08 March 2019
AFG College with the University of Aberdeen marked International Women’s Day with its inaugural conference, which was held on Friday 8th March at the Sharq Hotel in Doha.
Since its inception in the early 1900’s, International Women’s Day has sought to build greater awareness of the plight of women’s role within society and has provided a forum for women from across the globe to come together to campaign on a plethora of issues that impact their lives on a day to day basis. Every year in the month of March, thousands of events are held globally to build on the progress that has been made in the fight for equality amongst the sexes.
Having given the keynote speech last year at the University of Aberdeen’s International Women’s Day, Chairperson and Founder of Al Faleh Group H.E. Dr. Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh Al Thani said “I was so inspired by the event last year in Scotland that I decided to hold our own conference. Women’s role in society has always been an area that I’ve been concerned with and followed closely. We in Qatar have been fortunate to have such inspirational role models as HH Shka Moza bint Nasser, who has captured the hearts and minds of women of all generations. I, myself, have been a strong proponent for women, particularly in business and education. I believe that the empowerment of women at all levels is fundamental to a healthy and prosperous nation, which is why I am so happy that such an eclectic mix of women have joined us in inaugurating such a wonderful event.”
Speakers at the event included Professor Lora Heisler who flew in from the University of Aberdeen, who was recently awarded the Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award from the American Diabetes Association, one of only three women to have been recognized for her research in the associations’ sixty year history. Professor Heisler spoke on the ground breaking research she and her team have been undertaking on Diabetes prevention and treatment. Professor Heisler said “It is a real honour to be here at this inspirational International Women’s Day event in Doha, celebrating the important advances women have made in improving our world.”
Sheikha Alanoud Bint Hamad Al-Thani, Managing Director, Business Development, Qatar Financial Centre said: ” “The United Nations has defined the theme for this International Women’s Day as ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.’ The selection of this theme is apt considering the global wave of innovation that is shaping and changing the way we live and function in every part of the world. We must ensure – in Qatar and everywhere else - that the rapid pace of technological development is inclusive, and caters adequately for women and girls – not only as consumers, but as designers, creators and leaders of the innovation revolution.”
Qatar Olympic Committee’s Director of Marketing & Communications, Shka Asma bint Thani Al Thani spoke about her recent expedition to the North Pole, as well as other sporting achievements which included being part of a team that raised 2.1 million QR in funds for building schools in Gaza. Shka Asma said “It is important for women to break down barriers and it’s our responsibility to tell our stories and explore best how we can affect change.”
Qatar Chamber Board Member Ibtihaj Al Ahmadani spoke at length on her experiences of balancing her family commitments alongside the development of her entrepreneurial ventures evidencing that it is possible to be a mother and a successful business woman.
As well as the presentations there was an opportunity for students and members of the public to take part in question and answer sessions where issues could be further explored and ideas generated.
Sheikha Anwar bint Nawaf Al Thani (CEO of Al Faleh Educational Holding) thanked our distinguished panel members for their inspirational presentations and their contribution to the advancement of women in the wider community.
Dr Karen Foster, Provost of AFG College with the University of Aberdeen, gave the closing remarks offering words of encouragement to all women and men on the importance of openness, respect and equality.