Bollywood actor and GGWCup ambassador John Abraham watches the region’s first Global Goals World Cup tournament (GGWCup UAE) in Dubai on Friday. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: A number of women from across the UAE came together on Friday to raise awareness on gender equality and UN Sustainable Development Goals by participating in the region’s first Global Goals World Cup tournament (GGWCup UAE).

Held at The Sustainable City in Dubai to support the United Nations’ 17 Global Goals and inspire action, the event was the first of its kind in the Middle East.

The spectator-friendly, five-a-side football tournament assembled 23 teams of women to experience the joy of playing soccer and taking a stand for the world they want.

The event also celebrated the contributions of six inspiring women for championing gender equality, including Raha Moharrak, the youngest Arab and the first Saudi woman to conquer Mount Everest; Houriya Al Taheri, the first female Emirati football coach for the national women’s team; and 13-year-old Gulmehek Khan, the youngest published poetess in the world at 11 years of age.

“The UN Sustainability Goals give a clear direction towards what must be achieved to ensure a better future. By empowering each other, women can shape and achieve this future,” said Noora Mohammad, founding partner of Sustainable Mindz, one of the organisers.

“The GGWCup is part of celebrating the growing commitment in the region to sustainable development and gender equality, and giving local companies and organisations a great opportunity to join our global community in showing their support for the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.

The GGWCup UAE has been aligned with the sustainability theme of the Year of Zayed to be part of the events and initiatives in the UAE and abroad to commemorate the memory of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

John Abraham, Bollywood actor and GGWCup ambassador, attended the tournament, which saw women of all ages play by setting a team of five to eight female players and choosing one of the 17 goals to advocate for.

The winning team secured a spot in the global final to be held in New York City in September 2018 during the UN General Assembly Week.

The event was organised by the Dubai-headquartered Sustainable Mindz and Denmark-based Eir Soccer, under the patronage of the Royal Danish Embassy in Abu Dhabi, Save the Children International and the United Nations Development Programme.