Afghan First Lady to address Sharjah conference

Investing in the Future’ conference to see participation of international women leaders

Staff Report
18:05 October 15, 2016

Sharjah: Rula Bibi Gul Gani, First Lady of Afghanistan, and Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of State for Tolerance, will be among the speakers at the second ‘Investing in the Future’ conference (IIFMENA) to be held in Sharjah.

The two-day conference beginning on October 19 will host an elite group of international women leaders who will share their inspiring experiences and success stories in the field of women’s advocacy and empowerment.

Among the luminaries will be Priti Patel, UK Secretary of State for International Development; Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistani stateswoman, activist and former Foreign Minister of Pakistan; and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Pakistani journalist, filmmaker and activist. IIFMENA is being organised by The Big Heart Foundation, a Sharjah-based humanitarian organisation dedicated to helping refugees and people in need worldwide, and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women. This year’s conference is being held under the theme ‘Building the Resilience of Women and Girls in the Arab Region’.

The conference seeks to highlight the importance of women’s inclusion in the economic development process. It focuses on providing them with support and meeting their needs in education, training, employment, and access to resources.

“There are innumerable success stories that reveal how women leaders play a key role in the process of cultural transformation and sustainable development. These examples represent the greater number of unrecognised efforts of women across the globe to ensure that their female peers are having equal opportunities in education, employment and decision-making,” said Mariam Al Hammadi, director of ‘Salam Ya Seghar,’ an initiative from The Big Heart Foundation, announcing the list of speakers.

As wife of the Afghan President, Rula Bibi Gul Gani is playing a ground-breaking role from a dedicated office at the presidential palace, challenging Afghan traditions.

Shaikha Lubna became the first Emirati woman in UAE history to assume a cabinet position when she was appointed Minister of Foreign Trade in 2004. Following a further two ministerial appointments, she was invited to become Minister of State for Tolerance in the UAE, a role created earlier this year.