During a meeting with a Chinese media delegation from Beijing Youth Daily, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, emphasised on the importance of UAE-Chinese relations and the need to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the field of trade, science, technology and renewable energy.
Sheikh Mohammed has also touched on the pillars of his vision, his definition of success and his view of the youth and their active role in institutions, as well as the role of women in the development march.
Below is the interview Sheikh Mohammed gave to Wang Liwn of Beijing Youth Daily...
Wang Liwn: China is also a fast-developing country. What do you foresee for economic cooperation between our countries in the future?
Sheikh Mohammed: That is an excellent question. I hope your readers in China come to Dubai and see it for themselves. What you hear is an illusion; what you see is real.
In fact contact between the Chinese and Arabs began in the 7th century. I myself have visited China on a couple of occasions, and I enjoyed seeing your cities and your culture first hand.
China's remarkable growth is a success story that we have observed with great interest. Dubai is like the ancient Chinese capital of Chang'an, a global cosmopolitan city, where people from 200 countries live and work together.
Dubai was a hub on the Silk Road then. More recently, Dubai has made it more convenient for industry to spread to Central Asia, North Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Two thirds of the world's population can fly to Dubai in eight hours or less. In the past 20 or 30 years, investors from all over the world have flocked to Dubai.
Our two countries both have shining histories and cultures, and our peoples have a relationship of friendship and equality. I hope that our countries have even greater cooperation in the future, not only in trade, but also in science and technology and in renewable and clean energy.
In the future we will consider sending students from the UAE to China to study.
These issues were discussed during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to UAE in January 2012 to participate in the World Future Energy Summit.
Wang Liwn: When did your thinking come together?
Sheikh Mohammed: About ten years ago. When I was in Europe and the United States, I saw racetracks and subways, and I wondered when Dubai could have all that.
Wang Liwn: Your Highness, what is the secret of your success?
Sheikh Mohammed: There are no secrets to the success we have achieved. I will summarize three key points:
First is the vision. You have to have a vision that would benefit the people and help them achieve their dreams, and you must believe in your ability to achieve the vision.
Second is the team. You need to choose a dedicated team that believes in the vision and has the positive energy and outlook to accomplish it.
Third, keep building. Do not stop from building on the vision. It is an inspiration for all around you, and is your catalyst to work towards your goals diligently every morning, doing and achieving something new that benefits your people.
Wang Liwn: You once said that no one remembers dreamers and they only remember people who turn their dreams into reality. Do you think you have turned your dreams into reality?
Sheikh Mohammed: Some people daydream all day and when they go to sleep they continue to dream. This is just dreaming and they have no way to turn their dreams into reality. The way we turn our dreams into reality is: when other people talk about working, we actually work; when other people are making their plans, we carry out our plans; and when other people are having doubts, we move boldly ahead.
There is a saying in Europe, "Let the lion lead the sheep." My thinking is: If I am a lion and I am leading, I should be leading lions. I encourage talented young people to love their work. They shouldn't be punished for their mistakes. Making mistakes is the best way to learn to do something.
What do the young people of the UAE need most? Success! I feel proud of everyone who works together with me to achieve our goals.
Wang Liwn: In your book My Vision you make a special point to discuss the different influences positive and negative energy have on people. If someone says, if you have an influential position, power and financial resources, it's easy to have positive energy, how do you respond?
Sheikh Mohammed: In fact no one can be totally happy. There are a lot of countries and people with ample financial resources, but that doesn't mean they can maintain positive energy. On the contrary, many people stop progressing because they are already well off. A leader needs to have positive energy. With positive energy comes optimism, and with optimism, anything becomes possible. However, people who constantly face challenges can face them bravely and overcome them because they accumulate the ability to do so day by day.
It is very important to maintain a cheerful disposition day after day, month after month, year after year. When people see someone succeed, they often say that person was lucky. In my mind, luck favours people who are prepared. If there is always a hesitant voice in your heart saying, "It's not possible" then it's really impossible for you. But me, I always encourage people to try again, and maybe try to do it differently. Conquering "the impossible" means refusing to give up hope. You have to think, "Somewhere there is a way to find a solution. Let's work together to find it."
Wang Liwn: Concerning your ideas on developing the country, what is the source of your thinking other than learning from your father?
Sheikh Mohammed: I am the son of Arab tribesmen. The sons of Arab tribesmen get their knowledge, wisdom and vision mainly from family members and not from schools. Aside from my university education, most of what I learned from Sheikh Zayed, the late president of the UAE, and my late father Sheikh Rashid. I studied their administrative experience, and learned a great deal from them. Also, I learned a lot from occasional small mistakes.
Wang Liwn: What kind of mistakes?
Sheikh Mohammed: For example, several years ago we were planning to build a golf course on the coast, but we put it off in the face of objections. When we finally got around to building it, we had lost a lot of valuable time. That's why we often say "the clock ticks life away." We don't have time to hesitate. That is the cause of giving up something in the middle.
Wang Liwn: Your Highness, why do women play such an important role in UAE society?
Sheikh Mohammed: I am very proud of the strong role that women play in our society. They have complete equality. Today, 70 per cent of all our university graduates are women. More than 65 per cent of all jobs in our government are held by women. Thirty per cent of them hold managerial positions. More than 80 per cent of staff in my own office are women. We do not just talk about the important role women should have in our society; we deliver.