Duke of York attends celebration of Sheikh Zayed’s centennial in UK

HRH Prince Andrew Albert Edward, Duke of York, has attended a celebration organised by the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, in cooperation with the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, to mark the centennial of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, with the participation of leading decision-makers and political, diplomatic, academic and intellectual figures.

The celebration, which was attended by Mohammed Haji Al Khouri, Director-General of the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, and Rawda Al Otaiba, Deputy Head of Mission at the UAE Embassy in London, is part of the participation of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research at the initiative of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan announcing 2018 as the Year of Zayed, to immortalise the memory of Sheikh Zayed, who dedicated his life to serving the nation.

In his welcoming speech, Dr. Farhan Nizami, Founder and Director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, praised the efforts of Sheikh Zayed in founding the Federation, while adding that his perseverance and early interest in education and other issues have enabled the UAE to reach its current stature.

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, said that Sheikh Zayed is a figure who was respected by everyone due to his notable regional and international achievements, while praising his support for science and his futuristic vision of the importance of education.

In his speech, Prince Andrew expressed his pleasure at participating in the celebration, while mentioning his relations with Sheikh Zayed and his role in developing British-Emirati relations. He added that he remembers Sheikh Zayed as an honest and dedicated person, who had an influential role in his understanding of the region and his love for it.

After his speech, a short film, entitled “The Inspiring Father,” was shown, which tells the story of Sheikh Zayed and his role in establishing the UAE and achieving its overall advancement.
Maqsoud Kruse, Executive Director of the Hedayah Centre, said that Sheikh Zayed was an inspiring leader due to his national efforts to establish a culture of tolerance, multiculturalism and the acceptance of others, as well as the spirit of coexistence, peace and innovation. He added that he hopes that the current generation will follow the same path, while pointing out that these values are not foreign to a country that has made the teaching of moral education a part of its educational curriculum.

A discussion was then held, which was led by Richard Makepeace, Former British Ambassador to the UAE, and saw the participation of Sir Harold Walker, Ambassador of the UK to the UAE from 1981 – 1986, who spoke about the deep bilateral relations between the UK and the UAE. Rashid bin Shabib, Advisor to Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Minister of State, also spoke about the influence of Sheikh Zayed and his ability to inspire the youth.