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Editor’s Letter: Why Strong Women are at the Center of Our April Issue Dedicated to the Importance of Family

Manuel Arnaut and HH Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Photographed by Boo George

Women – strong women – are at the center of all our editions, but this month in particular, even more so. As we enter the Holy Month, we dedicate this issue to the importance of family, and there is no question that women are the glue that holds this institution together. Wise, giving, loving, women are at the heart of it all.

This year, as the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary, we are proud to have on our cover HH Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who poses for the first time ever for a magazine. Her Highness is the granddaughter of the founders of the country – the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak – and leads by example, heading many organizations in the fields of arts, education, sports, and philanthropy, such as the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy and the Fatima Bint Hazza Cultural Foundation, among others. She is also an accomplished horseback rider and breeder, the first female judge in the UAE for Arabian Beauty Horse shows, and the founder of Al Shira’aa Stables. I had the pleasure of visiting Her Highness at the royal stables and sitting for a chat on the topics of the UAE, the female forces taking the country forward, and her loved ones. “My grandmother HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak is my mother, my role model, my idol, and my whole world,” she shares. “She is also an infinite source of love and compassion. She is truly the Mother of the Nation, and my own mentor.”

One aspect that always amazes me about the region, is its everchanging social landscape, and the way things mutate so quickly. Traditions are still being cherished, but the social taboos of yesterday have no place in the world of tomorrow. Read, for instance, our feature on p42 in Arabic, where a brave group of female camel riders reveal their story for the first time, tapping into an activity that in the past has been mainly associated with men. The feature comes with a beautiful portfolio of images captured by our picture editor Ankita Chandra.

Also a true pioneer, but in the world of cinema, is Fatma Hassan Al Remaihi, CEO of the Doha Film Institute, who has been transforming the industry, locally and internationally. Not only is she able to capture everyone’s attention on the world’s biggest red carpets, she is also a firm supporter of local talents, placing women front and center along the way. In this issue, she reveals how she fell in love with the seventh art, and her plans for the overall direction of the institute.

Lastly, I would like to wish a happy anniversary to couturier Rami Al Ali, who celebrates 20 years of his fashion house this month. At Paris fashion week, I’m always proud to attend his perfectly put together presentation – at the Ritz Paris or Le Meurice – as I feel it represents the region in such a sophisticated and beautiful way. Not long ago, in Dubai, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner at Rami’s home, which we’ve tried to recreate on p94, surrounded by other creatives handpicked by the couturier. It was a gorgeous night, lit by candles and with the most delicious Syrian food. There, I also had the chance to meet Rami’s sisters, elegant and strong women, who seem to be among the pillars of his brand. Suffice to say that next to a great man, there are always great women. And vice versa.

Read Next: April 2021 Cover: HH Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Embracing the Values of “Family, Nation, and Strength”

Originally published in the April 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia

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