Miriam Behnam is Emirates Woman of the Year

Mariam Behnam with Ian Fairservice and the other winners at the awards ceremony. (SUPPLIED)

Author and motivational speaker Mariam Behnam was named the Emirates Woman of the Year 2010.

Presented by Ian Fairservice, Managing Partner and Group Editor of Motivate Publishing, 90-year-old Mariam was honored for her services to arts and culture, as well as her tireless commitment to developing opportunities for women in the region, an official release said.

The annual awards were given away at a glittering ceremony held at the Park Hyatt’s Creek Ballroom recently. The colourful event was attended by 400 influential members of the society who enjoyed the entertainment from well-renowned Italian actress and opera singer Serena Autieri.

Now Senior Advisor for the Dubai International Women’s Club, Mariam’s illustrious career has also seen her serve as a public servant and diplomat in both her home country of Iran and Pakistan, as well as a post as Director-General in the Ministry of Arts and Culture in Iran.

Mariam is also a revered motivational speaker and advocate of women’s rights and, as a writer, has worked for Gulf News and published four books, including her autobiography Zelzelah.

“This recognition has woken me up. I feel 50 years younger,” said Mariam on the evening when the award was presented to her recently. “The future of women in this region is something that is very close to my heart and I am honored to have been a part of women’s development in this country.”

The Emirates Woman of the Year Awards 2010 – sponsored by ADCB – has become one of the most prestigious awards of its kind and is driven by public voting, each year receiving thousands of votes. 

The Awards, now in its fifth year, has become an indelible mark of success for Emirates Woman - the gulf’s leading women’s magazine, published by Motivate Publishing.

The evening’s event was hosted by Emirates Woman Editor Sophia Triantafillou and marked the 29th year of publication for Emirates Woman.

Also presented during the evening was the ADCB Ambition Award, won by Emily Cheyne, founder of Know How Life coaching, who was awarded a $10,000 business grant by ADCB’s Muhdi Al Hajj, alongside a business course courtesy of Insead business school.

The Achievers category, sponsored by Philips, was won by Sima Ved, Vice Chairperson of the Apparel Group, while an emotion-filled Lucy Bruce won the Humanitarian category for her work as Founder of Harmony House children’s charity. 

Elham Al-Qasimi was awarded the trophy for the Visionaries category, as the first Emirati female and UAE national to reach the North Pole. Overall winner Mariam Behnam also won the award for the Artists category.