Refleksi: Sangat menarik sekali bahwa  Ratu Haya dari Dubai  tidak memakai 
jilbab atau burkha. Apakah alasan pribadi atau karena kedudukannya dibolehkan 

Tuesday 23 September 2008 (23 Ramadan 1429)

      New in Gulf: Bigger role for some first ladies

            Dubai's Princess Haya    
      DOHA: The first lady of Qatar walked up to the podium in a luxury hotel 
banquet room and sized up the crowd of mostly wealthy businessmen. "Do not be 
afraid to take risks and to try," she told them. "Think out of the box."

      Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned took on a very untraditional role in 
rallying the men to support a $100-million initiative to tackle unemployment. 
Like her counterpart in Dubai, Oxford-educated Princess Haya, Mozah is taking 
up the Western "first lady" model - activist, globe-trotting and involved in 
public affairs.

      The emergence of high-ranking wives on the public stage is part of the 
booming Gulf states' efforts to appear more in sync with the West as they seek 
investment, political clout and even big-name sporting events like the Olympics.

      In recent years, Qatar has transformed its desert landscape into a 
financial and media hub. Mozah, who is believed to be in her 40s, has taken a 
starring role in the transformation. 

      She is one of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani's wives and the only one 
who makes public appearances.

      Her most prominent role is as chairwoman of the Qatar Foundation, which 
launched Education City, a 2,500-acre campus outside Doha and home to branches 
of prominent American universities like Carnegie Mellon and Georgetown.

      Mozah is increasingly rivaling Queen Rania's globe-trotting, giving 
speeches at institutions in the US and Europe. Last year, she claimed one of 
the spots on Forbes magazine's list of the world's 100 most powerful women.

      "No Gulf royalty stands out as Mozah does," said Rima Sabban, a 
Dubai-based sociologist. "She broke all cultural barriers and shaped an image 
of a woman that is fully modern, fully confident and fearless of a backlash 
from the society... Mozah's strategy is part of her husband's goal to put Qatar 
on the world map."

      In the even glitzier city of Dubai, Princess Haya is also breaking the 
rules - giving speeches on public welfare, working on public projects, 
appearing in magazines, keeping personal websites and traveling the world. 

      Dubai gained significant political influence in the region through the 
2004 marriage of its powerful ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, 
with the 34-year-old Haya, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan.

      Like Mozah, Haya has taken on public roles, including chairing the Dubai 
International Humanitarian City, a cluster of Western and Islamic charities. 
She represented Jordan in equestrian show jumping in the 2000 Olympic Games in 
Australia, is president of the International Equestrian Federation and even has 
a truck-driving license, obtained in Jordan to help transport her horses.

      Other wives of Gulf rulers are active in campaigning for women's rights, 
charity and humanitarian issues, particularly in Bahrain and Kuwait, but they 
have not sought foreign attention or assumed highly public roles.



Kirim email ke