UAE: Emirati women in National Experts Programme drive country's growth

Here are five profiles of NEP’s female graduates who are helping shape the nation’s future


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 27 Aug 2022, 1:20 PM

The National Experts Programme (NEP) has prepared talented Emirati professionals to play a leading role in the transformation of future-growth sectors.

Launched in 2019 under the direction of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the NEP equips Emirati technical experts with the skills to have a transformative impact on 15 key social and economic sectors aligned to UAE’s national priorities.

A total of 46 Emiratis from a wide range of backgrounds have taken part in the last two editions of NEP. The third edition of NEP kicks off in November, and the new cohort will be announced in October.

As the UAE celebrates Emirati Women’s Day, here are five profiles of NEP’s female graduates who are helping shape the nation’s future.

Meera Al Mheiri, senior inspection engineer at Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation

A graduate from the second cohort of NEP, Meera Al Mheiri made history by becoming the first female Emirati nuclear safety inspector in 2015 at the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation. Meera has led many strategic projects in positioning the UAE in the nuclear field and providing frameworks that align with the UAE’s nuclear energy policy. She designed a policy framework to help identify gaps in working systems and offered solutions to address issues.

During her career, she served as a member of the Emirates Youth Council from 2016 to 2018 and is currently a board member of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, a role that she has held since 2020.

Kalthoom Ali, education lead, Middle East at Apple

Kalthoom Ali took part in the second cohort of NEP, possessing extensive experience within the public and private education sectors. Before joining Apple Middle East earlier this year, she was the former chief of strategic partnership officer at GEMS, and also worked at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai where she held different roles in her 10 years, including being the executive director of education development for all schools in the private education sector in Dubai.

Kalthoom sees a future where the personal education journey will be redesigned along a continuum of lifelong learning, where everyone acquires a mix of valuable skills to become irreplaceable. Kalthoom is working on initiatives to help key stakeholders within the sector to enable teaching and learning through technology, as well as celebrating progress in all types of learning including academic, non-academic, and soft skills.

Fatima Al Shamsi, head of space policies and legislation section at UAE Space Agency

Having seen the UAE become the first Arab country to reach Mars and with the announcement of the first regional interplanetary mission to explore the asteroid belt, Fatima Al Shamsi is keen to help propel national expertise in space sciences into a new era.

As a graduate from the second NEP cohort, Fatima now works at the UAE Space Agency where she heads the space policies and legislation section and works with the United Nations committees to advance the international space policy and the dialogue in identifying global needs for global space challenges, legal frameworks, and resources.

Maisa Al Qassimi, acting project director, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, DCT – Abu Dhabi

Coming from a family that values arts and culture, Maisa Al Qassimi has been developing her knowledge and skills in this field in a career which spans more than 15 years. With a passion for museums from an early age, Maisa, who was nominated for the second cohort of the programme, is now cultivating the same passion in the next generation of Emiratis in her role as acting project director of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which is set for completion in 2025.

Mariam Al Meraikhi, co-founder and CEO of Astrocloud Studios

A participant and Fellow from the first cohort of the programme, Mariam is a strong story-teller and communicator with extensive experience in the media industry. She has worked for several leading organisations including Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company and ExCel London before co-founding AstroCloud Studios to support the creative industries in UAE and the region.


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