ABU DHABI // Awards recognising the achievements of "ideal" parents - both mothers and fathers - will be given out later this month under the auspices of Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail, the wife of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
The mothers will be honoured at a ceremony in Al Ain on Mar 21 - Mother's Day - when Sheikha Shamsa will also open a forum, which she has described as the first of its kind, where female sociologists will discuss changing societies in the GCC over the past 50 years. The occasion will mark the 16th anniversary of the Ousha bint al Hussein Cultural Forum. Sheikha Shamsa will attend the opening panel discussion, and will oversee the distribution of the Ideal Mother award as well as the Creativity Award for people with special needs.
Also in attendance will be Princess Mashael Al Saud, professor of geology at King Fahd University in Riyad. "The award ceremony will take place at the Rotana Hotel in Al Ain with the participation of 20 female sociologists from the GCC," said Dr Moza Ghabash, head of the forum and the Organisation for Humanities and Social Studies. The forum will discuss a number of social issues with a focus on social and historical change in the GCC and the challenges arising from such change.
Specifically, it will discuss the effect on GCC identity of development in the region as well as relations between the sexes from a sociological perspective. Also on the agenda will be "GCC occidentalism", a topic on which the panel will deliver research findings covering the period from 1820 to the present day. Occidentalism is how the East views the West, just as orientalism is how the West views the East.
The sociologists have been investigating views of the West and western mentality in the field of colonial sociology. Dr Ghabash emphasised the importance of focusing on the GCC as a whole, without limiting the perspective to the UAE. "We should not limit our gaze to the UAE and its social development because history has shown that whatever changes unfold in one country will follow in another throughout the GCC. Our history and nature are one, even if we've experienced change at different times."
The purpose of the forum is to unify academic and research theories about the changes unfolding in the GCC, be they societal, political or economic. The fathers will have their moment at a similar ceremony on March 18, designated Father's' Day. "The forum does not discriminate between mothers and fathers because the ideal of being a parent contributes to the family, and it cannot be achieved without a joint effort between mothers and fathers," said Dr Ghabash.
The studies present by the panellists will be collated and published in book form. firstname.lastname@example.org