown Prince of Dubai and became leader of Dubai on the 4th of January 2006. On the fifth of that month, the members of the Supreme Council selected Sheikh Mohammed as Vice President of the State. On 11th of February 2006, his highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayid nominated Sheikh Mohammed as Prime Minister and the council approved this nomination. Sheikh Mohammed along with the members of his ministry sworn in before his highness Sheikh Khalifa in “Al-batain palace” in Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Mohammed has taken takes part in Dubai’s progress and participated as a state man in drawing a path to a bright future for the Emirates.
Sheikh Rashed became the ruler of Dubai in 1958. He started to seriously consider future involvement of his son Mohammed in the governmental domain. In the fifties, Sheikh Rashed was surrounded by the most influential personalities in the society to cover different regions. Sheikh Mohammed was raised up in that environment and attended debates and conversations despite his young age.
Sheikh Rashed had considered military options for his third son Sheikh Mohammed. In order to acquire proficiency in the English language, his highness went to United Kingdom with his cousin Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalid Al- Maktoom where they attended a language school in Cambridge in 1966.
That language school was a melting pot where different cultures and nationalities integrated. Sheikh Mohammed benefited a lot of that rich atmosphere and learnt more about other countries. In further preparation for his role in Dubai, his highness joined “Mons Officer Cadet School” where he received extensive British military trainings. Sheikh Mohammed was promoted to probationer lieutenant and was granted the “sword of honor" for obtaining the highest degree in his specialization.
When his highness went back to Dubai, his designation as head of Dubai police was his first official position and then he assumed the position of Defense Minister to be the youngest Minister to fill this position worldwide.
Since his early years, Sheikh Mohammed practiced hunting especially the Arabian sport of hawking. His highness along with his brothers learned the basics of horsemanship as urged by their later father Sheikh Rashed Bin Saeed Al Maktoom. Sheikh Mohammed was most obsessed with this sport and practiced it daily with friends on Jumaira sea shore.
Sheikh Mohammed has not imposed any barriers against the freedom of speech believing that open atmosphere leads to real conversation and urges people to think and perform better. His highness: continuously supports Dubai government in the steps it takes along the progress road of the country especially by investing more in infrastructure projects which now render themselves greatly noticeable. Sheikh Mohammed adopted “Destination Dubai" as a slogan and launched Dubai Shopping Festival in 1995.
Also, Sheikh Mohammed was in charge of Jabel Ali’s free zone. On the other hand, Dubai e- government was one of his most pioneer initiatives in 1995. Moreover, his highness launched “Dubai Internet city" in 1999. Also, Sheikh Mohammed's “Godolphin” team participated in a championship in New York where the revenues were dedicated to firemen families, policemen and emergency workers in the city.
Some of the most important project plans that Sheikh Mohammed put were: Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media city, Dubai Financial Center. On the 3rd of February 2012, Sheikh Mohammed announced “Dubai strategic plan for 2015”. On 17th April 2007, his highness unveiled the Strategy of The UAE that aimed at sustainable development and investment of federal sources efficiently. Also, part of his most recognizable achievements were the establishment of “Mohammed Bin Rashed Foundation” in 2007. On 20th September Sheikh Mohammed Launched “Dubai Cares" campaign that is one of the largest humanitarian movements worldwide to combat poverty, spread knowledge and facilitate education for poor children. Also, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed announced a number of local and international awards such as: Arab Journalism Award, Dubai Government Excellence Program, Dubai International Holy Quran Award and Young Entrepreneur Award.
Among other cultural projects which were inaugurated by his highness were Prophet Mohammed Museum (PPUH) and Mohammed Bin Rashed Gardens.
Sheikh Mohammed as a poet
Sheikh Mohammed started to write “Nabati” poetry while still a school student. He said that his father Sheikh Rashed and grandfather Sheikh Saeed had the most influence to develop his poetry writing talent. Poetry writing helped Sheikh Mohammed to express the creative and sentient side of his character.
Sheikh Mohammed the Equestrian
“My love of horses runs in my blood. The Arab tribes bred horses centuries ago. Riding a horse is more just sitting on a horse’s back, it is chivalry and a nobility”, he says.
Sheikh Mohammed has been internationally recognized as horse owner and a leader of the national team of his country. It is worth to mention here that Emirati athletes are ranked among top athletes in horse riding sport on world level. Sheikh Mohammed has been one of the persons who participated in a campaign for the sake of endurance races to get an Olympic status.