Nahyan, Sheikh Zayid ibn Sultan Al


Nahyan, Sheikh Zayid ibn Sultan Al
▪ 2005

      U.A.E. political leader (b. c. 1918, British protectorate of Abu Dhabi—d. Nov. 2, 2004), as the chief architect and first president (1971–2004) of the United Arab Emirates, modernized the country and helped to make it one of the wealthiest in the world. The youngest son of Sheikh Sultan ibn Zayid Al Nahyan (ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi from 1922 to 1926), Zayid entered public life in 1946 as ruler's representative (governor) in Abu Dhabi's Eastern Province, and he soon became known for his progressive views and skillful diplomacy. In 1966 he deposed his brother to become emir of Abu Dhabi. After the U.K. announced that it was withdrawing from the region, Zayid played a major role in persuading other emirates to join in a federation, and in 1971 the emirs elected him president. Using the country's immense oil revenues, he transformed the U.A.E. from tribal fiefs into a modern nation and leading financial centre. He oversaw the construction of hospitals and schools and expanded government services to include free health care and education. Zayid also pushed for greater equality for women. In foreign policy he improved relations with the West and promoted tolerance and unity within the Arab world. He was also a noted philanthropist and conservationist. Widely admired at home and abroad, Zayid was reelected president six times.

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▪ president of United Arab Emirates
also spelled  Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan , or  Nuhayyan 
born c. 1918, Abū Ẓaby
died Nov. 2, 2004

      president of the United Arab Emirates from 1971 to 2004 and emir of Abū Ẓaby from 1966 to 2004. He was credited with modernizing the U.A.E. and making it one of the most prosperous countries in the region.

      Zāyid was raised as a desert nomad and was governor of Abū Ẓaby's Eastern Province from 1946 to 1966, when he deposed his brother Sheikh Shakhbūṭ ibn Sulṭān (Nahyān, Sheikh Shakhbūṭ ibn Sulṭān Āl) and became emir. Zāyid was the principal architect of the federation of the former Trucial States and became president of the renamed U.A.E. in 1971. In 1973 he reorganized the U.A.E.'s federal structure, bringing most of Abū Ẓaby's ministries into the federal cabinet.

      Zāyid's second term as president, beginning in 1976, brought more reforms, including the integration of the emirates' defense forces and increased budgetary contributions from member emirates. One of Zāyid's primary concerns as emir and president was to use oil revenues to raise the standard of living in the emirates and internationally.

      When a new cabinet was sworn in in 1977, Zāyid attempted to further tighten the structure of the federation, maintaining that its government would reflect the available bureaucratic talent rather than the interests of separate emirates. Zāyid was reelected president of the federation in 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, and 2001. Under his rule the U.A.E. became a leading financial centre and adopted measures to advance gender equality. A noted diplomat, Zāyid also improved relations with the West.

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Universalium. 2010.

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