GTF & NAMA Partnership - Athena MENA Launch

NAMA and Global Thinkers Forum Partnership to Broaden Prospects for Women’s Economic Empowerment

Athena MENA Mentoring Programme to support 100 women

to become business and community leaders by 2020


Sharjah’s NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) and the London-based international organization Global Thinkers Forum (GTF) have launched the Athena MENA Mentoring Programme 2018 to help women in the region to develop new skills and expertise, and to enhance, enrich and expand their professional and personal prospects.

The two organisations confirmed the launch of the programme at a signing ceremony held in London. The new partnership with a leading worldwide organisation reflects NAMA’s ever-increasing efforts to empower women locally and globally and equip them with the leadership skills that help them chart their own future path.

The Athena MENA Mentoring Programme 2018 aims to develop the talents, abilities and business acumen of10-15 women above the age of 22, and provide them with support and networking opportunities and give them a deeper insight into modern business practices.

The programme offers guidance, mentorship, and professional advice for mentees by deepening their understanding of international markets and helping them with confidence-building. Adopting scientific and practical strategies and clear action plans for the inclusion of women in local, regional and global economies, the programme encourages women to launch and set up their own enterprises, a forward-thinking scheme that leads to creating a generation of active women leaders.

The Global Thinkers Forum provides the Athena MENA Programme with an elite group of highly-experienced mentors, many of whom are CEOs and directors of leading international companies and organisations, to present workshops and training sessions to mentees.

The programme aims to benefit 100 women from the MENA region by 2020. The selected candidates are provided with a personalised development opportunity to address individual learning needs over a period of eight months.


Elizabeth Filippouli, Founder & CEO of Global Thinkers Forum & HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment

“In our efforts to empower women we are inspired by the vision and directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of NAMA, who believes in women’s massive potential and their ability to make unique achievements and substantial contributions to the economy and community,” said HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment.

“NAMA looks to the day when women can enjoy a position where they can create their own paths and be on an equal footing with their male counterparts in building their nations,” BinKaram added.

“Our partnership with the Global Thinkers Forum in launching the Athena MENA Mentoring Programme exemplifies our desire to see a new generation of women leaders able to take the initiative and inspire others to build a bright future and better tomorrow. It also reaffirms our absolute trust in women and their ability to innovate,’ BinKaram said.

She continued: “The Athena MENA Programme is the fruition of the Women Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS), which was held in Sharjah in December 2017, and highlighted the need to create a motivating environment for women that helps in production, development, growth and innovation on the basis of merit and competence. In this vein, we launched the ‘Pledge’ initiative that aims to enable women in the working environment.”

Elizabeth Filippouli, Founder and CEO of Global Thinkers Forum and Global Thinkers Mentors, said: “We are delighted and honoured for the partnership with NAMA to launch this very important Mentoring Programme in MENA. The potential, talent and capacity that is to be found among women in the MENA region is huge. By launching this programme our aspiration is to highlight this dynamism that can add immense value to the MENA economies.”

According to the outcome of the 2017 Women Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS), there is a pressing need to provide a suitable environment for women to develop and grow through fair economic empowerment. The summit highlighted the importance of assessing challenges facing women and the inclusion of more women in the private sector, a move that will increase productivity and GDPs.

The summit also underlined the need to influence global policymakers to ensure women’s integration in the economy, referring to the UAE as a model to be emulated by other countries. The summit offered a platform to motivate action, promote tolerance, integration and equality in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. 

Joan Wucher King, Marina Antoniou, Stephen Cole, HE Reem BinKaram, Elizabeth Filippouli, Derek Wyatt, Susana Frazao-Pinheiro, Helen Alderson, Gary Horsley

Criteria for joining the Athena MENAMentoring Programme

To be eligible to join the Athena MENA Mentoring Programme, women should be 22 or above, be from and reside in the MENA region and have good command of the English language. A Bachelor’s degree or five years of professional experience in one of the areas available for mentoring is desirable.

The Global Thinkers Forum is a global platform that brings together a diverse network of thought leaders to share their visions of the future, create meaningful conversations around them and effect positive change in the world. Its mission focuses on three areas: accountable leadership, women’s empowerment and youth development. The Global Thinkers Forum launched its international mentoring programmes ‘Telemachus’ for youth and ‘Athena’ for women in 2015.

Established by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, NAMA Women Advancement Establishment is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah.

NAMA’s core philosophy is to raise awareness that women are an indispensable human resource for the development of every nation. NAMA was conceived to go beyond the remit of supporting women and ensuring gender equality to a broader scope that aims to see women become influential key members of society, thereby enabling them to climb the ladder of success.

It encourages policies and legislation to support women and actively pursues programmes that support gender integration into all sectors and abolishes unjust practices and policies that discriminate against the advancement of women.

Sharjah Business Women Council, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, NAMA Fund, Badiri Education and Development, and Anwan, fall under the umbrella of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment.