Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and Mother of the Nation, The General Women's Union welcomed the fourth cohort of the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Women, Peace and Security initiative cadets. This initiative, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense and the UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC, underscores the UAE's commitment to enhancing women's roles in fostering dialogue, peace, security and development, both nationally and globally.

Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak expressed her pride in the UAE's achievements in promoting women's leadership and effective participation in the peace and security sectors. Her Highness emphasised that this initiative embodies the enlightened vision of the UAE's leadership, reflecting their belief in the pivotal role of women in all fields as a cornerstone of societal development.

Military personnel from 10 countries participated in the fourth cohort including the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Tanzania, The Gambia, Liberia, Pakistan, Kosovo and Kyrgyz Republic. The training programme, which continues until September, aims to build and develop women's capabilities in peace and security, create collaborative and supportive networks, increase women's representation in the military and peacekeeping forces, and enhance operational effectiveness.

His Excellency Mohammed bin Mubarak Fadel Al Mazrouei, Minister of State for Defense Affairs, said: "Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak's initiative to empower women in peace and security aligns with the UAE's commitment to supporting the vital roles of women in conflict zones. Women are essential in achieving peace and security. The Ministry of Defense is committed to providing all necessary support to ensure the success of this initiative, including military training programs supervised by the Khawla Bint Al-Azwar Military School."

The Khawla Bint Al Azwar Military School in Abu Dhabi will host the comprehensive peace and security training programme. This programme includes Jiu-Jitsu, physical fitness, military security, police security, internal security, peace building, weapons training, intelligence, military topography, battle skills, field skills, patrols, chemical warfare, combat in built-up areas, field engineering, combat medics training and infantry tactics.

The training programme aims to open non-traditional career paths for women, inspiring them to join national security forces and peacekeeping operations. It also supports the development of interpersonal skills including leadership skills, public speaking and reinforces cadets’ belief in their ability to achieve.

Her Excellency Noura Al Suwaidi, Secretary General of the General Women's Union, expressed great pride at the launch of the fourth cohort. Al Suwaidi noted that the UAE is leveraging its expertise to empower women globally by promoting the women, peace and security agenda, under the guidance of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

An introductory session was held for the participating cadets to introduce the Sheikha Fatma bint Mubarak Women, Peace and Security Initiative and its objectives, highlighting the role of peace in achieving sustainable development and peaceful coexistence. Opening speeches were delivered by Al-Anoud Yousef, Acting Executive Director of the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Centre for Women, Peace, and Security, and Dr. Mouza Al Shehhi, Director, UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC. David Fernandez, Permanent Observer, United Nations University for Peace, led a discussion on Education for Peace.

Dr Mouza Al Shehhi, Director for the UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC, said: "In light of global conflicts and regional security threats, enhancing women's participation and leadership in security matters is necessary. Experience shows that involving women in peacebuilding and conflict prevention leads to more sustainable results, supporting post-conflict rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery. UN Women welcomes continued cooperation with the UAE within the framework of the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Women, Peace and Security Initiative to empower women in peace and security, supporting women's leadership and building global women's cadres in this vital sector."

The UAE is an active partner in enhancing women's participation in security and peace, increasing the number of women qualified to work in the military sector, and achieving the strategic goals of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The training programme to build women's capacities in the military sector is based on a memorandum of understanding signed in 2018 between the UAE Ministry of Defense, the General Women's Union, and UN Women. The Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Women, Peace and Security Initiative was launched in September 2020, aiming to train and empower women from various countries to achieve peace and security.

More than 500 trainees have graduated from the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Women, Peace, and Security Initiative over its three previous cohorts. The first cohort, launched in January 2019, included participants from seven countries. Following its success, the programme expanded to include African and Asian cadets. The second cohort, women from 11 countries, began training in January 2020, while the third cohort started in 2022 with women from Arab and African countries.