Sheikh Sultan is the ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah. He had the educational vision to start University City in 1997, which included the American University of Sharjah, the University of Sharjah, and other colleges. Since then, his vision has inspired neighbouring emirates and countries to emulate his endeavour of bringing world-class university education to the region. He is known for his philanthropic activities and has endowed chairs for Arabic and Islamic studies in Western universities (e.g. Exeter University). He is also an accomplished poet and an academic.