Image Credit: Shaikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, the former UAE minister

Shaikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, the former UAE minister who has held many major portfolios, will be the guest of honour at the 2024 Excellence Awards for women organised by Gulf News and Being She at the Museum of the Future on June 8.

From choosing computer science for her undergraduate programme in the late 1970s to becoming the UAE’s first female minister in 2004, Shaikha Lubna has tread an unbeaten path, blazing a trail for other women to follow. Today, the UAE has nine female ministers and features among countries with the highest level of participation of women in governance.

“As we celebrate the achievements of women at the 2024 Excellence Awards, let us remember the unwavering support of Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Mother of the Nation, and the UAE leadership for women's empowerment,” says Shaikha Lubna. “It is through collective effort and unwavering determination that we pave the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for all. Shaikha Fatima's steadfast encouragement of our nation's daughters and her vision underscore the integral role women play today across all facets of society in the UAE.

"Platforms like this serve not only as a celebration of achievements but as a beacon of hope to strive for excellence and create a world where every woman's potential is unleashed."

On June 8, the chief guest and the jury comprising Dr Eesa Mohammed Al Bastaki, President of the University of Dubai; Ismail Al Naqi, Director General of the Free Zones Authority of Ajman; Shaikha Ebrahim Al Mutawa, Director of Hospitality Affairs in the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism; Paras Shahdadpuri, Chairman of the Nikai Group of Companies; and Salima Gutieva, Vice President and Country Manager for the UAE at Visa, will present the Excellence Awards to women who have made their mark in diverse categories such as business, health, technology and arts.

Empowering female entrepreneurs

Ajman Free Zone has been witnessing a steady increase in the number of female entrepreneurs every year, reflecting the trend in women empowerment in business. “We understand the unique challenges and opportunities that women entrepreneurs face and are dedicated to providing a supportive environment that fosters innovation and growth,” says Al Naqi. “Our initiatives are designed to help them overcome barriers, access resources, and connect with networks that can propel their businesses forward.”

Ismail Al Naqi, Director General of the Free Zones Authority of Ajman

He believes empowering women entrepreneurs will not only be beneficial for their individual growth but also for the broader economic development of the UAE. “Their innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit are vital components in driving economic diversification and resilience.

“As we continue to see a growing number of women entrepreneurs at Ajman Free Zone, we remain committed to supporting their ambitions and celebrating their successes. Together, we are building a brighter, more inclusive future for the UAE.”

Ajman Free Zone is the Platinum Sponsor of Excellence Awards 2024.

Eugene Mayne, Founder and CEO of Tristar Group, which is the Gold Sponsor of Excellence Awards 2024, says, “The UAE is an undisputed leader in championing the inclusion, equality and rights of women - be it in society, justice, business or political participation. We are proud to support this momentum for the country and strengthen it across our own operations.”

Eugene Mayne, Founder and CEO of Tristar Group

Tristar Group is a signatory to the United Nations’ Women Empowerment Principles (WEPS) that promote empowerment of women in the workplace. “Women are amply represented in key roles, positions and committees across Tristar, and in the past few years, this has led to several policies benefiting women, and events and activities organised or managed exclusively by women.”

Bal Krishen, Chairman and CEO of Excellence Awards Silver Sponsor Century Financial, says his company believes in creating a culture of opportunity for all, and Gulf News and Being She's Excellence Awards perfectly aligns with that mission. “These awards are more than just a celebration – they shine a light on women's incredible accomplishments, inspiring others to chase their dreams and break down barriers.

Bal Krishen, Chairman and CEO of Century Financial

We are proud to be a silver sponsor of the Excellence Awards, which encourages a more inclusive environment and paves the way for future generations of female leaders.”

Armaf Luxury French Fragrances is the Fragrance Partner of Excellence Awards 2024, Arpan the Flower Partner and Face - Fast Access Concierge Events the Branding Partner.