A Vision True

Diplomacy & Politics


A Vision True


A Vision True

Dubai's leadership platform has offered the stability needed for the Emirate to take a principal political and economic role in the region.


Governed as a federation of constitutional monarchies since its independence from the UK in 1971, the UAE includes Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. The government of the UAE is guided by a federal constitution that establishes the privileges and duties of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the national government as well as reserving substantial powers and autonomy for the governments of the individual emirates. The balance of power between the emirates at the national level corresponds to the size and influence of each emirate, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai assuming the largest share of leadership responsibility. As the capital city of the UAE, the ruler of Abu Dhabi has served as the President since the country’s formation, with the ruler of Dubai serving as the Prime Minister and Vice-President. The constitution of the UAE also establishes the rights, freedoms, and duties of Emirati citizens and gives the federal government responsibility for foreign policy, international economic policy, and national security.


Since 1833, Dubai has been under the leadership of the Al Maktoum family. The local government of Dubai, or the Dubai Municipality (DM), was established in 1954 by Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Today, the Dubai Municipality is chaired by Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and brother of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The DM oversees local government entities such as the Roads Department, Planning and Survey Department, Environment and Public Health Department, and Financial Affairs Department. Sheikh Hamdan also serves as the Finance Minister of the UAE, and has led UAE delegations to the IMF and OPEC. Two of Sheikh Mohammed’s sons, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, who is the Crown Prince of Dubai, and Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, assist their father and uncle with the administration of DM as deputy rulers of Dubai. The Crown Prince also serves as the Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and head of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders. Sheikh Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed’s brother, serves on the boards of several media and technology companies in Dubai as well as working closely and traveling with the President and Prime Minister of the UAE on foreign trips.

Another key royal family member and leader in municipal public affairs is Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Sheikh Mohammed’s youngest brother and chairman of Dubai World. Sheikh Ahmed has been a business leader in Dubai for more than 25 years as well as serving as Second Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee.


Dubai not only uses its economic wealth for business and trade, but also for international aid. In 2007, Dubai launched the Dubai Cares platform, a philanthropic organization with the aim of contributing to the UN Millennium Development Goals aimed at reducing poverty in developing countries through improving education levels and gender equality. The primary focus of Dubai Cares is to improve classroom conditions and the quality of education in poor and developing countries. Although the program originally aimed to raise AED200 million, contributions far exceeded this target, totaling more than AED1.7 billion, or some $463 million.

The organization shares the view of the UN Millennium Development Goals that education is the best way to lift societies out of poverty and is working to achieve universal primary education and significant improvements in equal gender access to education by providing aid to more than 7 million students in 28 countries. Describing his country’s humanitarian efforts on his website, Sheikh Mohammed says, “our aid has humanitarian objectives only; it is never governed by politics or limited by the geography, race, color or religion of the beneficiary. We provide humanitarian capital and are a major relief station for the poor; we do not hesitate to help and support the brother, the ill-fated friend, or the needy wherever they are. This is our message to the world, and this is the United Arab Emirates.”

Dubai is also playing an increasingly important role in the world of global sports and horse racing. Thanks to the support of Sheikh Mohammed and his love for sports, Dubai now hosts numerous international competitive events, including the Dubai Tennis Championships, the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament, the Dubai Rugby Sevens, and the Dubai World Cup. The Dubai World Cup, established in 1996, has a $10 million purse for the winner, making it the world’s most valuable horse-racing prize. An accomplished athlete and horseman himself, the Ruler of Dubai strongly supports the development of Dubai as an international sports destination and hopes to increase the sports offering in the coming years.


In the realm of international affairs, the UAE maintains cordial relations with neighboring countries and projects its stability and focus on economic development internationally. Despite the difficulties faced in the Gulf region over the past few decades, including the Iran-Iraq war, the occupation of Kuwait, and the US invasion of Iraq, Dubai and the UAE have managed to steer clear of conflicts and maintain stability during difficult periods of regional turmoil. In an interview with TBY, Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State, emphasized that the UAE has “a positive and extremely open relationship with all countries around the world.”

While the UAE maintains good relations with the US and the West, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has made the case for expanding relations with rising economic powers. He said in a recent speech that the UAE “look[s] forward to bolstering our relations with fast growing countries, such as India, Russia, China, Brazil, and South Africa.” Looking forward, Dubai hopes to bolster its profile yet further with its bid to host the World Expo 2020. Supporters of Dubai’s candidacy argue that the Emirate is a crossroads of culture and ideas, and that its geography and rapidly developing infrastructure make it a central location to bring together countries from the north, south, east, and west. When looking at the Emirate’s ambitious growth over the past five decades, it is easy to understand how it has developed into a central part of the global economy.