Female political leaders from region sign historical agreement to advance role of women in diplomacy

The Sarah & Hajar Accords echoes the sentiment of the Abraham Accords and aims to spark deeper dialogue between the countries on women’s issues

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Afra Al Hameli, Director of Strategic Communications Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs — Youtube
Afra Al Hameli, Director of Strategic Communications Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs — Youtube

Rasha Abu Baker

Published: Thu 8 Jun 2023, 3:59 PM

Last updated: Thu 8 Jun 2023, 6:11 PM

Four female political leaders from the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Israel have recently signed a groundbreaking agreement called the Sarah & Hajar Accords, designed to elevate the role of women in diplomacy and to address women's rights issues in the Middle East.

The Accords, developed by UNESCO Artist for Peace, Dr. Guila Clara Kessous, a disciple of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, and student of Harvard negotiator William Ury, echo the sentiment of the Abraham Accords.

The Abraham Accords, signed in 2020, established formal relations between Israel and several Arab nations. This new agreement focuses on fostering the active involvement of women in the diplomatic sphere, and underlines their critical role in maintaining human dignity, particularly within the Middle East.

Two matriarchs

The agreement takes its name from Sarah and Hajar, the two matriarchs of the Abrahamic religions, symbolising the strength and courage that gave birth to entire civilizations. It is a call for reconciliation between these two maternal figures and an affirmation of their shared commitment to peace.

“It is time for women role models in diplomacy to inspire others and speak up for women’s rights in the Middle East Region,” said Dr. Kessous.

Representing the UAE, Afra Al Hameli, Director of Strategic Communications Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the country's commitment to enhancing the status of women and creating a more equitable world.

“Dedicated to the girls of today and the women of tomorrow, the UAE continues to working tirelessly alongside the international community to enhance the status of women and realize our vision for a better world,” she said.

Shaping peaceful societies

“In the Middle East and beyond, involving women and girls in civil society and government is essential to shaping peaceful societies that are more resilient to conflict and instability. The UAE is constantly keen to work with its international partners to build upon these advances.

“The Sarah & Hajar Accords, in reflecting the cooperative spirit of the Abraham Accords signed in 2020, provide a meaningful opportunity for countries to recommit to multilateral efforts to uphold women’s rights,” she added.

Nancy Khedoury, Member of the Shura Council and Deputy Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Defence and National Security Committee and Human Rights Committee of Bahrain, echoed Al Hameli's sentiments, emphasising that the advancement of women’s rights is inseparable from societal progress and stability.

“I firmly believe that the advancement of women’s rights goes hand in hand with the overall progress and stability of our society,” she said.

Make it a better world

Maître Maria Belafia, elected to the region of Rabat, President of the Economic Commission of the Rabat region and Founding Member of the Moroccan Centre for Legal Studies, advocated for the need to collectively pursue peace, justice, and freedom. “We, women, today want to take the path of peace so that together we can live with each other, with one another, in the same world of dignity, justice and freedom.”

Ruth Wasserman Lande, co-chair of the Knesset Caucus for the Promotion of the Abraham Accords and a former Member of the Knesset in Israel, urged collaborative and creative thinking on how women can make significant contributions to global improvement. “We should put our hands together and think creatively, out of the box, how women can really and truly make a contribution to the world and make it a better place,” she affirmed.

The Sarah & Hajar Accords mark a significant step towards gender equality in diplomacy. It underscores the essential role women play in peace-building and societal development, particularly in a region historically dominated by male leadership. This momentous agreement represents a beacon of hope for many, promising a brighter, more inclusive future.


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