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Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Arabic: خليفة بن زايد بن سلطان آل نهيان; born 25 January 1948; referred to as Sheikh Khalifa) is the current President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and emir of Abu Dhabi. He succeeded to both posts on 3 November 2004, replacing his father Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had died the day before. He had effectively been acting president earlier, since his father was in ill health.
He is the current chairman of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).
The eldest son of Sheikh Zayed, Khalifa was appointed as Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi (the mayor) and as Head of the Courts Department in Al Ain in 1966, as his father Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became the new ruler of Abu Dhabi. Zayed was the Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region. Few months later the position was handed to Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan
On 1 February 1969, Sheikh Khalifa was nominated as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and on the next day he was appointed as the Head of the Abu Dhabi Department of Defence, in which post he oversaw the building up of the Abu Dhabi Defence Force, ADDF, which later became the nucleus of the UAE Armed Forces.
Following the establishment of the UAE in 1971, Sheikh Khalifa became the Prime Minister of Abu Dhabi (and head of Abu Dhabi Cabinet, under his father), Minister of Defense and Finance. Following the reconstruction of the Federation Cabinet including the abolishing of Abu Dhabi Cabinet and setting up of Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, he became the 2ndDeputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates on 23 December 1973 and Chairman of Executive Council of Abu Dhabi on 20 January 1974, under his father.
In May 1976 he became deputy commander of the UAE armed forces, under the President.
He also heads the Supreme Petroleum Council in the late 1980s (until today), which enjoys wide powers in energy matters.
He was the Chairman of the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency, ERWDA.Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with thenPresident of Russia Vladimir Putin on 10 September 2007.
He succeeded to both posts on 3 November 2004, replacing his father Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had died the day before. He had effectively been acting president earlier, since his father was ill during the period prior to his passing.
On 1 December 2005, the President announced that half of the members of the Federal National Council, the closest body the country has to a parliament, will be indirectly elected. However, half of the council's members will still need to be appointed by the leaders of the emirates. The 40-member FNC serves in an advisory capacity. The elections were set to take place in December 2006.
Sheikh Khalifa is known for his interest in sports traditional to UAE, chiefly horse and camel racing. He is generally regarded as a pro-Western modernizer. Early in his term, in April 2005, he authorized a 100% salary increase for employees of the state.
In 2010 Khalifa was described in a recent WikiLeaks cable signed by the U.S. ambassador as a "distant and uncharismatic personage."
In recent times there have been question marks over his health as he has not been seen in public for a number of months since returning from receiving medical treatment in Europe for an undisclosed condition. In 2011 he sent in the UAE's Air Force and Navy to support the Anti - Gaddafi rebels against Muammar Gaddafi alongside NATO , Qatar, Sweden , and Jordan .
Khalifa is building a six-storey palace on the main island of the Seychelles, on the site of a former United States satellite tracking station, the 27 hectares of land were bought by Khalifa for millions Seychelles rupee. Sewage from the huts and shipping containers which house the hundreds of South Asian workers building the palace has polluted one of Seychelles' main rivers, and has destroyed the water supply of several villages. In November 2009, the official passport stamp of the Seychelles, a coco de mer was replaced by a square, apparently at the behest of Sheikh Khalifa, who objected to the nuts resemblance to buttocks.
On 30 April 2007, Johns Hopkins Medicine announced a "magnificent" and "transformational" gift by Sheikh Khalifa, most of which, made in honor of Sheikh Khalifa’s father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, was planned to support construction of the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s new cardiovascular and critical care tower (also to be named after Sheikh Zayed). Additionally, some funds would be directed to cardiovascular as well as AIDS research.
MD Anderson Cancer Center announced on January 19, 2011 that they received $150 Million From Abu Dhabi Charity;.
The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Charity Foundation has pledged $150 million to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to establish a cancer treatment clinic, the Emirates News Agency reports.
The largest grant in the center's history will support construction of a state-of-the-art facility to house the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Specialty Institute for Cancer Diagnosis and the Ahmed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Pancreatic Cancer Center. The grant also will fund a number of annual fellowships and will be used to endow an oncology chair named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a cancer research chair named after Sheikh Khalifa University, and a scientific and medical research chair named after Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Speaking at a signing ceremony, Anderson Center president John Mendelsohn said that the funding will be channeled into research programs dedicated to discovering new and more effective ways of diagnosing and treating cancer.