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Letter from the Editor: Why Our February Issue is Dedicated to Building Bridges

Manuel Arnaut

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Photographed by Ethan Mann

It was with happiness that in January, I received the news of the signing of the historic AlUla GCC Summit Declaration, restoring diplomatic ties between the GCC member states. In a moment with so many challenges, readjustments, and a world pandemic, any good news should be greeted with extra thankfulness, especially when it will directly impact our lives. For Vogue Arabia, this new political moment means that more than ever, we will be able to continue to support creatives in the different countries and facilitate a dialogue between them. And that’s exactly what is happening this month: I decided to put on hold our planned February cover story and start from scratch, with the issue dedicated to this inspiring new reality. It was an absolute delight to follow the interactions of photographers Ali Sharaf, Djinane AlSuwayeh, Imad Hasan, Rafid Alloh, Taha Baageel, and Sandra Chidiac. They were commissioned the portraits for this cover and worked from six different locations in the GCC, collaborating closely to create photographs that complemented each other to build that one final image.

Besides its timing, this cover is also a landmark for Vogue Arabia as it features exceptionally accomplished women from all the ruling families of the GCC. They welcomed this project with excitement and pride, eager to jump into this next chapter of cooperation.

Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, gcc

An illustration by Emirati artist Sumayyah Al Suwaidi symbolizing GCC unity

These are people I admire as they embody what an Arab woman is today: confident, independent, and an agent of change within her society. Thank you to HE Sheikha Hala bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Director General of the Culture and Arts in Bahrain; HH Sheikha Intisar AlSabah, founder of Intisar Foundation and Alnowair positivity initiative; HH Sayyida Basma Al Said, mental health activist and psychotherapist; Sheikha Reem Al-Thani, Director of Exhibitions at Qatar Museums; HRH Princess Lamia Bint Majed Saud AlSaud, the Secretary General of AlWaleed Philanthropies; and HH Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, equestrian and the first Emirati woman to qualify for and take part in the Olympic Games.

Change is also happening around the world, led once again by strong women, from politics to fashion. In this issue, don’t miss interviews with Kamala Harris, the first female vice president of the US, and Virginie Viard, who took over the creative reins at the house of Chanel. These stories of success make me believe that 2021 has the potential to be one of the best years yet. If only we hold on tight and stay united.

Read Next: Ruling Families of GCC Member States Convey a Powerful Message of Togetherness

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