Welcome to one of the views from our apartment:
Let’s hear it for the boys (2 of them at least!): Sheikhs Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (VP of the UAE and monarch of Dubai) his late brother Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who held the title before him.
Another individual whose face adorns many a busy street or building here in Dubai is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan (President of UAE and monarch of Abu Dhabi).
Now you dont see these signs everywhere, but they are ubiquitous to Dubai roads and buildings (I’d assume all UAE is similar, but Dubai is the only emirate I’ve been to)!
Sheikh translates to leader of an Arab tribe, and each of the 7 emirates (think of them like states in the USA) in the UAE is headed by a constitutional monarch, with Sheikh Khalifa (as in the namesake of the Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world) as President of the UAE. At the most basic level, the ruler of Abu Dhabi is President of the United Arab Emirates, the head of state, and the ruler of Dubai is the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, the head of government. Easy, right? :S
Back to Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Khalifa. “Elections” for the president and vice president are held every 5 years, but although unofficial, “…the Presidency is de facto hereditary to the Al Nahyan clan of Abu Dhabi and the Premiership [Vice Presidency] is hereditary to the Al-Maktom clan of Dubai.” So essentially, both inherited their titles and responsibilities from family members (Mohammed from his older brother and Khalifa from his father). Got it? Good.
So visitors/residents: be on the lookout for various revered UAE leaders watching you from afar – let’s hear it for the boys! They’ve made Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the UAE what it is today. Until next time…