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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

UAE Portrait of a Nation: First Emirati female race car driver shows no sign of slowing down

A collector of trophies and qualifications, Rabab Al Tajir also dedicates her time to helping others

Rabab Al Tajir speaks seven languages. Christopher Pike / The National
Rabab Al Tajir speaks seven languages. Christopher Pike / The National

She was the first female racing car driver in the region. She is also a fashion designer, motivational speaker, human rights campaigner and speaks seven languages, but Rabab Al Tajir will not stop until she is first in everything.

Al Tajir is a collector of sorts, the 38-year-old Emirati has a mass of medals and trophies after competing in a circuit of rally races on a variety of terrains.

In 2013, she came fourth in the Umm Al Quwain car rally. The same year, she finished eighth among 100 cars in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, an international cross-country race through the treacherous Empty Quarter. She competed in the same race three years prior, placing second.

Ms Al Tajir has also earned 16 qualifications across multiple disciplines but the rally driver says she doesn’t know how to stop and doesn’t want to until she reaches her goals.

“I’m not into having a PhD, or any certificate that I’m going to put on my wall, I am proud of my 16 certificates but I have a vision, I see beyond, I am of ambition and I don’t stop even when some people push me down, I rise up,” says Ms Al Tajir.

She balances her high-octane lifestyle with yoga, meditation and studies into healing.

“Our religion and all divine religions are about tolerance and love to one another, which provoked me to look deeper into the world of energy which helps one to elevate from trifles and spread peace and tolerance among those he knows,” she says.

Her message of tolerance stems from a childhood spent living around the world.

Ms Al Tajir’s comes from a diplomatic background. Her father was the first UAE ambassador to Morocco in the early 70s.

At the age of 5 she was sent to a boarding school in Belgium. She returned to the UAE three years later to study in Dubai only to move again to Lebanon. She rounded off her international schooling in Washington DC.

In 2002 she graduated from London College of Management. Armed with a degree in Human Resources Consultancy she went on to work at multiple companies in Dubai; among them was Al Futtaim where she took up the post of Emiratisation Section Director and recruited 365 Emiratis to the company in a single year. The act helped earn her the Dubai Human Development Award, which rewards companies who provide work to Emiratis and develops their abilities through training and guidance.

By then Ms Al Tajir’s travels led her to master French, English, German, Italian, Greek and get by in Russian – in addition to Arabic, her mother tongue.

Not one to be dissuaded by societal pressures, Ms Al Tajir is a walking example that you can’t keep a good woman down, a message she shares with the people she meets when supporting various causes.

She focusses her attentions on women issues, particularly the empowerment of women in Arab societies. She also divides her time helping with campaigns against drug addiction and delinquencies caused by broken family ties, in addition to health issues.

“I participated in several awareness campaigns about heart problems, diabetes, and cancer,” says Ms Al Tajir, who also gives motivational speeches at schools.

“I have to present myself strongly and with pride wherever I go because I am an Emirati, I am proud of my country which deserves nothing less than the best,”

When she isn’t dedicating her time to charity work Ms Al Tajir is a board member at the English Language School in Dubai but car racing will forever be her first love.