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UAE welcomes progress made by international community in combating conflict-related sexual violence

posted on 18/04/2015

NEW YORK: On Wednesday, 15 April, Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, participated in the open debate held by the Security Council on the occasion of the release of the UN Secretary General's Annual Report on Conflict-related Sexual Violence for the year 2015.

In her speech, Ambassador Nusseibeh commended the extraordinary efforts made by the Secretary-General and Mrs. Zainab Bangura, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, in this area.

Ambassador Nusseibeh also praised Jordan for convening this Open Debate under its presidency especially at this time where "the Middle East faces a rising tide of extremism and unrest". She welcomed SRSG Bangura's upcoming mission to the Middle East, expressing hope that her visit would contribute to creating a region-wide strategy to address conflict-related sexual violence within the context of extremism, and affirmed the UAE's readiness to support the SRSG on this critical mission.

Ambassador Nusseibeh also welcomed the progress made by the international community in combating conflict-related sexual violence and said that it was only eight years ago that the Security Council formally recognised the use of conflict-related sexual violence as a matter of international peace and security. She referred to this crime as "a weapon of war used for centuries" and recalled that in the same Security Council Chamber, the international community had created the mechanisms to help national authorities confront perpetrators and support the victims of these crimes.

She praised the Secretary-General for going a step further in his report by recognising sexual violence as a far more than "a tactic of war, but a tactic of terror". She also expressed the UAE's support for the Secretary General's recommendation to integrate the issue of conflict-related sexual violence into the work of relevant Security Council Sanctions Committees, as part of the designation criteria for the imposition of targeted measures.

In her statement, Ambassador Nusseibeh referred to the one million US dollars contribution made by the UAE government to the UN Action's Multi Donor Trust Fund, specifically to support the important work being undertaken by the Team of Experts in their efforts to build capacity on a national level in the rule of law.

Ambassador Nusseibeh urged the SRSG and Member States to pursue the agenda of combatting conflict-related sexual violence comprehensively, by promoting women's participation in the design and implementation of programmes and supporting their leadership in local contexts.

She said, "The education and empowerment of women is our strongest weapon against extremism and conflict related sexual violence."

She added, "A full-fledged response to combating conflict-related sexual violence will only be possible with the full implementation of the objectives outlined in 1325, in practice, and not simply in theory."

Ambassador Nusseibeh also emphasised that the international community must focus its attention not only on dealing with the aftermath of these crimes, but also in preventing their occurrence in the first place. In this context, she shared a number of recommendations that resulted from a previous panel discussion convened by the UAE in partnership with UN Women and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, in contribution to the Global Study on UNSCR 1325, which included the use of digitising early-warning mechanisms to enable women and girls to protect themselves from conflict-related sexual violence before their occurrence, enabling victims to safely and effectively report incidents of sexual assault in conflict zones, and improving women's voice and agency in transitional stages and community development.

Ambassador Nusseibeh concluded her statement by emphasising that the UAE supports the efforts of the UN and its international partners, and urged that 2015 be the year where the agency and participation of women and girls are placed front and centre of the women, peace and security agenda because this is not only an issue of gender, but a matter of international peace and security. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279385290.html


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WiSER Convenes in New York to discuss critical role of gender diversity, women as drivers of global innovation in energy, sustainability

posted on 18/04/2015

NEW YORK: The role of women and the importance of gender diversity as a catalyst for innovation was discussed in New York, April 15, during a panel convened by Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER).

A side-line event during the Bloomberg Future of Energy Summit, the panel also examined the tremendous progress being made by women in the fields of energy and sustainability, as well as the barriers preventing further advancement.

"The challenges of energy security and sustainable development are a shared responsibility, and women have a critical role to play," said Nawal Al Hosany, director of sustainability at Masdar and director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. "Breaking down the barriers that prevent gender equality enables more women-led innovation and drives the solutions needed to usher in a sustainable future."

Moderated by Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the panel was entitled "Opportunities for Innovation in the New Energy Market" and assembled leading women working in sectors, including energy, finance, policy and non-profit.

Participants included Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Permanent Preventative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations; Nawal Al Hosany, director of sustainability at Masdar and director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize; Angelina Galiteva, founder of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute; Asa Skogstrom Feldt, president and CEO of The Hunger Project; Katherine Lucey, CEO of Solar Sister; and Yanire Brana, founder and CEO of MET Community.

Founded by Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, WiSER is a platform aimed at inspiring women to be active leaders in advancing innovations that address climate and the secure access of food, energy and water. The platform convenes regularly and unites women leaders from around the world to generate new thinking, to advocate solutions and to empower more women to be active in the fields of energy and sustainability. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279378498.html


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Mayor of Daegu visits UAE pavilion at WWF

posted on 18/04/2015

DAEGU, GYEONGSANG, South Korea: Kwon Young-jin, Mayor of the South Korean city of Daegu, visited the UAE pavilion at the seventh World Water Forum, (WFF) which is being hosted in the city between 12-17 April He was briefed on the UAE's projects and plans in the sectors of energy, water and renewable and alternative energy that were showcased at the pavilion.

Mayor Young-jin expressed great admiration of the UAE pavilion and the illustrations, publications and other tools used to raise awareness about rationalising water and electricity consumption.

Organised every three years since its inception in 1977, the WWF, organised by the World Water Council, is considered the largest international platform for discussing issues related to water. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279386793.html


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UAE's Emirates Airline signs historic US$9.2b order with Rolls-Royce for A380 engines, largest-ever deal for UK-based company

posted on 18/04/2015

The UAE's Emirates Airline, a global enabler of business and trade, has announced an historic US$9.2 billion deal with Rolls-Royce for Trent 900 engines and a long-term TotalCare package. The engines will be used to power 50 Airbus A380s ordered at the Dubai Air Show in 2013, which will begin entering service in 2016. The deal, which is the largest ever for Rolls-Royce, and one of the largest ever export orders for a UK-based company, is part of Emirates' on-going investment into the UK and Europe.

The partnership marks a significant milestone for aviation manufacturing in the region, securing jobs across Rolls-Royce's supply chain, from Bristol to Scotland. It will further support trade ties between the UK and the United Arab Emirates, building on the estimated US$13.4 billion of bilateral trade recorded in 2013.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said, "Rolls-Royce is a key partner for Emirates and we have been impressed with its commitment to continual improvements in the economic and operational performance of the Trent 900. These improvements have been decisive factors in our selection of the product for 50 of our A380s. This announcement is significant not only because it cements the partnership between Emirates and Rolls-Royce, but also because of the large and sustained economic impact that this will have on aviation manufacturing in the UK and Europe."

John Rishton, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce, said, "The success of Emirates over the last thirty years has been extraordinary. Rolls-Royce has been proud to have been part of this success, powering Emirates aircraft since 1996. We are delighted that Emirates has again placed its trust in our technology, with the biggest order in our history."

"This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary year of the A380's first flight and we would like to congratulate Emirates for continuing to place the A380 at the centre of their future growth plans. This is exactly what this remarkable aircraft was designed for; helping leading worldwide airlines such as Emirates to develop and grow profitably," said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus President and CEO. "As we continue to develop innovative solutions to further improve its already unbeatable economics, we see a long and bright future for the A380, which remains the best solution for enabling air traffic to grow."

Emirates' investment in the Airbus A380 programme has had a significant impact on the UK and wider European economies. A recent Frontier Economics report identified that in 2013/14 Emirates' investment in the A380 created 7,000 UK jobs, equating to a US$630 million (?595 million) GDP contribution. Across the EU, Emirates' 140 A380 orders are estimated to have supported 41,000 jobs, equivalent to a massive US$3.6 billion GDP.

The A380 programme sits at the heart of Emirates' growth strategy. 60 A380s are currently in operation, with a further 80 on order, making Emirates by far the largest purchaser of the aircraft. Since its introduction in 2008, over 36 million of the airline's passengers have flown on the aircraft. The aircraft has it made Emirates' operations significantly more efficient, carrying more passengers to and from the world's busiest and most slot constrained airports. It has also helped Emirates deliver the level of excellence its customers have come to expect from the brand, through iconic differentiators like the On Board Lounge, purpose built in the UK In addition to the important contribution that Emirates makes to the UK via its A380 programme, the airline continues to play a key role in providing valuable international connectivity for secondary cities. Emirates provides unique direct services to Dubai, from Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow and a further 83 unique one-stop connections between these cities and Africa, Asia and Australia. These services facilitate trade and investment between the UK regions and key growing markets overseas, positively impacting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and supporting the development of regional centres.

Emirates currently operates 16 daily flights from the UK with nine of these operating as an A380; five daily from London Heathrow, two daily from London Gatwick and two daily A380s from Manchester.

Emirates airline operates 112 non-stop flights per week from the UK to Dubai – five services a day from Heathrow, three daily from London Gatwick and Manchester, two per day from Birmingham and Glasgow and a daily service from Newcastle. In Dubai, passengers can connect to flights to Emirates' global network which spans over 145 destinations across six continents in 84 countries. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279389189.html


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Shurooq completes three-day delegation to London to bolster investment relations with UK

posted on 18/04/2015

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) successfully concluded a three-day delegation to London, United Kingdom, as part of its strategy to strengthen ties and step up bilateral investment between the Emirate of Sharjah and the UK.

Shurooq's delegation was headed by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, the Authority's Chairperson, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Chief Executive Officer, Mr Saud Al Suwaidi, Director of International Relations and Partnerships, and Mr Yasser Mohammed Zamzam, Public Relations & Communication Manager ,and Ms Mariam Rashid Bin Al Shaikh, Investment Promotion Executive.

Over the three days, Shurooq held high-level meetings with a number of the UK's most influential business groups – leading organisations in areas such as trade, investment, commerce, private equity, healthcare, and urban planning.

On the first day of the visit – Monday, 13th April – meetings were successfully held with the London Chamber of Commerce, the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, UK Trade & Investment, and London and Partners & Med City UK. These were followed, on day two, with meetings with C & C Alpha Group, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Association of British Healthcare Industries, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, the UAE Embassy, and the Global Counsel. On the third and final day, Shurooq's delegation met with the Lord Mayor's Office, Chiswick Business Park, the UAE Embassy, the Future Cities Catapult, and the Scottish Government.

Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, said, "This delegation represented another milestone in Sharjah's burgeoning relations with the UK. We were delighted to showcase the numerous investment opportunities in the Emirate to Britain's foremost investment groups, representing not just London but the whole of the UK – including Scotland and the city of Birmingham."

Al Sarkal continued: "Over the three days we presented in detail the many advantages of investing in Sharjah, from the Emirate's strong manufacturing sector to its world-class international connections, business-friendly environment with attractive incentives for foreign investors, diversified economy, and reputation as a regional centre of culture. We are extremely pleased with the outcomes of what were very fruitful meetings, and look forward to building upon the relationships we have established".

Economic relations between the UK and the UAE are growing apace. Bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded £12 billion in 2012. UK investment in the UAE reached a total Dh 30.8 billion in 2011, while the UAE invests over £5 billion in the North Sea. There are more than 100,000 UK expatriates in the UAE and more than one million British visitors each year to the Emirates. In Sharjah – which was recently named one of the world's top ten Small and Mid-sized Cities in the FDI Global Cities of the Future 2014/15 index – a British firm was recently awarded a contract worth £343 million to build the world's largest advanced thermal energy-from-waste facility.

This delegation to London built upon a number of notable meetings and conferences between business and academic leaders in Sharjah and the UK over recent years.

Representatives from Sharjah have included HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, as well many of the Emirate's foremost business organisations.

Shurooq's key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in Sharjah, evaluate investment-related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.

In recognition of its overall accomplishments, Shurooq was named The Banking Awards 2013 – and 2014 FDI Agency of the Year in the MENA region at the European's Global Banking and Finance Awards. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395279398790.html


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From film to fashion, Dubai bids to be creative capital for Arab world

posted on 18/04/2015

Move over, Cairo, Beirut and Casablanca. Dubai is launching a drive to become one of the Arab world's top centres for art, design, film and fashion — areas that have traditionally been dominated by old Arab cities outside the Gulf.

Success is not certain. The emirate is much better known as a trading and banking hub and luxury shopping destination than as a centre for the arts. It lacks the established cities' centuries of history and culture.

But Dubai has advantages which the old cities can find it hard to provide: security, cosmopolitan lifestyles and comprehensive travel links to the rest of the Arab world.

It is throwing hundreds of millions of dollars and the latest technology into its effort, using state-linked companies to develop the project in the same way that it's successfully jump-started other industries.

"We want to encourage local and emerging talent from within the region,” said Ameenah Al Rostamani, group chief executive of Tecom Investments.

Other cities have allowed neighbourhoods of artists and designers to emerge over decades. Dubai is not leaving that to chance; Tecom is creating a purpose-built 21 million square foot (2 million square metre) area called the Dubai Design District.

Tenants of the district are to include galleries, studios, workshops, boutique stores and museums, plus office and residential space. The first phase, to open this year, will cost Dh4 billion ($1.1 billion). Tecom says over 220 companies have agreed to take part.

The Dubai Design and Fashion Council, a state-funded body, plans to set up a design school with students from around the world. One of the school's specialties will be Islamic design.

The council intends to act as an incubator for new design businesses, providing technical support and advice. Eventually, Dubai state funds could be invested in some of the businesses, along with private sector money.

To some, Dubai's top-down approach to culture may seem stifling or sterile. But executives see no contradiction; they argue that just as the emirate has attracted traders and bankers from the region by giving them an environment in which they can prosper, it can lure artists, designers and film makers.

Malek Sultan Al Malek, chief executive of Tecom Business Parks, said Dubai's design drive followed naturally from its growth in other areas — for example, growth of its information technology and media sectors has spurred demand for designers.

"The ingredients for success come from the grass roots,” said the council's chief executive Nez Gebreel, who helped to manage the businesses of David and Victoria Beckham for six years before moving to Dubai.

"We're just creating the conditions which will allow people to flourish, and which don't necessarily exist elsewhere in the region.”

One early design start-up in Dubai is Bil Arabi, a jewellery business opened in the emirate nine years ago by Nadine Kanso, a Beirut-born graphic designer.

Bil Arabi sold 1,500 pieces of jewellery in the shape of Arab calligraphy for $820,000 last year. Kanso described the pieces as "bling bling with a Middle Eastern edge”, but with a serious purpose, to explore Arabs' cultural roots.

Political stability and security were key to her decision to start the business in Dubai, as war and social tensions can make it hard to operate in Beirut, Kanso said.

Three British-Iranian brothers in their 20s and 30s, Haman, Babak and Farhan Golkar, said they founded their high-end clothing brand in Dubai five years ago partly because the city was younger than the established fashion capitals, meaning there was room for newcomers.

Emperor 1688's menswear sales, totalling $3.5 million in 2014, are growing at double-digit rates and a womenswear line was launched last year. Babak said Dubai was gradually developing its own fashion style, featuring opulent touches such as gold-plated suit buttons.

The brand is sold mostly in the Gulf and the Golkars plan to develop sales in Europe. Dubai's tourism industry, which draws millions of visitors every year, may help the city develop global brands as the tourists spread recognition of them in their home countries, Babak said.

"In terms of retail power, Dubai is on a par with any city in the world, and that's an important factor for a brand.” In film making, the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 pushed business toward Dubai; movies and television series that might previously have been made in Cairo or Damascus could more safely be shot on a Dubai sound stage, using computer graphics to generate backdrops.

Film makers in Dubai don't always operate with quite the same artistic freedom as they would in their home countries — productions in the UAE must respect local cultural and religious sensitivities. A proposal to film a Sex and the City movie in the UAE was rejected, and it was shot in more liberal Morocco instead.

But such considerations aren't an obstacle to most films.

There were 777 applications to make short films, TV series or commercials in Dubai last year, up from 741 in 2013; 146 TV channels broadcast from the emirate — although Dubai faces stiff competition from neighbouring Abu Dhabi to host blockbusters.

"Morocco's film industry is about 50 years old and Egypt is 80 years. We can't match that, but we can compete in convenience, technology and low costs,” said Jamal Al Sharif, managing director of Dubai Studio City, part of Tecom. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/economy/from-film-to-fashion-dubai-bids-to-be-creative-capital-for-arab-world-1.1491862


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Fourth Multaqa Zayed National Museum talk explores late Sheikh Zayed’s journey in Al Ain

posted on 18/04/2015

The Multaqa Zayed National Museum series continued on Thursday with a talk at Al Ain Palace Museum, which discussed the early years of the UAE founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in Al Ain and their profound influence on the young Sheikh, helping to foster his love of the landscapes and environments of the UAE.

Led by Ghaya Khalfan Al Dhaheri, Researcher and Historian, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and Saif Al Bedwawi, a historian, the fourth talk titled "The Emergence of a Great Leader" was moderated by Jumaa Al Darmaki, Head of Museums and Collections, Zayed Centre for Studies and Research.

Exploring the expansion and economic development of Al Ain under his rule, the talk also shed light on what the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan could achieve as a leader and an indication of the kind of transformative actions he would make to the region.

Presented by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the Multaqa Zayed National Museum series will hold the final panel discussion on 20 May 2015 entitled The Five Year Plan. Introducing Zayed National Museum to the public and telling the story of the UAE through the life and achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the series continues to take place across various locations, including Manarat Al Saadiyat, Qasr Al Hosn and Al Ain Palace Museum.

Zayed National Museum will celebrate the unification of the Emirates and their transformation into a modern nation under Sheikh Zayed (1918–2004) – the ‘Father of the Nation,' within the context of the Middle East and the wider world. Designed for the public, the museum will enable visitors to encounter an unparalleled collection of art and artefacts from ancient and living cultures of the UAE and the wider Middle East. - Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395279387024.html


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Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing aiming for Brazilian 'one-two' at Itajai In-Port Race

posted on 18/04/2015

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) will be looking to cement its position at the top of the Volvo Ocean Race standings with a strong performance in the Brazilian heat of the In-Port Race series in Itajai when competitive action resumes on Saturday.

The team - led by British double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker and backed by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) – won the fifth leg of the round-the-world race from New Zealand to Brazil, establishing a seven-point advantage at the top of the overall leaderboard.

The Abu Dhabi yacht Azzam – which means ‘determination' in Arabic – also leads the In-Port Race Series but is tied on points with Netherlands crew Team Brunel, and ADOR skipper Walker said his crew would be racing flat-out on Saturday to hold on to top spot.

"The in-port race points don't count towards the main points, but the in-port race series result is used to split ties in the overall results," Walker explained. "There is still a long way to go in this race and the in-port score could be an important factor. Rest assured we will be giving it everything we have for a good result on Saturday."

Boosting the ADOR line-up for Saturday's one-hour inshore sprint will be double World Cup-winning footballing legend Cafu, Brazil's most internationally capped player and the only one to play in three World Cup Final matches.

In a senior career spanning 18 years, the right back made 117 appearances for his hometown club Sao Paulo, but is most famous for his time at Italian giants Roma and AC Milan.

"I am looking forward immensely to meeting Ian and the rest of the Azzam crew," Cafu said. "It's great to be joining a winning team and I'm looking forward to seeing them in action in Itaja on Saturday."

The in-port race also sees UAE Olympic sailor Adil Khalid return to the ADOR crew after being side-lined for two Legs by illness. The young Emirati – one of ADOR's two under-30 sailors – has been working hard on his recovery and said he is overjoyed to be back.

"It's been a long hard road," Khalid said. "It was tough to wave the guys off the dock on the fourth and fifth legs and not be going with them. They have put the team in a strong position at this point in the race and I'm looking forward to getting back into the thick of the action on Azzam."

And Walker was equally excited by Khalid's return, saying: "It's great to have Adil fully recovered. He is an important member of the crew and everyone is pleased to have him back on board with us as we take on the rest of the race." - Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/sports/1395279398505.html


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Children step up to obesity challenge in Dubai

posted on 18/04/2015

For at least ten minutes on Friday, shopping came to a standstill at a section of The Dubai Mall as around 500 children walked past to deliver a resounding message — reduce child obesity to 12 per cent by 2021.

Approximately 500 schoolchildren participated in the symbolic 2021 steps walkathon on Friday as an expression of their support for the ‘2021 Healthy Children' national campaign. The participants took 2021 steps in the mall to show their support for the drive.

The campaign aims to reduce child obesity in the UAE to 12 per cent by the year 2021.

Currently, one child in three is overweight or obese.

The walkathon marked the conclusion of the three-month phase of the national campaign that started in January. The campaign is expected to be re-launched after evaluating the results.

Dr Hussain Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary, Ministry of Health and the Chairperson of the ‘Healthy Children 2021' Task Force, said they staged the walkathon in a mall because of its strategic importance.

"The Dubai Mall attracts a lot of people from all the seven emirates especially on Fridays. This walkathon is to call the attention of families, especially parents, to engage their children in sports such as swimming, cycling, running and to make it part of their daily life,” Dr Al Rand told Gulf News.

"This way they will protect their children not only from cardiovascular diseases but from many diseases.”

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Overweight children have higher chances of becoming obese adults, developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at an early age, which could lead to premature death and disability.

Syrian expatriate Ali encouraged his three children Zain, seven 7, Aya, five , and Anas, three and a half, to join the walk.

"This activity is very good. We always encourage our kids to be physically active especially during summer,” he told Gulf News, encouraging other parents to do the same with their children.

In 2013, 42 million preschool children were overweight globally, figures from WHO show. If nothing is done about the issue, the number of overweight or obese infants and young children globally will shoot up to 70 million in just 10 years. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/health/children-step-up-to-obesity-challenge-in-dubai-1.1493963


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Muna Al Sahlawi is on track for career in sports

posted on 18/04/2015

When Muna Al Sahlawi takes to the field in the many sports she plays, not only is she trying to win, she is also trying to change mindsets.

The 27-year-old comes from a family of sports fanatics. Her father played football for Al Shabab Sports club and represented the country for many years. But she pinpoints her love for sports to a specific moment when she was watching a football match on television in 1997.

Juventus were playing Fiorentina in the Italian Serie A league when Argentinian striker Gabriel Batistuta scored a wonder goal.

"This is when I knew I had fallen in love with football,” she says.

Now, Al Sahlawi plays volleyball for the Al Shabab Club and the UAE national team, as well as basketball and football for the Al Nasr Club.

She is also an expert badminton player, winning an over-21 Dubai Sports Council championship four years in a row from 2011 to last year.

When you add table tennis and handball to the list, it is clear that she is an all-round athlete.

But it was initially difficult to persuade her family to let her play sports, she says.

"I struggled at the beginning when I wanted to do sports activities and join sports clubs. My family were not very fond of the idea,” she says.

"Later, with a little push, my family became more accepting and they supported me to find success.”

Beside her achievements on the pitch, she has also succeeded in an organisational role.

She says she takes great pride in managing the first football tournament for women at the Al Nasr Club in 2013.

"It was a two-day tournament in which they involved Emirati female referees as well. We had more than 90 people who came to watch,” Ms Al Sahlawi says. "We came second in the tournament and that was a miracle for us. I was very pleased.”

But she believes that for women to really succeed at sport, there needs to be changes in the education system.

"We need two things to attract and enhance sports for females. The first thing is for them to have great role models, and second the public schools should open up more for sports activities,” Ms Al Sahlawi says.

She hopes her success can inspire other Emirati women to take up sports.

"Leadership is a key for any kind of sportsmanship. There has to be a person to look up to, a person that can inspire others,” she says, adding that having more women coaches would be a great help.

"In one of the universities there is a football team for girls, but their coach was a man. He knew me personally and contacted me to take his place for the coaching.

"He said the girls were a bit uncomfortable that a man was coaching them. Since I took over, six more girls have joined the team and I have been coaching them for about three to four months.”

She is now hoping to push for an official UAE women's football team that will be recognised by Fifa and become part of the organisation's global tournaments.

Eventually she would like to see women being able to make a living in sports.

She cites the German Women Bundesliga football league as an example of how women "can be a player, a finance director, team manager or head of medical team”.

"At the moment, sport is still a hobby for women. I want it to be a career,” she says. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/muna-al-sahlawi-is-on-track-for-career-in-sports


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