Washington, DC - HE Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, participated in the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) fourth annual Sheikha Fatima Lectureship, where the Ambassador of the UAE to the US, HE Yousef Al Otaiba, was also present. The Hon. Swanee Hunt, Founder and Chairperson of the Institute for Inclusive Security, and The Hon. Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, joined Ambassador Nusseibeh for the lectureship on “Women Promoting Peaceful and Inclusive Societies”, moderated by The Hon. Nancy Lindborg, President of USIP.
Ambassador Nusseibeh highlighted the significance of the lectureship series, noting that it serves as a testament to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Ketbi Al Mubarak’s deep and enduring commitment to empowering women. Ambassador Nusseibeh recounted the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikha Fatima’s dedication to educate women and girls - since the 1950s, when they worked to ensure girls’ enrollment in a nascent school in the Emirate of Al Ain when the late President was governor, to nurturing their talents today, whereby women comprise 70 percent of university graduates and play active roles in every sector of society. Education and equal opportunities for all are key underpinnings of the UAE’s visionary leadership and its national strategy since the country was founded.
She said: “In the UAE, we never had a debate on whether women needed to be included in our society and the decision-making processes in government and business—we just were. And today, women have reached the highest levels of leadership—our Speaker of the Federal National Council is a woman, and the first in the Arab world.”
She added, “The UAE’s model – in stark contrast to extremist ideology of groups such as Da’esh - is built on the principles of inclusion, tolerance, and acceptance of others, and our society so home to over 200 nationalities who coexist peacefully and worship freely. Our Minister of State for Tolerance, HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, works to promote this model not only within our society, but within the region and around the world.”
“As a prosperous, peaceful society, the UAE provides opportunities to the youth of the region that serve a viable alternative to the dangers of violent extremism propagated by Da’esh,” she continued. She also credited the inclusion of youth - a growing and integral part of the Arab region – to the success of the UAE’s model.
Ambassador Nusseibeh spoke to how the UAE promotes these ideals of inclusion as smart foreign policy abroad, and employs them as strategic and economic advantages on the world scene. She also highlighted the UAE’s continued efforts at the United Nations to promote women’s leadership in conflict management and peacebuilding, through the Women, Peace and Security agenda. She noted the UAE’s partnership with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, which included a series of high-level policy dialogues on key issues facing the global community. The series concluded with a list of recommendations that informed the UN’s work on this agenda.
The UAE is also working alongside 60 like-minded countries to promote gender parity in the senior leadership of the UN. Ambassador Nusseibeh stressed that in order to be fit for purpose, the UN must reflect the ideals of our global community, including gender parity amongst the leaders and decision-makers within the Organization.
In her closing remarks, Ambassador Nusseibeh recalled a meeting that took place last month between Sheikha Fatima and the Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka, when Her Highness urged UN Women to use the UAE’s example in its work around the world. UN Women opened its first office in the GCC in October, a direct result of Sheikha Fatima’s stewardship and commitment to women in the region.
Background about the lectureship series
In recognition of women as peacebuilders, the United States Institute of Peace established the Sheikha Fatima Lectureship series around “Women at the Table.” It was through the generosity of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi, the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder and first president of the United Arab Emirates, that the United States Institute of Peace named the north atrium of the headquarters building the “International Women’s Commons”, in recognition of efforts to advance the progress of women as peacemakers.