Her Excellency, Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi,
UAEs Minister for International Cooperation and Development
H.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi joined the Government of the United Arab Emirates in 2004 as Minister of Economy, becoming the first woman to assume a cabinet position in the UAE. She was later appointed in 2008 as Minister of Foreign Trade, and then in 2013 as Minister of International Cooperation and Development, with the responsibility of boosting the UAE’s role as a major donor and key player in global human development.
As the former Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Sheikha Lubna recognized that she perhaps carries the most significant and strategic Ministerial post in the UAE. One of the only women in the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to hold such a position of remarkable power, the economic future in trade for the seven Emirates rested on the steady and stable shoulders of this woman.
Sheikha Lubna topped the Arabian Business Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Arab Women” list for four years in a row 2011-2014 and is considered to be the representative/icon for the new face of professional women in the Arab region.
Once again, in 2015, she topped the Arabian Business Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Arab Women” for the fifth year running, being regarded as a trailblazer for women’s rights, an icon for women in the region, and a vital part of the UAE’s evolution and growth in global prominence by the magazine. She emphasized the importance of female education in an interview with the magazine, as follows- “When a society does not focus on female education, you see after a while that it does not provide women with enough opportunities. In the UAE today, we’ve seen that education for women has been a priority since the inception of the state and women were able to access many sectors because of education.”
Internationally, Sheikha Lubna has featured in the Forbes magazine list of the “World’s Most powerful Women”, and the Wall Street Journal’s “50 International Women to Watch”.
Lubna Khalid Sultan Al Qasimi’s work at the DPA led His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Ports and Customs, to award her the “Distinguished Government Employee Award” in 1999 and appoint her as Chief Executive of Tejari, the first Middle Eastern Business-to-Business Marketplace. Lubna established the governmental organization in Dubai in June 2000 to promote e-business between organizations. Under Lubna’s leadership, Tejari has won the awards for the World Summit for Information Society’s “Best e-Content Provider in e-business” (Geneva) and the UAE Super Brands Council “Super Brand of 2003”.
A diplomat committed to helping lead the UAE through the Global Financial crisis with as little scrapes and burns as possible, she is constantly on the stump discussing bilateral relations with the world’s super powers, such as the United States and Russia, while extending her right hand of trade-fellowship to Africa and Malaysia. In the year 2014, the UAE purchased more than $14bn of American Exports while the US imported more than $1bn; increasing bilateral trade 32% to more than $15bn.
Her Excellency wheels and deals serious agreements to the tune of billions of U.S. dollars between countries and private companies which, despite media reports about Dubai’s economic challenges, countries still desperately desire to partner with the UAE. In February 2009, the World Trade Organization (WTO) reported the leader in the GCC of diversifying export structure was the United Arab Emirates. According to the WTO, the UAE ranks first for non-oil contribution to the structure of total exports. The UAE is the 4th largest producer of oil after the European Union, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Sheikha Lubna always and aggressively emphasizes the need for “serious, fast and actual movements,” to facilitate continuous economic and trade cooperation between the UAE and its trading partners. Presently, UAE continues to maintain its status as one of the most dynamic and interactive economies around the globe,
Sheikha Lubna hails from the Royal Qasimi family of Sharjah. As a true Princess, she does not dwell on floating carriages, Arabian horses or living in the lap of luxury. Instead she is primarily focused on the cause of the Emirates and all of her people. Very interpersonal, she is the UAE’s “Princess Diana” of deeds; particularly when it comes to inspiring and mentoring young women.
Sheikha Lubna represents a post-modern brand of Arab womanism that maintains and upholds Muslim traditions, but at the same time re-calibrates antiquated notions that too often dominate the public discourse about what women in the Arab and Muslim world are achieving.
More than being the historical first woman cabinet Minister in the UAE, it is her creative leadership, knowledge and power that will continue to propel her into orbit.