EVERY Monday, Abu Dhabi and other emirates apply the open-door policy of transparency, which brings down the barriers between the ruler and the ruled.
On Mondays, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed holds his gathering (majlis) which is characterized by different faces, opinions and demands, and where the advisor, people with suggestions, the needy and the observers meet.
During this gathering, Sheikh Mohammad listens directly to what every individual present in that gathering has to say. He does not settle for the reports referred to him by the concerned employees, as personal whims might interfere with the actual context of issues.
Sheikh Mohammad shows keen interest in everything. His directives are always ready to be dispatched. It is at his gathering that people in need get their needs fulfilled. Suggestions presented during this gathering are referred for study. All this is because they believe an official has to be among the people and there should always be direct communication with the public in order to know their needs and to listen to their ideas.
This tradition was established by the late Sheikh Zayed Sultan Al-Nahyan and adopted by his children. It is practiced in all emirates, and contributes to the stability of the country, as every individual is given the opportunity to express themselves directly in front of the ruler.
Everyone there works on serving the nation instead of engaging in unproductive useless talks. Because of this, Abu Dhabi has become the “pearl of the pearls” which form the United Arab Emirates, making it stand in line with advanced countries in various aspects including scientific, economic and construction aspects.
It opened its doors to diversity in civilization, which is evident in the Monday gatherings that are attended by members of the diplomatic corps, special guests and important personalities to listen to every matter from local politics to international politics as well as agendas concerning information and latest inventions.
When I met Khalaf Al-Habtoor, a businessman from the United Arab Emirates, who had just returned from a gathering of Mohammad bin Zayed, he said, “This Sheikh is a man of blessing. He receives a huge number of people in his Monday gatherings. He does not get tired of listening to everyone there; in fact, he even knows those who are there and calls them by their names and titles … May Allah bless this man who has given leadership its true meaning, which is, transparency, as opposed to isolating oneself behind office walls”.
It is not possible for a fair observer to read the achievements of the United Arab Emirates especially Abu Dhabi in terms of modernity, human development and land, and isolate such achievements from the ability of its leaders to provide suitable atmosphere for everyone to be innovative and giving.
In fact, the leaders encourage their people to be innovative and giving because they are building a nation that they are proud of — an able and strong nation. Through this, they have formed their unique identity of being open to the world, because they themselves are open to their people.
May Allah bless Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates with men like Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed; men who have created glory of development, security and stability in the Arab world, which is being battered by violence and extremism.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times