UAE’s federal legislative body, the Federal National Council (FNC), appointed Amal Abdullah Juma Karam al-Qubaisi as chairperson on 17 November.

It is the first time a woman was appointed to the post since the federation was formed in 1971, and so far the only woman to hold a similar post among the six GCC states.

Al-Qubaisi held her first pioneering role in 2006 when she became the first woman to be elected to the FNC. She was also the first woman to be appointed director general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC).

Al-Qubaisi trained as an architect, having obtained her bachelor’s degree from UAE University in Abu Dhabi and her master’s and doctorate degrees from the UK’s Sheffield University.

She is understood to have worked with the UNESCO, the United Nations heritage arm, while in the UK. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the preservation of architectural heritage. Other than architecture, her main interests have been on education, health, literacy, family and children.