Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi

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Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi
BornAl-Hayer, Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates
SpouseZayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
IssueSheikh Mohammed
Sheikh Hamdan
Sheikh Hazza
Sheikh Tahnoun
Sheikh Mansour
Sheikh Abdullah
Sheikha Shamma
Sheikha Alyazia
HouseHouse of Al Nahyan (by marriage)
FatherMubarak Al Ketbi
Al Nahyan family
Emblem of Abu Dhabi - Gold.svg

HH Sheikha Shamsa

HH Sheikha Fatima



HH Sheikha Amna

Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi (Arabic: فاطمة بنت مبارك الكتبي‎) is the third wife of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder and inaugural president of United Arab Emirates, and late emir (ruler) of Abu Dhabi. She is referred to as the mother of sheikhs and as the Mother of the UAE.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Sheikha Fatima was born in Al-Hayer in Al-Ain as the only daughter to her parents.[4] Her family is Bedouin and religious,[1] like a traditional Emirati family. Her father died when she was young so her mother remarried and had two more sons, Soheil Bakarat and Sami Bakarat and Owad.[citation needed]


Sheikha Fatima is a supporter of women's rights in the UAE.[4] She is the supreme chairperson of the family development foundation[2][5] and significantly contributed to the foundation of the first women’s organization in 1976, the Abu Dhabi Society for the Awakening of Women.[4] She was also instrumental in a nationwide campaign advocating for girls' education[4] and heads the United Arab Emirates' Women Federation, which she founded in 1975.[2][6] She is also the President of the Motherhood and Childhood Supreme Council.[1] At the end of the 1990s, she publicly announced that women should be members of the Federal National Council of the Emirates.[6]

Sheikha Fatima also supports efforts concerning adult literacy and provision of free public education for girls.[2] An award named the Sheikha Fatima Award for Excellence has been presented in her honor since 2005 for the outstanding academic performance and commitment to the environment and world citizenship of the female recipients.[7] The reward includes a full-tuition scholarship that extends to schools across the Middle East and in 2010 expanded to India.[7] She has consistently supported women in sport and initiated an award called the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Award for Woman Athletes.[8] Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak also created a women's sports academy called Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Academy in Abu Dhabi.[9] The Sheikha Fatima Institute of Nursing and Health Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan, is named after her.[citation needed]


In 1997, five different organizations of the United Nations (UNICEF, WHO, UNIFEM, UNFP and UNFPA) awarded Sheikha Fatima for her significant efforts for women's rights.[3] The UNIFEM stated, "she is the champion of women's rights."[3] She was also awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order by the then Tunisian president Zine el Abidine ben Ali in 2009 for her contributions to raise the status of Arab women.[5] She was also given the UNESCO Marie Curie Medal for her efforts in education, literacy and women's rights, being the third international and the first Arab recipient of the award.[3]

Marriage and children[edit]

Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi married Zayed when he was the ruler of the Eastern region in the 1960s.[1][10] She was spotted by her husband when engaging in a traditional dance.[11] Fatima was the only spouse that remained married to Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan until his death.[12] They moved to Abu Dhabi when Sheikh Zayed became the ruler in August 1966. She was his most influential and favorite spouse because of her influential personality.[13][14] She is the mother of Sheikh Mohammed (born 1961), the current Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi; Sheikh Hamdan (born 1963), Sheikh Hazza, Sheikh Tahnoun, Sheikh Mansour, Sheikh Abdullah, Sheikha Shamma and Sheikha Alyazia.[13] They are the most powerful block in the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, the Al Nahyans.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d "Biography". Arab Youth Awards. Archived from the original on 2013-05-28. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Civil Defence honours Mother of the Nation" (PDF). 999 (484): 10. April 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2013.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d Isabell A. Claus; Diana Abad; Kasim Randeree (1 April 2009). Leadership and the Emirati woman: Breaking the glass ceiling in the Arabian Gulf. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 15. ISBN 978-3-643-10251-5. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Swaroop, Sangeetha (June–July 2002). "National Heroine and International Champion of Women Rights". Al Shindagah (76). Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Tunisian President confers Grand Cordon of Order of November 7 on Sheikha Fatima" (PDF). Almojtama (22): 7. July 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  6. ^ a b Bruce Maddy-Weitzman (1 August 2002). Middle East Contemporary Survey: 1999. The Moshe Dayan Center. p. 629. ISBN 978-965-224-049-1. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Outstanding female students honored at the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Award for Excellence". Zawya. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  8. ^ "The judging panel of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Award for Woman Athletes holds an introductory meeting". FBMWSA. 27 November 2012. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Our Chairwoman - Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy". www.fbma.ae.
  10. ^ Anthony, John Duke (30 August 1999). "Succession in Abu Dhabi" (PDF). NCUSAR. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  11. ^ "UAE First Lady: Behind-the-Scenes Player". United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi. 6 October 2004. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan". The Telegraph. 4 November 2004. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  13. ^ a b "UAE Succession Update: The Post-Zayed Scenario". Wikileaks. 28 September 2004. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  14. ^ "With MBZ's promotion, Sheikha Fatima sons take centre stage". Gulf States Newsletter. 724. 12 November 2003. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  15. ^ "Abu Dhabi's family business". Financial Times. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2013.