His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was born on 1 January 1952. His father was H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani (the Amir of Qatar 1972-1995) and his mother was Her Highness Aisha bint Hamad Al Attiya.
He graduated from Sandhurst’s British Royal Military Academy in 1971 and was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel. Soon, he became the commander of a mobile brigade, which later on, became known as ‘Hamad Brigade’.
By 1972, he was a general, and then army chief of staff, and within a short span of time, he was named the major general of the commander-in-chief of Qatar's armed forces.
He became the minister of defense in 1977 and was also given the title of Heir Apparent of Qatar which he held till 1995. He headed the Supreme Planning Council in the 1980s and helped set up Qatar’s social and economic policies. From 1992 onwards, he played a significant role in the country’s day-to-day running, and also developed the oil and natural gas resources found in Qatar. On 27 June 1995, he staged a coup to depose his father and became the leader of the country, but it wasn’t till 20 June 2000 that he was officially given the title of the Amir of Qatar.
In October 1995, the local press censorship was abolished by H.H. Sheikh Hamad, and in 1998, the Ministry of Information was also removed, so that the press could enjoy more freedom and, in general, people could enjoy the freedom of expressing their opinions. Al Jazeera TV Channel was established in 1996.
During H.H. Sheikh Hamad’s tenure as the Amir of Qatar, the country made significant progress in all fields. He was not only an iconic leader, he was also the visionary behind Qatar’s modern revival. The energy and economic sector saw a remarkable boom with the North Field’s gas production increasing and liquefied natural gas (LNG) being exported from 1996, which increased Qatar’s revenue. By 2006, Qatar was the biggest exporter of LNG in the world, and by the time it was 2010, LNG’s production capacity was over 77 million tons per year which has spearheaded Qatar into becoming the fastest growing economy in the world.
In H.H. Sheikh Hamad’s reign, Qatar’s permanent constitution was endorsed and the “Qatar National Vision 2030”, which aims to promote a knowledge-based economy, and transform Qatar into an advanced country capable of achieving sustainable development and ensuring the continuation of a decent life for its people, generation after generation, was framed.
During the 18 years he ruled Qatar, H.H. Sheikh Hamad has been well respected and known world-over as a progressive leader. He has also supported many children’s charities and encouraged education with his wife and consort H.H. Sheikha Moza.
Perhaps, one of the proudest moments of H.H. Sheikh Hamad’s leadership was when Qatar became the first Arab and Islamic nation to win hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on 10 December 2010, especially since he is an avid sportsman and also an accomplished diver as well.
On 25 June 2013, H.H. Sheikh Hamad handed over the role of leadership to his Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad from his second wife H.H. Sheikha Mozah.
H.H. Sheikh Hamad has been awarded many titles, honours and decorations by Arab and foreign countries in recognition of the efforts he has made in strengthening bilateral relations and promoting areas of cooperation between nations and peoples. These include, but are not limited to, being awarded the Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, Grand Cross of the Order of Pakistan, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Oman, Special Class, Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Mubarak the Great, Grand Cross of the Order of the Legion of Honour, Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Good Hope, and the International Association of Athletics Federations: Member of the Golden Order of Merit.
The US Foreign Policy magazine has named him as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers for filling the leadership vacuum in the Middle East for his outstanding achievements in turning a relatively poor country to the pinnacles of success and prosperity.
1977 Sheikh Hamad has three wives, and twenty-five children: eleven sons and thirteen daughters.
Source: Amiri Diwan
To know more about H.H. Sheikh Hamad, why not take a look at his social media page:
Why not watch our video all about H.H. Sheikh Hamad: https://www.iloveqatar.net/videos/qatarGuide/whos-who-in-qatar-h-h-sheikh-hamad-bin-khalifa-al-thani
Are you happy with the progress in Qatar that started with H.H. Sheikh Hamad? Which of his achievements do you like best? Do let us know your thoughts in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
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