HE​ ​Noura​ ​Al​ ​Kaabi

Cabinet Member and Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development  

HE​ ​Noura​ ​Al​ ​Kaabi , Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and Chairwoman of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi and twofour54, needs little introduction. 

As one of the most prominent female powerhouses in the UAE, the Emirati, in 2014, was also named as one of Forbes Middle East’s 30 Most Influential Women in Government; and was awarded Business Woman of the Year at the Gulf Business Industry Awards while she has also held many other titles including board member of the National Media Council, Abu Dhabi Media, Image Nation and the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). 

It is the latter where HE Al​ ​Kaabi decided to choose to begin her higher education - and she credits the university for helping her cement the prolific career she enjoys today.

"When​ ​deciding​ ​the​ ​academic​ ​path​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​pursue,​ ​there​ ​were​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​options​ ​in the​ ​UAE -​ however,​ ​UAEU​ ​was​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​few​ ​institutions​ ​that​ ​offered​ ​a​ ​programme combining​ ​two​ ​of​ ​my​ ​interests​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time:​ ​management​ ​and​ ​understanding​ ​data,” she explained. "​​This​ ​is why​ ​I​ ​chose​ ​the​ ​Management​ ​Information​ ​Systems​ ​(MIS)​ ​degree​ ​as​ ​it​ ​appealed​ ​to​ ​me the​ ​most.

HE Al​ ​Kaabi said reflecting on her time at UAEU, there were many highlights during her time of studying at the number one-ranking university in the UAE.  
"There​ ​were​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​stand-out​ ​moments​ ​for​ ​me​ ​at​ ​UAEU,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​ones​ ​I​ ​really remember​ ​are​ ​interacting​ ​with​ ​classmates​ ​and​ ​professors​ ​during​ ​and​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​class.,” she says. "​I enjoyed​ ​getting​ ​to​ ​know​ ​everyone​ ​and​ ​learning​ ​about​ ​them,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​working​ ​with them​ ​on​ ​projects​ ​and​ ​reports.​ ​

"My​ ​time​ ​at​ ​UAEU​ ​helped​ ​me​ ​prepare​ ​for​ ​my​ ​work​ ​now, where​ ​I​ ​am​ ​constantly​ ​interacting​ ​with​ ​new​ ​people. ​I learned​ ​many​ ​valuable​ ​things​ ​from​ ​my​ ​fellow​ ​students​ ​and​ ​professors,​ ​and​ ​continue​ ​to learn​ ​from​ ​people​ ​I​ ​meet​ ​today.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​something​ ​I​ ​find​ ​important​ ​and​ ​necessary.”

HE Al​ ​Kaabi said her time at the university helped her learn two vital skills;​ ​how​ ​to​ ​both​ ​communicate​ ​effectively​ ​and research​ ​well.​ ​"I​ ​gained​ ​the​ ​knowledge​ ​and​ ​skills​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​pursue​ ​my​ ​roles​ ​through interaction​ ​with​ ​classmates​ ​and​ ​professors.,” she says. "​When​ ​I​ ​worked​ ​on​ ​practical​ ​projects,​ ​I​ ​was able​ ​to​ ​really​ ​hone​ ​my​ ​managerial​ ​and​ ​organizational​ ​skills.”

"I​ ​learned​ ​what​ ​worked​ ​well with​ ​people​ ​and​ ​what​ ​didn’t,​ ​how​ ​to​ ​communicate​ ​my​ ​concerns​ ​and​ ​feedback​ ​properly and​ ​how​ ​to​ ​motivate​ ​both​ ​myself​ ​and​ ​a​ ​team. The​ ​programme​ ​helped​ ​me​ ​realise​ ​my aspirations​ ​to​ ​become​ ​a​ ​leader​ ​and​ ​thrive​ ​when​ ​faced​ ​with​ ​challenges​ ​in​ ​life​ ​and​ ​work.”

Since leaving the UAEU, HE Al​ ​Kaabi has worked in a variety of roles, starting ​in​ ​the IT​ ​department​ ​of​ ​Zayed​ ​Military​ ​Hospital.​ ​"In​ ​this​ ​position,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​able​ ​to​ ​practically​ ​use​ ​all I​ ​learned​ ​during​ ​the​ ​course​ ​of​ ​my​ ​degree,” she says. "​It​ ​was​ ​an​ ​insightful​ ​experience​ ​as​ ​I​ ​was involved​ ​with​ ​the​ ​hospital’s​ ​information​ ​management​ ​system​ ​and​ ​I​ ​would​ ​also​ ​deal​ ​with staff,​ ​doctors,​ ​and​ ​military​ ​decision-makers.”

After​ ​working​ ​in​ ​the​ ​hospital​ ​for​ ​three​ ​years,​ ​HE Al​ ​Kaabi decided​ ​to​ ​undergo​ ​a​ ​shift​ ​in​ ​her​ ​career​ ​by joining​  Abu Dhabi gas company ​Dolphin​ ​Energy​ ​as​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Human​ ​Resources​ ​Department.​ "I​ ​was​ ​mainly responsible​ ​for​ ​Training​ ​and​ ​Development,” she says. "​I​ ​spent​ ​four​ ​years​ ​developing​ ​my​ ​skills​ ​in​ ​terms of​ ​HR​ ​policies​ ​and​ ​career​ ​progress​ ​plans​ ​for​ ​employees."

In​ ​2007,​ ​HE Al​ ​Kaabi once again decided to change her career course by helping to find the media free zone twofour54 Abu Dhabi to​ ​help​ ​the​ ​creative​ ​economy​ ​scene​ ​in​ ​the emirate.

"I was​ ​the​ ​first​ ​employee​ ​and​ ​would​ ​eventually​ ​be​ ​joined​ ​by​ ​30​ ​more​ ​people​ ​who​ ​would bring​ ​twofour54​ ​to​ ​life,” she says. "This​ ​was​ ​a​ ​particularly​ ​steep​ ​learning​ ​curve​ ​for​ ​me.​ ​From engaging​ ​community​ ​members​ ​about​ ​the​ ​sector​ ​and​ ​setting​ ​up​ ​creative​ ​labs,​ ​to​ ​being on​ ​set​ ​for​ ​“Star​ ​Wars:​ ​The​ ​Force​ ​Awakens”​ ​in​ ​the​ ​middle​ ​of​ ​Abu​ ​Dhabi’s​ ​desert,​ ​it​ ​has been​ ​a​ ​worthwhile​  accomplishment​ ​to​ ​see​ ​how​ ​far​ ​I​ ​have​ ​come.​ ​Working​ ​from​ ​scratch and​ ​building​ ​up​ ​a​ ​new​ ​sector​ ​in​ ​Abu​ ​Dhabi​ ​shaped​ ​who​ ​I​ ​am​ ​and​ ​the​ ​path​ ​of​ ​my​ ​career.” 

"Now,​ ​I​ ​will​ ​continue​ ​learning​ ​and​ ​giving​ ​back​ ​to​ ​the​ ​community​ ​through​ ​my​ ​role as​ ​Minister​ ​of​ ​State​ ​for​ ​Federal​ ​National​ ​Council​ ​Affairs​ ​where​ ​I​ ​aim​ ​to​ ​further​ ​my mission​ ​of​ ​empowering​ ​women​ ​and​ ​the​ ​youth."

For all her accomplishments, HE Al​ ​Kaabi said her biggest career highlight to date would be her appointment​ ​as​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​federal​ ​government​ ​to​ ​represent​ ​a ministry​ ​that​ ​improves​ ​the​ ​political​ ​scene​ ​in​ ​the​ ​UAE.​ ​"Given​ ​the​ ​current​ ​tumultuous regional​ ​challenges,​ ​this​ ​position​ ​is​ ​crucial​ ​to​ ​me,” she says. “Of​ ​course,​ ​this​ ​achievement​ ​comes with​ ​the​ ​support​ ​of​ ​great​ ​leadership,​ ​trust,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​talented​ ​team​ ​surrounding​ ​me.”

While HE Al​ ​Kaabi says she draws her​ ​inspiration​ ​in​ ​many​ ​forms, she chiefly get​s ​inspired​ ​from​ ​daily​ ​encounters​ ​with other​ ​people,​ ​from​ ​the​ ​books​ ​she​ ​reads,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​art​ ​she​ ​sees.​ "​However,​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​my career​ ​and​ ​nation-building,​ ​my​ ​biggest​ ​inspiration​ ​is​ ​undoubtedly​ ​our​ ​founding​ ​father​ ​HH Sheikh​ ​Zayed,” she added.

As she reflects back on her time at UAEU, she has a message for present-day students. "The​ ​world​ ​may​ ​be​ ​filled​ ​with​ ​opportunities,” she says. "​​But,​ ​they​ ​only​ ​appear​ ​with​ ​hard​ ​work, dedication and, most​ ​of​ ​all,​ ​passion.​ ​"Use​ ​your​ ​youth​ ​to​ ​explore​ ​your​ ​curiosities,​ ​your interests.​ ​Don't​ ​settle​ ​for​ ​what​ ​comes​ ​easy.​ ​This​ ​path​ ​is​ ​more​ ​difficult,​ ​but,​ ​life​ ​is​ ​a marathon,​ ​not​ ​a​ ​sprint.​ ​"The​ ​more​ ​you​ ​enjoy​ ​what​ ​you​ ​do​ ​the​ ​more​ ​you'll​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to contribute​ ​to​ the ​community​ ​and​ ​society.​ ​Your​ ​ambition​ ​should​ ​go​ ​beyond​ ​yourself​ ​-​ ​there​ ​is no​ ​limit​ ​-​ ​but,​ ​it​ ​starts​ ​here,​ ​today."

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Jul 4, 2018