His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the second President of the United Arab Emirates, which was established as a federation on the 2nd of December 1971. He is the sixteenth ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is the largest of the seven emirates constituting the federation.
His Highness assumed the federal constitutional authority as President of the UAE and became a Ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi on the 3rd of November 2004, succeeding his late father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who passed away on the 2nd of November 2004.
His Highness was born in 1948 in the eastern region of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and received his primary education in the city of Al Ain, which was the administrative hub for the region. He is the eldest son of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his mother is Her Highness Sheikha Hissa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
His Highness belongs to the tribe of Bani Yas, which is considered to be the mother tribe for most of the Arab tribes that settled in what is known today as the United Arab Emirates. This tribe led an alliance of the Arab tribes, which is historically known as ‘Bani Yas Alliance’.
His Highness followed his late father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in all the stages of his life. He was first appointed as the Ruler’s Representative and Chief of Courts in the Eastern Region on 18th of September 1966. This position was of a great significance in his life. While His Highness was staying in city of Al Ain, he received the opportunity to remain in contact with UAE citizens on a daily basis, and became aware of their needs, aspirations and hopes.
His Highness was appointed as Crown Prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi on the 1st of February 1969 and head of defense department. While in this position, His Highness assumed the leadership of defense force in the emirate and played a key role in its development, turning it from a small force into a multifunction unit armed with the most modern equipment.
On the 1st of May 1971, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa took up the position of ‘President of the first local Cabinet for the emirate of Abu Dhabi’ and assumed the portfolios of defense and finance in the Cabinet.
Following the declaration of the federal state, in addition to his local responsibilities, His Highness occupied the post of ‘Vice President of the Cabinet of the Federal Government’, which was formed in December of 1973.
In February of 1974, and following the annulment of the local Cabinet, His Highness became the first President of the Executive Council that replaced the Cabinet of the emirate.
During his tenure as President of the Executive Council, His Highness supervised and followed up on development projects across all parts of the emirate of Abu Dhabi. His Highness gave considerable attention to the modernization of infrastructure projects as well as development of various services. He also strived to build a modern administrative apparatus, and fully integrated legislative regulations, identifying them as fundamental to the social and economic development process.
In addition to his responsibilities as President of the Executive Council, His Highness was in charge of establishment and presidency of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in 1976. This authority supervises the management of financial investments of the emirate as part of a strategic vision for the development of the financial resources and conservation of a stable source of income for the generations to come.
One of the major development initiatives of profound social impact made by His Highness was the establishment of social services and commercial buildings department, commonly known as ‘Sheikh Khalifa Committee’. Activities of the department contributed to the development of construction activities in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
His Highness also assumed the position of Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, during which he gave special attention to the development of the armed forces. Under His Highness, the armed forces achieved a great leap in the adoption of modern technologies and advanced training methods.
In a significant contribution, His Highness formulated a military creed, based on the supreme policy of the state that adopts a moderate approach, non-intervention in other’s affairs and respect of mutual interests. His Highness saved no effort in drafting a defense policy that maintains independence, sovereignty and interests of the state. This policy has enabled the UAE Armed Forces to achieve an advanced position that has gained the respect of the entire world.
After His Highness assumed office, the first strategic plan for the government of the UAE was launched under his reign. In addition, His Highness also launched an initiative for developing legislative authority in order to modify the technique of selecting members of the Federal National Council combining the process of election and appointment as a first step. This was aimed at providing an opportunity to select members of the Council through direct elections.
His Highness has been keenly interested in sports activities in the UAE, especially football. He has supported and honored the local sports teams that achieve local, regional and international recognitions and championships.
This information taken from the official website of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan: