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UAE woman making staggering achievements

posted on 10/11/2008: 3056 views



UAE woman making staggering achievements WAM Abu Dhabi, 9th Nov. 2008 (WAM) -- The UAE woman's gains and achievements were triggered by the programmes and political empowerment plans under the leadership of UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Today, the UAE national woman occupies top positions in all fields, and contributes effectively in the development process in the country through participation in the sovereign authorities: executive, legislative and judiciary, as well as other leading decision making levels.

In Feb. 2008, the representation of women in the new Federal Cabinet rose from two ministerial posts to four, making it the highest women representation in the Arab World.

Women are represented with 9 members in the Federal National Council (FNC), constituting 22 per cent out of 40 members. This is also the highest woman representation at the legislative institution.

On March 26, 2008, UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued a decree appointing the first lower court woman judge, Kholoud Ahmed Joan Al Dhahiri, the first ever appointment of the UAE national woman at the judiciary. She was sworn in on Oct. 7, 2008, before Presidential Affairs Minister and head of the Judiciary Department HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Mansour reiterated that the appointment of the first UAE national woman judge is a landmark step in the country's judiciary. The move is in line with the comprehensive developments being experienced by the judiciary department. It is also part of the continuous efforts to encourage women to embrace all fields of work on equal footing with men.

In this connection, the UAE President also issued a decree late in 2007, appointing two women public prosecutors; Aliya Mohammed Saeed Al Ka'abi and Atiqa Awadh Ali Al Kathieri.

On Sept. 25, 2008, the Federal Cabinet endorsed a memo from UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on the most extensive transfer in history of diplomacy at the ministry. It named two women as UAE Ambassadors abroad: Sheikha Najla Al Qassimi, as UAE Ambassador to Kingdom of Sweden, and Hisa Al Otaiba, as UAE Ambassador to Spain.

The Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, hailed the move, saying that it reflects the vision of the UAE leadership on recognising the woman as a full partner of man in terms of rights, national, religious and moral obligations.

In May 2008, United Nations selected Dr Fouzia Khalfan, director of social fund at the Ministry of Health, as good will ambassador to raise funds in favour of Comoro Islands.

Engineer Wafa Al Hamadi of Al Dar Properties Company, got in April 2008, membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (ICS) to become the first UAE national woman to gain this honour.

The UAE national women have also joined civil and military aviation field as pilots and engineers in Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and in the UAE Armed Forces' Air Forces.

Chairwoman of the UAE General Women's Union (GWU) HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, said the UAE leadership has confidence in the UAE women due to their abilities in all fields.

Sheikha Fatima, also Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), added while receiving Ambassador Hisa Al Otaiba, recently appointed as UAE Ambassador to Spain, that the confidence spurred the women to occupy the highest posts in different sectors, of which the latest was the appointment of the two women as ambassadors to Spain and Sweden. She wished success to Hisa to prove that the UAE woman is capable of working in all fields.

The woman today has become an important element in the developmental process being experienced by the UAE due to the support from UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and follow up by HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

The women in the UAE occupy 66 per cent of public jobs, 30 per cent of them are senior jobs linked with the decision making, 15 per cent of the teaching staff and about 60 per cent of the technical jobs, including medicine, teaching, pharmacology, nursing, as well as regular forces such as Army, police and customs.

The women indulge efficiently in business field, following the setting up of the Women Business Council, which includes about 12, 000 women, who run 11, 000 investment projects worth Dhs12.5 billion.

The women working at the banking sector, the most essential economic sector in the country, are 37. 5 per cent. Paris-based Arab Women Studies Centre, lauded in its annual report of 2007, the level of UAE women participation. Issued in Arabic and English , the report, which was distributed to the research centres and universities, cited the care attached by the UAE political leadership to the women participation in all national fields.

The report referred to the women's representation by 22 per cent at the Federal National Council, adding that it is the highest woman representation in the Arab world. The women are also represented with four seats in the Cabinet. They are also represented in the public prosecution- another indication for their growing role in the UAE.

During the era of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, women achieved many gains as they had contributed in the economic, social and cultural transformations in line with the religious teachings, norms and traditions.

The women gained more ground as laws were enacted to make them equal with men. Their constitutional rights were also guaranteed. Thus, they have right to work, own, run business, enjoy all the services and social security, as well as equal salary with men, maternity leave and childcare as stated in the civil service law. The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood has been set up to care for mothers and children.

The UAE has joined all the international agreements on women protection and other related issues, including the agreement on anti segregation of women in 2004, the agreement on child rights in 1997, the agreement on working hours in the field of industry in 1982, the international agreement on compulsory work in 1982,the international agreement on work inspection in industry and commerce in 1982, the agreement on woman night shift work in 1982, the agreement on equal pay between male workers and female peers in 1996, the agreement on cancellation of compulsory work in 1996, the international agreement on limit work age in 1996. It also joined the regional and international organisations, which promote women, among others, International Women Union, the International Family Organisation, the Arab Family Organisation, the Arab Women Organisation and the International Rehabilitation Organisation.

Sheikh Fatima reiterated that the role of woman was revamped by the support given to them by the founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed, who believed 'women are half of any society. No society can realise progress and development if half of it was disabled and could no longer contribute in the nation building.

She praised the support women receive from UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Rulers of different emirates, which resulted in enacting of many laws and decisions in favour of women.

HH Sheikha Fatima played a paramount role in leading the march of women in the United Arab Emirates, by initiating the founding of the first women's organization in the country- the Abu Dhabi Women's Development Society, and then the UAE General Women's Union (GWU).

Minister of Social Affairs HE Maryam Mohammed Khalfan Al Roumi lauded the support extended by the country's prudent leadership to the UAE woman through creating opportunities for her to actively participate in the avenues of political, economic, social and developmental life in the country. She stressed that this support aims at empowering the UAE woman for discharging her duties and responsibilities towards her nation and her society. This support enabled her to achieve several national gains, which were unprecedented on local, Arab and global levels.

Speaking on the occasion of the International Women's Day, which falls on 8th March every year, she said that while the world celebrates this occasion, the woman in UAE are continuing her march of dedicated work, attaining with excellence several achievements on the political, economic and social fronts. Al Roumi pointed to the women's participation in the executive authority of the nation through a wide representation in the new government, holding four ministerial positions.

This is in addition to her strong representation in the Federal National Council, to which a woman member was elected, and eight others were appointed from various emirates. Woman's presence is also evidently felt in other areas, where she holds several high profile leading positions in the country.

HE Maryam Al Roumi extended heartfelt greetings to HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and Chairperson of the UAE General Women's Union (GWU), for her pioneering role and leadership of the women movement in the UAE with all efficiency.

Al Roumi said that Sheikha Fatima, who also chairs the Arab Women Organization (AWO), is keen on the woman's renaissance on spiritual cultural and social levels, and spends all her efforts to empower woman to play her role in serving the society, in protecting her rights and standing up to her duties on par with the man in every field of development.

Al Roumi pointed out that the pioneering role Sheikha Fatima plays in supporting the women's activities across the various emirates, has brought its fruits in the form of numerous achievements, and contributed to the strengthening national woman's consciousness. Sheikha Fatima's efforts brought boons for the entire society in general and the family in particular. Those efforts also promoted the status of the UAE women, strengthened her abilities and powers and furthered her contribution in the process of the national development.

Al Roumi said that the recent bestowal of honours upon Sheikha Fatima by United Nations and the United Nations Development Fund for Women is considered a recognition, by the international community, of her pioneering role in serving the woman's cause and working for her revival. It is also an acknowledgement of the sublime position Sheikha Fatima enjoys among the international circles as a result of her distinctive contributions in many spheres on the local, regional and international levels, with deep humanitarian dimensions.

Al Roumi said that Sheikha Fatima, in her role as the Chairperson of the Arab Woman Organisation, is keen on pushing forward the joint Arab women's renaissance movement. She does this through her continued strivings to help succeed the efforts of the Organisation to remove all impediments which obstruct the advancement of woman to give vent to her talents and achieve her ambitions. These efforts have evolved effective mechanisms for enhancing avenues of cooperation for exchange of expertise among the sisters in various Arab countries. Sheikha Fatima always trusted the power of woman to prove herself and to participate in the process of development and building the future of our society.

Al Roumi asserted that the UAE woman, in particular, and the Arab Woman in general, are looking forward to celebrating the International Women's Day as it is an opportunity to assess her strivings and efforts in the overall march to progress. This march was supported by distinctive, positive roles she played to serve the cause of her society, nation and family.

The Minister of Social Affairs expressed her hope that the UAE woman will continue her radiant march into success with the goal of preserving the national achievements, and keeping alive her limitless strivings to serve the nation, the society and the family.

Family Development Foundation In a move aimed at strengthening the role of woman and her participation in the sustainable development, and in order to activate her role and promote her presence on the regional and global levels, UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued a law in May 2006 setting up the Family Development Foundation, and HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak was appointed as the Supreme Chairperson of the Foundation.

The Foundation aims to give care and facilitate development for the family in general and to women and children in particular, thus asserting the role of family in the building of the society. The Foundation also envisages a comprehensive vision for dealing with the issues concerning women and children, as well as sustainable development of the family, for guaranteeing the creation of a competent society empowered by knowledge and continuous enhancement of skills.

The Foundation is especially concerned for implanting the religious values and genuine Arab traditional ethics in order to guarantee the integrity of family, and the society. It is also among the concerns of the Foundation to help support the woman and strengthen her status, thus empowering her to actively contribute to the process of economic and social development. The Foundation also adopts innovative methodology for implementing the policy, which aims at supporting, equipping, empowering and qualifying the women and children. This policy is fully in consistence with the country's social policy, and is implemented in cooperation with the regional and international organizations.

The Foundation also evolves strategies and plans and implement the childcare programmes aimed at bringing them up in good way for the future.

Among the concerns of the Foundation also is to uphold the principles of justice and equality between men and women, and equal partnership in the family for supporting comprehensive development. The Foundation also takes into its prime concerns the poverty alleviation; provision of women with the opportunity to participate in the labour market for an additional family income; endorsement and application of the maternity and childcare programmes; and above all the defending of woman's rights in all fields, thus ensuring a dignified family life for her as she represents the basic column in the structure of the society.

The Foundation organised in November 2007, it's first Forum and announced its formal launch. In May 2007 it signed an agreement with UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, a Memorandum of Understanding with an aim of enhancing the abilities of the Foundation and modernising the national strategy for bringing women in to the forefront, as well as a national plan for women's advancement.

The Abu Dhabi International Conference on Ageing Under the patronage of HH Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and under the chairmanship of HH Sheikha Fatima, the FDF organised the Abu Dhabi International Conference on Ageing, which was held on 22 April 2008 with the participation an elite group of scientists and specialists, and ministers from 50 countries who show concern to the problems of aged people.

As per directives of Sheikha Fatima, the conference recommended the establishment of a geriatric care home in the UAE, mirroring the keenness of Her Highness for providing the geriatric care for all those who need it among the citizens of UAE. The Care home was envisioned in such a way that it houses all the essential health, social and entertainment facilities conforming to the most modern equipments available in the world. This was a show of appreciation to the role the old people played in building the society while they were young.

The FDF, in association with the ministry of social affairs, also organised as part of the conference, extensive field tours giving the delegates the opportunity to see all the existing care homes for aged citizens in the country, meet the inmates and familiarise with the facilities provided.

In February 2008, the FDF, under the patronage of Sheikha Fatima, organised a nationwide campaign to integrate the people with special needs into the social life. This project was carried out on the level of all care homes and rehabilitation centres across UAE under the slogan 'Integrate to live the life'.

Since its inception on 27th August 1975 with the initiative of Sheikha Fatima, the UAE General Women's Union (GWU) shouldered the responsibility of evolving strategies and plans, projects and programmes aimed at empowering women in various fields. The federation developed well thought out and studied plans to implement the national strategy for the advancement of women. This strategy focused on eight main sectors: education, health, economy, information, politics, social work, environment and legislation.

The GWU played a vital role under the leadership of Sheikha Fatima in empowering and qualifying woman politically, through enhancing her political participation on all fronts.

To achieve this a project aimed at bolstering women parliamentarians was launched, organising a series of training sessions, workshops, seminars and debates, all which contributed to the efforts for enhancing the skills of the women leaders, preparing them to enter the political arena.

In implementation of the national strategy for the advancement of women, the GWU also worked for enhancing the participation of women in the economic field.

In 2006, the GWU, in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a national initiative, which embodied a comprehensive plan aimed at building the skills of those who work for the GWU and other women's associations across the country. This included training programmes for creating public awareness and bolstering partnership between the GWU and the governmental and non-governmental institutions for the sake of integrating women's issues into overall development of the country.

The GWU also offered necessary support to productive women through a productive family project, which aimed at encouraging women in engaging productive work at home, and organising fairs and exhibitions to market her handmade products. The project also sponsored various trade fairs taking place in the UAE for marketing the handicrafts of UAE women.

On 26th March 2008, the GWU held its general assembly with the participation of the various women's associations across the country and representatives from the ministry of social affairs. The assembly reviewed in detail, the achievements, projects and programmes of the federation and the individual associations during the year 2007. It also reviewed the future plans to be implemented during the year 2008.

Projects for Arab Women's Development Under the patronage of Sheikha Fatima, and in association with the Arab Women Organisation, the GWU launched on 3rd February 2008 the report named: the Present and the Future of the Projects for the Revival of the Arab Woman.

Launching the report, Director of the GWU Noura Al Suweidi, said that the report prepared by the Arab Women Federation chronicled and analysed the projects aimed at women in the fields of health , education, economy, information and politics. The report is the fruition of long research efforts and surveys, which took over two years to complete with the participation of over 60 experts from various member Arab countries. The viewpoints and suggestions put forward by the experts represented a shift in the direction of steering the future towards the best for women, Al Suweidi said.

The GWU, in association with the Institute of Training and Judicial Studies, organised on 31st March 2008 a conference on Women and Judiciary. The conference discussed 11 working papers presented by legal experts and Islamic jurisprudents from UAE and Abroad.

The conference recommended participation of women in the judicial work, be it on the side of claiming, or deciding disputes, or bringing family reforms and settling disputes. The conference lauded the decision by HH the President of UAE appointing two women as the first women public prosecutors in the country and another woman as the judge in the judiciary.

The General Women's Union (GWU) has gone long way in establishing strong ties with Arab and international organisations since joining the Arab Women's Union (AWU), Women Union International (WUI), Arab Family Organisation (AFO), World Family Organisation (WFO), and other regional and international bodies.

HH Sheikha Fatima is the current chair of the Abu Dhabi-based Regional Coordination Committee for Women Action in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula.

The GWU took part in all women-related events, including the 1st World Conference on Women, Mexico, in 1975, the 2nd conference, held in Copenhagen in 1980, and the 3rd conference, hosted by Nairobi in 1985, which passed in 2000 the 'Strategies of Nairobi' for women's uplifting. It also attended the 4th conference in Beijing 1995, as well as the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg 2002.

The GWU actively participated in the Arab women summits since the foundation in Cairo 2000. It also took part in the extraordinary summit hosted again by Cairo in the following year, and in the 2nd summit, held in Amman in November 2002. During that summit, member states ratified recommendations issued by the 'Women and Media' forum, earlier held in Abu Dhabi. The summit also endorsed the "Abu Dhabi Declaration".

In February 2007, the United Arab Emirates was selected as member of the social development committee of the United Nations regional economic and social development commission for a term extending from 2008 to 2011. This clearly shows the world's interest in the progress made by the UAE women. It is also a testimony to the UAE women's active participation in the international arena.

On February 24, 2008, HH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) revealed the five year development strategy of the establishment and ensure its relevance to the contemporary needs of women in today's fast paced world.

This announcement has been declared after the board meeting led by Mona Al-Marri, Chairperson of DWE to set the five years strategy.

The five year strategy focuses on five core aspects of women's development, reflecting the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The strategy focuses on areas that will support women achieve work-life balance; nurture potential women leaders; provide life-long opportunities to trainees as well as employed women; cultivate conscientious citizens, and build the women leadership in the UAE.

DWE launched on June 16, 2008 "UAE Women Leadership Programme", in co-operation with Mohammed bin Rashid Programme for Leadership Development (MBRPLD).

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for Leadership Development (MBRPLD) to formulate a custom-made programme for training and developing potential Emirati leaders.

Under the MoU, DWE will help identify high-calibre participants from across the UAE, while the MBRPLD will design the programme in accordance with DWE's objectives.

The agreement seeks to work towards enhancing the capabilities of our youth, for building a productive society.

The programme is an outcome of DWE's concerted effort to provide highly specialised programmes that will help UAE women grow as full-fledged social and business leaders, while motivating an increasing number of women to assume responsibility as key partners and contributors to the social and economic progress of the country.

As a first step, the programme will take off with a four-week programme that will help unleash women's latent potential and provide them with the confidence required to tackle career challenges.

The programme will also focus on core areas of enhancing leadership competencies of the participants at the personal and organisational level, while augmenting their management skills and technical knowledge.

On June 24, 2008, DWE signed a strategic co-operation agreement with Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC) to share crucial data that will further the goals of both organizations to provide better understanding on the status of UAE women.

DWE aims to source relevant updated data on women that will aid the Establishment to provide an in-depth analysis of their status and their individual and collective capabilities to contribute to the national economy.

The agreement is among the initial outcomes of DWE's five-pronged strategy that aims to enhance Emirati women's contribution in the society.

Such exclusive statistics and numbers will help us identify real challenges that UAE working women face in their day-to-day life and will allow DWE to offer most appropriate solutions while paving the way for their active participation through leadership positions in the private and public sectors.

On June 8, 2008, Sheikha Manal, Wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs, announced details of the National Corporate Child Care Project.

The initiative aims to establish daycare centers in every Government Department and Public Establishment across Dubai and to improve the standard of child care in Dubai by setting international benchmarks and incorporating local values, traditions and culture. In addition, the initiative is going to create new employment opportunities for national women by providing appropriate training and employment in the daycare centers.

On November 15, 2006, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, issued, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, a decree establishing the DWE to enhance the leadership capacities of UAE women and to highlight their active role in society.

According to the decree, DWE shall launch projects and initiatives on women oriented issues; raise awareness of their role in building the society; provide the government of Dubai with recommendations on laws that will impact the role of women, and encourage women's participation in local, regional and international activities.

The UAE is all set to host AWO's 2nd summit, to be held under the patronage of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairwoman of the GWU, in Abu Dhabi between November 11-13 of the current year.

On September 27, 2008, Sheikha Fatima met with officials of the AWO and was briefed on the preparations for the summit, to be held under the theme "Woman in the human security concept: Arab and International perspectives".

The summit's preparatory committee held meetings in Cairo and Algiers which were presided over by Noura Al Suweidi, Director of the GWU.

Al Suweidi affirmed Sheikha Fatima's keenness to support the AWO to enable it shoulder its responsibilities towards the welfare of Arab women and spreading awareness about women's issues in different economic, social, cultural, legal and media aspects.

The Organisation also seeks to include women in the comprehensive development plans and policies.

"Her Highness Sheikha Fatima is hoping that the current round will witness fruitful outcome for the efforts to achieve AWO's objectives of empowering Arab women and enhancing their capabilities as equal partners in the development process," she said.

Dr Wadouda Badran, AWO's Director General, said the term of presidency assumed by HH Sheikha Fatima had seen significant progress.

"Her highness Sheikha Fatima has been supporting the AWO's activities and closely following its activities and initiatives in championing Arab women's issues and enabling them to become active members of their respective communities," she said.

She said that Sheikha Fatima donated US$ 1 million to AWO as an endowment stake, the proceeds of which will be spent on the organisation's different activities and programmes.

Sheikha Fatima also led an initiative to link Arab women in Diaspora with their sisters in the Arab countries to exchange information and to identify problems the faced by the migrant Arab women, specially the women of Palestine.

Another initiative by Sheikha Fatima was to shoulder all expenses of furnishing the organisation's headquarters in Cairo.

The AWO members states are UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Syria, Oman, Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania and Yemen.

Sheikha Fatima presided over the AWO Supreme Council's 3rd meeting, held in Abu Dhabi on May 27, 2007.

The meeting proposed establishment of a database for all woman empowerment programmes in the Arab world.

Sheikha Fatima also took part in the Arab Women's summit, held in Manama between 13-15 November 2006.

On March 21st, 2000, on the occasion of the Mother Day, HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Honorary Chairwoman of the Red Crescent Authority (RCA) donated Dhs 1 million as seed money to initiate the Refugee Mothers Fund, which is aimed to meet special needs of refugee women and children and alleviate their suffering as refugees. In April 2001, at a ceremony held by UNCHR to honor her, Sheikha Fatima donated an additional Dhs 1 one million to the Fund. At the ceremony, the Golden Badge of UNHCR, an award usually restricted to VIPs who provide outstanding support to the commission.

In June 2003, in RCA's head office in Abu Dhabi, RCA and UNHCR signed a MoU to lay down the administrative framework for cooperation between the two bodies.

The Regional Representative of the UNHCR, signed for his organization. The agreement is aimed at delivering a humanitarian message in the form of protection for the human race and ensuring respect for humanity as well as alleviating human suffering worldwide. It is also to lay down a framework for cooperation between the RCA and the UNHCR towards the achievement of the noble objective which the Fund seeks to achieve.

As per Sheikha Fatima's directives, the Fund is co-managed by RCA which takes up the administrative and financial responsibilities and UNHCR which selects projects aimed at meeting needs of women and children around the world.

Senior Adviser at UNHCR Sa'adou Akram hailed Sheikha Fatima's efforts to further support refugees and improve their humanitarian situation.

He expressed UNHCR's appreciation of the humanitarian role she takes up to put an end to the suffering of women refugees. He further said she had already adopted many initiatives in support of women refugees. He noted the new Fund's role to provide better care and dignified support for women and children who fall victim to natural disasters and crises.

In a statement on June 17th, Sa'adou said the new Fund is a true demonstration of Sheikha Fatima's keen interest in improving the quality of life of women and children as well as alleviating their suffering in times of crisis and in the wake of becoming refugees.



Website in support of Arab Women On Nov. 15th, 2006, at the conclusion of the Arab Women Summit in Manama, Sheikh Fatima, Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), announced the donation of funds to set up an electronic website in support of the issues of expatriate Arab women.

Chair of the Summit, Sheikha Sabeekh Bint Ibrahim, expressed appreciation of the initiative which she said is part of a longstanding tradition cherished by Sheikha Fatima who stands for Arab women. The initiative, she said, is in line with the Summit's recommendations.

On December 5th, 2006 in Casablanca, the first Conference on Expatriate Arab Women approved the project as part of the mechanisms of the Arab Women Organization. Participants then hailed the generous donation made by Sheikha Fatima to cover costs of foundation and operation of Expatriate Arab Women's Network as one of the AWO's mechanisms. This would mark Sheikha Fatima's assumption of the chairmanship of AWO as of March 2007. Participants noted the network's future contribution to Arab women's issues through providing exact details and database on expatriate Arab women, their geographical distribution, their professions as well as the problem they face.

Local and International Acclaim On many occasions, Sheikha Fatima, Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Honorary Chairperson of the UAE Red Crescent Authority and the current Chairwoman of AWO, has been honored both locally and internationally for her prominent contributions to charitable and humanitarian efforts as well as for adopting humanitarian projects which serve large numbers of underprivileged and needy groups.

She has set a model for humanitarian giving, thanks to her initiatives and sponsorship of activities aimed at boosting and serving the issues of women and children.

On April, 22nd, 2007, at Emirates Palace, Sheikha Fatima was honoured by the United Nations at a ceremony organized by Zayed University.

Amat Al Alim Al Soswa, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presented Sheikh Fatima with the UN's certificate of appreciation.

Haifa Abu Ghazala, the regional director of the United Nations Fund for Women ( UNIFEM) presented Sheikha Fatima with the UNIFEM's certificate of appreciation in recognition of her leading role in support of issues of Arab women, children and families. It was also in recognition of her leading role in empowering UAE women to take part in political life as well as of her role in setting a role model for Arab women through her humanitarian contributions which were not only confined to the nation or the region but were also globally visible.

Sheikha Fatima expressed her heartfelt thanks to the delegations of the UN and stressed that "Being honoured by international organizations holds testimony to the UAE women's abilities. It is a high honour and at the same time a true demonstration of the path which UAE women took and became totally dedicated for." At the same ceremony, Morocco's Princess Lella Hasna, youngest sister of King Mohammed VI, awarded Sheikha Fatima with the Muhammadi Medallion, Morocco's top honour which is usually awarded to heads of states.

On November 12th, 2007, Emirates World Heart Group (EWHG), which consists of more than 300 world renowned heart surgeons and physicians, awarded the Humanitarian Personality of the Year Award to Sheikha Fatima in recognition of her humanitarian and charitable support to the group's efforts as well as for her keenness on alleviating the suffering of needy patients around the world.

At its 18th Arab regional conference on May 20th , 2007 in Tunisia, Arab Region of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) honoured Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak in recognition of her role as the first leader of the UAE scouting movement as well as her efforts to support of Arab women development.

Sheikha Fatima was also awarded the International Family Organization Medal for her pioneering role in humanitarian affairs and her strong support to family stability at all levels, locally, regionally and internationally.

Sheikha Fatima was awarded the medal as she received on June 6th, 2007 the head of Maria Teresa da Costa Macedo, head of the International Family Organization, Mrs. Fran oise Meauz - President of Conf d ration Nationale des Associations, Dr. Anna Popper, Chairman of the KMFAP Admission Board, General Secretary of International Federation of Family Organisations (IFFO). Present then was Maitha Al Shamsi , Advisor to the Chairwoman FDF.

The three officials expressed appreciation of Sheikha Fatima's leading role and stressed that the medal is awarded only to great personalities who offered great humanitarian contributions in support of family.

At the meeting, Sheikha Fatima accepted an invitation to assume the position of the President of World Family Forum. At a later meeting with the same officials, Sheikha Fatima approved the charter of the Forum.

On December 3rd, 2006, The Arab Women Investors Union honoured Sheikha Fatima with the Union's Shield in recognition of her role and efforts in support of women, in the UAE and in Arab countries as well as in appreciation of her support to women economic development.

UAE national women participating at the 4th National Campaign of Business Ladies and Mubde'a Exhibition (Al Ain, September 21st, 2006) honoured Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak with a souvenir in recognition of her support to them as well as to their activities and businesses. Mubde'a (Innovator) Exhibition, which was launched by Abu Dhabi Business Women Council, allows ladies to carry home-based business activities. It has granted UAE ladies 7 licenses to carry our over 17 business and services activities.

On March 2nd, 2008, Abu Dhabi Mothers' Council of Abu Dhabi Educational Zone honoured Sheikha Fatima on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of her assumption of her office as the Honorary Chairwoman of the Mothers' Council (Mother of the Nation) as well as in recognition of her support to educational institutions in the UAE.

Over the past 25 years, Sheikha Fatima has been honoured with over 25 local, regional and international awards, prizes and certificates of appreciation in recognition of her support to noble humanitarian goals as well as the advancement of UAE and Arab women. – Emirates News Agency, WAM



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