View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sheikh Mohammed’s Ambitions for Middle East

In the Wall Street Journal Opinion section (12 January 2008), Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum outlined his ambitions for the Middle East and revealed more of his character. He said:

“But the ethos of Dubai was, and is, all about building bridges to the outside world; it was, and is, about creating connections with different cultures…”

“As a child, I learned how important it was to establish an enabling economy where the government provided incentives and an ethics-based regulatory environment, but left it to the inventiveness and energy of the private sector to expedite economic growth…”

“I am often asked, ‘What does Dubai really want?’ Well, here's my answer: ‘What we want is the continuation of a journey that began with my forebears. I truly believe that human beings have a tremendous capability of changing and improving their lot. Change and modernization are inevitable in this age of galloping globalization. But we in the Middle East need to continually and carefully calibrate that change in the public interest…’”

“I am also often asked, "What are Dubai's political ambitions?" Well, here's my answer: We don't have political ambitions. We don't want to be a superpower or any other kind of political power. The whole region is over-politicized as it is. We don't see politics as our thing, we don't want it, we don't think this is the right thing to do…”

“We are engaged in a different type of war that's really worth fighting -- fighting to alleviate poverty, generating better education, creating economic opportunity for people, and teaching people everywhere how to be entrepreneurs, to believe in themselves.”

“Humility and tolerance run deep in the Maktoum family and are very important in trying to serve one's people. I am anchored in that tradition, which is why my favorite activity is listening.”

The full text of this important statement can be read at this link:
Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Our Ambitions for the Middle East, WSJ Online, January 12, 2008, pA9.

Image: The Burj Dubai tower rises in Dubai. The world's tallest building since July 2007, it has also become the tallest free-standing structure on earth.