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29 May 2023

Military and peacekeeping programme for Arab women launched

By Wam

A ceremony to mark the launch of the military and peacekeeping programme for Arab women was held today at the Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School in Abu Dhabi.

Staff Colonel Afraa Saeed Al Falasi, Commander of the Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School; Noura Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the General Women's Union; Dr. Mouza Al Shehhi, Executive Director of the UN Women's Liaison Office for the GCC; senior military officers; and representatives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation attended the ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, GWU, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, FDF, said the UAE’s collaboration with UN Women to host the Arab women military and peacekeeping capacity-building training programme was a testament to the great confidence in the country’s leadership. The UAE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UN Women on 28th September, 2018, to develop the capabilities of Arab women in military and peacekeeping operations.

Sheikh Fatima affirmed the UAE’s success in achieving gender balance and stressed the importance of women’s representation in all work avenues. She highlighted the UAE’s support to women’s participation in maintaining peace and security in the Arab region, and around the world. She noted the presence of women in peacekeeping missions was necessary and contributed significantly to the effectiveness of such operations. It also gives women the ability to perform their duty towards their countries and the needy around the world.

Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, emphasised the ministry’s strong interest in training Arab women in the fields of military and peacekeeping operations. He said the UAE was committed to advancing the agenda of women, peace and security, and fast-tracking the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 at home and abroad.

Al Bowardi added that the UAE was committed to providing women with the necessary skills to contribute to global peace and security, defending the interests of the state and providing humanitarian assistance during crises. The programme has more than 100 participants from seven Arab countries, including the UAE.

Staff Colonel Afraa Al Falasi said, "Khawla bin Al Azwar Military School is honoured to host the first batch of trainees for this programme, the first of its kind to be held in an Arab country. Participants will be trained in military sciences, including infantry, weapons, combat paramedics, internal security, field engineering, physical fitness, Jiu Jitsu, martial arts, defence, coexistence, field skills and topography."

The programme will contribute to preparing women officers for the United Nations peacekeeping operations, increase the number of women qualified to serve as officers in the army, and establish support networks for women interested in military action and peacekeeping.