“We are always proud and grateful, and honour the late Sheikh Zayed for fulfilling the dreams of women in the UAE.”

If you haven’t heard the news already, 2018 will be the Year of Zayed in the UAE.

Initiatives across the 12 months will pay tribute to HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s wisdom, achievements and vision, marking 100 years since the Emirates’ Founding Father’s birth.

The news was praised by leaders across the country when it was revealed on Sunday – and now his widow, HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, has also hailed the announcement.

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Describing the plan as “one of the greatest gestures by the country’s people and leadership”, Sheikha Fatima paid tribute to the man “who led his country and his people towards progress and prosperity”.

Sheikh Zayed “paved the way for his successors to achieve their hopes and aspirations”, the Mother of the Nation added.

The 2018 theme was revealed by HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who announced “we will proudly share memories of the life of the Founding Father… and his gift to us of deeply rooted values, principles and traditions”.

Sheikha Fatima also drew attention to her late husband’s commitment towards empowering Emirati women, urging women across the UAE to take part in the year’s activities.

“Zayed made their dreams come true by empowering them in all areas of education, providing them with comprehensive health care, social integration, and making available work opportunities through which they have achieved success,” the Mother of the Nation said in a statement on her website.

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“We are always proud and grateful, and honour the late Sheikh Zayed for fulfilling the dreams of women in the UAE.”

Sheikha Fatima, chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, also commended the Emirates’ leaders for following in Sheikh Zayed’s footsteps by recently adopting a National Strategy for Motherhood and Childhood.

Throughout 2018, initiatives will be established that mark Sheikh Zayed’s pioneering spirit, vision for the UAE and his leadership.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has called for a framework to be established for such programmes, so we’ll bring you more on what to expect from 2018 when we have it.

In the meantime, click here to learn more about how Sheikh Zayed was ahead of his time when it comes to women’s rights…

The coffee table book Father of Our Nation, Dhs95, is available to buy online now.

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