Liesa Peltier

Liesa Peltier

Published: 12 Sep 2023


Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, is a name that resonates with power, influence, and vision. Known as the “Father of the Nation,” Sheikh Zayed’s remarkable leadership and dedication shaped the UAE into the thriving country it is today. While many are familiar with his accomplishments, there are still numerous surprising facts that shed light on the intriguing life of this iconic figure. From his profound love for nature and conservation to his philanthropic endeavors, Sheikh Zayed’s legacy extends far beyond politics and power. In this article, we will explore 20 surprising facts about Sheikh Zayed, revealing the lesser-known aspects of his life that continue to inspire and captivate the world.

Table of Contents

Sheikh Zayed was the founding father of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

As the first President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed played a pivotal role in the unification of the seven emirates and the establishment of a modern nation.

Sheikh Zayed was born on May 6, 1918, in Abu Dhabi.

Hailing from the Al Nahyan family, Sheikh Zayed was born into a prominent ruling family in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Zayed was known as the “Father of Conservation.”

He recognized the importance of conserving the UAE’s natural resources and was instrumental in the creation of numerous protected areas and environmental initiatives.

Sheikh Zayed was a strong advocate for women’s rights.

He believed in gender equality and actively supported women’s education and empowerment, paving the way for greater opportunities for women in the UAE.

Sheikh Zayed was deeply committed to education.

He spearheaded efforts to establish schools, colleges, and universities across the UAE, ensuring access to quality education for all citizens.

Sheikh Zayed played a prominent role in modernizing infrastructure.

Under his leadership, the UAE witnessed significant advancements in transportation, healthcare, housing, and other key sectors.

Sheikh Zayed established the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

This fund has played a crucial role in providing financial assistance to developing countries, supporting their socio-economic progress.

Sheikh Zayed believed in the power of diplomacy and peaceful coexistence.

He fostered strong diplomatic relations with countries around the world, contributing to regional stability and global harmony.

Sheikh Zayed was a visionary leader.

He had a long-term vision for the UAE and implemented strategies to diversify the economy, reducing reliance on oil and gas.

Sheikh Zayed emphasized the importance of cultural preservation.

He promoted cultural heritage and supported initiatives that safeguarded the UAE’s traditions, customs, and arts.

Sheikh Zayed implemented social welfare programs.

He introduced various initiatives to uplift the standard of living for all citizens, providing healthcare, housing, and financial support to those in need.

Sheikh Zayed had a love for falconry.

He enjoyed practicing falconry, a traditional Arab sport, and encouraged its preservation as an important aspect of cultural identity.

Sheikh Zayed inspired the concept of “majlis.”

He believed in the importance of open dialogue and consultation, regularly hosting majlis gatherings where people could voice their opinions and concerns.

Sheikh Zayed was a prominent philanthropist.

He contributed generously to charitable causes, both within the UAE and internationally, providing support to those in need.

Sheikh Zayed promoted environmental sustainability.

He advocated for responsible environmental practices, leading to the implementation of various eco-friendly initiatives throughout the UAE.

Sheikh Zayed was a driving force behind the UAE’s modern infrastructure.

His vision and leadership were instrumental in the development of iconic landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Sheikh Zayed believed in the importance of unity among Arab nations.

He actively pursued collaborations with neighboring countries, aiming to strengthen bilateral ties and enhance regional stability.

Sheikh Zayed had a love for horses.

He was an avid horse enthusiast and supported equestrian sports, including the renowned Dubai World Cup.

Sheikh Zayed’s leadership extended beyond the UAE.

He was highly respected on the global stage, known for his humanitarian efforts and commitment to international relations.

Sheikh Zayed’s legacy lives on.

His vision and values continue to shape the UAE, providing a strong foundation for future generations to build upon.


In conclusion, Sheikh Zayed was truly an extraordinary individual who left an indelible mark on the world. From his visionary leadership and tireless efforts in building a prosperous nation to his charitable endeavors and commitment to the well-being of his people, Sheikh Zayed’s legacy continues to inspire generations.Through this article, we have uncovered 20 surprising facts about Sheikh Zayed, shedding light on his personal life, achievements, and philanthropic endeavors. From his passion for nature and conservation to his deep commitment to education and women’s empowerment, Sheikh Zayed’s multifaceted personality and unwavering dedication to his country have made him an icon of leadership and compassion.As we reflect on Sheikh Zayed’s life and achievements, we are reminded of the power of determination, generosity, and love for humanity. His legacy serves as a testament to the incredible impact one person can make in transforming a nation and leaving a lasting imprint on the world.


1. Who was Sheikh Zayed?

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the founder and first President of the United Arab Emirates. He played a pivotal role in uniting the seven Emirates and transforming the UAE into a modern and prosperous nation.

2. What was Sheikh Zayed known for?

Sheikh Zayed was known for his visionary leadership, commitment to sustainable development, and advocacy for social welfare. He was also recognized for his efforts in promoting education, women’s empowerment, and cultural preservation.

3. How did Sheikh Zayed contribute to the development of the UAE?

Sheikh Zayed spearheaded various infrastructure projects, such as the construction of schools, hospitals, roads, and housing complexes, which played a vital role in uplifting the living standards of the people and boosting the country’s economy.

4. Did Sheikh Zayed have any environmental initiatives?

Yes, Sheikh Zayed was a champion of environmental conservation. He established several protected areas and wildlife reserves, showcasing his commitment to preserving the unique biodiversity of the UAE.

5. How did Sheikh Zayed contribute to philanthropy?

Sheikh Zayed was a firm believer in philanthropy and donated generously to causes both within the UAE and around the world. His charitable initiatives supported various sectors, including healthcare, education, poverty alleviation, and disaster relief.

6. What is Sheikh Zayed’s legacy?

Sheikh Zayed’s legacy is one of nation-building, compassion, and progress. His contributions to the UAE’s development, commitment to social welfare, and advocacy for global harmony continue to inspire people worldwide.