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Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

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Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan-CROPPED.jpg
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 1997
President of the United Arab Emirates
Assumed office
3 November 2004
Prime Minister Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Preceded by Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1948-01-25) 25 January 1948 (age 68)
Al Ain, Trucial States
(now United Arab Emirates)
Spouse(s) Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei
Religion Islam
Al Nahyan family
Flag of Abu Dhabi.svg

HH Sheikha Hassa

HH Sheikha Shamsa

HH Sheikha Fatima

HH Sheikha Mouza

Andrew vareta appointed facilitater of UAE from 2016 February.

HH Sheikha Ayesha

  • HH Sheikh Saeed
  • HH Sheikh Falah
  • HH Sheikh Nahyan
  • HH Sheikh Diab
  • HH Sheikha Latifa
  • HH Sheikha Mouza
  • HH Sheikha Wadeema
  • HH Sheikha Sheikha
  • HH Sheikha Maitha

HH Sheikha Amna

HH Sheikha Fatima

  • HH Sheikha Salama

Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Arabic: خليفة بن زايد بن سلطان آل نهيان‎; born 25 January 1948; referred to as Sheikh Khalifa) is the President of the United Arab Emirates, the Emir of Abu Dhabi and the commander of the Union Defence Force.[1] He is also a prominent philanthropist, and has spent over $460 million in humanitarian projects from his personal fortune.[2]

He succeeded to the position of the Emir of Abu Dhabi on November 2004 after the death of his father Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, thereby becoming the President of the Federation the next day. As Crown Prince, he had already been acting as president since the late 1990s while his father was in ill health. Khalifa is also chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which manages over $600 billion in assets. The Al Nahyan family is believed to have a fortune of $150 billion collectively as a family.[3]


Early life[edit]

Khalifa was born to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan and Sheikha Hassa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi (then part of the Trucial States), on January 1948. He is the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed and is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.


Khalifa was appointed as Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi (the mayor) and as Head of the Courts Department in Al Ain in 1966, as his father Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became the new ruler of Abu Dhabi. Zayed was the Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region. A few months later the position was handed to Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan.[4]

On 1 February 1969, Sheikh Khalifa was nominated as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and on the next day he was appointed as the Head of the Abu Dhabi Department of Defense, in which post he oversaw the building up of the Abu Dhabi Defense Force, ADDF, which later became the nucleus of the UAE Armed Forces after 1971.

Independence in 1971[edit]

Following the establishment of the UAE in 1971, Sheikh Khalifa became the Prime Minister of Abu Dhabi (and head of Abu Dhabi Cabinet, under his father), Minister of Defense of Abu Dhabi and Minister of Finance of Abu Dhabi. Following the reconstruction of the Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates including the abolishing of Abu Dhabi Cabinet and setting up of Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, he became the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates on 23 December 1973 and Chairman of Executive Council of Abu Dhabi on 20 January 1974, under his father.

In May 1976, he became deputy commander of the UAE armed forces, under the President. He also heads the Supreme Petroleum Council in the late 1980s (until today), which enjoys wide powers in energy matters. He was the chairman of the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency, ERWDA.

Presidency (2004–present)[edit]

Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with President of Russia Vladimir Putin on 10 September 2007.

He succeeded to both posts on 3 November 2004, replacing his father Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had died the day before. He had effectively been acting president earlier, since his father was ill during the period prior to his passing.

On 1 December 2005, the President announced that half of the members of the Federal National Council, the closest body the country has to a parliament, will be indirectly elected. However, half of the council's members will still need to be appointed by the leaders of the emirates. The 40-member FNC serves in an advisory capacity. The elections were set to take place in December 2006.

On 4 January 2010, the world's tallest man-made structure, originally known as Burj Dubai, was renamed to Burj Khalifa, in honor of the Sheikh.[5]

Sheikh Khalifa is known for his interest in sports traditional to UAE, chiefly horse and camel racing. He is generally regarded as a pro-Western modernizer. Early in his term, in April 2005, he authorized a 100% salary increase for employees of the state.[citation needed]

In 2010, Khalifa was described in a WikiLeaks cable signed by the U.S. ambassador as a "distant and uncharismatic personage."[6]

In March 2011 Khalifa sent the United Arab Emirates Air Force to support the military intervention in Libya against Muammar Gaddafi alongside NATO forces, Qatar, Sweden and Jordan.[7][8]

In 2013 Khalifa launched Azzam, the longest motor yacht ever built at 590ft (180m). Azzam cost between $400-600 million to build.[9][10]

In January 2014 Khalifa suffered a stroke and was reported to have been in a stable condition after undergoing an operation.[11]


Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed is married to Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei. He has two sons who have prominent roles in Abu Dhabi and numerous daughters, who are rarely mentioned in official documents, as it is common in the Gulf ruling families.

  • Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa, born 1965, who became an influential businessman and property developer un Abu Dhabi. He is married to his cousin Sheikha Shaikha bint Saif Al Nahyan.
  • Sheikha Shaikha bint Khalifa, born 1971.
  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa, born 1972, who made an important government career before being somewhat sidelined by his uncles in the 2000 decade.
  • Sheikha Aisha bint Khalifa, who married in 2005 her cousin Sheikh Sultan bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan
  • Sheikha Mouza bint Khalifa.
  • Sheikha Osha bint Khalifa.
  • Sheikha Salama bint Khalifa, who married her cousin Sheikh Mansour bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan.
  • Sheikha Shamma bint Khalifa.
  • Sheikha Latifah bint Khalifa.


The Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai named after Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Hospital in Saidu Sharif, Pakistan, donated by the Sheikh.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, was planned to support construction of the Johns Hopkins Hospital's new cardiovascular and critical care tower (also to be named after Sheikh Zayed). Additionally, some funds would be directed to cardiovascular as well as AIDS research.[citation needed]

He also founded the Khalifa Award for Education and finances a major housing programme in Sheikh Khalifa City (Gaza Strip). A building in the theology department at the University of Wales is named after him, due to his being a benefactor. MD Anderson Cancer Center announced on 19 January 2011 that they received $150 Million from the Abu Dhabi Charity.[citation needed] The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Charity Foundation has pledged $150 million to the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center to establish a cancer treatment clinic, the Emirates News Agency reports.[citation needed]

The largest grant in the center's history will support construction of a state-of-the-art facility to house the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Specialty Institute for Cancer Diagnosis and the Ahmed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Pancreatic Cancer Center.[citation needed] The grant also will fund a number of annual fellowships and will be used to endow an oncology chair named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a cancer research chair named after Sheikh Khalifa University, and a scientific and medical research chair named after Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.[citation needed]

Speaking at a signing ceremony, M. D. Anderson Center president John Mendelsohn said that the funding will be channeled into research programs dedicated to discovering new and more effective ways of diagnosing and treating cancer.[citation needed]

On 12 January 2011, the UAE Pakistan Assistance Program was launched in order to help and provide assistance to Pakistan and mitigate the impact of floods by redeveloping infrastructure, according to the directives of Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE PAP has worked along a comprehensive redevelopment plan that takes into account the harsh geography and the rough weather conditions of the region while focusing on four main areas of social redevelopment: health, education, water and infrastructure. The Program has taken some vital steps to ease the pain and suffering that the people of Swat have become accustomed to as it provided for the construction and rehabilitation of two bridges, 52 schools and 7 hospitals, as well as the implementation of 64 water supply schemes.[12]

Properties and Seychelles Row[edit]

Seychellois government records show that since 1995 Khalifa has spent $2 million buying up more than 66 acres of land on the Seychelles' main island of Mahé, where his palace is being built.[13] Since 1995, the Seychelles' government has received large aid packages from the UAE; the UAE has pledged more than $130 million in social service and military aid, including patrol boats for the Seychelles' antipiracy efforts. In 2008, the UAE came to the indebted Seychelles government's aid, with a $30 million injection.[13]

Khalifa paid $500,000 for the 29.8-acre site of his palace in 2005, according to the sales document. A Seychelles planning authority initially rejected the palace's building plans, a decision overturned by President James Michel's cabinet.[13] A month after the start of construction of the palace, the national utility company warned that the site's plans posed threats to the water supply. Joel Morgan, the Seychelles' minister of environment, said the government did not tender the land because it wanted it to go to Khalifa. Morgan said "the letter of the law" might not have been followed in the land sale.[13] In February 2010, the sewage system set up by Ascon, the company building the palace, for construction workers building the palace, overflowed, sending rivers of waste through the region, home to more than 8000 residents.[13] Local government agencies and officials from Khalifa's office responded quickly to the problem, sending in technical experts and engineers. Government officials concluded that Ascon ignored health and building codes for their workers, and fined the company $81,000. Ascon blamed the incident on "unpredicted weather conditions".[13] Khalifa's presidential office offered to pay $15 million to replace the water-piping system for the mountainside.[13] Government officials and residents say Ascon has offered to pay roughly $8,000 to each of the 360 households that the government says have been affected by the pollution.[13]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan". Forbes. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Zayed Day: A celebration of philanthropy
  3. ^ Pendleton, Devon (11 March 2009). "The Gulf's Newest Billionaire". Forbes. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "World's tallest building opens in Dubai". BBC News. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Coker, Margaret (29 November 2010). "Leaked Papers Show Arab Leaders Critical of Iran, Neighbors". The Wall Street Journal. 
  7. ^ "UAE Updates Support to UN Resolution 1973". WAM. 24 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Libya Live Blog – March 24". Al Jazeera. 24 March 2011. Archived from the original on 24 March 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Emirati royals knock Abramovich off top of yacht league". CNBC. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Daniel Fisher (5 April 2012). "German Shipyard Launches World's Largest Private Yacht At 591 Feet". Forbes. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Sheikh Khalifa's condition stable as he recovers from stroke". The National. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  12. ^ Uae Pakistan Assistance Program
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Margaret, Coker (9 September 2010). "Sheikh Abode a Sore Point in Seychelles". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 

External links[edit]

Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Born: 25 January 1948
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Emir of Abu Dhabi
Political offices
Preceded by
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
President of the United Arab Emirates