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10 things you need to know about HH Sheikh Mohammed and why he’s an absolute hero

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Here at Lovin Dubai, we love Sheikh Mo. As far as rulers go, he’s as good as it gets. In the short time he’s been ruling Dubai its grown into what can only be described as an iconic global city, a technology and innovative hub, a ‘must-see’ on every tourists’ buckets list (see pictures: Dubai then and now). 

He’s been looking after the Emirate for ten years, on January 4th 2006, Sheikh Mo took over as Ruler of Dubai after the passing of his brother, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The next day, the members of the Supreme Council elected him as Vice President to the UAE.

In his honour, we’ve listed the top 10 things we think you should know about our hero and ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Sheikh Mo: his early days

Born in 1949, Sheikh Mo is the third son of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. In 1955 he commenced his formal education in Al Ahmadiya School in Deira and then moved on to Dubai Secondary School. At 17, he moved to Cambridge with his cousin Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and enrolled in the Bell Educational Trust’s English Language School.

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Photo Cred: Flikr

He trained at the same military school as the British Royal Family

After leaving the English language school, he then went on to study at Mons Officer Cadet School which later became part of Sandhurst which is were both Prince William and Prince Harry also trained. He was also awarded the sword of honour as the top Common Wealth student.

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Photo Credit: Me Dubai

He has a strong commitment to gender equality within the UAE

In 2015 Sheikh Mo formed the Gender Balance Council. At the first meeting they held in the summer of 2015 he reaffirmed his commitment to gender equality. The main focus of this commitment is to strengthen and evolve the role of women as partners in the development of the UAE as a nation.

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H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council. Photo Credit:  UAE Interact

He’s just a normal dude

Ok so ‘normal’ isn’t the optimum word to use. What we’re trying to say here, is that when it comes to rulers, Sheikh Mo is a pretty down to earth, cool guy. Sure, he even dines in the same places we do. Nobu brunch anyone? Jean-Georges for lunch?

He is a key figure in International thoroughbread racing and breeding

Sheikh Mo owns Darley stud which is the largest horse breeding operation in the world. It has farms all across the globe including Ireland, UK and the US. He is also an avid endurance rider and at the age of 63 took home gold at the 2012 World Endurance Championships. Fair play.

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Photo Credit: Go Dolphin

He’s committed to the development and improvement of Education

Last year Sheikh Mo launched the Arab reading challenge. This project is the largest project of its kind in the Arab world and uses incentives and follow up techniques to encourage Arab children to read more. It came about when the Arab Thought Foundation released a report that stated that the average time Arab children spent reading was only six minutes per year in comparison to 12,000 minutes per year in the west.

In 2007, as Dubai’s contribution toward the U.N Millennium Development goals, our Sheikh Mo launched the Dubai Cares campaign to raise money to educate one million children in poorer countries. The public donated AED 1.65 billion and Sheikh Mo matched this to make a total of AED 3.5 billion.

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Photo Cred: UAE Interact

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Photo Cred: Dubai Cares

He loves a good selfie

Just like the rest of us!

He launched The Noor project in contribution to VISION 2020: The Right To Sight

With the primary goal of helping the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) achieve their objectives outlined in VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, Sheikh Mo launched Noor Dubai. This initiative aims to provide treatment and healthcare services to people in developing countries who suffer from treatable and curable blindness. It had originally aimed to treat one million people but by 2011 had achieved 5.4 million.

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Photo Credit: Noor Dubai

He’s a poet, and we bet you didn’t know it (couldn’t resist)

Sheikh Mohammed first started composing Nabati poetry in his early school years. For those of you who don’t know, Nabati is the name given to a colloquial form of Arabic. He has since stated that the greatest influencer on his poetry was his father. 

Initially, when Sheikh Mo started publishing his poetry he used pseudonyms such a Nedawi and Saleet. He only began to publish under his own name once he was sure that his writings were of a high enough standard and that he wasn’t just being published because he is a member of the ruling family. When he received praise from the esteemed female poet Fatat Al Arab, who responded to one of the Sheikh’s earlier poems, he was convinced. 

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Photo Cred: http://sheikhmohammed.ae

Last but not least, he truly cares about the wellbeing of the citizens and residents of Dubai

And appreciates all of our accomplishments.

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‏كلمتي لرجال الدفاع المدني والشرطة والإسعاف.. رفعتم الرؤوس وأثبتم كفاءتكم أمام العالم.. شكرا لأبناء الامارات المخلصين. ‏وتقديري لضيوفنا في الامارات على رقيكم في التعامل مع الأحداث ليلة البارحة … بكم ومعكم كانت دبي أمس عنوانا للمدينة الحضارية Proud of our police, civil defence and ambulance services. You demonstrated best in world capabilities last night. We are honored to have such guests in the UAE . With you, despite last night’s events, Dubai continued to shine with positivity & modernity

A post shared by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (@hhshkmohd) on

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أبارك لفريق العمل بوزارة الصحة نجاحهم بأول عملية زراعة قلب صناعي في الإمارات والتي أنقذت حياة شاب إماراتي عمره 21 سنة.. فخور بالدكتور عارف النورياني وفريق مركز القلب بمستشفى القاسمي.. وسيبقى دعم هذا القطاع على رأس أولوياتنا وصولا لأفضل المستويات العالمية. I congratulate the team in the Ministry of Health on successfully performing the first artificial heart transplant in the UAE, which saved the life of a 21 year old Emirati. I am proud of Dr. Arif Al Nooryani and the team at the Cardiothoracic Surgery Centre in Al Qasimi Hospital. This sector will continue to be our top priority to reach global standards.

A post shared by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (@hhshkmohd) on

If you haven’t seen this video yet, watch it now

A message to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid on the 10th anniversary of his accession to power in #Dubai

And just to share the love, here’s some of our favourite Sheikh Mo pics

Now read: New report shows that Sheikh Mo is one of the ‘Most Effective World Leaders’ on Facebook

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