Sandhurst Royal Military Academy
Senior Officer Course
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Hamad bin Khalifa is a member of the ruling Al Thani Royal family and was the ruling Emir of the State of Qatar from 1995 to 2013. He is also the founder of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development which he founded in 1995 with his wife Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.
Hamad bin Khalifa was born in Doha in 1952 as the first son of Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani. He studied in Qatar before entering the British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, where he graduated in 1971 as a lieutenant colonel. After graduation he was made commander of a mobile brigade, which later became a force called "Hamad Brigade". In 1972 Hamad had the rank of general, and became army chief of staff. Next he was appointed commander-in-chief of Qatar's armed forces with the rank of major general. In 1977 he was named minister of defense and appointed Heir Apparent of Qatar.
In the early 1980s, Hamad led the Supreme Planning Council, which sets Qatar's basic economic and social policies. From 1992 Hamad had a growing responsibility for the day-to-day running of the country, including the development of Qatar's oil and natural gas resources.
In 1995 Hamad deposed his father and seized power in a bloodless palace coup d'état. Hamad became Emir of Qatar and was crowned on 20 June 2000, a position he held until 2013.
During his 18-year rule, Qatar's natural gas production reached 77 million tonnes, making Qatar the richest country in the world per capita with the average income in the country US$86,440 a year per person. During his reign several sports and diplomatic events took place in Qatar, including the 2006 Asian Games, the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference, Doha Agreement, Hamas–Fatah Doha agreement and it was decided that the 2022 FIFA World Cup was to be held in the country. He established the Qatar Investment Authority and by 2013 it had invested over $100 billion around the world, most prominently in The Shard, Barclays Bank, Heathrow Airport, Harrods, Paris Saint-Germain F.C., Volkswagen, Siemens and Royal Dutch Shell.
During Hamad 's rule, Qatar hosted two US military bases. It also remained close with Hamas and Iran. He supported and funded rebel movements, particularly in Libya and Syria during the Arab Spring while maintaining political stability at home. The Sheikh founded news media group Al Jazeera, through which he maintained his influence over the Arab World. He also played a part in negotiations between US and the Taliban. In June 2013 Hamad in his brief televised address announced that he would hand power to his 33-year-old son, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.