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Qatar Emir’s mother steps down as UNESCO ambassador due to inability to protect Gaza children 

November 16, 2023 at 11:31 am

Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser on June 4, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican [Vatican Pool/Getty Images]

The mother of Qatar’s Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani has stepped down from her role as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, due to the organisation’s inability to perform its role and protect Palestinian children in Gaza.

Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser is chairperson of the Education Above All Foundation (EAA), and has withdrawn from her role in the organisation that is meant to protect children. Almost 5,000 Palestinian children have been killed during Israel’s latest bombardment and military invasion of the Gaza Strip. She made the announcement during her participation in the summit of First Ladies in Istanbul, in the presence of Emine Erdogan, wife of the Turkish president.

Sheikha Moza has served as the Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education for UNESCO since 2003, and has launched several major projects. Dr Hamad Abdul Aziz Al-Kawari, Qatari Minister of State and Head of the Qatar National Library, praised her position on X.

“This is not just a circumstantial expression condemning the failure of UNESCO to save the children of Gaza from their tragedy that the world is unable to solve,” wrote Al-Kawari, “as much as it is a genuine position on childhood issues to which Her Highness has devoted educational initiatives ‘Educate a Child’ and ‘Education Above All’, so what meaning does a role have if it does not support victims?”

In 2012, Sheikha Moza founded the Education Above All Foundation, from which the programmes Educate a Child, Al-Fakhoora, Protecting Education in Conflict and Insecurity, and Reach Out to Asia have been launched. These programmes work to provide primary education for approximately 59 million out-of-school children. Education Above All promotes curriculum education policy that works to reduce the risk of future conflict and build stability and peace in conflict-affected areas where, long after the fighting stops, the education system, which is in a state of disrepair, is not able to enhance the country’s ability to rebuild.

The Educate a Child programme works with a wide range of international and national organisations and local partners to reach the world’s poorest and most marginalised children. Sheikha Moza is committed to defending the right to protect education in conflict areas and considers education to be a basic building block in helping societies recover from the repercussions of fighting.

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