22 May 2017

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The ground-breaking International Conference of Sports for Women (ICSW) – will return to the UAE capital this November for its fourth edition, with organizers – the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA) – forecasting a historic event that will feature some of the most iconic industry figures and sports stars.


The biennial flagship conference has gained international recognition as a unique industry gathering that promotes and supports FBMA’s vision of instilling sports into UAE culture and the daily life of all Emirati women, while advancing the global women’s sports debate. The conference is synonymous with sporting excellence and known as a pioneering platform to both challenge and empower a variety of points of view. The last event, staged in May 2015, saw some of the most inspirational industry leaders and influencing figures in women’s sport come together - including IOC Member Dato’ Beng Choo LOW from Malaysia, IOC Member and International Triathlon Union President Marisol Casado from Spain, Brazilian footballer Marta Vieira Da Silva, British double Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes, France’s 2014 Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli, seven-time Paralympic medalist, World Champion and Guinness World Record holder Muffy Davis of the USA, and UAE Paralympian Thuraya Hamad Al Zaabi.


The success of the first three iterations of the conference is further showcased by the increased demand for spaces, as organizers prepare to deliver the most successful chapter of ICSW yet. The event’s high profile has also seen commercial interest in the conference increase year on year, and at a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday, organizers FBMA unveiled the first four official Partners of the 2017 event – Founding Partners Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) and Abu Dhabi Media (ADM), and Main Partners Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and Dolphin Energy.


FBMA Board Member, Dr. Omniyat Mohammed Al Hajeri, was thrilled to unveil four such influential and important Partners for the 2017 conference, and elaborated further on the plans for the November event:


“It is wonderful to announce the return of ICSW for its fourth edition in 2017. The success of the conference over the last few years has sealed its reputation as a genuinely pioneering and important event for the whole sports industry, both here in the UAE and around the world. Testimony to that is the caliber of speakers that the event has attracted and continues to attract, and the stellar line-up of commercial Partners who wish to associate themselves with ICSW. Over the coming months we will be announcing a really exciting line-up of headline speakers and panelists, but today it gives me great pride to announce the first four Partners of the 2017 event – our Founding Partners, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Media, and our first two Main Partners, Health Authority Abu Dhabi and Dolphin Energy. These are highly credible and important organizations whose dedication to furthering opportunities for women in sports is phenomenal. We are hugely appreciative of their support and look forward to working hard together to make this year’s conference another milestone event for women’s sports in the Middle East and globally.”


An inspirational initiative of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, the two-day 2017 conference will facilitate discussions around the central theme of Inspiring Generations. Each day of the conference will bring that theme to life through a combination of iconic keynote speeches (one per day, to be announced over the coming months), and panel discussions which will seek to inspire future generations by focusing attention on six important topics (three per day) that play a pivotal role in increasing female participation and creating equal opportunities in sports:

  • PANEL 1: Empowering Women; Sports and Leadership
  • PANEL 2: Behavioral Change: Sports as the Norm 
  • PANEL 3: Sponsorship and Media: Increasing Value in Women’s Sports
  • PANEL 4: The Making of a 21st Century Role Model – the Rise of Sports Women in the Arab World
  • PANEL 5: Sports Across Generations: Opportunities and Challenges
  • ACADEMIC SESSION: Presentations of Shortlisted Papers 


The diverse line-up of keynote speakers and informative panel discussions will be further supplemented by a series of seven Workshop sessions, whose topics will be announced over the coming months. This structure has been devised in order to achieve the most from ICSW 2017, whilst highlighting its standing as a world-class event that provides thought-leadership on critical issues around women in sports through transparent, honest and clear debate.


And it is ICSW’s legacy of representing women in the UAE and around the world, debunking stereotypes and promoting forward thinking that continues to help attract the support of commercial partners. Speaking at the launch press conference, representatives of both ICSW Founding Partners, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Media, explained the importance of the biennial event to their respective organizations.


“The mission of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council is to have an environment that contributes to the growth in participation in sport for all segments of the community,” said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council. “ICSW is a truly unique platform that promotes women’s sport and helps break down existing barriers in participation and development. No doubt, therefore, that we see it as a hugely significant milestone on the Abu Dhabi sporting calendar, and we are proud to have supported such an important event from its inception.”


Abu Dhabi Media Managing Director, His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, explained his organization’s continued interest in ICSW: “Like the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Media is a Founding Partner of ICSW and we are proud to have supported the event as it has grown in scale, profile and importance. Abu Dhabi Media is committed to supporting opportunities for participation, development and learning for the communities of the UAE, and ICSW is unparalleled in its ability to connect inspiring women of all backgrounds and generations. We fundamentally believe in the objectives of ICSW and in the vision of FBMA to support, encourage and empower women in the UAE and beyond”.


ICSW is an initiative of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, created to support and endorse Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak’s strategic vision that the way must be paved for women to participate in sport. The Academy aspires to help change fundamental societal behaviors amongst women in the UAE, promoting and facilitating women’s sports from the capital, Abu Dhabi. Through the conference, FBMA is seeking to fill the educational gaps that exist in the field of sports in the UAE, whilst looking to put Abu Dhabi on the global map of female sports and help the Emirate to become an international hub to advance the global women’s sports discourse.


It is a discourse that FBMA hopes will also appeal to students, professors and higher education faculties who are invited to be a part of this year’s conference by sharing their insights and research in one of the six panel discussions. As part of its commitment to support learning and development amongst students in the UAE and internationally, ICSW is calling on students and academia to submit an abstract for consideration by a panel of experts through the website. The “Academic Session: Presentations of Shortlisted Papers”    will provide the authors of the best eight submitted abstracts with the opportunity to share their findings through a 10 minute oral academic presentation in front of an assembled audience of industry leaders and experts.


ICSW 2017 will take place at ADNEC from 6 – 7 November this year. Registration is free, however with a maximum of 1,000 delegate spots per day, demand is expected to outstrip availability. The registration process will open later in the summer, but those interested in attending are encouraged to pre-register today by leaving their information at in order to be the first to hear when registrations open and to catch all the latest news of the event as it is announced. 

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