Last week (18 November 2015) Sheffield alumna Dr Amal Al Qubaisi (PhD Architecture 2001) made history by becoming the first woman in the Arab world to be elected as President and Speaker of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal National Council (FNC).
The Federal National Council is located in Abu Dhabi and is the federal authority formed to represent the general Emirati people of the UAE.
Dr Al Qubaisi has served with the FNC since 2006, when she was the first woman elected to the council. Since then she has continued her historic rise, becoming the first female deputy speaker, and in 2013 the first woman to chair a meeting of the council.
In the recent election Dr Al Qubaisi ran unopposed to become the Speaker. On accepting the role of President and Speaker Dr Al Qubaisi told Gulf News:
“I am honoured to be the first woman elected to be speaker of the FNC. This is a testament of the country’s support of its people to achieve political ability. I would like to dedicate this nomination to Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and the women of the UAE,”
On the news of Dr Al Qubaisi’s election Miles Stevenson, Director of Alumni and Donor Relations said:
“We are delighted to hear the news that Dr Al Qubaisi has been elected as speaker of the Federal National Council, and on the behalf of all at Sheffield I would like to pass on our congratulations. It is wonderful to see a Sheffield alumna receiving the respect of her peers, and achieving such a distinguished position.”
Professor Fionn Stevenson, Head of the Sheffield School of Architecture where Dr Al Qubaisi studied, added:
“I offer my sincere congratulations to our University of Sheffield School of Architecture alumna Dr Amal Al Qubaisi on becoming the first woman in the Arab world to be elected as President and Speaker of the UAE Federal National Council. Our School has a proud tradition of supporting women’s voices around the world and enabling our architecture graduates to make a difference.”
Dr Al Qubaisi completed a PhD in architecture at Sheffield in 2001, having studied for her Bachelors degree at UAE University. Prior to her political career Dr Al Qubaisi was a distinguished architect with a focus on preserving the architectural heritage of the UAE. She has been responsible for saving some of the country’s most historical sites, a number of which are now protected by national and international law. As a member of the FNC she plays a major role in the UAE, as well as being a leading advocate for women’s issues in the UAE.
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