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I had the great honor to meet His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during my participation in the Youth Media Leadership Training Course organized by Kuwait’s Public Authority for Youth and Sports in collaboration with Emirates Foundation for Youth Development. It was a meeting which I would never forget as HH Sheikh Mohammed spoke with me face to face with the attention and love of a father and leader.

Today I recall the scene in full and ponder upon HH Sheikh Mohammed’s utmost attention to the younger generation and how keen he is on encouraging and urging this segment of the society to reach the highest echelons, show patience, remove the word (impossible) from their dictionary and engage in voluntary work, which is highly important for the advancement of countries.

On that day we had the opportunity to ask questions to HH Sheikh Mohammed. I raised my hand with confidence, not to ask him a question but to express our gratitude for the opportunities we – the younger generations – were being offered by our beloved country and wise leadership.

Trying to remember the events, I smile and I feel proud of the leadership of our country. At that moment, I was sitting directly behind HH Sheikh Mohammed. When I asked my question, he turned to me, smiling, and told us with an affectionate paternal tone: “stay where you are, I will turn to you and listen to what you have.”

I said to him: “It is our pride to stand in front of and behind your Highness; it is a great honor to talk with you.”

He then allowed me and my sister to stand in front of him and express what we had in mind.

We told HH Sheikh Mohammed that during the training course we wanted to leave a mark with the Kuwaiti delegation and to familiarize the visiting delegation with the importance of the UAE success in hosting the World Expo 2020. We explained to them that they could be part of the event as soon as they knew about Dubai nomination file. Then we distributed the Expo logo on all the participants in the course from both the Kuwaiti and UAE delegations. As a result, we were named the “Expo Sisters.

At that moment , we told HH Sheikh Mohammed: “We thought that Expo 2020 is the event and that the participants are part of that event, but we were mistaken, because the event is you my lord.. The event is HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid and the rest are part of the event.”

The attendees were surprised at our courage and were glad to see HH Sheikh Mohammed smiling with the modesty of a leader who previously dedicated the win of this event to our leader, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and to the UAE people.

Following those words, we talked to the Kuwaiti delegation about the sign launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed and signified (Win, Victory and Love). This sign was stuck in the minds of Emiratis, became their companion in the UAE march towards number 1 globally and was the focus of souvenir photos.

Later, I was very lucky to have a souvenir photo with HH Sheikh Mohammed. There were moments that would remain immortal in my memory. I told HH Sheikh Mohammed how happy and proud I was to be standing besides him and talking to him. I also told him that I would like my souvenir photo with him to be different from the other photos. I did not know how I dared to whisper in his ear that I wanted the photo to be taken while we were raising his own sign!

“As you like, my daughter”, he said with his usual kind smile.

It is a nice feeling beyond description; I cannot express it in words. His words truly reflected the phrase “the happiest people in the world live in the UAE”. This is why we have the right to be proud of our wise leadership.

While writing my article, I wished heartily that all the Emirates ID staff would have this opportunity and feel the positive energy that we felt while we were in the presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed, whose words were full of lessons, proverbs, love and inspiration to the younger generation.

We should not forget that promoting the spirit of love and devotion among the generations is one of the concepts that were reinforced and instilled in the hearts of citizens by our founding father the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may Allah rest his soul).

Asha helwan
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