ABU DHABI // Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, wife of the late Founding Father of the UAE, was yesterday honoured with the title “Mother of the Arabs”.
The General Union of Arab Producers and the Arab Women’s Campaign bestowed the honour on Sheikh Zayed’s wife at a ceremony in Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak’s palace, with Dr Maytha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, receiving it on her highness’s behalf.
“I’m very pleased to announce to you that Sheikha Fatima was bestowed the title of Mother of the Arabs by the General Union of Arabs and the Arab Women’s Campaign,” said Sheikh Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.
“I’m also happy to announce that the Ministry of Youth and Culture, in cooperation with the General Union of Arab Producers and Arab Women’s Campaign, will organise a big, national celebration to commemorate the occasion at Emirates Palace on April 28.”
Activities to celebrate the honour will also take place at all cultural centres in the UAE and a website titled Mother of the Arabs will be created.
Sheikh Nahyan said the occasion was a chance for the people of the UAE to show their deep love and admiration to her highness.
“While we celebrate Mother’s Day, we feel pride in also celebrating the Mother of the Arabs,” he said. “She’s an exemplary mother of endless achievements. She’s a kind, benevolent model for all Arab Muslim women.”
Sheikha Fatima, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, was given the accolade in recognition of her role in supporting human development in the Arab world and for her efforts in social welfare activities in the humanitarian field.
Dr Mustafa Salama, the general secretary of the Arab producers’ union, said: “Sheikha Fatima’s global achievements go beyond national borders. This makes her not only a mother to the UAE but a mother to the rest of the Arab world.”
Dr Rehab Zein Al Dein, the ambassador of the Arab Women’s Campaign, said: “We have been following all the achievements that Sheikha Fatima is continually achieving in supporting and empowering women everywhere.
“She remains a shining example for the Emirati and Arab woman. We follow in her footsteps not only because she’s the Mother of the UAE but because of the outreach of her continuous grace and benevolence has extended to every woman in the Arab world.”
Sheikha Fatima was also presented with the Shield of Excellence by the General Union of Arab Producers earlier this year.
Ms Al Shamsi, who is also Chairwoman of the Marriage Fund and an adviser to Sheikha Fatima, thanked Sheikh Nahyan for sponsoring the event.
“Ten years ago on Mother’s Day, Sheikha Fatima was honoured with the title Mother of the Nation,” she said. “It celebrated her highness’ role in supporting education, health and environmental issues, as well as shed light on her commitment to advancing women’s role in society and her key role in building the United Arab Emirates.”
Abla Al Nowais, the former media adviser to the Office of the President, said: “Sheikha Fatima is everything to me. I’ve witnessed her achievements from the day she established the Abu Dhabi Women Development Association as the first women’s society in the country in 1973.
“She championed women’s rights all the way to the Federal National Council and the pinnacle of the government.”
Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, added: “Sheikha Fatima supports family development in the UAE. She treats everyone like they were her children because of her highness’ recognition of the importance of family and women’s role in it.
“Sheikha Fatima’s characteristics will forever shine for her humanity, and compassion has become her destiny. May she be the Mother of the Nation, the Mother of the UAE, the Mother of Arabs and the pride of the UAE and the entire Arab world.”