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Fri 1 Feb 2008 03:36 PM

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Dubai's new crown prince

Walid Akawi on the importance of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's appointment.

The appointment of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as Crown Prince of Dubai is a move that could radically change perceptions of not only the city, but the wider Middle East.

At the age of 25, Sheikh Hamdan represents a new breed of ruler: a striking mix of youth, outstanding academic achievement, and experience in both government and the private sector.

Already, the new Crown Prince has benefited from an education that began at Dubai's Rashid Private School, continued at Britain's Sandhurst Royal Military Academy and London School of Economics, and concluded at Dubai School of Government.

His achievements in business and government are no less impressive: as Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan was instrumental in the creation of the Dubai Government Strategy Forum, which sets goals and targets for the Emirate over the next decade.

Like his father, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan is known for his prolific work ethic, which he uses to drive greater performance within the government agencies he oversees.

His passion for sport and horsemanship has made H.H. Sheikh Hamdan a role model for young Emiratis, particularly when he won a gold medal at the Asian Olympic Games for endurance riding.

He has also been instrumental in supporting both the most vulnerable in Dubai society through his presidency of the Dubai Autism Centre, and for emerging Arab entrepreneurs, through his presidency of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders.

His position as Crown Prince of Dubai will give him unrivalled influence over the future direction for the emirate. A city that has grown so dramatically over the past 10 years deserves and looks forward to the leadership of this young and vibrant leader.

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