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Eltayeb Adam, UNICEF representative to the Gulf Area with Majid Al Usaimi, who has been appointed as the first ever UNICEF National Ambassador for the UAE. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Children’s health and education will be the two main priorities of Emirati Majid Al-Usaimi, who has been appointed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as its first National Ambassador from the UAE.

Speaking to Gulf News after the press conference announcing his appointment on Monday, Al-Usaimi noted the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to children across the world. He said: “In my capacity as UNICEF National Ambassador, I will not only serve in the UAE but also in Asia and around the world. The pandemic has brought many challenges — one of them is education. We have to work on providing opportunities for kids to continue with their studies, especially for those who have no access and facilities for e-learning.”

“Health is another major issue. We need to address the problem of many children across the world who have no access to health programmes. To safeguard the future of our world, I believe we need to ensure the health and education of our kids,” he added.

Elite paralympic

Al-Usaimi, who will have a renewable two-year term as UNICEF ambassador, is not only an advocate for children rights. He is also a former elite paralympic athlete who currently holds several national and international positions including President of the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC), CEO of Dubai Club for People of Determination, Board Member of the SOMENA (Special Olympics in Middle East & North Africa) Advisory Council, and Board Member of UAE Supreme Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

He said: “My appointment has come at the right time as we are set to implement the APC’s new strategic plan for the next four years. Our (APC) mission also aligns with UNICEF’s objective of using sport to empower children and youth with disabilities and promote social inclusion.”

Global model

Al-Usaimi noted the UAE has emerged as a global model for the welfare of families and children, which is promoted in the country by various organisations, foremost among which is the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. “The UAE has enacted strong laws to ensure the protection of children, the most important of which is the ‘Wadima’ law issued President by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Child welfare is also one of the most important priorities of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who has launched many initiatives to provide education opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children both in the region and across the world,’ he added.

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Majid Al-Usaimi is a former elite paralympic athlete who currently holds several national and international positions. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News


Eltayeb Adam, UNICEF Representative for Gulf Area office, congratulated Al-Usaimi on his appointment. He said: “We have many opportunities and events this year — including Ramadan campaign for children, Dubai Expo 2020, among many others and others — to spread awareness about children’s rights, reimagine and build a better world after COVID-19 pandemic, and to place the children at the centre of all programs and policies.”