In the last decade, the progress made by the country has been nothing short of astounding, with rapid economic growth, huge advances in infrastructure and innumerable world-firsts to celebrate.
As well as the facts and figures, Sheikh Khalifa has also won over the hearts of the nation and the wider world, with his stance on everything from foreign aid to the environment. So in celebration of over 10 fantastic years in power, here are 10 facts you might not have known about the president of the UAE:
1. He’s a devoted philanthropist
He has spent more than $460 million of his personal fortune on humanitarian projects including funding housing on the Gaza Strip and helping rebuild Pakistan after the 2011 floods.
2. He has a military past
He is a graduate of the esteemed Royal Sandhurst Military Academy in the United Kingdom.
3. He’s environmentally conscious
He once said, “Protection of the environment and achievement of sustainable development in the UAE is a national duty.”
4. He’s a fan of the Seychelles
He bought more than 66 acres of land on the island of Mahé in order to build a palace there and has signed off numerous financial aid packages for the country to protect it from piracy and to clean up pollution.
5. His name stands tall
Originally set to be called Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, was named after the UAE leader.
6. He’s part of one of the richest families in the world
The Al Nahyan family is believed to have a collective fortune around the $150 billion mark.
7. He believes in military service
He once said, “Military service is a responsibility and an honour bestowed upon the men and women who belong to this beloved country, and whose high standing fills them with pride and glory.”
8. He’s a family man
He has eight children – two sons and six daughters – to his wife Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei, and he’s also a grandfather several times over.
9. He still finds time for hobbies
Amongst his favourite pastimes are falconry and fishing, but he also has a soft spot for football as well as camel and horse racing.
10. He supports equal rights for women
He once said, “Women are half of society, and societies that fail to employ that complete half are doomed to failure.”