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Dubai’s International Humanitarian City Gives Voice to Female Aid Workers on World Humanitarian Day

Dubai, UAE

Sallam Sallam

Every day, more than half a million humanitarians work on the frontline of war and disaster to help people in crises. About 40% of them are Women Humanitarians and this year, the World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is dedicated to them. The International Humanitarian City (IHC) embraced the Day in conjunction with the Year of Tolerance, by welcoming more than 100 humanitarian workers and partners to spotlight the achievements and attributes women bring to the humanitarian action.

The event started with a moment of silence to honor fallen heroes who lost their lives working on the front lines. This was followed by a panel comprised of female humanitarian representatives from the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and The Fred Hollows Foundation; the discussion was moderated by Sophie Barbey, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) mission in the UAE. As the speakers shared personal tales from their experiences on the field, guests were able to reflect on the challenges faced and ways to provide relief better in the midst of wars, conflicts, and natural disasters.

Giuseppe Saba, CEO of IHC remarked, “World Humanitarian Day brings us together, not just to raise the public’s awareness of our aid work, but to support each other.  It is also an opportunity to honor and remember our colleagues and friends who time and again selflessly rally in crises. They are the unsung heroes we celebrate today.”

Commenting on the significance of the day, Mageed Yahia, Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Office in the UAE, WFP Representative to the GCC and Acting UN Resident Coordinator, said that “Every year, on the 19th of August, the humanitarian community stands together to pay tribute to those among them who risk their lives to serve people in need, and highlight the global humanitarian efforts in support of those affected by emergencies and crises around the world. This year, we celebrate Women Humanitarians and shed light on their unwavering perseverance and determination to contribute to the global humanitarian and development movement.”

During the event, guests were also able to explore the relief items on display at the IHC showroom. These include IHC’s very own “Flash Studio” which is a mobile communications initiative that allows field staff to share real time information with media outlets and the humanitarian community in studio-grade quality live video links during emergencies and disasters. Innovations like this are just one of the components that make IHC stand out as a global hub for efficient emergency response, and a platform for advancement in the humanitarian field.

World Humanitarian Day is held each year on August 19 to commemorate the deaths of 22 people during a bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003.

Founded in 2003, IHC is the largest international humanitarian hub in the world. It is a non-profit, independent, free-zone Authority hosting more than 85 members including UN agencies, other international organizations, and commercial companies. It plays a pivotal role in facilitating rapid relief and first responses to crises worldwide.

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