For the October issue of Emirates Woman (which also celebrated our 35th birthday, hurrah!) Her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint Al Hussein granted us a rare, exclusive interview.
In it, she opened up about the conflict in Syria, the personal loss of her mother, the admiration she has for her family, her views on social media, and why she doesn’t consider herself a feminist.
But there were some quotes from the inspirational royal that we couldn’t quite squeeze into a tight word count. Here, we publish them in full, along with some never-seen-before pictures of Her Royal Highness.
On what women need to do for humanity
“In the end, the present day humanitarian crisis is a global crisis of leadership. It is one where we have allowed ourselves to become distracted, and one where we have been allowed by many world leaders to forget the common values that bind us as human beings. In this, women can play a huge role, by using every civilised avenue they can; to call for these values to motivate all our political and national actions.
“The leadership of the UAE, is something to be proud of because the core values of humanity are present in every part of our national agenda. Women are powerful, and every example of when a woman is empowered in a humanitarian context is simple proof of that point.”
On the UAE’s achievements
“I think for me, it’s the attitude and the values of our leadership and our people is what I am most proud of. I feel truly blessed to come from a country where people never forget that human dignity comes before all else.”
On what makes the UAE such a special place for women
“As a mother, it is comforting to know that we can raise our children in a safe, multicultural environment. I know that the women in the workplace in our country are supported and above all respected. And in Government and Parliament women are truly looked upon as members of a team that serves the people of our nation.”
On modern-day feminism
“There are so many tragic stories of women who exist in terrible situations, for a variety of reasons, lack of freedom, abuse, poverty, and the list goes on. These women need to be fought for. When I see, meet, or know of women like this, it is impossible to not think that I should be doing even more, that we all should. The pain some women endure is just unfathomable – we must not turn our backs.”
On Expo 2020
“Expo 2020 has already impacted positively on the city, with research showing a surge in business confidence from the moment Dubai won the bid. Expo 2020 will create 280,000 new jobs, with a positive economic impact on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Overall, the whole of Dubai is excited and enthusiastic about this large-scale project and the international exposure it will bring.”
On today’s health care systems
“From a global perspective, all health economies, in this day and age, face similar challenges. Rising costs, changing demographics, shortage of clinicians, ease of access to services, and patient expectations, to name just a few. I think for many, today’s healthcare system need to embrace change and be open to the idea of transitioning from being reactive to proactive.
“The UAE is a microcosm of the world, the country’s leadership has given us the opportunity to think big and implement in intelligent but innovative ways. I am really excited about the healthcare system that is taking shape in the UAE. There is much to do but really a lot has been achieved by everyone involved, not just the Dubai Healthcare City Authority on its own. We are part of a big team with the Ministry of Health, and the Department of Health and we are all pulling in the same direction.”
On her role as a royal
“No, I most certainly do not. Having a Royal title is not a job at all, it’s a role and a duty. I believe that the foundations of ruling monarchies are not built on just a birth-right, or a marriage right.
“The foundation of Royalty has been throughout history; the belief and approval of the peoples in what a lineage represents… and the continuity of that lineage is dependent on the understanding of Royal families that they must continue to represent, behave, and serve in ways that are honest, representative, and respectful of the very fibre of their Nations, in order to endure. The credibility of Royalty depends totally on the pulse of the peoples, and it always has.
“I pray every day that I am able to do my duty to the utmost of my ability, and if I do not, I know and understand that people can and should criticize me. And if they do, I will have failed myself, my husband, and the people of the UAE, my father and the Hashemite Family and people of Jordan.”
On her style icons
“My late mother, HM Queen Elizabeth II, and Princess Diana, for their timeless elegance and class. The thought and sensitivity to cultures and their assessment of what is appropriate for different occasions is incredible. They all go so far beyond the ‘style icon’ label and manage to make the most important part of who they are their duties and their work.”
Images: Supplied courtesy of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint Al Hussein