LIFE OF SERVICE

UAE, Sharjah 2017 | DIPLOMACY | PROFILE

HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has been instrumental in the growth and development of Sharjah, with his passion for academia a driving force in the growth of the knowledge economy.

Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi
BIOGRAPHY
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has been instrumental in the growth and development of Sharjah, with his passion for academia a driving force in the growth of the knowledge economy.

It was the perfect post for a man whose childhood was defined by a passion for learning. His official bio speaks of a deep-rooted love for his country and a desire to learn about its history. He was also taught the Holy Quran by Sheikh Faris bin Abdul Rahman. In 1948, at nine years of age, he enrolled in Al Eslah As Qasimia School and, six years later, took the initiative to learn the English language at a private English school. He completed his elementary and secondary education between Sharjah and Kuwait and, in 1965, enrolled in the College of Agriculture at Cairo University. He later continued his education, obtaining a doctorate in history from Exeter University in the UK, with a thesis on the accusations of piracy and trials of the East India Company to control the Gulf (1797-1820). In his constant quest for knowledge, he obtained a second doctorate, this time on the political geography of the Gulf, from Durham University, UK, in 1999 with a thesis on power struggles and trade in the Gulf (1620-1820).

Destined for a life of public service, His Highness also began chairing the Municipality in 1965, and following graduation in 1971 managed the Ruler's office in Sharjah before, as a young man, witnessing the historic foundation of the UAE and becoming its Minister of Education.

His Highness is the 18th Ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah and the latest Al Qasimi to rule in a chain stretching back to 1600. He has helped to oversee the transformation of Sharjah into a well diversified economy with a nominal GDP per capita of USD19,000. He maintains close links to the world of academia, and has acted, since 1997, as the President of the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and the University of Sharjah, with previous positions including: Visiting Professor, Exeter University (1998); Professor of modern history of the Gulf, University of Sharjah (1999); Faculty Member and Visiting Professor, Cairo University (2008); Visiting Professor, Cairo University (2008); and President, Al Qasimia University, Sharjah (2015).

His Highness is a much-loved leader, and often champions causes that he holds close to his heart. Among others, is keen to promote the nurturing of civic awareness and social responsibility and the fostering of culture, arts, and sciences. He is also keen to conserve national heritage and Arab identity, as well as promote a culture of social care.

During his reign, Sharjah has received many plaudits in these areas, including being chosen as the Cultural and Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO in 1998. This led to the establishment of the Sharjah Award for Arabic Culture. Later, in 2014, Sharjah became the Islamic Culture Capital of the Arab Region for 2014.

Last year was the “Year of Reading” in the UAE, and the Emirate stepped up efforts to boost literacy and instill the desire to read in young people across Sharjah. In line with this goal, HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi authorized the distribution of AED2.5 million worth of books to the public, schools, and university libraries. In a nod to how far the Emirate has come, when the UAE was first established, not a single secondary institution was open; today, Sharjah boasts nine universities, with AUS and the University of Sharjah ranked among the top five. Further demonstrating how much emphasis is placed on knowledge and learning in the Emirate, the Sharjah International Book Fair, with HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi as its patron and first run in 1982, has become one of the largest book fairs in the world.