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21 May 2024

If anyone thinks UAE is only about oil, they need to visit it first: World’s youngest former head of state

By Wam

The cultural wealth boasted by Sharjah reflects how diverse the potential of the UAE is, says Vanessa D'Ambrosio who at 28 became the world’s youngest head of state while serving a six-month term as the captain regent of San Marino, a mountainous European state.

Speaking to Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the International Government Communication Forum which wrapped up today in Sharjah, the youngest former leader of any country in the world, said, "Only one visit to the UAE is enough to change the wrong idea held by some that Emirates is a country for oil only. I’m very delighted at my first visit to the country. I think such forums give an ample room to the country to show to the whole world how diversified the economy is."

"I’ve heard before about Sharjah as a cultural hub with impressive sustainable development potential and when I arrived here I found out how immensely beautiful the emirate is."

"I was elated by the news that you have a powerful female representation in the country. Having more than one portfolio for women in the government shows how strong female representation is here. You have truly reached a very positive goal that will favourably on all aspects of life in the country."

On her personal experience as a head of a state in such an early age, Vanessa said, "It was a great experience for me and it was a dream that came true. It was the first time in the country’s history to have two women as its heads of state."

"It was so impressive to see old women supporting me to lead the country though the majority of our population is not young. Both the young and the old stood by us. We have a fantastic small yet very proud people in San Marino."

Vanessa led her country alongside her co-captain regent, Mimma Zavoli, from April until October 2017. Politics of San Marino takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Captains Regent are the heads of state and heads of government, and of a multi-party system. Every six months, the Council elects two Captains Regent to be the heads of state. The foundational theory was to create a balance of power or, at least, reciprocal control.

"It was so thrilling to participate in the International Government Communication Forum where I spoke today about female leadership and how to improve the women’s participation in the society."

About the forum’s overriding concern, Vanessa believes "there must be more control by official authorities to ensure privacy. They have to regulate the Internet in order to limit data breaches. Governments have to guarantee freedom of speech and expressions but at the same time there is a need to enforce the law."