As the UAE celebrates the momentous occasion of 50 years, we all look back at the vision the nation was founded on – the vision of the Father of the Nation, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

While he passed away on November 2, 2004, his legacy continues to live on in the pearls of wisdom he shared during his time as President of the UAE.

By building a strong foundation for the country since its inception, he managed to infuse his strong ideals to build the UAE to be one of the finest countries in the world.

After becoming the President of the UAE in 1971 at 51 years old, he built a nation on strong values and respect and ensured he left a strong legacy behind, with memories that continue to be alive in the hearts of many.

As we go down memory lane, Emirates Woman looks back at some of the most profound quotes during his time.

On women empowerment

“The woman is half of the society; any country which pursues development should not leave her in poverty or illiteracy.”

On an equal say

“I am not imposing change on anyone. That is tyranny. All of us have our opinions, and these opinions can change. Sometimes we put all opinions together and then extract from them a single point of view. This is our democracy.”

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On what holds more value

“Arab oil can never be dearer than Arab blood.”

On building a strong work ethic

“It is my duty as the leader of the young people of this country to encourage them to work and to exert themselves in order to raise their own standards and to be of service to the country. The individual who is healthy and of a sound mind and body but who does not work commits a crime against himself and society.”

On the meaning of real wealth

“Every individual has to perform his duty. Man is mortal, but his work is not. Therefore, work is greater than wealth.”

On a leader’s real responsibility

“The ruler, any ruler, is only there to serve his people and secure for their prosperity and progress. To achieve this, he should live among his people to feel their wishes and know their problems, and this cannot be achieved if he isolates himself from them.”

On the past

“History is a continuous chain of events. The present is only an extension of the past.”

On the media’s role

“The Press has the duty as well as the right to criticise. We welcome constructive criticism.”

On embracing change

“Situations change from time to time. A friend may become an enemy and an enemy a friend. Life is inconsistent and ever-changing. So are health and weather. We must, therefore, be prepared for the unexpected changes coming our way.”

On the meaning behind a nation’s progress

“No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities.”

We remember him on this special occasion and beyond.

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Images: Getty/WAM