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Women’s Day in Bahrain: women diplomats in the spotlight

As part of its National Women's Day, Bahrain today honors its women diplomats in a desire "to send a civilized message to the world".

On the occasion of National Women’s Day in Bahrain, the Supreme Council for Bahraini Women headed by Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, the King’s wife, is celebrating this year women in the field of diplomacy. With this dedication, the Council hopes to “open new horizons for women by promoting their increased participation in the fields of diplomatic work and international representation and making them play a key role in strengthening the pillars of Bahraini diplomacy,” according to an official statement.

Women, Eminent Bahraini Diplomats

Honoring the woman diplomat is not insignificant for Bahrain. This small Gulf country, where the employment rate of women has increased by 33% in the last 20 years (World Bank), intends to “send a civilized message to the world”, according to the country’s official news agency. Sheikha Haya bint Rashid Al Khalifa, the standard-bearer of this opening, depicts one of the most striking examples of the kingdom’s desire to promote Bahraini women in the field of international relations. She was the first Bahraini and Arab woman to hold the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly in 2006, before being appointed ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to France from 2000 to 2005, then non-resident ambassador to Belgium, Switzerland and Spain from 2000 to 2004. She is also the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom to UNESCO.

Bibi Sharaf Al-Alawi is another outstanding example of the presence of women in Bahrain’s diplomacy. Ambassador of the Kingdom to China from 2007 – 2013 and non-resident Ambassador to South Korea (2009 – 2013) and Mongolia (2008 – 2013), she previously worked as Counsellor for the Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations from 1988 – 1992. Bahia Jawad Al-Jishi, currently Bahrain’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and Denmark (non-resident) and the Kingdom’s representative to the European Union and NATO since 2015, is another darling of Bahrain’s diplomacy. Much earlier, Amal Ibrahim Al-Zayani was the first Bahraini woman to work in the diplomatic corps of the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1972, one year after the ministry was established in the wake of the kingdom’s independence. Four pioneering women, therefore, to whom the Supreme Council for Bahraini Women pays tribute today.