7 November 2017

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 7 November 2017: A capacity attendance of over 2000 international delegates and VIPs gathered over the past two days in Abu Dhabi for the fourth, and largest ever, International Conference of Sports for Women (ICSW), which concluded today at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC).

Three Ministers of State, three Olympic medalists, the winner of 10 Special Olympics medals, the founder of the Beirut Marathon, an 86 year-old record-breaking Ironman competitor, and countless sports industry pioneers arrived into the UAE especially for the conference which drew visitors from all around the world under the unifying theme of ‘Inspiring Generations’.

Of the 2000+ delegates who attended this year’s conference, 40% were UAE nationals and 10% visited the conference from overseas. Delegates represented a truly international spread of nationalities with 56% from the Middle East, 17% European, 15% from African countries, and 6% from Asia. 85% of delegates were women, and the conference also attracted over 600 students from across the UAE.

This year’s event, the fourth of its kind, was the largest and most international ever organized, both in terms of delegate numbers, the quantity of live sessions, and the diversity of speakers and panelists who took part. ICSW 2017 featured a schedule packed with diverse opinion, widespread expertise and experience, and an unparalleled line-up of sporting icons and industry leaders. Day one was kicked-off by H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Cabinet Member and Minister of State for Tolerance, who welcomed the assembled delegates from around the world to the UAE capital, and explained the crucial role that sports is playing across the nation in addressing key societal challenges.

His Excellency was one of three UAE Ministers of State to address the assembled delegates over the two days, alongside the UAE Minister for Youth, H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui, who gave the opening Conference speech on Day One, and H.E. Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, who also appeared on Day One.

The keynote speaker on Day Two was H.E. Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Media Company, who used his speech to talk about the critical role that sports continues to play in the evolution of culture and society in the UAE.

 “It has been an extraordinary two days filled with inspirational stories, emotional speeches, and insightful workshops. We’ve been blessed with the most incredible line-up of sporting icons, and have reached our delegate capacity over the two days which is wonderful. I have no doubt that anyone coming to ICSW this year will have left with new energy and inspired for the future”, said Dr. Omniyat Al Hajri, Board Member of the FBMA and Director of the Public Health Division at the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi.

This year’s impressive Conference line-up included athletes and leaders from as far afield as the United States, India, United Kingdom, Spain, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and of course the UAE. A truly international event, ICSW showcased some of the most inspirational stories from women’s sports around the world. Among the panelists to grace the ICSW stages were Zahra Lari, a three-time UAE national figure skating champion, Raha Moharrak, the youngest Arab and first Saudi to successfully climb Mount Everest, Samar Nassar, CEO of the Local Organizing Committee of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World cup 2016, the ‘Iron Nun’ - 86 year-old Ironman triathlete Sister Madonna Buder, 14-time muay thai and kickboxing world champion, Julie Kitchen, Special Olympics icon and 10-time medalist, Loretta Claiborne, Maria Teixidor Jufresa, Board of Directors Vice-Secretary, FC Barcelona, Michelle Kwan, two-time Olympic figure skating medalist, His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Kate Bosomworth, Board Member of Sport England, May El-Khalil, Founder of the Beirut Marathon Association, Tala Al-Ramahi, from the Office of Strategic Affairs for the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, Kate Johnson, Vice President and Head of Global Sponsorship Marketing at Visa, Gavin Makel, Head of Women's Football at Manchester City Football Club, Alan Pascoe MBE, the former President of international sports and entertainment agency CSM, and Hala Al Gergawi, the Executive Managing Editor of Zahrat Al Khaleej.

ICSW is an initiative of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA) and aims to advance the global conversation on women’s sports by providing thought-leadership from some of the most experienced industry figures and sporting icons globally. This year’s conference featured an opening welcome speech, three headline speakers, six facilitated panels, eight interactive workshops, and an academic session.

For more information on this year’s ICSW please visit