Sheikha Lubna: ‘Believe and you can make it happen’
DUBAI // Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi had a powerful message to give on Wednesday on the final day of the Global Women’s Forum Dubai: have confidence in yourself and you will achieve your goals.
“Believe in yourself, and the doors will open for you, whether it’s here or anywhere else,” said the UAE Minister of State for Tolerance on the final day of the two-day event held at Madinat Jumeirah.
Emiratis who took part in the forum said they were left with a sense of pride at being able to show the world how they had excelled in all walks of life thanks to the support of the country’s leaders.
The forum – two days of inspirational and often deeply personal speeches by powerful women from across the world – was an achievement that put Dubai on the international map of female empowerment, said Dr Sheikha Alia Al Qassimi, chief executive of Social Care and Development Sector at the Community Development Authority.
“The forum was quite impressive,” she said. “There were strong local, regional and international speakers who brought a lot of value and experience with them.
“It is very important for the different generations of women who attended to reflect on their own career development paths.
“What has touched me was the Turning Point discussion, where high-profile women with different backgrounds were reflecting on their turning points [in life], and it proved that we all share the same challenges.”
Manal Al Jasmi, who works at General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai, said the UAE leadership’s support for female empowerment was reflected in the success of the forum.
“The presence of officials and experts gathered women from different backgrounds and nationalities, in one place, allowing us to share and discuss,” said the 27-year-old, adding that the discussions were timely and interesting, in particular the address by the Speaker of the Federal National Council, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi.
“Dr Amal spoke about her personal life, and such speeches are inspiring and make you realise that whenever you reach a point in your life, you can start yet another story,” she said.
During her address, Sheikha Lubna spoke about how the support of her family and the opportunities afforded to her by the UAE allowed her to live out her ambition of studying abroad.
“I wanted to be a computer engineer and my dream was to go to the US,” said Sheikha Lubna, who is also president of Zayed University.
“It took a lot of [effort] from my brothers to convince my parents to let me go, but I [went to] the UK, and I stayed with a British family. As long as I was within a family environment, it was OK by my parents and eventually I went to the US.”
She said that the UAE had given her, and many others, extraordinary opportunities to excel.
“I came back to the UAE because I owed to it to my country and to the leaders, and not many people get such opportunities,” she said.
Eiman Al Marzouqi, who works at the Abu Dhabi Educational Council, said that as well as talks by prominent Arab women – such as Queen Rania of Jordan – she was inspired by a speech by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
“I loved the address by Sheikh Abdullah – especially when he said that ‘the fault is not that women are not working, the fault is that men have taken over some of the roles of women,’” said the 36-year-old, adding that she found Queen Rania’s speech very emotional and inspirational.
Ms Al Marzouqi said that the forum had exceeded her expectations and made her very proud to be an Emirati woman.
Updated: February 24, 2016 04:00 AM