HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, the wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visited Australia this week.
During her three days down under, the Princess met politicians and dignitaries including, Governor General Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove, and met with the Hon Julie Bishop MP, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Hon Matt Kean MP, the Minister of Innovation and Regulation.
HRH Princess Haya summed up her visit to Australia on her website, saying: “During my time in Australia I have met some incredibly dedicated people from whom we can learn a great deal, as well as some beautiful and brave children. I have been touched by the warmth of the Australian welcome and hope that my visit will serve in a small and humble way to enhance the already strong ties between Australia and the UAE.”
She was also able to learn about Australia’s aid programme, more specifically in the Indo-Pacific region. This programme works with boosting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the country. Princess Haya is Chairperson of the International Humanitarian City. She attended a roundtable discussion at Australia’s #1 think tank, the Lowy Institute for International Affairs.
Here, she met with Australian NGO’s, delegates from the institute and UAE’s Ambassador to Australia, HE Dr Obaid Al Ketbi. The issue at the top of their agenda were global humanitarian matters such as the delivering of aid and the ‘humanitarian needs’ of those living in conflicted zones and those people living in famine.
The Princess had this to say about the discussion: “It was an incredible visit to Australia, and this trip taught me a great deal about the aid programme the Australian Government has in place to respond to international crises and to help their neighbours in terms of education, health and reducing poverty.”
“As the world goes through a turbulent time, the scale and need for humanitarian aid is growing. Now more than ever, governments and the international community must unite to address the magnitude of the issues and find new and innovative ways to address crises across the globe.”
Princess Haya is also the Chairperson of the Dubai Healthcare City Authority. She along with HE Dr Obaid Al Ketbi, visited the Smith Family Charity in Sydney, the Lifeline Charity in Canberra, and paid official visits to Canberra’s Centenary Hospital for Women & Children and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Her Royal Highness is an avid supporter of the health of children worldwide. She also learned of the research and educational initiatives of these facilities and the work they do in their local communities. The Princess was also able to share her knowledge.
Princess Haya said of these visits on her site: “My visits to the Centenary Hospital in Canberra and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne taught me a great deal and I am hopeful that there is scope for further discussions, collaboration and the sharing of best practise with our Al Jalila Hospital in Dubai.”
The trip was not all business; the Princess had lots of fun during her visit. She watched the FIFA World Cup Qualifier between Australia and the UAE at the Sydney Football Stadium. She was able to greet her home team the previous day during a training session.