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University of Birmingham Dubai Celebrates International Women’s Day

by Eddie Rayner

The University of Birmingham Dubai is honouring International Women’s Day 2021 with a programme of online events, including panel discussions, poetry recitals and live discussions, from Thursday 4 – Tuesday 9 March 2021.

These virtual events will explore the 2021 global theme ‘Choose to Challenge’ in a variety of unique and engaging ways, using academic expertise and lived experience from within the region and internationally.

Thursday 4 March 4.30-6 pm: The Human Library: We are the same. We are different.

This panel discussion, moderated by Professor Julie Allan, Professor of Equity and Inclusion at the University of Birmingham, will bring together female headteachers in three different countries to share poignant stories about the struggles and aspirations of schoolgirls attending different schools in different countries. Erika Elkady, Head Teacher at Jumeirah Baccalaureate School, Dubai; Rebecca Tigue, Head Teacher at the University of Birmingham School, UK; and Rana Shaban, Principal at Ahliyyah and Mutran, Jordan will draw on comparisons and shared experiences and look at where we can choose to challenge for an equitable and inclusive education for all girls.

Sunday 7 March 4-5.30pm: Shifting Sand Dunes: Poetry Recital and Reflections

As an art form that is deeply embedded and intrinsic within UAE cultural heritage, this event will celebrate the achievements of female poets and share their inspiring stories through the medium of poetry. This session will bring together Arabic and English speaking poets, including Namal Siddiqui and Afra Atiq, for deep reflection, moderated by Sanam Yaqub, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, University of Birmingham Dubai.

Tuesday 9 March 6.00 – 7.30 pm: Choose to Challenge: Celebrating Women’s Achievements

This thought-provoking and insightful session explores how women across the UAE are ‘Choosing to Challenge’ through shaping and influencing across a range of sectors. Speakers include Dr Farrah Sarraj, Managing Director of Arabic at Al Futtaim Education Foundation; Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson at Emirates Environmental Group; Khawla Barley, Head of the UAE Special Olympics; and Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation, and will be introduced by Professor David Sadler, Provost of the University of Birmingham Dubai and moderated by Professor Jo Duberly, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Birmingham.

Events embrace 2021 theme: ‘Choose to Challenge’

“We have been delighted to be able to integrate and host a number of events across both the UK and UAE campus to reflect upon the theme for the 2021 International Women’s Day theme, Choose to Challenge. These initiatives form part of our broader conversation on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, an area that I am delighted to be leading on across the Dubai campus,” commented Sanam Yaqub, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, University of Birmingham Dubai.

“The events curated for this year’s International Women’s Day showcase and celebrate the achievements of women across a number of themes, including Education, Sustainability, Arts & Culture, Leadership, and Business. The University has nurtured strong partnerships and collaboration with the wider community in the UAE, and so attendees of these events can expect to hear poignant stories and inspirational reflections of how women across the country have not only chosen what to challenge but, more importantly, how to challenge,” she added.

Virtual events to be hosted on Thurs 4, Sun 7, and Tues 9 March 2021

The International Women’s Day 2021 programme is being run across University of Birmingham Dubai and UK campuses. For more information on these and other events, please visit: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/dubai/events/index.aspx As the first global top 100 and UK Russell Group university to establish a campus in Dubai, University of Birmingham Dubai delivers the highest quality education underpinned by a growing research focus in a leading global educational hub.

Prospective students can find more information on applying for courses at the University of Birmingham Dubai at: www.birmingham.ac.uk