Many young Emiratis who are barely old enough to remember the rule of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, say his life, teachings and accomplishments still inspire them.
Sheikh Zayed died 11 years ago on this day in the Islamic calendar, the 19th day of Ramadan, and in an article published by the The National daily, many students expressed their thoughts on how Sheikh Zayed's legacy inspires their lives as Emiratis.
"The younger generation should use the anniversary of Sheikh Zayed's death to reflect on the hardships their ancestors faced and how they overcame them," opined an Emirati student, Maryam Qassim, adding, "He instilled his vision in us, and young Emiratis are finding more and more ways to move forward. We must live up to his visions."
She said it was up to younger people to keep the memory of Sheikh Zayed alive. "Documentaries, biographies, and even movies can be created to reach out to the interests of the new generations."
She added that Sheikh Zayed's example had allowed Emiratis and expatriates to live in unity. "This also teaches us to accept one another, no matter what different backgrounds or cultures we come from, and how our beliefs differ," she said.
Another student said that Sheikh Zayed taught her "persistence in making a vision a reality, leading by example and modesty. Members of the community can continue Sheikh Zayed's legacy through generosity, tolerance and wisdom," said Alanoud Madhi.
Aesha Al Hammadi said, "I learnt that a dream can't be achieved easily and that I should give a lot to reach that dream no matter how big it is – just like Sheikh Zayed, who built a country that is so unique and beautiful, starting from nothing."
Dubai Abulhoul, a student and writer, recalled a quote from Sheikh Zayed that inspired her, "It is my duty as the leader of the young people of this country to encourage them to work and to exert themselves to raise their own standards and to be of service to the country".
Omar Al Owais, aged 17, said Sheikh Zayed was more like a father figure than a ruler, and had "set an example by putting his nation before himself".