Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Biography

(2nd President of UAE (2004–2022))

Birthday: January 25, 1948 (Aquarius)

Born In: Al Ain, Trucial States

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 2004 to 2022. He was also the sixteenth Emir for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is the largest of the Emirates comprising the UAE. Born in the Eastern region of Abu Dhabi, he was the eledest son of Sheikh Zayed and Her Highness Sheikha Hessa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He was married to Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei and they had eight children. After the death of his father, he assumed the presidency of UAE. As President, he launched several initiatives to improve the prevailing political and social conditions in the country. Apart from being a President, he was also the chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a financial company that deals with over $800 billion. He is fondly revered by his countrymen, and the Burj Khalifa was renamed in his honor.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Died At Age: 74


Spouse/Ex-: Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei (1964)

father: Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

mother: Hassa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan

siblings: Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ahmed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Al Yazia bint Zayed Al Nahyan, Dana Amari bint Zayed Al Nahyan, Dhiab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Falah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Latifa bint Zayed Al Nahyan, Maitha bint Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Mouza bint Zayed Al Nahyan, Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Nasser bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Omar bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Roda bint Zayed Al Nahyan, Saeed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Shaikha bint Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Shamma bint Zayed Al Nahyan, Shamsa bint Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Mansour, Sultan bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Tahnoon bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Wadeema bint Zayed Al Nahyan

children: Lateefa bint Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Mouza bint Zayed Al Nahyan, Osha bint Zayed Al Nahyan, Salama bint Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Shamma bint Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikha bint Zayed Al Nahyan, Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan

Born Country: United Arab Emirates

Presidents Political Leaders

Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males

Died on: May 13, 2022

Childhood & Early Life
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was born on 7 September 1948, in Al Muwaji Fort in Al Ain. He is the eldest son of the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Hessa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. His family, traces its history to the Bani Yas tribe, the original people of the UAE
He completed his initial education at the city school in Al Ain and thereafter graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was mentored by his father in his early years. He was constantly spoken to by public majlis, who trained and educated him in skills of leadership, administration, and politics.
He was also guided by his grandfather Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa, his grandmother Sheikha Salama, and his mother.
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Initiation Into Politics

In 1966, his father, in capacity as the Emir of Abu Dhabi appointed Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as his representative in the Eastern Province; Sheikh Khalifa was only 18 years old at that time.

As the representative of the Eastern Province, he initiated make several changes and implemented developmental projects that were aimed at improving local agriculture. His success at this juncture assured the public of his leadership skills.

He went on to hold several posts, including that of the main executive leader of his father’s government and oversaw the implementation of projects.

In February 1969, he was named the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and was subsequently appointed the Head of the Department of Defence. He supervised the growth of Abu Dhabi Defence Forces, which later became the core of UAE Armed Forces.

In 1971, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was made the Emir or Ruler of Abu Dhabi and the Minister of Defence and Finance. In a couple of years during the cabinet allocation, he was given the post of Deputy Prime Minister.

In 1974, he became the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. He spearheaded major improvements and transformed Abu Dhabi into a modern city.

He established the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, in 1976, to ensure a stable source of income. Today, he is credited for the country’s defence capabilities and its institutions. He became the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in 1976.

He established the Abu Dhabi Department of Social Services and Commercial Buildings in 1981. He also created Private Loans Authority in 1991.


After the death of his father in November 2004, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected as the President on 3 November 2004. His father, Sheikh Zayed, had served as the President from 1971 to 2004. He took oath to continue the legacy of his father and ensure the country’s prosperity.

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He focused on developing the oil and gas sector, toured the country to understand the country’s requirements, and launched initiatives to developed projects related to social services, education, housing, and infrastructure.

He also took an interest in sports, particularly football. He encouraged local teams to participate across regional and international tournaments.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was re-elected as the President in 2009. He succeeded not only in improving the country’s growth but also reached out to other countries to build healthy relations. He also generously donated for many crises in the world and offered help in cases of many natural disasters.

He launched several successful initiatives, including the Khalifa Excellence Award, Khalifa Award for Education, Debt Settlement Fund, and the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation.

He announced 2015 as the year of Innovation allocated over AED 300 billion on innovation through science and technology.

He dedicated 2016 as a year of reading and pushed efforts to improve the country’s educational institutions. To this end, he launched the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program.

Sheikh Khalifa declared 2017 to be the Year of Giving, where the focus was on improving social responsibility, volunteering, and national pride.

To honor the founding president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s centennial birth anniversary, Sheikh Khalifa declared 2018 as the year of Zayed. He focused on highlighting the leader’s achievements.

During his tenure, he was at the forefront of many projects, built several highways, reconstructed many houses, and built several hospitals. He also extended his support for health-care programs with a special focus on Polio.

Under him, The Emirates Polio Campaign was launched and it aimed to bring the epidemic under control in Pakistan. Bill and Melinda Gates joined hands to help Sheikh Khalifa in this campaign to end polio by 2018.

He was among the wealthiest monarchs in the world.

Personal Life & Legacy

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was married to Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei since 1964 and they had eight children.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan died on 13 May 2022 after prolonged illness.

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