H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak “Mother of the Nation”
President of the General Women’s Union Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation President of
Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood
Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi was born in the Al Hayer area, Al Ain City, to a religious and conservative Bedouin family. She always had a passion for the values and simplicity of the Bedouin life and environment from which she derived her personality and culture.
She was married to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - May Allah Bless His Soul - in early 1960, when he was living in Al Ain as Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. She moved to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the emirate, when Sheikh Zayed became ruler on 6th August,1966.
She was always at the side of Sheikh Zayed throughout his reign as Ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and, later, as the President of the United Arab Emirates; he was her mentor and her source of inspiration. She shared with him the years of political dynamism when he was greatly involved with his work, helping him to achieve his many successes, of which the most prominent was the establishment of the United Arab Emirates on 2nd December, 1971. This, in particular, had a great effect on Sheikha Fatima, shaping her intellect and preparing her for the huge responsibilities she later assumed.
Sheikha Fatima gave most of her time to taking care of her husband to whom she was fully dedicated. She did not, however, overlook the importance of education in her life, and devoted time to studying the Quran, Sunna and Hadith. She was also interested in studying literature and the humanities and in exploring history, politics and diplomacy.
Her character is exemplified by modesty, magnanimity, leniency, a belief in and an acceptance of the views of others, an unwavering and strong determination and a boundless devotion to charity work that has not been limited to the United Arab Emirates.
H.H. Sheikha Fatima has a special interest in issues related to motherhood, childhood and family, major concerns which occupy much of her time. Over a relatively short period, she has been able to make outstanding gains in terms of developing the status of children and mothers on all levels.
She sponsored the establishment of the first UAE women's society, the Abu Dhabi Women' s Development Association, on 8th February 1973, in Abu Dhabi. Other similar societies were later established in other emirates and it became obvious that there was a need to coordinate their efforts and goals. As a result, the General Women's Union was established on 27th August 1975, and H.H. Sheikha Fatima became its first chairwoman.
H.H. Sheikha Fatima has been given the title of 'Mother of Sheikhs'; on International Mothers' Day, 21st March 2005, she was also given the well-deserved title of 'Mother of the Nation'.
Sheikha Fatima was awarded with the Palm Fronds Knight of the Order of Academic Palms on April 13, 2004, one of the most prestigious French accolades, first established by Napoleon on 17th March 1808, to honor those who offer their sincere services and outstanding achievements in various fields of education, culture, education and research.
In October 2010, the Food and Agriculture Organization, part of the United Nations family of organizations, named H.H. Sheikha Fatima as an Extraordinary Goodwill Ambassador, in recognition of her efforts and her continuous support for women's causes, at both regional and international levels, and of her decisive role in the areas of women's education, the eradication of illiteracy, the promotion of women's rights, in the Arab region and elsewhere in the world, and for establishing the first-ever women's organization in the UAE.
Her Highness was named Woman Leadership Personality of the Year in the Arab world for 2014 by Forbes Middle East magazine, in recognition of her cultural and leadership role in promoting the status of women, and supporting women’s presence in the community, locally, regionally and internationally.
H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, was honored with the title “Mother of the Arabs” by the General Union of Arab Producers and the Arab Women’s Campaign, on 20th March 2015.
On 12th March 2005, Sheikha Fatima was given an honorary doctorate in humanities by the University of Algiers, the first woman to be honored by the university in this way.
This was followed by recognition from other prestigious institutions. On 9th December 2009, for example, she was made an Honorary Fellow of the London-based Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, RCOG, in recognition of her outstanding contributions and commitment to women and women’s health. The honor, which is reserved for high-level leaders and personalities for their significant contributions to society, especially the family, was presented by Dr. Maggie Blott, RCOG Vice President – Education.
On 27th September 2012, H.H. Sheikha Fatima was also awarded an honorary doctorate in education by South Korea’s Dankook University, in recognition of her distinguished role in support of the progress of women, in particular, and for her support for social work and education in general.
The Sudan University of Science and Technology, granted H.H. Sheikha Fatima an Honorary Doctorate in Community Development on 14th March 2013, in recognition of her efforts in supporting educational institutions and developing human capital in the Arab world.
Established the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association, 8th February, 1973.
Established the General Women’s Union (GWU), 27th August, 1975.
Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development’s Association in Al Bateen, 12th August, 1977.
Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association in MadinatZayed, 23rd April, 1978.
Established the Handicraft and Environmental Industries Centre at the General Women’s Union (GWU), 1978.
Established the branch of the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association in Ghiyathi, Abu Dhabi, 1979.
Established the branch of the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association in Al Ain City on 15th February, 1980.
Established the branch of the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association on Dalma Island, 1980.
Established the branch of the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association in Al Mirfa, Abu Dhabi, 1980.
Established the branch of the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association in Al Sila', Abu Dhabi, 1980.
Established the branch of the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association in Al Wathba, 1981.
Established the GWU's Ladies Beach in Ra’s al-Akhdar, Abu Dhabi, 1987.
Chaired the organisation Dar Zayed for Comprehensive Care, 1988.
Established and chaired the Board of Trustees for Female Nationals Affairs and Social Services, 1st September, 1991.
Chairwoman of the Coordination Committee for Women’s Action in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula since 1994.
Established the branch of the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association in Shahama, 1995.
Established the Abu Dhabi Ladies Club's Sharia Ladies Swimming Pool and Park, 1995.
Chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi Ladies’ Club since 1995.
Established the GWU's Ladies Beach at Sa's Al Nakhl (formerly Umm al-Nar), in Abu Dhabi,1997.
Established the branch of the Abu Dhabi Women’s Development Association in Al Hayer, 1998.
Established the GWU's Cultural and Social Centre in the Officer’s City in Abu Dhabi on 19th December, 2000.
Established the GWU's Employment Office for National Women Graduates, 2000.
Established the SheikhaSalamabintButti Centre for Religious Guidance, 2000
Established the GWU's Information Training Centre, 2000.
Established the GWU's Parent-Child Visitation Office, 2000.
Established the Sheikha Fatima Fund for Refugee Women, in co-operation and co-ordination with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, in 2000.
Established the GWU’s Health Guidance programme, 2001.
Established the GWU's Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Social and Cultural Centre in Sweihan on 19th January, 2002.
Established and chaired the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, 2003.
Established the GWU's Women Human Resource Training and Development Centre, 2003.
Established the GWU's Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Social and Cultural Centre in Al Hayer, 2004.
Established and chaired the Family Development Foundation (FDF), 2006.
Founding member of the Arab Women Organisation, and president of the organisation, 2007-2009.
Established the Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies' Sports Academy, 20th July, 2010.
Launched and acted as patron of a programme to prepare women from the GCC states to take part in sport in 2011.
Launched the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak International Award for Arab Youth, November, 2011.
Launched the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Award for Women Athletes on 9th April, 2012.
Honorary President of the Emirates Girl Guides Association since 1975.
Honorary Chairwoman of the Women’s Committee at the Red Crescent Society (RCS). 1983-1997.
Honorary Chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi Mothers' Council of the Abu Dhabi Educational Zone since 1985.
Honorary President of the UAE Special Olympics for Special Needs Athletes since 1986.
First Leader and the Honorary President of the Emirates Girl Guides Association since 1988
Honorary Chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi Ladies Club since 1995.
Honorary Chairwoman of the Red Crescent Authority (RCA) since June, 1997.
Honorary Chairwoman of the Sheikh Zayed Private Academy since 2000.
Honorary Chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen’s Council since 2001.
Honorary Chairwoman of the UAE Businesswomen’s Council since 2002.
Honorary Chairwoman of the shelter homes for the victims of human trafficking since 2008.
Honorary President of the Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy since 2010.
Arranged for the UAE General Women’s Union to join the General Arab Women’s Union.
Launched the Women’s Literacy and Education Strategy in the UAE, 1975.
Sponsored the Producing Families Festival since 1997.
Sponsored the National Survey of the characteristics of the UAE family, 1998.
Sponsored the Festival of Support for the People of Kosovo from 7th - 13th September 1999. Proceeds of that charity initiative went to alleviating the humanitarian plight of the people of Kosovo.
Established the Sheikha Fatima Fund for Refugee Women, in cooperation and coordination with the Red Crescent Authority (RCA) and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR. 2000.
Promoted the National Strategy for the Advancement of Women in co-operation with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), 2002.
Sponsored the Cultural Passport award, run by the Family Development Foundation (FDF), 2003.
Launched the National Initiatives for mainstreaming Social Gender in the UAE, in co-operation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 2006.
Launched the Women in Technology program in the UAE, in conjunction with Microsoft.
Sponsored the scheme for enhancing the role of Arab women parliamentarians, in conjunction with UNIFEM, 2006-2008.
Launched the Network for Arab Women in the Diaspora at the 2nd Conference of Arab Women Organization, Abu Dhabi, 11th November, 2008.
Acted as patron of the annual graduation ceremonies for female graduates of the UAE University, Higher Colleges of Technology, Zayed University and Khawla bint Al-Azwar Military School.
Launched the Arab Women Award in Sciences and Technology for Development - Arab Women Organization, 2008.
Launched of the Media Strategy for Arab Women at the 2nd Conference of Arab Women Organization, Abu Dhabi, 11th November, 2008.
Donated a plot of land and built a center to shelter victims of human trafficking in Abu Dhabi on 30th November 2008.
Established the Sheikha Fatima Muslim Girls Students Hostel in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 29th June 2009.
Launched the 'Know Your Rights' project, 2009.
Acted as patron of the world's first female horseracing championship.
Acted as patron of the second GCC women's sports games, held from 7th - 12th March 2011 in Abu Dhabi.
Organized recreational, health, educational and cultural activities for children of Syrian refugees in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to alleviate their suffering, under the supervision of the ‘One Million Volunteer’ campaign on 20th August 2012.
Donated US$10 million for children of Syrian refugees as part of the “Big Heart for the Children of Syrian Refugees” initiative on 19th July 2013.
Launched the 'Be Prepared' campaign, 2013.
Launched the 'We have a Paramedic in our House' campaign, 2013.
Sponsored the 'My City is My Garden' competition, in collaboration with the Department of Municipal Affairs, 2013.
Launched Awareness Campaign for lung cancer entitled "Breathe Life", on 13th November 2013, in collaboration with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi, HAAD.
Donated AED10 million to support Syrian refugees as part of the “Our Hearts are with the People of Syria” campaign in December 2013.
Launched the “Your Health Under the Microscope” campaign in 2014.
Provided a US$50,000 grant for each school nominated for the Zayed Future Energy Prize on 22nd January 2014.
Launched a school bag initiative for orphans in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 21st June 2014.
Gave a GBP 60 million grant towards creating The Centre for Research into Rare Diseases in Children, the first center of its kind in the world, at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, one of the world's leading children's hospitals on 16th July 2014.
Launched the “Eidia” initiative for disadvantaged children, sponsored by The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood on 25th July 2014.
Arranged distribution of winter aid to 569 Syrian refugee families in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on 18th December 2014.
Launched the “Application Shop for Productive Families” in 2014.
Launched the Tabak Al-Khair Project (Charity Plate Project), 1982. Proceeds go to local, regional and international charities.
Declared 1988 as the year of women’s literacy.
Declared 1991 as the year of voluntary work in social, health and military fields.
Launched the Al-Bir Award in 1997. The Award is given to people who are committed to caring for their aging parents.
Launched the Sheikha Fatima Ideal Family Award, 1997.
Acted as patron of the UAE celebrations of the Arab Family Day, 7-8th December 1997.
Acted as patron of the UAE celebrations of the Arab Family Day, 5th-12th December 1998.
Launched the national program to combat smoking among youngsters, 2000.
Formulated the UAE National Childhood and Motherhood Strategy, in cooperation with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 2009-2011.
Funded a relief program for Palestinian children orphaned and displaced by Israeli attacks on the Sabra, Shatila and Ain el-Hilweh refugee camps in Lebanon.
Launched a detailed national database of information and statistics on childhood in the UAE, in collaboration with UNIFEM and the National Statistics Centre.
Patron of the Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr Festival.
Support Arab and international humanitarian and relief agencies and charities.
Launched the National Traffic Safety Awareness Campaign.
Launched the national diabetes public health awareness campaign in 2005
Launched the national breast cancer campaign in 2006.
Launched the national awareness campaign on AIDS.
Launched the care for mosques campaign, in collaboration with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Awqaf (Endowments).
Launched the Irtiqa'a Program through the General Women's Union.
Launched the 'Giving Hands Initiative' for Children with Deformities and Eye Diseases in 2009.
Acted as patron of the conference in Abu Dhabi on “A World in the Family”, 6th -7th May 2009.
Acted as patron of the 2nd Emirates Conference on Volunteering and the Gulf Volunteering Forum, 31st January 2010.
Acted as patron of the 30th Arab Children International Conference in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 12th - 13th July 2010.
Acted as patron of the National Contest for the Emirates' Skills, 27th January 2011.
Acted as patron of the 31st Arab Children International Conference in Abu Dhabi, 13th November 2011.
Acted as patron of the National Contest for the Emirates' Skills, 11th April 2012.
Acted as patron of the initiatives made by the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET).
Acted as patron of the World Children’s Day Forum 2013, organized by the Family Development Foundation under the slogan: "An enlightened generation for a safer future", 20th November 2013.
Launched the anti-obesity program for children, in collaboration with The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.
Launched the 'Breathe Life' awareness campaign on lung cancer on 13th November, 2013 in collaboration with the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi.
Acted as patron of a workshop organized on 2nd and 3rd October 2013 by the General Women's Union as part of the awareness program on nutrition in schools.
Acted as patron of the Abu Dhabi Obstetrics, Gynecology and Midwifery Congress, 2013.
Acted as patron of the Health and Fitness Fun Festival, held by Fatima College of Health Sciences (FCHS), 2014.
orld Conference on Women, Mexico City, 1975.
World Conference on Women. Copenhagen, Denmark, 1980.
Hosting and acting as patron of the Conference on Research on Women in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula – 24th - 27th March 1984, in Abu Dhabi.
The UN's Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya, 1985.
Hosting and acting as patron of the Arab Gulf States Seminar for Women on Population and the Family. Abu Dhabi, 3rd - 5th May 1986.
Acting as patron of a symposium on Media and Communication for Raising Awareness of the Health of Mothers and Children. Held in co-operation with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF. 8th – 10th March, 1988.
Hosting and acting as patron of the 11th Conference of Arab Girl Guides. Abu Dhabi, 5th – 8th December, 1988.
Acting as patron of a training session on planning women's action. Abu Dhabi, 16th – 27th February, 1991.
Sponsoring the "Project on Compiling Women Heritage in the UAE", in cooperation with the UAE University, 1991.
Summit on the Economic Advancement of Rural Women. United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), 25th – 26th February 1992.
Regional Conference on Women and Development. Tunisia, 1993.
The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Cairo, Egypt, 1994.
Acting as patron of the Expert Group Meeting on the Arab Family in a Changing Society. Held by the UAE's GWU in association with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Abu Dhabi, 10th – 14th November 1994
Acting as patron of the Regional Coordination Committee for Women’s Action in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. Abu Dhabi, December 15th - 17th 1994.
Fourth World Conference on Women. Beijing. September 4th - 15th 1995.
Acting as patron of the regional conference on the Interaction of Arab Women with Science and Technology – 24th - 26th April 1999, in Abu Dhabi.
Acting as patron of the "Our Children: Towards a New Age" conference. Abu Dhabi, 1999.
Women's Conference for Peace in Sharm El-Sheikh, Republic of Egypt, 21st and 22nd September 2002.
Second Arab Women's Summit Conference in Amman, Kingdom of Jordan in November 2002.
Hosting and acting as patron of the "Women's Forum and the Media". 2nd and 3rd November 2002. Organized by the General Women's Union with the Arab Women Organization.
Acting as Patron of the 1st Global Economic Forum for Business Women. Abu Dhabi, 7th – 10th October 2003.
Acting as patron of the 1st Middle East and North African Business Women's Forum. Abu Dhabi from 30th October - 1st November 2006.
Chairing the 'Quran between Religion and Medicine' conference, 10th - 12th April 2007, in Abu Dhabi.
Hosting and chairing the 3rd meeting of the Higher Council of the Arab Women Organization, 27th May 2007.
Chairing the International Conference on Aging. Abu Dhabi, 22nd – 24th April 2008.
Hosting and chairing the second conference of the Arab Women Organization, on ‘Women and Human Security – an Arab and International Perspective”. Abu Dhabi, 11th – 13th November 2008.
Acting as patron of the conference, “A World in a Family” in Abu Dhabi on 6th - 7th May 2009.
Acting as patron of the 2nd Emirates Conference on Volunteering and the Gulf Volunteering Forum, 2010.
Acting as patron of the 7th World Family Summit, held under the theme, “Balanced Families: Working our way Towards Sustainable Development - Making Decent Work and Social Protection a Global Reality for All Family Members”, 5th December 2011.
Acting as patron of the 31st Arab Children International Conference, 13th November 2011, Abu Dhabi.
Acting as patron of the second GCC Women's Sports Games, 7th March 2012, Abu Dhabi.
Acting as patron of the Abu Dhabi International Conference on Women's Sports, held under the theme 'Sport, Health and Happiness'. 11th April 2012, Abu Dhabi.
Acting as patron of the 13th Congress of The Middle East Society of Organ Transplantation. 12th - 14th December 2012, in Abu Dhabi.
Acting as patron of the ‘Continuous Family Development’ conference, November 2014, in Abu Dhabi.
Launch of the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak International Education and Training Conference on 7th and 8th November 2014, Abu Dhabi.
Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has achieved great success in all fields and has been presented with many local, regional and international awards in appreciation of her efforts to serve women in the UAE and internationally.
Her receipt of the title of the Head of the Olympic Committee International Award is a recognition of the generous and continuous efforts of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak to empower women through numerous initiatives and in various fields, including social, health-related and cultural.
Today women in the UAE are able to enjoy their personal rights confidently, and have these rights protected.
The scene of women's sport in the UAE has seen many initiatives that were introduced by Her Highness to facilitate progress by women in this field. A few examples are listed below.
Established the GWU’s Ladies Beach in Ra’s al-Akhdar, Abu Dhabi, 1987.
Chairwoman of Abu Dhabi Women’s Club
Established the Abu Dhabi Ladies Club’s Sharia Ladies Swimming Pool and Park.
Launched the first Ladies World
Established Al Raha Beach for Ladies in Abu Dhabi.
The world's first women's equestrian race was launched with the broad participation of UAE knights.
Established the 'Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy’
on 20th July, 2010, whose objective is to prepare and qualify ladies, girls, and female executives to work in women’s sport. The Academy also works to form women’s sports teams capable of achievements in the progress of women’s sport in the future.
20 July 2010
Launched the women cadres program
to prepare women from the GCC states in the field of sports in 2011.
Launching and sponsoring the 2ndGCC Women’s Games tournament .
7 March 2012
The launch of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak sports Award for women
9 April 2012
Sponsorship and hosting of Abu Dhabi International Women's Sport Conference
11 April 2012
Sponsorship of the Abu Dhabi International Women’s Sports Conference
21 22 April 2013
Sports .. No barriers
Sponsorship of the 3rd International Women’s Sports Conference organized by Fatima Bint Mubarak Academy for Women’s Sports on 4 May, 2015
Sheikha Fatima has succeeded in absorbing my goals and ideas and translating them into successful experiences in all fields
The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Thanks to the wise directives of H.H Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the social, cultural and economic characteristics of UAE women have improved. They have made huge educational achievements. The persistent and unlimited efforts of Her Highness in further developing the role of women deserve all praise
H.E Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan
The UAE is proud of H.H. Sheikha Fatima as a historic woman leader who stood behind the founding father throughout his lifetime journey for building the nation and who has worked for more than three decades to support and empower the UAE woman. Apart from her tremendous responsibilities, Sheikha Fatima has groomed and built national political leaders. We are very proud of them and of their achievements. Honouring the Mother of Nation (by awarding her the Mohammed bin Rashid Sash), is dedicated to every mother in the UAE. This recognition is not only from me but from the people of the UAE, and in particular from the daughters of the UAE as mothers, women workers and girl students, and even from orphans, physically-challenged persons and other groups of the community. Sheikha Fatima's achievements have had a direct impact on their lives throughout decades of sincere national action
H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai
Sheikha Fatima’s efforts in the fields of the family, motherhood, childhood and literacy s are a continuous source of respect and admiration from all. We look with admiration at what women in this friendly nation, the U.A.E., have achieved through determination, their serious work ethic and generous giving to reach the highest positions and rankings in various fields.inThe development and success of the Emirati woman are the fruits of continuous efforts linked with Sheikha Fatima over three decades, which aimed to prepare a generation of women to serve the march towards development in the educational, cultural, scientific and civilisation fields, to achieve successes in reaching ministerial positions and membership of the Federal National Council and to greatly contribute to the process of development in the UAE
H.M. Queen Elizabeth II
Queen of the United Kingdom
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