Italian Academy honours Jawaher Al Qasimi for empowering working Emirati women


SHARJAH: The Italian Academy, one of the world’s most prestigious institutes for fashion and design, has honoured H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and Honorary Patron of the Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC), for her major role in empowering and supporting Emirati working women.

The academy also appreciated her efforts of supporting cooperation between women who work in traditional Emirati crafts and students of the Italian Academy in Florence, during the grand fashion show held in Florence, Italy, on Friday, 17th of April.

The honouring coincided with a visit by the delegation of the SBWC and the Executive Office of Sheikha Jawaher to the headquarters of the academy in Florence – one of the most prestigious institutes for art, interior design, fashion, accessories and photography. The honouring ceremony took place on the sidelines of a fashion show held by two of the Italian Academy’s talented students. Andrea Mazzone and Francesca Baldanzi, who featured the event using over 3,000 feet of thread and embroideries, the stylistically traditional of “Talli” pieces are the product of more than 20 Emirati women working together within the “Bidwa” project of the SBWC.

AmeeraBinKaram, Chairperson of SBWC, and 65-year-old Emirati woman, Fatima Mahmoud “Umm Ahmed” from Dibba Al Hosn, received the honouring on behalf of Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi.

“Umm Ahmed” supervises the training and teaches Emirati women the skills of “Talli” craft within the “Bidwa” project, which was launched by the SBCW, to support and empower women economically and socially.

The Italian pieces inlaid with the Emirati “Talli” were greatly admired by designers, students and audience members alike, who were visibly impressed by the striking colours and patterns which incorporate the latest fashion trends while staying true to the vibrant traditional Emirati spirit of the designs.

During the visit, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the SBWC and the Italian Academy, to strengthen cooperation between both sides in the area of developing traditional Emirati crafts – especially “Talli” – and to incorporate it into modern fashion designs and other fashion products while promoting it globally.

The MOU was signed by AmeeraBinKaram, and Vincenzo Giubba, Founding President of the Italian Academy during a press conference at the academy’s premises, in the presence of a large number of Italian and international media representatives.

Due to the positive result of the series of previous contacts between the SBWC and the Academy, the MOU aims to move the “Talli” craft and other UAE’s traditional crafts forward and to more advanced levels of popularity and worldwide fame.

Following the signing of the memorandum, BinKaram underlined the eagerness of Sheikha Jawaher to empower and support Emirati women in all walks of life. The Sharjah Business Women Council seeks through the “Bidwa” programme to revive the traditional Emirati crafts and train women on how to skillfully take up the traditional crafts and make their own high quality products in a professional manner as well as help them sell their products in local and global markets.

During the press conference, BinKaram said, “We are delighted at this collaboration with the Italian Academy, where the memorandum of understanding will provide additional support to producing women working in the UAE craft sector by marketing their creative products on a global scale and incorporating them into fashion and other fashionable products. We also aim to expand the vocational training programmes for producing women and develop their skills through cooperation with international designers, able to promote passion for “Talli” and other traditional crafts.”

Vincenzo Giubba, Founding President of the Italian Academy, also expressed his pleasure and that of the academy students over this cooperation with the Sharjah Business Women Council. He said, “This collaboration will constitute a new addition for us at the academy, in terms of the quality of designs used, and even the ideas inspired by the traditional crafts created by Emirati women. We strive to develop this collaboration to include more areas, through other sections and traditional lines and crafts undertaken by the SBWC as part of the “Bidwa” programme.”

Giubba introduced the audience to the role played by the SBWC in supporting talented Emirati women and qualifying them to enter the business world, with a focus on fashion. The founding President of the academy announced that the designs that were displayed during the fashion show will be offered for sale through global fashion houses that cooperate with the academy – with a percentage of the sales be allocated for the Emirati women who mastered in turning the coloured threads into perfectly made fabrics.

During the visit, the SBWC delegation toured the Italian Academy and its various administrative and educational departments, and also visited a number of classrooms, focusing specifically on those studying fashion design, products design, graphic design and photography. The delegates met with a group of students from various countries and listened to their views and reasons behind the selection of the subject they choose to study as majors.

Last year, the SBWC launched the “Bidwa” project to support and develop traditional crafts with a view to enhancing women’s contribution to economic sectors in the UAE and preserve traditional Emirati crafts by marketing products inspired by the authentic local heritage.

The Council managed to reach 200 producing women through field visits to neighborhoods and cities in Sharjah to train them on how to develop the “Talli” craft and other traditional crafts.

“Bidwa” is part of “My Heritage” programme launched by the Council two years ago, as a platform that brings together companies and individuals committed to ethical practices in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, to meet the demand for products and accessories related to the lifestyle in both local and international markets.

The project aims to preserve traditional crafts by passing on traditional crafts to younger generations and creating high-quality products that appeal to the market, in order to achieve a sustainable source of income for women, thus providing them with economic empowerment that ensure social stability and security, independence and a decent living.