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Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak
Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak

Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Al-Ketbi was born in Al-Hayer area, Al-Ain City to a religious and conservative bedouin family. She always had the passion for the values and simplicity of 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 ruler of the Eastern region (Al-Ain). She moved to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the emirate of Abu Dhabi when Sheikh Zayed became the ruler of the emirate in August 16th, 1966.

She always was with Sheikh Zayed throughout his rule of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and later the President of the United Arab Emirates. Never did she leave him, for he was her mentor and source of inspiration. She shared with him the years of political dynamism when he was much busy with his work and where she helped him write his success story the most prominent chapter of which was the establishment of the United Arab Emirates in December 2nd 1971. This in particular has had greatly influenced Sheikha Fatima, shaped her intellectual disposition and prepared her for the huge responsibilities she later on assumed.

Sheikha Fatima gave most of her time over to take care of her husband to whom she was fully dedicated. But she did not forget the importance of education in her life, therefore she started studying Quran , Sunna and Hadeeth. She was also interested in studying literature and humanities and exploring history, politics and diplomacy.

She is characterized by modesty, magnanimity, leniency, belief in and acceptance of others' opinions, unwavering and strong determination and the unlimited love for charity work that was not limited to the United Arab Emirates.

She has 6 sons and 2 daughters

  • H.H General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
    Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, is her first son
  • H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
    the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region
  • H.H Sheikh Hazza' Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
    National Security Advisor and Chairman of the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority
  • H.H Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
    Chairman of Amiri Aviation
  • H.H Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
    Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs
  • H.H Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
    Foreign Minister
  • H.H Sheikha Shamma Bint Zayed Al-Nahyan
  • H.H Sheikha Al-Yaziya Bint Zayed Al-Nahyan

Sheikha Fatima had special interest in motherhood, childhood and family, the major concerns which take quite a great part of her time. In a short span of time, she was able to make outstanding gains and status for children and mothers on all levels.

She sponsored the establishment of the UAE's first women society in Feb 8th 1973 in Abu Dhabi. Other similar societies were later established in other emirates and the need for coordinating their efforts and goals emerged. Therefore, the General Women Union was established in August 27th, 1975 and Sheikha Fatima became its first chairwoman.

Sheikha Fatima was given the title of Mother of Sheikhs; on the International Women's Day in 2005, she attained the well-deserved title of Mother of the Nation.

Sheikha Fatima established and/or chaired a number of local, regional and international societies and bodes
These are:

  • Established Abu Dhabi Women Development Association, Feb 8th 1973.
  • Established the General Women Union (GWU). August 27th, 1975.
  • Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development Association in Al-Bateen, August 12th, 1977.
  • Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development Association in Madinat Zayed. April 23th, 1977.
  • Established the Handicraft and Environmental Industries Center at the General Women Union (GWU), 1978. The center is aimed to develop and promote women's skills and abilities and preserve environment-based heritage.
  • Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development Association in Abu Dhabi. 1979.
  • Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development Association in Al-Ain. February 1980.
  • Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development Association in Delma Island. 1980.
    Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development Association in Al-Marfa', Abu Dhabi. 1980.
  • Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development Association in Al-Sala', Abu Dhabi. 1980.
  • Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development Association in Al-Wathba 1981.
  • Established the GWU's Ladies Beach in Ras Al-Akhdar, Abu Dhabi 1987.
    Chaired the Dar Zayed for Comprehensive care. 1988.
  • Established and chaired Sheikha Fatima's Office for Female Nationals and Social Services. September 1st, 1994.
  • Chairwoman of the Coordination Committee for Women Action in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula since 1994.
  • Chairwoman of Abu Dhabi Women Club since 1995.
  • Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development Association in Shahama. 1995.
  • Established the Abu Dhabi Ladies Club's Sharia Ladies Swimming Pool and Park. 1995.
  • Established GWU's Ladies Beach at Al-Raha Beach. 1997.
  • Established the branch of Abu Dhabi Women Development Association in Al-Hayer. 1998.
  • Established the Sheikha Fatima Fund for Refugee Women, in cooperation and coordination with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR. 2000.
  • Established the GWU's Cultural and Social Center in the Officer City in Abu Dhabi. 2000.
  • Established the GWU's Employment Office of National Women Graduates. 2000.
  • Established the GWU's Information Training Center. 2000.
  • Established the GWU's Parent-Child Visitation Office. 2000.
  • Founding Member of the Arab Women Organization since April 24th 2002.
  • Established the GWU's Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Social and Cultural Center in Suwaihan. January 12th 2002.
  • Established and Chaired the supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood 2003.
  • Established GWU's Women Human Resource Training and Development Center 2003.
  • Established the GWU's Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Social and Cultural Center in Al-Hayer 2004.
  • Established the GWU's Health Guidance. 2004.
  • Established and Chaired the Family Development Foundation (FDF). 2006.
  • Chairwoman of the Arab Women Organization (2007-2009).

H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak holds the following honorary positions:

  • Honorary President of the Girl Guides Association of Emirates since 1975.
  • Honorary Chairwoman of the Women Committee at the Red Crescent Society (RCS). 1983-1997.
  • Honorary Chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi Mothers' Council of Abu Dhabi Educational Zone since 1985.
  • First Leader and the Honorary President of the Girl Guides Association of Emirates 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 since 2001.
  • Honorary Chairwoman of the shelter homes for the victims of human Trafficking since 2008.

H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak sponsored a number of initiatives and projects aimed at empowering women locally, regionally and internationally.
Among these are:

  • Launch of Women Literacy and Education Strategy in the UAE. 1975.
  • Sponsor of the Producing Families Festival since 1997.
  • Sponsor of National survey of the characteristics of the UAE family. 1998.
  • Sponsor of the Festival of Supporting the People of Kosovo 1999.
  • Established the Sheikha Fatima Fund for Refugee Women, in cooperation and coordination with the Red Crescent Authority (RCA) and Office of th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR. March 1st, 2000.
  • The National Strategy for the Advancement of Women in cooperation 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 cooperation with the United Nations Development Program. 2006.
  • Sponsored the scheme for enhancing the role of Arab women parliamentarians, in conjunction with UNIFEM 2006-2008.
  • Launched the Women in Technology program in the UAE, in conjunction with Microsoft.
  • Launch of the Network for Arab Women in Diaspora at the 2nd Conference of Arab Women Organization, Abu Dhabi, November 11th 2008.
  • Launch of the Media Strategy for Arab woman at the 2nd Conference of Arab Women Organization, Abu Dhabi, November 11th 2008.
  • Launch of the Arab Women Award in Sciences and Technology for Development-Arab Women Organization 2008.
  • Establishing the Sheikha Fatima Muslim Girls Students Hostel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. June 29th 2009.
  • Patronizing annual celebrations of female graduates of UAE University, Higher Colleges of Technology, Zayed University and Khawla Bint Al-Azwar Military School

H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak is interested in family and children and continues to spare on effort in ensuring stability for the same prioritizing protection and care for children. In this regard, she launched the following initiatives:

  • Launching the Tabak Al-Khair Project (charity plate project), 1982. Proceeds go to local, regional and international charities.
  • Declaring 1988 as the year of women literacy.
  • Declaring 1991 as the year of voluntary work in social, health and military fields.
  • Launch of the Sheikha Fatima Ideal Family Award. 1997.
  • Patronizing UAE celebrations of the Arab Family Day. Since 1997.
  • Launch of the Al-Bir Award. 1997.
  • Launching the Anti-Smoking Campaign. May 29th , 2001.
  • Launching a diabetes public health awareness campaign. February 2nd, 2007.
  • Launching the National Traffic Safety Awareness Campaign. February 25th 2007.
  • Launching the Giving Hands Initiative for Children with Deformities and Eye Diseases. November 9th, 2008.
  • Formulating the UAE National Childhood and Motherhood Strategy in cooperation with United Nations Children's fund (UNICEF). 2009-2011.
  • Funding relief programs for Palestinian children orphaned and displaced by Israeli aggressions on Sabra & Shatila and Ain el-Hilweh refugee camps in Lebanon.
  • Supporting Arab and international humanitarian and relief agencies and charities.

H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak patronized a large number of local, regional and international conferences and symposium. She also led the General Women Union into active participation at international meeting.

  • World Conference on Women, Mexico City, 1975.
  • Seminar on "The Muslim Woman - Her Full Potential". Rabat, Morocco, 1977.
  • Conference on Childhood in Tunisia. 1979.
  • World Conference on Women. Copenhagen 1980.
  • 3rd Regional Conference on Women in the Gulf & Arabian Peninsula. Kuwait, 1981.
  • Hosting and patronizing the Conference on Research on Women in the Gulf and Arab Peninsula". Abu Dhabi. March 24th to March 27th, 1984.
  • The UN's Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya. 1985.
  • Hosting and patronizing a seminar on Arab-Gulf States Seminar for Women on Population and the Family. Abu Dhabi, May 3rd- May 5th, 1986.
  • Patronizing a symposium on Media and Communication for Raising Awareness of the Health of Mothers and Children. Held in cooperation with Ministry of Health and UNICEF. March 8th to March 10th, 1988.
  • Hosting and patronizing the 11th Conference of Arab Girl Guides. Abu Dhabi, December 5th to December 8th, 1988.
  • Patronizing a training session on planning women's action. Abu Dhabi, February 16 to February 27th, 1991.
  • Sponsoring "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), February 25th - 26th, 1992.
  • Regional Conference on Women and Development. Tunisia, 1993.
  • Patronizing Regional Coordination Committee for Women Action in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. Abu Dhabi, December 15th-17th, 1994.
  • The United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Cairo, Egypt, 1994.
  • Patronizing "Expert Group Meeting on the Arab Family in a Changing Society". Held by UAE's GWU in association with (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) ESCWA. Abu Dhabi, December 11th, 13th, 1995.
  • Fourth World Conference on Women. Beijing. September 4th- 15th, 1995.
  • The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II). Istanbul, Turkey June 3rd- 14th, 1996.
  • Fifth International Conference on Adult Education. Hamburg, July 14th-18th 1997.
  • Women's Conference. Larnaca, Cyprus, 1999.
  • World Conference on Science for the Twenty-First Century. Budapest, June, 1999.
  • Patronizing the MENA Businesswomen's Summit. Abu Dhabi, October 2006. Held in cooperation with UNESCO, Ajman University of Science and Technology. Abu Dhabi. October 29th-November 1st 2006.
  • Patronizing The Interaction of Arab Women with Science and Technology. April 24th-26th, 1999. Held in cooperation with UNESCO, Ajman University of Science and Technology. Abu Dhabi. October 29th-November 1st 2006.
  • Patronizing the "Our Children: Towards a New Age". Abu Dhabi, 1999.
  • First Arab Women Summit. Cairo, November 2000.
  • Hosting and patronizing the Arab Women Media Forum. Organized by GWU in cooperation with the Arab League, Egypt's National Women Council and Lebanon's Al-Hariri Foundation. Abu Dhabi, February 2nd-3rd, 2002.
  • The 2nd Arab Women Summit. Amman, Jordan. 2002.
  • Patronizing the 1st Arab Business Women Global Economic Forum. Abu Dhabi 2003.
  • Hosting and chairing the 3rd Meeting of the Higher Council of Arab Women Organization. May 27th, 2007.
  • Chairing the International Aging Conference. Abu Dhabi. April 22nd, 24th, 2008.
  • Hosting and chairing the second Conference of Arab Women Organization: Women and Human Security - an Arab and international perspective. Abu Dhabi, November 11th-13th, 2008.
  • Patronizing the 2nd Emirates Conference on Volunteering & Gulf Volunteering Forum. January 31st, 2010.

Tributes Paid by prominent figures to H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak:

"Women's work in the UAE has, in a record short span of time, made great lofty achievements which the unlimited care and support rendered by H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak. Every time I visit the lovely UAE, I see more progress and achievements. The UAE women development under the leadership of Sheikha Fatima has achieved prominence among similar experiences in other Arab countries."
Mrs. Suzan Mubarak, Wife of Egyptian President.

"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. Her Highness' persistent and unlimited efforts in further underscoring women's role deserve all the praise."
H.E Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan UAE Minister
of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

"UAE women have made significant achievements which promoted their role in the process of economic and social development which has been going on ever since the inception of the federation in early 1970s. H.H Sheikha Fatima has always been keen on taking care of women and empowering them to take up their role in life and society and realize the directives of the late Sheikh Zayed in this regards to ensure their progress and empower them to make achievements in all areas while at the same time preserve their identity and authenticity."
Ambassador Mushira Khattab, Secretary General of the National
Council for Childhood and Motherhood.

"H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak has always launched generous initiatives and provided unlimited support to joint Arab action and her presence at the 1st Arab Women Summit in November, 2006 is the best proof to this. We always look up respectfully and appreciatively to her efforts to advance women in her country and to her keen interest in elevating them to the same status women in other countries enjoy. It is very clear that UAE women are lucky to have Sheikha Fatima as their wise leader who has the vision, desire and interest to make them keep abreast with modernity."
H.H Sheikha Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim, Wife of the King of Bahrain.

"H.H Sheikha Fatima is making huge efforts to advance women action and provide all the capabilities necessary for Arab women to shoulder the burdens of serving their families and society."
Queen Rania of Jordan.

"The efforts of H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak to advance women action are undeniable because they are sincere and outstanding efforts which have contributed to elevate UAE women's potentials in all areas giving them an outstanding status locally, regionally (in the Gulf) and internationally."
Dr Huda Jamal Abdel- Nasser, professor of politics at Cairo University.

"The great achievements H.H Sheikha Fatima has made throughout her humanitarian work have been appreciated by most national, Arab and international organizations. These have honoured her for her generosity and contributions to the process of building and development by empowering UAE women though education, training and rehabilitation in all areas, including government, business, security and police forces which have been limited to men. They achieved excellence in these areas."
Mrs. Nancy Bakir, Arab League Assistant Secretary General.

"H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak has made a lot of contributions to the happiness of humanity. History and the coming generations will always remember and highlight her pioneering role in humanitarian work and women action which led, by the help of God, to establishing the first women society in early 1970s. She has also provided the best modern and humanitarian services to mothers and children in a well-planned way besides her patronage of several conferences, symposia and scientific meetings held locally, regionally and internationally."
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Head of Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre, Dubai.

"I am glad at all what I have seen during my visit to the United Arab Emirates. What makes me even more glad is the fact that the role of this virtuous lady who leads women in the UAE on the way forward is not limited to the General Women Union and that she also leads other bodies which provide support to women and families. I have found myself in the presence of a unique Arab leader who plays a pioneering role which we Arabs have to be proud of, not only in Arab countries, but also internationally."
Dr Sawsan Othman, Vice President of Arab Organization for the Family.

"H.H Sheikha has laid a strong foundation for women. The overall development of women and their presence in various fields is but the fruit of her efforts throughout the years. UAE women owe much to her incessant support and efforts to change perceptions about women in public life. The time to show gratitude to this great woman who has ably led the UAE women movement has come and on Mother's Day in 2005, the nation gave her the title of Mother of the Nation as she is the source of good manners and characteristics and knowledge for UAE women."
H.E Sheikha Lubna Al-Qassimi, Minister of Foreign Trade.

"The approach taken by women action in the UAE aims to maintain continuous communication with Arab women societies and bodies though the support provided by H.H. Sheikha Fatima to unify efforts to unify efforts of all areas of charity work. Sheikha Fatima's outstanding efforts has enhanced cooperation in all areas, women's action in particular, between the UAE and Oman."
Omaima Bint Saeed Al-Saeed, Sister of Sultan Qaboos of Oman.

"The pioneering role H.H Sheikha Fatima is playing in support of women's activities in the emirates of the country has yielded several achievements and raised women's awareness and promoted their roles in the community in general and within their families in particular. This has also elevated the status of UAE women, highlighted their talents, enhanced their abilities and increased their contributions to progress and the process of building."
H.E Maryam Al-Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs.

Books about H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak:

  • Honoring Mother of the Nation. By Hassan Mohammed Ajmi. General Women Union, 1997.

  • Harvest of Charity and Good Deed: H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Humanitarian Personality of the Year 1998. By Abu Baker Hassan. Rashid Pediatric Therapy Centre, Dubai. 1998.

  • Encyclopedia of Women Development in the UAE. By Baghdad Ahmed Al-Jaberi. 2000.

  • Al-Jawhara Gallery. General Women Union May 2000.
    Thoughts of the Pioneer of Women Development. By Abla Al-Nuwais. February 2001.

  • H.H Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak. Wife of H.H Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, President of the UAE. General Egyptian Book Organization. May 2003.

  • Fatima Bint Mubarak and Humanitarian Action. Information Office of Deputy Prime Minister. January 2005.

  • Fatima Bint Mubarak and Women Development. Information Office of Deputy Prime Minister. January 2005.

  • Mother of the Nation: A Song of Love, Charity and Giving. Al-Bayan Press, Printing & Publishing Est. 2007.

  • Fatima Bint Mubarak: Boundless Giving. Zayed University.

Source : General Women's Union Emirates site
Last Update 29/9/2011
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