HH Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi, Wife of HH the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) and UNHCR Eminent Advocate, has conferred on HH Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and the Humanitarian Envoy of TBHF, the prestigious ‘Jawaher Medal of Honour’, in recognition of his exemplary humanitarian leadership reflected in his steadfast work to improve the lives of millions of forcibly displaced peoples worldwide and in building the capacities of host communities to be able to provide a better quality of life.
This occurred during the honouring ceremony today (Wednesday) in the presence of Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Digital Office; Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations (DGR); HE Abdul Rahman Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health and Prevention and Board Member of Sharjah Islamic Bank; Sheikha Hind bint Majid Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Business Women’s Council; and a number of goverment senior officials, heads, and directors of authorities and in entities the Emirate of Sharjah.
Launched in 2016, the Jawaher Medal of Honour is a leading initiative designed to recognise and honour the consistent and impact-creating humanitarian efforts of an outstanding personality, and to create role models out of them to inspire individuals and entities worldwide.
Sheikha Jawaher Al Qassimi has opined that inspiring models like the Deputy Ruler of Sharjah transform social development from singular acts into a global movement by setting successful examples and encouraging community-wide efforts to do good.
Her Highness further noted that it is these exceptional contributions to humanitarian development that the Jawaher Medal of Honour turns the spotlight on, celebrating the successful efforts of a single individual that has the power to change the fates of thousands of vulnerable people and their future generations.
Sheikha Jawaher: Philanthropists consider their impact on people as the highest honour
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qassimi said: “We know that those who are truly committed to philanthropy do not seek recognition, nor ask for anything in return as they consider the positive impact of their goodness on people’s lives as the highest honour. However, it is our duty to show them our gratitude and appreciation and highlight their work’s importance and sustainable impact”.
“The Jawaher Medal of Honour embodies the ethics, culture and heritage of the UAE and Sharjah. It reflects our eagerness to do our absolute best to ensure that more people around the world live with dignity. The medal communicates our message to the world – celebrating the goodness in human hearts is very important to our country. By highlighting acts of human goodness, we are giving our children and youth role models to be inspired by and follow. This way, we as a nation, make philanthropy and community service a social culture, raising generations who are aware of their duties towards the world”, Her Highness further added.
Deputy Ruler of Sharjah: The best way to give back is to broaden one’s impact
HH Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi thanked Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qassimi for showing great confidence and trust in him, noting that when a humanitarian honour is conferred upon by a global pioneer in the field, the responsibility and consequences are greater.
Reflecting on the values he gained from the Sharjah community shaped by the human-centric leadership of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, HH Sultan bin Ahmed, remarked: “What comes to my mind at this moment are the words of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah: ‘Our world is one, and human and environmental events that occur anywhere are bound to have global consequences in one form or another’. This is what we have learnt from His Highness – the interconnectedness of people, of our destinies and aspirations”.
“I firmly believe that what I have achieved in my life is a product of my learnings in Sharjah and the UAE, and my actions are giving back to the same community that has shaped my ethics and intellect. The best way to give back is to broaden one’s impact”, the Deputy Ruler of Sharjah said.
“I now have a bigger mission set and more work to do in honour of this trust. Through my journey of uplifting people and communities, I have learned that what we give takes a full circle to come back and benefit the person who did good, their family, and their community” HH Sultan bin Ahmed further noted.
One man’s commitment uplifts communities of millions
HH Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi has worked tirelessly within Sharjah’s and the UAE’s integrated systems to advocate for global issues and serve millions of vulnerable people around the world. His remarkable contributions span knowledge, arts, media and institutional practices, and extend to major contributions to infrastructure development, the establishment of service institutions and facilities, and the creation of talent incubators to support victims of war, natural calamities and civic unrest. He has spearheaded significant projects and initiatives that aim to uplift society and foster ambition.
In addition to his significant local responsibilities, HH Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi has spearheaded global humanitarian projects led by TBHF as their Humanitarian Envoy. Between 2017 and 2023, he undertook numerous visits to refugee camps in Bangladesh and Kenya – two under-resourced nations that serve as host communities to a significant population of displaced migrants that the TBHF has been serving through leading emergency aid and rehabilitation programmes with partnering agencies like the UNHCR.
HH led the TBHF’s delegation to the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh, where a hospital was inaugurated, providing advanced healthcare services to refugees and the underprivileged within the local community. Additionally, he actively engaged in TBHF’s press trip to the ‘Big Heart Clinic’ in Zaatari Camp, Jordan.
In 2018, HH participated in the signing of a cooperation agreement between TBHF and the Malala Fund in Oxford, UK. The agreement pledged TBHF’s funding support to the second phase of a project to construct the first school for girls in Pakistan’s Swat Valley through TBHF’s ‘Girl Child Fund’. Leveraging his influential media position, HH also actively participated in various media campaigns initiated by TBHF, including ‘Support knows no safe distance,’ launched in response to the urgent needs arising from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More recently in March 2023, the Deputy Ruler of Sharjah led an official field visit organised by TBHF to the Republic of Kenya and inaugurated the ‘Home for a Home’ project in Kenya’s Kalobeyei Settlement adjacent to one of Kenya’s Kakuma camps. The Shelter & WASH project, a collaboration between Arada Developments, TBHF and UNHCR, aims to provide safe housing, sanitation and clean water supply to over 55,000 individuals in the settlement and surrounding host community. During the inauguration, the Deputy Ruler of Sharjah placed the final stone in the last shelter to signal the completion of the first phase of the project that comprises 176 permanent shelters, each one with a latrine and sanitation facilities.
The TBHF Humanitarian Envoy also inspected the progress made by the project’s second cohort, which entails the construction of 231 shelters. In addition, HH Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed also visited the medical clinic in the Kakuma camp, which was established by UNHCR and funded by TBHF, to receive on-ground updates on the work done at the clinic to fill the gap in quality healthcare provision to refugees, women and children.
During the same visit, the TBHF Humanitarian Envoy also inaugurated ‘The Big Heart Secondary School for Girls,’ Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement’s very first girls’ boarding secondary school which will bring high-quality education to 360 girls annually; half of them South Sudanese residents of Kakuma and the other half from the surrounding host community.
The Jawaher Medal of Honour has been previously conferred on Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), in 2016, in recognition of the developmental efforts of HH in the humanitarian and social fields, and the unwavering quest to empower women and support families and children in the UAE. In 2020, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qassimi awarded the medal to Sheikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifah, Member of the Board of Directors of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, in recognition of her leading role in supporting sports women and developing the Arab sports sector in general.