NAT_151118_FNC_AD Dr Amal Al Quabasiy FNC speaker (centre) duribg the 16th session of the Federal National Council at their premises in Abu Dhabi yesturday. Photo: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: In her third term as Federal National Council (FNC) member, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, was yesterday elected uncontested as the first female Speaker of the House during the first regular term of the Council’s 16th Legislative Chapter.

“It is a great honour to assume the position of Speaker of the House, which cherishes hopes and ambitions of the citizens when debating various issues and making recommendations to strike a balance between the demands of the public today and the future needs,” said Dr Amal, who has a passion for education, women and young people’s issues.

“I am also honoured to be the first woman elected to be Speaker of the FNC. This is a testament to the country’s support for its people to achieve political empowerment. I would like to dedicate this nomination to Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and the women of the UAE,” she said during her acceptance speech.

Tweeting about her election, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai said: “Emirati women have been great leaders and great achievers, establishing significant regional and global presence for themselves and the UAE.

We were delighted to see Amal Al Qubaisi elected Chairperson of FNC, first Arab woman in the region to hold such a post.”

Dr Amal is serving her third term in the FNC. An architect by profession, she was the first woman to be elected to the House in 2006, was named the first woman deputy speaker of the House and the first woman to chair one of its meetings in 2013.

Having a woman speaker of the FNC in such a short period is a huge achievement, said Dr Amal.

She added that the people and the leaders have full faith in Emirati women, who are given a chance to be FNC members, ministers and diplomats.

Dr Amal’s work to document and preserve more than 350 historical sites in the UAE, including Al Jahili and Al Hosn Forts was recognised with an Abu Dhabi Award in 2008.

Dr Amal is a professor of architecture at UAE University and holds a PhD in conservation of architectural heritage in the UAE.

She was also appointed as the first female member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Director General of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) last year.

“The more the UAE faces challenges, the more our determination increases and yours on this day and in this field should not be any less than that of our brave soldiers who are gaining medals of honour on the battle field … We cannot forget that amidst the difficult political situation, our international responsibilities as FNC members is equivalent to our national duties,” she said.

— With inputs by Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter

Fact file

Speaker: Dr Amal Al Qubaisi

First Deputy Speaker: Marwan Ahmad Ali Khalifa Bin Galita

Second Deputy Speaker: Abdul Aziz Abdullah Salem Al Zaabi

Elected observers

Khalifa Suhail Ali Rabee Al Mazroui

Jasem Abdullah Abdul Razzaq Al Naqbi

Women at the helm

Manama: Women in the Arab world have come close to securing the highest parliamentary position, but Dr Amal was the first to secure it.

In 2011, Qatari Aisha Yousuf Al Mannai made history by becoming the first Gulf woman to be elected deputy speaker of the Arab Parliament.

Aisha secured 30 of the 54 votes in polling in Cairo, ahead of Sudanese MP Mohammad Al Hasan Al Ameen, who got 13 votes, and Iraqi MP Abed Dheyab Al Ajili, who won 11 votes.

Aisha had already made history in her country by being the first woman to be appointed Dean of the Sharia and Law Faculty in Doha. She previously served in several leading positions and held a post in the Qatari Red Crescent. She runs a religious dialogue centre.

In 2005, Bahraini Shura Council member Alice Samaan made history by becoming the first woman and the first Christian to chair a parliamentary session in the Arab world.

— Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief