Leadership Lessons From UAE President’s Pardoning Of 988 Inmates Ahead Of Eid Al Adha

Leadership Lessons From UAE President's Pardoning Of 988 Inmates Ahead Of Eid Al Adha

By Michelle Raymond

I am in Dubai for a few weeks speaking at events for global partners and will be spending an extra week which coincides with the Eid Al Adha a time for believer’s of the muslim faith to express gratitude, strengthen family bonds, engage in acts of kindness, and reflect upon the values of sacrifice, obedience, and devotion to God.

It’s an occasion that comes with holidays and acts of kindness that extend to both believers and non believers as demonstrated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) President’s act of pardoning stands as a shining example of leadership that transcends boundaries and reminds us of the profound influence leaders can have on the lives of those they serve.

In a remarkable display of compassion and leadership, the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently pardoned 988 inmates ahead of the auspicious occasion of Eid Al Adha.

This act of clemency not only exemplifies the spirit of forgiveness and mercy but also provides valuable leadership lessons that we can learn from.

As a leadership expert and transformational speaker, I want to share some of my personal insights on the leadership lessons we can draw from this remarkable act of the UAE President.

1. Demonstrating Empathy and Compassion

One of the most striking leadership lessons we can learn from the UAE President’s pardoning of inmates is the power of empathy and compassion. By extending forgiveness and granting pardons, the President showcases his understanding of the human condition and the potential for redemption. This act of mercy sends a powerful message that leaders who demonstrate empathy and compassion can inspire positive change and foster unity within their communities

Having worked closely with leaders and organisations in the UAE, I have witnessed the profound impact of empathy and compassion in fostering a positive work culture and driving meaningful change, and we see the role leadership plays in driving this.

2. Embracing Second Chances

The decision to pardon 988 inmates highlights the importance of embracing second chances as a leader. It recognizes that individuals can reform themselves and contribute positively to society when given the opportunity. Leaders who believe in the potential for growth and transformation within their teams and communities can create an environment that encourages personal development and provides avenues for individuals to make amends and rebuild their lives.

Drawing from my own journey of personal growth and transformation, I have enjoyed firsthand the transformative power of second chances. Leaders who believe in the potential for growth and provide opportunities for redemption can empower individuals to contribute positively to their organisations and communities.

3. Leading by Example

The UAE President’s act of pardoning serves as a compelling example of leadership by action. By taking a personal initiative to grant pardons, the President leads by example, emphasising the values of forgiveness and mercy. This act not only sets a precedent for others to follow but also establishes a moral framework that reflects positively on the nation’s leadership.

Reflecting on my interactions with leaders in the UAE, Leadership is not merely about making decisions from a position of authority; it’s about taking personal initiative and embodying the values you wish to instil in others. The UAE President’s act of pardoning serves as a shining example of leadership by action, inspiring others to follow suit.

4. Strengthening Social Cohesion

Leadership is not solely about making decisions that benefit a select few but rather fostering social cohesion and unity. The UAE President’s pardoning of inmates transcends individual cases and sends a powerful message of inclusivity and unity. This act promotes a sense of collective responsibility, reminding us that leaders have the ability to bridge divides and build a more harmonious society.

In the UAE, I have seen how leaders who prioritise social cohesion and inclusivity foster stronger and more resilient organisations. By pardoning the inmates ahead of a significant religious holiday, the UAE President sends a powerful message of unity, reminding us that leaders have the ability to bridge divides and create a harmonious society.

5. Upholding Cultural Values

Leadership that aligns with the cultural values of a nation can have a profound impact on society. The President’s decision to grant pardons ahead of Eid Al Adha, a significant religious holiday, demonstrates his understanding and respect for the values and traditions of the UAE. Leaders who are mindful of cultural sensitivities and make decisions that resonate with their people can inspire loyalty, trust, and a sense of belonging.

Having worked extensively in the UAE and the Middle East, I understand the significance of cultural values in leadership. Leaders who respect and uphold cultural values gain the trust and loyalty of their people. The President’s decision to grant pardons ahead of Eid Al Adha showcases his deep understanding and respect for the traditions and values of the UAE, setting an example for leaders to align their actions with the cultural fabric of their communities.

As leaders incorporate these lessons into their own practices, they can inspire positive transformation, foster unity, and make a lasting impact on their organisations and communities.


The decision to release these prisoners ahead of Eid Al Adha encapsulates the holiday’s spirit of sacrifice and compassion. It aligns perfectly with the celebration’s ethos, emphasising forgiveness, compassion, and community.

This is a powerful reflection of empathetic leadership that reinforces the value of forgiveness and rehabilitation in societal leadership. The initiative serves as a reminder of the importance of incorporating compassion and empathy into leadership.

The pardoning act serves as an expression of the UAE’s forward-thinking approach to leadership. It has placed the nation in the global spotlight, casting a positive light on its system of justice and humanitarian values.

By demonstrating the transformative power of second chances, the UAE has highlighted the importance of rehabilitative justice over punitive measures. It fosters a sense of hope and unity among the  population, reinforcing national solidarity and shared values.

Moreover, the pardoning of prisoners serves as a call to action for the global community, encouraging other nations to consider similar acts of clemency. It sets a precedent for compassionate leadership and underscores the importance of a more humanitarian approach to justice. The UAE is using its influence to push for global change, advocating for a leadership approach that believes in the potential of every individual for transformation and growth.

While the pardoning act itself is laudable, the broader message it sends about the UAE’s comprehensive approach to leadership and community building is equally commendable. By giving these individuals a second chance, the UAE invests in the potential for transformation, demonstrating a profound belief in human capability and resilience.

The road ahead for these individuals will require sustained efforts from both the leadership and the community at large to ensure successful reintegration into society.

As a leadership trainer, I believe that this exemplary act of compassionate leadership serves as a model for governments worldwide to balance justice with mercy. It reminds us of our shared humanity and the power of leadership that is rooted in empathy, compassion, and the belief in second chances


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