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Sharjah honours UAE’s 50-year journey with 132 activities

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SHARJAH, 5th December, 2021 (WAM) — Sharjah heralded the nation’s momentous 50th National Day by organising a series of festive events in cities and towns across the emirate from November 23 to December 3.

Organised by the Sharjah National Day Celebrations Committee, the series of cultural, art and entertainment activities comprising 2 music concerts, 35 educational workshops, 25 art exhibitions. 13 folk shows, 25 competitions, 17 play shows, and 15 sporting activities, were held in a phased manner at Sharjah City, Khorfakkan, Al Hamriyah, Dibba Al Hisn, Al Madam, Kalba, Batayeh, Al Dhaid, and Wadi Al Helo.

Khalid Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah National Day Celebrations Committee, said: "As the nation marks the Golden Jubilee of the Union, we are grateful for the progressive leadership and wise guidance of our founding fathers in building a diverse and inclusive society that welcomes people from all walks of life. The Sharjah National Day Celebrations Committee congratulates the UAE and its leaders on the nation’s achievements that we showcased throughout our 11-day celebrations."

He added: "We take pride in having a diverse and united community here in Sharjah, and it was important to demonstrate that pride through inclusive celebrations that captured the spirit of the UAE and informed and entertained the residents at the same time. Sharjah organised these celebrations to provide residents and visitors in the UAE with a one-of-a-kind experience and we are happy to say that we succeeded."

Khorfakkan kick-started the celebrations with patriotic fervour on November 23, staging a brilliant operetta, The Jubilee of Pride, which included a wonderful rendition of the poems of Emirati poet Maryam Al Naqbi by Fayez Al Saeed, Walid Al Jassem, and Faisal Al Jassem. Other attractions included heritage folk shows, a laser art show and mesmerizing performances by Lebanese, Russian and Iraqi folk artistes.

The celebrations moved to Dibba Al Hisn on November 25, with the launch of a hot-air balloon adorned with the image of the UAE President. Other attractions included the performance of a scintillating operetta written by Dr Abdul Razzaq Al Darbas; folk shows by Russian artists and poetry recitals by Ali Al Shuwain and Said Al Khashri.

The heritage village of Al Hamriyah marked the celebrations with a grand national parade, traditional crafts workshops and traditional Emirate cuisine.

Al Madam city, in the Central region of the emirate, kicked off its celebrations with a vibrant programme of musical shows and poetry sessions with prominent artists and classical Arabic poets in attendance, apart from video competitions.

Kalba took up the baton on November 26 with a grand classic car and bike parade that brought the entire town onto the streets, followed by mesmerizing recitals of traditional songs, poems and cultural performances, including an emotionally charged staging of the National Operetta that took the audience down the memory lane. The much-anticipated music concert by popular Emirati singer Faisal Al Jasim, took the audience by storm, culminating in a dazzling display of fireworks.

From November 28 to December 1, Sharjah’s oasis city, Al Dhaid, took over the National Day celebrations beginning with a majestic parade. Soulful recitals by Emirati poet Sultan bin Ali, traditional Emirati shows and a perfectly orchestrated performance by the military band, kept families and visitors entertained, while children participated in several competitions, taking home grand prizes.

The town of Al Batayeh in the outskirts of Sharjah started their UAE National Day celebrations with an official parade that was joined by the town’s residents expressing their appreciation for their beloved UAE.

Performances by the popular Dibba Al Harbiya band were the highlight of the celebrations in Wadi Al Helo, which included a workshop on patriotism and pledging allegiance to the country. A falconry book exhibition was a big draw with visitors observing and learning about falcons, the bird regarded as a national symbol of Emirati heritage.

Two music concerts wound up the National Day celebrations, starting with a spectacular joint concert by Emirati singing superstars Balqees and Fayez Al Saeed at the emirate’s latest cultural edifice, Khorfakkan Amphitheatre, on December 1.

Sharjah’s National Day celebrations officially concluded on December 3 with a signature performance by popular Emirati pianist, composer and musician Hussain Al Jassmi, backed by singers Faisal Al Jasim, Mohammed Al Menhali and Alma, at the Al Majaz Amphitheatre.

The entire proceeds from both concerts were donated The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian organisation dedicated to supporting refugees and people in need worldwide.

The musical evening, marked the culmination of the 11-day cultural extravagance organised by the Sharjah National Day Celebrations Committee.

All across the emirate, the Sharjah suburbs councils organised a series of activities to mark the 50th National Day that included spectacular air shows, theatrical performances for children, folk shows and artistic performances and a host of competitions to celebrate the 50-year journey of the country.

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Emirates

UAE private sector pledges to accelerate gender balance in leadership

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DUBAI,18th January, 2022 (WAM) — In a first of its kind initiative for the UAE private sector, 18 leading local and multinational companies from diverse sectors have signed a pledge to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).

This pledge by the private sector aims to increase gender balance in the workplace, with an emphasis on increasing the representation of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2025 through policy, programme, and initiative developments that are aligned with UAE government direction.

The pledge was signed during a ceremony hosted by the UAE Gender Balance Council, the UAE’s National Committee on SDGs and the UAE’s Private Sector Advisory Council on SDGs. The ceremony was attended by Mona Ghanim Al-Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council; Abdulla Nasser Lootah, Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Vice President of UAE National Committee on SDGs; Shamsa Saleh, Secretary-General of the UAE Gender Balance Council; Hanan Ahli, Acting Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre; as well as representatives of member companies of the Private Sector Advisory Council and representatives of international organisations working on the SDGs.

Companies that signed the pledge include Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC, Masdar, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Dubai Holding, Unilever, Standard Chartered Bank, MasterCard, Michelin, UPS, General Motors, Schneider Electric, PepsiCo, Mondelez International, BASF, Mars, Nestle, and General Mills.

Each of the signatories committed to taking key actions before 2025 to strengthen gender balance in leadership positions, including by: ensuring equal pay and fair compensation; promoting gender equitable recruitment and promotion; mainstreaming gender balance through policies and programmes; and being transparent about progress with fellow signatories and government.

H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment, and wife of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, commended this voluntary initiative, which reflects the unique partnership between the government and private sector in the UAE to achieve the national goals and a future vision by the wise leadership that will enable the country to be a leading global economy in the next fifty years. She stressed on the pivotal role of the private sector in supporting the government’s efforts to enhance the UAE’s global competitiveness.

She affirmed that gender balance is a key priority for the government, and that the private sector is an indispensable partner in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 5 (Gender Equality). She stressed that the pledge will be an inspiration for the region and the world.

Sheikha Manal said: "The UAE is highly committed to the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 and has integrated them into its strategic plans, and prioritized them in its local and international partnerships. A national committee for these goals was established in 2017, comprising several ministries and federal agencies, which share the responsibility of implementing these goals at the national level. The UAE Gender Balance Council also launched a host of local and global initiatives to accelerate the implementation of SDG 5 (Gender Equality), in cooperation with government entities and international organisations. These efforts have resulted in remarkable progress for the UAE in global competitiveness reports on women and gender balance, leading the region in some of the most important indexes and climbing to eighteenth place globally in gender equality in a report issued by the United Nations Development Programme. We have witnessed other notable successes, which include ranking first in Middle East and North Africa in the ‘Women, Business and the Law’ 2021 report issued by the World Bank, and first in the Arab world in the Global Gender Gap Report 2021, issued by the World Economic Forum, as well as successfully ranking first globally in 9 competitive indicators related to the progress in achieving the fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2021."

She added: "I would like to thank our partners in this initiative that supports the UAE's commitment and continuous pursuit to achieve the sustainable development goals. Eliminating obstacles to gender equality is essential to achieving economic prosperity, social stability and sustainable growth. The UAE, since its establishment, has invested in the capabilities of all members of its society without prejudice or discrimination, and this direction is being reinforced by our wise leadership with pioneering legislation and policies that consolidate the rights of women, ensure equal opportunities and leadership positions in the labor market and enhance their representation in decision-making areas. We are confident that the private sector will keep pace with the achievements made in government in this field, and this initiative constitutes an inspiring model for all private institutions in the country."

Mona Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and Chairperson of the Global Council on SDG 5, said: "The signing of this pledge is a defining moment that deserves to be commended, as it enhances government efforts and confirms the important role that the private sector has in achieving the UAE’s vision and goals."

She added: "The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need to work together to come up with innovative solutions to some complex challenges facing our world. It has also demonstrated the extent to which women are affected by crises, noting that there are real gender gaps in leadership positions across the world, with women occupying only 22% of CEO-level leadership positions. We need to escalate efforts to increase the number of women in senior and middle management roles, as more women in leadership means stronger organisational performance and thriving economies."

She expressed her gratitude to the companies that signed the pledge and their cooperation with the government, adding that it represents a great opportunity for the rest of the private sector to join this important initiative, stressing the readiness of the UAE Gender Balance Council to provide support to the private sector to progress in this field.

Abdulla Lootah, Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, and Vice President of UAE National Committee on SDGs, stressed the important role of the private sector in supporting national efforts to achieve sustainable development goals, as well as promoting national initiatives and projects aimed at consolidating gender balance across various fields.

He said: "The pledge, signed by 18 national and international pioneering companies, constitutes an important step in the UAE’s path to empowering women. Progress in gender equality started with Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the wise leadership continues to build on it because of women’s pivotal role in the advancement of countries and societies."

He added: "This initiative reflects the strategic vision of the UAE Gender Balance Council and H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Completing the sustainable development goals is a joint responsibility between the public and private sectors, and success in this field requires joint efforts to launch initiatives that empower women working in the private sector."

The pledge is the result of the tireless efforts of the UAE’s Private Sector Advisory Council on SDGs, in collaboration with the UAE’s National Committee on SDGs as represented by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center (FCSC) and the UAE Gender Balance Council, after a focus group discussion on SDG 5 was organised in 2019.

The result of this discussion was the Private Sector Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance, an effort which will promote a culture that encourages all employees to realise their full potential, in line with SDG 5 (Gender Equality). Specifically, the pledge will drive the implementation of Target 5.5, which emphasizes the global importance of ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life.

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Emirates

Qatari FM condemns Houthi attacks on UAE in phone call with Abdullah bin Zayed

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ABU DHABI, 18th January, 2022 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, received a phone call from Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar who affirmed his strong condemnation and denunciation of the terrorist attack by the terrorist Houthi militia on civil facilities in the UAE.

He pointed out that such terrorist acts contravene all international norms and laws, expressing his sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this terrorist attack, his wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured, and for continued security and stability to the UAE.

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Emirates

Maldives FM condemns terrorist Houthi attack on civil facilities in UAE in phone call with Abdullah bin Zayed

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ABU DHABI, 18th January, 2022 (WAM)– H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, received today a phone call from Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives.

During the phone call, Shahid expressed strong condemnation and denunciation of the terrorist attack by the terrorist Houthi militia on civil facilities in the UAE. He also affirmed the Maldives' full solidarity with and support for the UAE in the face of this cowardly attack.

He offered condolences over the victims of this terrorist act and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

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