She is one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “You do not have to strip off your identity in order to achieve your goals. People should be judged for what they are and do, not the way they look.”
Sheika Lubna Al Qasimi – United Arab Emirates
She works for the Tejari.com; the UAE Ministry of Economy & Planning (UAEMEP); and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI).
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi obtained a BS from California State University of Chico, and a MBA from the American University of Sharjah. She was the CEO of Tejari.com, one of the giant successful business-to-business marketplaces in the U.R.E. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi became the first woman minister of the UAE. She has a global reputation and a well-connected network both at home and abroad. She lectures in universities worldwide, putting her emphasis on equal rights of gender. Sheikha Lubna is a role model to young women in the UAE with an inspiring charisma for young girls. (Read on the Nobel Peace Price 2005).
It was a man who supported Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi’s ambitions: Born into a royal family with three brothers and three sisters, and being the niece of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE and Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikha Lubna always worked hard to attain the highest marks at school. Her father, with his broad-minded personality, and her mother, who never went to school, were unwavering to give all their children, especially daughters, a good education, so that they could achieve a prosperous career in the future.
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi’s choice was I.T. Her beginning was in an Indian I.T company. Then she obtained a job as senior manager of the information system department at the Dubai Ports Authority (DPA). Having distinguished herself in the job, she won the ‘Distinguished Government Employee Award’ in 1999. The remarkable successes Sheikha Lubna has achieved encouraged His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister, to appoint the promising young businesswoman as the head of Tejari.com, a highly successful marketplace in the UAE, at its launch in 2000.
Combining the academic skills of her BSc from California State University of Chicago, and MBA from the American University of Sharjah, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi made Tejari.com a leading business-to-business marketplace in the UAE. Many more awards like the Entrepreneurship Award 2004 from the House of Lords in Great Britain, ‘I.T Woman of the Year 2001’ and the ‘American Business Award’ in 2004 from the American Business Council of Dubai & the Northern Emirates, illuminate the walls all the way through Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi’s Head Office in the Tejari.com in the ‘Media City’ in Dubai.
As Chief Executive Officer of the Tegari.com she leads an energetic teamwork of division managers and employees, 30% of whom are women.
Despite the outstanding successes that Sheikha Lubna has achieved, establishing her well in business, the horizon of her ambition is still wide, with loads of unfulfilled dream ahead. Like many people in the world, she was struck by the events of September 11th. All of a sudden, prejudice was more than just a word against Muslims everywhere. It was life itself. Her religion is bullied, has become a symbol of viciousness and violence. However, unlike many of her compatriots, who reacted to the event by cutting ties with the West, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi decided to act positively and choose the path of dialogue with the American and other Western Nations.
The negative attitude of Arab citizens in the United States, selling their houses and returning home, has infuriated Sheikha Lubna. For her, their unsupportive reaction expresses weakness and subjugation. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi is always keen on speaking to potential young business people. Her distinguished attitude earned her a worldwide reputation in international universities, as she is regularly invited to give talks on business and politics. Her approach to peace features her open-minded attitude towards holding peaceful dialogues. Her indefatigable efforts stimulate young women’s self- confidence and self-esteem, mainly encouraging more girls to study Hi-Tec.
Being a member of the royal family Sheikha Lubna is a welcome personality in different arenas. But her interactive personal skills are the key-factor that earns her global reputation. Many high profile figures around the world had had the opportunity of meeting Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi. The all-present sharp mind and distinctive oratory skills make her ready to give talks while on the go, no matter what subject she is asked to speak about. Her vision of women’s work is that 20 years ago the UAE took the initiative of recruiting prospective women in many fields of work. Now, all what women need is logistic support and self-confidence to prove themselves. The first step is the hardest. Expressing her vision of change, Sheikha Lubna says to young women, “Look at me! I have already set up an example for young women at home and in the Arab World.”
Sheika Lubna is trying to strike a balance between the demands of a modern woman liberal life and the traditional way of life of her indigenous culture. She Lubna enjoys living the ethos of her culture. She is very loyal to her visual appearance that demonstrates her culture, as she is loyal to wearing the Hijaab (head scarf) in the presence of non-blood related males and all other men, but not women. Sometimes she wears a suit and a shawl, but that’s her only concession to fashion in the business world. To her wearing the Hijaab is part of her modesty and self-respect. “People should be judged for what they are and what they do, not the way they look,” Sheikha Lubna demands. Stripping off one’s identity does not earn them self-respect.
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi hardly has a glimpse of private life. Her working day is overbooked. She drives back and forth between Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, and gets stuck in her car for four to six hours daily. She has a chauffeur so that she can work while in the car. The successful businesswoman and the luminary public figure lady has been chosen to work for her country as a Minister of Economy and Planning.
Though being in power, Sheikha Lubna looks forth to her future life, when she will leave the government position. She thinks that the global network she has so far established with world organizations is worth utilizing for the benefit of her vision of peace. She hopes that working with international bodies and being close to decision-makers in the world will give her an opportunity to promote international trade agreements. This position, in her view, backs her fight for world peace. Sheikha Lubna’s life leaves no space for her having a family and kids. Surely this is the hardest sacrifice she is bound to give in return for her personal success.
However, she feels satisfied and happy, as she believes that she is building confidence for future successful generations of young women. She is determined to assist in building up a prosperous society that does not recognize gender discrimination, nationality, or superficial appraisal factors. She is working for the day to come where gender doesn’t matter, and she does her best to have her message heard by more and more people.
MEET Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, a woman with several firsts in a region that is still taking its first tottering steps towards giving its womenfolk the recognition they deserve — albeit, grudgingly.
Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Lubna — niece to His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah — returned home to a no-frills-attached job with Datamation, a software company, as a programmer. (Read this long article about her on womenone.org).