In June 2021, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, “Mother of the Nation,” Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU) and Family Development Foundation (FDF), and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, launched the Fatima bint Mubarak Women, Peace and Security Centre of Excellence.
As a regional leader in gender equality, the Centre of Excellence reflects the UAE’s long-time commitment to women’s rights and empowerment. These core values were instilled by the region’s beloved founding father, Sheikh Zayed, and have since become a top priority for the UAE government.
The new centre is directly tied to the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Women, Peace and Security Initiative, formerly known as the Women, Peace and Security Training Programme. The joint project was launched with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the GWU, the UAE Ministry of Defense and UN Women back in September 2018.
The initiative not only supports the UAE’s agenda for women, but the strategic goals of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. This landmark resolution is specifically focused on advancing women’s equal participation in military, security, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.
Between 2019-2020, the initiative trained as many as 357 women cadets from a wide range of African, Asian and Arab countries. Building on this success, the centre will continue to help the UAE build a society where women can play a leading role in conflict resolution and national security forces.
Speaking to the launch, Sheikha Fatima released the following statement:
“The United Arab Emirates is a pioneering model in supporting the full, equal and effective participation of women in all vital and developmental fields with a focus on the security sector. This Centre also embodies the efforts of our wise leadership, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi, his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister, Ruler of Dubai, His Highness’s Members of the Supreme Council of the Union, Rulers of the Emirates and His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to raise the aspirations of Emirati women who were behind many successes in various fields such as in global indicators of gender balance, participation in the labour market or championing leadership positions across various sectors.”
Since its opening, the centre has received recognition from top government leaders including His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Speaking to the launch, he emphasized that Emirati women are undoubtedly key contributors to the UAE’s growing achievements and progressive vision for the future.
In addition, Director-General of the GWU, Her Excellency Noura Al Suwaidi, stepped forward to support the new training program, stating:
“It is an immense honour for this pioneering training programme to carry Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak’s name. The programme has achieved exceptional success within two years of its establishment and has been praised by UN Women. It is unique in the sense that we have the UAE Armed Forces manage and deliver the training of women from several countries in the region and beyond. This is a testament to the UAE’s commitment to women’s empowerment across all sectors and our committed contribution to advancing the agenda of Women, Peace and Security.”
Her Excellency added that the Fatima bint Mubarak Women, Peace and Security Centre of Excellence will reside inside the General Women’s Union complex in Abu Dhabi. It will offer a wide range of training courses that provide women of all backgrounds the opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas both locally and internationally. Beyond in-person training, it will provide virtual self-education for participants who are interested in learning from afar.