Khalifa between Zayed Al Nahyan


May 17, 2022

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan (Arabic: خليفة بن زايد بن سلطان آل نهيان) (September 7, 1948 – May 13, 2022) was President of the United Arab Emirates from November 3, 2004 until his death. He was also the Emir of Abu Dhabi during that period.


In 1971 Khalifa became Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and five years later he was appointed Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces. Known as moderate pro-westerners, Khalifa took the first tentative steps towards a more democratic system for the UAE in 2005, including by allowing half of the members of the Federal National Council to vote indirectly by the people. After the outbreak of the global financial crisis, he caused a stir in 2009 by keeping Dubai afloat with billions in aid. The world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, was named in his honor. He was also the patron for the restoration of the Imperial Theater at Fontainebleau Castle in France, and the theater was subsequently named after him. The Arab Spring in 2011 – a wave of uprisings, protests and revolutions in the Arab world – passed the Emirates by his authoritarian leadership. Khalifa had numerous activists and Islamists incarcerated, for which he was strongly criticized by various human rights groups. After Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014, his half-brother and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan became the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates.

Health and death

After his stroke, Khalifa struggled with failing health. He passed away on May 13, 2022 at the age of 73. Following this, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the United Arab Emirates announced a 40-day mourning period. Khalifa was buried in the Al Bateen cemetery in Abu Dhabi.

See also

List of heads of state or government in 2022 History of the United Arab Emirates