His Highness Sheikh Khalifa was born in 1948 , in the eastern region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi , and received his basic education in the city of Al Ain , the capital and the administrative center of the eastern region .
His Highness is the elder son of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan . His mother is Her Highness Sheikha Hessa , daughter of Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan , and H.H’s affiliation returns to his tribe , Bani Yas , the mother Tribe of most of the Arab tribes , which inhabited what is today known as the United Arab Emirates , and led an alliance of Arab tribes , known historically as the "Pact of Bani Yas" .
His Highness Sheikh khalifa has accompanied his father Sheikh Zayed’s march in all its stages . His first official position was "the Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region and Chairman of the courts" , on September 18th 1966 . This position was of great importance in his life . On the other hand , when he lived in Al-Ain city , H.H. had the opportunity for a daily contact with the citizens , so that he could recognize their situations and needs , and identify their aspirations and hopes .
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa was appointed Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi on the first of February 1969 , and Head of the Defense Department , and therefore he became the commander of the armed forces of the emirate , and played a key role in its development , and converted it from a simple guard force to a strong multifunctional and well-equipped institution of the armed forces .
On the first of July 1971 , His Highness Sheikh Khalifa became the prime minister of the first Local Cabinet in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi , in addition to holding the Defense and Finance ministries in the Council .
After the announcement of the Federal State , and beside his local responsibilities , His Highness Sheikh Khalifa became Deputy Prime Minister in the Federal Government formed in December 1973 .
In February 1974 , after the abolition of the local cabinet , he became the first Head of the Executive Council , which replaced the local cabinet of the emirate in all its functions and responsibilities .
During his presidency of the Executive Council he supervised and watched the development and modernization projects all over the emirate , he also gave a great attention to the development and modernization of the infrastructure projects , facilities and services . He worked on building a modern and integrated administrative and legislative system , as a base for the economic and social development .
In addition to his responsibilities as the head of the Executive Council , His Highness took in 1976 the mission of establishing and heading The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) , which manages the financial investments of the emirate as a part of a strategic vision for the development of financial resources , and to maintain a stable source of income for future generations .
One of the key initiatives of His Highness that has left a profound social impact , was the creation of the Department of Social Services and commercial buildings , which was known among people as (Sheikh Khalifa Committee) . the activities of this department were translated into real actions and helped in the prosperity of the construction boom in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi .
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed occupied the position of the Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Federal Government , in which he gave a careful attention and a growing interest in the armed forces , and during which , there had been a quantum leap in terms of equipment , training and capacity to adapt new technologies , and advanced techniques , that HIS Highness was strongly aware to provide , in all sectors of these forces .
It is highly appreciated , for His Highness , his contribution in the formulation of a military doctrine , derived from the constant beliefs of the high politics of the state, based on the policy of moderation , and non-interference in the affairs of others , and on the respect of mutual interests . Abiding by these constants , His Highness worked on the formation of a defense policy that is based on the maintenance of independence , sovereignty and interests of the state . This policy has contributed in positioning the UAE Armed Forces in an advanced position , that gained the respect of the world .
As soon as His Highness became the president of the UAE , he launched the first strategic plan for the Government of the United Arab Emirates . He also launched his initiative to develop the experience of the legislative authority , by modifying the way of selecting the members of the Federal National Council , through a combination of election and appointment as a first step , preparing for the ultimate selection of the Council members through direct elections . His Highness cares also about various sports activities in the State , especially football , and he is keen to look after them . He also cares to honor the local sports teams who have made contributions locally , regionally or internationally.