United Nations International Women’s Day “Connecting Women Across Borders: Inspiring Futures”


Under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh NahayanMabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology,the United Nations in the UAE, partnered with the Norwegian Embassy tocelebrate the 2012 International Women’s Day at the Higher Colleges of Technology’s Abu Dhabi Women’s College. The theme of the event was “Connecting Women Across Borders: Inspiring Futures.”

The audience comprised government officials from many different departments and women’s associations; the diplomatic corps;the spouses of ambassadors and UN officials;and female and male students from colleges and universities from Abu Dhabi and the other Emirates.

HE Sheikh Nahayanopened the event with an inspiring keynote speech.He emphasized that this was the day to celebrate women’s active status and achievements and also to encourage young women who go for higher education to find their place in the economic, social and cultural transformation of the world. It is important to note both their role and contribution in the UAE and in international arenas. He continued to state that “we are fortunate to have so many exceptional women here today, not only on the panel but among the audience. Exceptional women, each one unique,who each in her own way contributes to the principles of universal social justice, and to the maintenance of the UAE’s heritage and culture.”

Her Excellency Dr. ElissarSarrouh, UN Resident Coordinator,gave her remarks on International Women’s Day followed by Her Excellency Ase ElinBjerke, the Norwegian Ambassador. (Full Speeches of their Excellencies will be provided on the day of the event)

The master of ceremonies, Ms.Aida AlBusaidy from MASDAR, introducedthe three remarkable women panelists who in theirrespective presentations and stories inspired the audience. The panelists were: Her Excellency Hoda Al KhamisKanoo,Founder, Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation;Lubna Jaffery, State Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Norway; andHer ExcellencyNoura Al Kaabi,FNC Member & CEO Designate of twofour54.

In addition to the panel discussion and a question and answer session, the program included a musical performance by Muzna Al Mutawea, a student from Abu Dhabi Women’s College, and a photo exhibition specifically prepared by the College students.The theme for the Exhibition was “Connecting Women Across Borders: Inspiring Futures.”

Dr. Jace Hargis, Director of the HCT’s Abu Dhabi Women’s College, stated, “Abu Dhabi Women’s College is proud to host an event honoring women around the world. Research and experience have shown that educating women is among the most effective ways of improving a nation’s overall wellbeing, and our students and graduates are energetically playing their part in the UAE’s continuing advancement.”

After the event each woman participant received a rose, which in many partsof the world is offered to women on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Background information on the United Nations International Women’s Day

International Women's Day (IWD) was commemorated for the first time in 1911, and it has since become a day that women all over the world, including in the United Arab Emirates look at as an occasion to celebrate their equal human rights in all spheres of life.  
It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March. Two years later, in December 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions. In adopting its resolution, the General Assembly recognized the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination and an increase of support for women’s full and equal participation.International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas. It is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

In the UAE International Women’s Day has been celebrated by the government and the UN for many years. Last year, for example, UNDP honored Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, at a special ceremony in recognition of her leading role in support of the issues of empowerment of Emirati women.

Contact information

Mohammad MahmoudMohammad Mahmoud
ICT \Procurement a.i.
+971 2 6961999

ICT \Procurement a.i.
+971 2 6961999