She is the eldest of two daughters. Following undergraduate studies in Social Anthropology at Cambridge University, England, she went on to complete her post-graduate MPhil Degree at the London School of Economics.
Dunya Maumoon was previously employed as the Assistant Representative head of the Maldives office of the UNFPA, and has written on the subject of gender and women's role in Islam. She is sometimes described as the most likely successor to her father.
She held the post of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007-2008. Under her tenure as the Head of Multilateral Affairs, the Maldives embarked on achieving foreign policy objectives mainly on climate change and environmental conservation.
In March 2012, Dunya Maumoon was appointed as State Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Dunya Maumoon is married to Shuaib Mohamed Shah, a Bangladeshi-born British lawyer (Barrister-at-Law) in Maldives, and has three children.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Profile (November 2013):
Ms. Dunya Maumoon, 43, completed her BA (Hons) Degree at the University of Cambridge, England, in 1992 and was a Haddon Scholar at the University for her excellent academic achievements. She went onto to complete her MPhil Degree at the London School of Economics in 1996. The focus of her research was on “Gender Activism and the Islamic Revival’.
Ms. Maumoon began her professional career at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Maldives in 1998, and remained with the UNFPA for over 8 years. Working closely with the Maldives Government of the time, she was able to successfully engage with a number of stakeholders, including the civil society, on initiatives relating to population and development, reproductive health, and gender. Several key studies were successfully completed during this time. These included both the 1999 and 2004 Reproductive Health Surveys as well as the 2006 Survey on Women’s Health and Life Experience, which gathered data on the sensitive issue of violence against women.
Through her commitment and work Ms. Maumoon was able to contribute positively to promoting the rights of women and men as well as adolescents and youth in the Maldives. In an inter-agency role, Ms. Maumoon also contributed positively to better understanding and strategic interventions in the areas of HIV/AIDs as well as drug use, which was a growing problem in the Maldives. In particular, she worked with the Government to launch life skills education for youth. When the Asian Tsunami struck the Maldives in December 2004, Ms. Maumoon played a lead role in alleviating the hardship suffered by her fellow Maldivians as a part of the UN inter-agency relief and rehabilitation effort.
After her tenure with the UNFPA, in January 2007 Ms. Maumoon took up the position of Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As head of the Multilateral Department of the Ministry, Ms. Maumoon successfully launched much of the international work on human rights including reporting. She worked on promoting the ICCPR and ICESCR, which Maldives had acceded to in 1996, with the launch of the democratic Reform Agenda of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Ms. Maumoon further contributed significantly to the rapid democratization process in the Maldives as part of the Dhivehi Raiyyithunge Party (DRP). In particular she mobilized women as part of the political process and continuously advocated for empowerment of women.
From 2009 to 2012 Ms. Maumoon was involved in both DRP and later in the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) as Council Member and had a lead role in the Women’s Movements. Ms. Maumoon was instrumental in the drafting and submission to Parliament of the landmark “Anti-Domestic Violence Bill” in 2010. The Bill was subsequently passed by Parliament in April 2012, and ratified by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan in the same month.
Ms. Maumoon was appointed Minister of State at Foreign Affairs, by President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan, in February 2012. Once again, she headed the multilateral department and oversaw the Public Information Unit. During her tenure, Ms. Maumoon was instrumental in facing and withstanding international pressure on the Government relating to the questions about the circumstances that led to President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation in February 2012. Ms. Maumoon led the Foreign Ministry team and in close coordination with Government colleagues, successfully liaised with the international partners such as Commonwealth and the United Nations to vindicate Maldives from the false allegations. Standing by her principles and with continued advocacy for the independence and sovereignty of the country, the Foreign Ministry team was able to ensure Maldives was removed from the CMAG agenda in March 2013.
At the Foreign Ministry, Ms. Maumoon was a strong advocate for human rights both domestically as well as internationally. She launched Maldives campaign for the Human Rights Council seat in Geneva in March 2013. Maldives has since won the seat for a second term. Domestically, she guided the Foreign Ministry team in its work on “Anti-Human Trafficking’ including in ensuring key legislation was initiated. She remains committed to ensuring progress in these areas and facing the challenges.
Playing a key role in the establishment and subsequent development of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Ms. Maumoon was elected President of the Women’s Wing in February 2013. She played a key role in the 2013 presidential campaign which won President Yameen Abdul Gayoom the presidency. With her passion for empowerment of women, Ms. Maumoon is committed to ensuring the continued key role of women in PPM and at decision-making levels within the Government and also supporting women candidates in parliament as well as at council level.
Ms. Maumoon is committed to ensuring that Maldives regains its respected position in the international community as a proud, sovereign nation which stands by its beliefs and principles as well as its proud Islamic heritage. She believes Maldives should continue its role as a promoter of human rights, rights of women as well as an advocate in alerting the world to the dangers of climate change, the impacts of which are already felt only too deeply in her island country. Her vision, under the guidance of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom is to ensure a principled foreign policy and the development of a strong, professional foreign service.
Ms. Maumoon is married to the well-respected Barrister-at-Law, Mr. Shuaib Shah, and they are blessed with 2 sons and 1 daughter.
Ms. Maumoon is the eldest daughter of Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the second President of the Republic of Maldives.