Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was born in January 1, 1952), is the current ruling Emir of the State of Qatar since 1995.
Sheikh Hamad was the appointed Heir Apparent of Qatar between 1977 and 1995 and at the same time Minister of Defense. In the early 1980s he led the Supreme Planning Council, which sets the Qatar's basic economic and social policies. Starting in 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 27 June 1995, after deposing his father in a coup, Sheikh Hamad became Emir of Qatar and coronated in 20 June 2000
Sheikh Hamad began his education in Qatar and later attended Sandhurst Military Academy in England. Upon his graduation in 1971, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Qatari armed forces and commanded the 1st Mobile Battalion, which has since been designated the "Hamad Mobile Battalion" in his honor.
Hamad was later promoted to the rank of Major General and appointed Commander in Chief of the Qatari Armed Forces. He oversaw an extensive program to modernize Qatar's military, increasing manpower, creating new units, updating weaponry, and improving training.
In the early 1980s, Hamad led the Supreme Planning Council, which sets the Qatar's basic economic and social policies. Starting in 1992, Hamad's father handed over responsibility for the day-to-day running of the country, including the development of Qatar's oil and natural gas resources. With the support of his family, Sheikh Hamad took control of the country in 1995 while his father was abroad.
The Emir is considered to be progressive among Muslim leaders. In a break with the traditional role, his second wife Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned has been a visible advocate for education and children's causes.
Sheikh Hamad talking with the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez (at the right).
A sportsman and an accomplished diver, Hamad has played an active role in promoting and developing athletics in Qatar. His activism has enhanced the country's involvement and performance in a number of international competitions, including: winning an Olympic medal in track and field; hosting a wide variety of international sporting events such as the 15th Asian Games, GCC, Asian and World Youth soccer championships; and initiating the Qatar Open Tennis Championship which has grown to become one of two premier tennis competitions in the Middle East