Zayed, the immortal spirit in the memory and conscience (1st Add)
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Born in around 1918, fourth son of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed, who was to become Ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1922-1926, and named after his grandfather, Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa, Zayed the Great , who ruled from 1855-1909, Sheikh Zayed spent most of his childhood in Al Ain, learning to know both the country and its people intimately, knowledge that served him well for the rest of his life. Sheikh Zayed understood from his own experience the nature of poverty and the impact that it had upon the country. It was as a result of this that he determined, at an early age, that, if the opportunity arose, he would ensure that such wealth as was available should be used to improve the lot of the people.
During the two decades he spent as Ruler s Representative, based in Al Ain, Sheikh Zayed learned the process of governance and, at the same time, developed his vision of how, resources permitting, the country should develop.
With the commencement of oil production in 1962, Abu Dhabi s economy was revolutionised, poverty being replaced by plenty. That process, however, posed new challenges of its own whereas in the past, it had been necessary to spend cautiously what little money was available, now there was a different task: that of spending the new wealth wisely, to ensure that its benefits were shared by all. On 6th August 1966, Sheikh Zayed was selected by his family to preside over that task.
A rapid programme of development got under way, the building of the basic infrastructure, schools, both for boys and for girls, hospitals, a port, an airport, modern housing for the people and much more. Underlying it all was Sheikh Zayed s profound conviction that: wealth is of no value, unless it is used in the service of the people'.
While thankful for the blessings of oil and gas reserves bestowed on Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed was well aware, of course, that other emirates were less well-endowed. As soon as he became Ruler, he increased Abu Dhabi s contributions to the Trucial States Development Fund, rapidly becoming its largest donor, and also funded many other development projects in the other emirates.---MORE---.