Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the ruler of Dubai and vice-president and prime minister of the UAE, is probably one of the most popular leaders on the planet.
His visionary leadership, outstanding accomplishments and down to earth nature gained him the love and respect of Emiratis and expats from all around the world.
In 2016, he reminded us once again why we see him as a great leader; sometimes by being a great visionary, other times by being an ordinary person just like the rest of us.
Here’s a walk through Sheikh Mohammed’s best moments of 2016:
1. When he photobombed an Emirati lady’s video … like a boss
— برق الإمارات (@UAE_BARQ) 5 декабря 2016 г.
It all happened when an Emirati woman was taking a video selfie as Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed and his entourage were passing by.
His eyes landed on the phone camera and rather than turn away from it, he photobombed the video with a wide smile and his signature three finger victory salute.
He photobombed her velfie like a boss.
2. When he recreated a 45 year old photo on National Day
Sheikh Mohammed stood with the rulers of the other emirates on the 45th National Day, recreating a photo that was taken on the same day in 1971. It’s the best throwback photo we’ve seen all year, no doubt.
3. When he wrote a beyond inspirational letter to Paulo Coelho
These Letters Between Sheikh Mohammed And Paulo Coelho Will Go Down In History https://t.co/qIDL7yMjgW
— Sahar Huneidi (@SaharHuneidi) 2 ноября 2016 г.
Who knew that these two great men were pen pals? The famous Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho sent a letter to Sheikh Mohammed earlier this year, congratulating him on the launch of the Arab Reading Challenge.
Sheikh Mohammed then responded with an inspirational letter that caught the attention of thousands of people.
4. When he casually approached an Egyptian actress with a pat on the back
Egyptian actress Ghada Abdul Razek was having dinner with her friends in Dubai when Sheikh Mohammed walked to her table to personally say “hi”, with a casual pat on the back as he walked away.
Can we get one too, please?
5. When he proved to be “Father of the Year”
That moment he was captured kissing his youngest son Zayed, while they both enjoyed a meal at Shake Shack in Dubai. The photo was posted by his wife Princess Haya on her Instagram page.
6. When he met the young Emirati girl who imitated him
مع ابنتي مهرة الشحي .. ملاك إماراتي .. وملكة الأطفال .. pic.twitter.com/wDLHOP49fh
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) 28 октября 2016 г.
An Emirati girl, not older than 4-years-old, stole Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed‘s heart in October after posting a video on Instagram parodying his speeches.
Going by the name m.alshehi, the girl grabbed the attention of over 180,000 people with the video, and for good reason.
Sheikh Mohammad stumbled across the video and said he was “in awe” and asked if people could help him meet her. He eventually did.
7. When he wrote an incredible letter about tolerance
To commemorate the UAE’s International Day for Tolerance, Sheikh Mohammed penned an inspirational message about coexistence and peace.
“Our pride stems from the fact that we are a country where everyone thrives equally regardless of their differences, with true love and acceptance: a country where people live and work harmoniously, raising their children to enjoy a future free of the fear of extremism, intolerance or discrimination based on their race, color, religion, sect or ethnicity,” he wrote.
8. When he paid a surprise visit to government offices … only to find them partially empty
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) 28 августа 2016 г.
Back in August, Sheikh Mohammed made an unannounced early morning visit to the Dubai Municipality offices only to find some of these offices empty.
He wasn’t too pleased with what he saw, and he ordered nine senior officials to retire.
9. When he proved to be “Father of the Year” again!
Sheikh Mohammed casually stopped by Al Jalila School to visit his daughter in class.
He then took a photo with her and her classmates, proving once again that he really is the “Father of the Year!”
The young royal can safely say she has a really cool dad … who also happens to be the ruler of the emirate!
10. When “empowering women” was more than just talk
Women empower the UAE society today as: 2/3rds of government employees & university graduates & 1/3rd of our Cabinet
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) 27 августа 2016 г.
On Emirati Women’s Day, Sheikh Mohammed paid a strong tribute to Emirati women.
He acknowledged the role of women in society by tweeting: “We do not only empower women, but we empower the whole community through women”.
Women’s Day was first introduced in 2015 to honor women serving in the nation’s military. It coincides with anniversary of the General Women’s Union, which is dedicated to empowering Emirati women and was founded in 1975 .
11. When he proved to be just like the rest of us …
12. Except cooler
Princess Haya wants the world to know just how cool her husband is, as if we didn’t already.
Back in November, she posted a video of Sheikh Mohammed casually hanging out with a sea turtle in his light blue swim shorts and a white t-shirt.
The video garnered more than 80,000 views on Instagram. We’re not surprised.