5 November 2017

H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan heads a world-class collection of industry leaders, sporting pioneers and global icons 

An impressive line-up of industry leaders, sporting pioneers and global icons will convene at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) next month for the fourth edition of the ground-breaking International Conference of Sports for Women (ICSW) in Abu Dhabi.

The full line-up for the biennial two-day conference, which takes place from 6 – 7 November, was released today by organizers, the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA), with a singular and clear agenda at its heart - to inspire future generations of sportswomen by focusing attention on key topics that play a pivotal role in increasing female participation in sports.

H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Cabinet Member and Minister of State for Tolerance, will open the conference on 6th November; while Special Olympics icon Loretta Claiborne and Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Media, will lead a second day of industry-leading panellists and speakers.

Once again, Dolphin Energy is sponsoring the conference, marking two years of their involvement. Expanding on the reasons for the company’s support, Mr. Adel Ahmed Albuainain, Chief Executive Officer, Dolphin Energy Limited said: “The vision behind ICSW exemplifies the vision of the UAE’s leadership - to break down barriers, to drive female empowerment and to continue inspiring future generations. As an organization that has developed a strong commitment to the community, this event compliments our CSR commitments and helps deepen our support for the wellbeing of our society.”

Demand for registrations, has been high, with the impressive calibre of speakers and panellists attracting a rich variety of delegates from across the GCC and beyond. The conference, which 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, will feature an opening welcome speech, two headline speakers, six facilitated panels and an academic session. Furthermore, a series of seven interactive workshops will explore award-winning case studies and seminars from some of the sports industry’s most acclaimed leaders.

Amongst the line-up of sporting pioneers are three Olympic medallists, the winner of 10 Special Olympics medals in seven separate disciplines, the founder of the internationally-acclaimed Beirut Marathon, the Head of Global Sponsorship Marketing at top-tier FIFA partner and Worldwide IOC sponsor - VISA, the youngest Arab to have conquered Mount Everest, the oldest record holder in international triathlon history, and a 14-time Muay Thai World Champion.

“This is the strongest, most diverse and most inspirational line-up of speakers and panellists that ICSW will have ever seen,” said Dr. Omniyat Al Hajeri, Board Member of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy and Public Health Division Director at ICSW partners, the Department of Health. “Our conference exists for the singular objective of inspiring young people around the world to get involved in the wonderful world of sports, andI have no doubt that everyone will be inspired and energised by these incredible women and men”.

About the line-up of ICSW 2017’ speakers, Dr. Al Hajeri added: “It is a privilege and an honour to welcome such an extraordinary group of sports leaders and pioneers to Abu Dhabi this November. We are truly grateful for their interest and desire to participate, and I for one will be glued to their every word. If you are involved in the sports industry, if you are considering a career in sports, if you enjoy playing, or if you simply have a passion for watching, then I urge you to register now and join as at ADNEC on 6-7 November”.

On behalf of one of ICSW’s main partners, Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Media, who is amongst the conference’s speakers, said “Abu Dhabi media has been a proud supporter of ICSW from the very beginning of its journey due to our unyielding belief in what the conference stands for. On a personal level too, I am very delighted to be involved in the conference this year as one of its speakers. It’s an honor to get the opportunity to take the stage alongside successful and inspiring individuals who have left their mark on the sports industry. I hope that, together, we can pave the path for future generations to enjoy a happier, healthier life.”


The full line-up of headline speakers, panellists and workshops is:

Conference Welcome                        H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development

Keynote Speech (Day 2)                     Dr. Ali Bin Tamim, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Media


Day 1: 6 November 2017

Panel 1 - Empowering Women: Sports and Leadership

  • H.E. Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development

  • Maria Teixidor Jufresa, Board of Directors Vice-Secretary, FC Barcelona

  • Michelle Kwan, two-time Olympic medallist, five-time World and nine-time U.S. figure skating Champion

Panel 2 - Behavioural Change: Sports as the Norm

  • Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC)

  • Kate Bosomworth, Board Member, Sport England and board lead of ‘This Girl Can’ campaign

  • May El Khalil, Founder, Beirut Marathon Association

  • Tala Al-Ramahi, Manager, Office of Strategic Affairs for the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi and Chief Strategy Officer for the Special Olympics World Games 2019

Panel 3 - Sponsorship and Media: Increasing Value in Women’s Sports

  • Kate Johnson, Vice President and Head of Global Sponsorship Marketing, VISA

  • Gavin Makel, Head of Women's Football, Manchester City Football Club

  • Alan Pascoe MBE, former President of CSM Sport and Entertainment and former Olympic athlete

Day 2: 7 November 2017

Panel 4 - The Making of a 21st Century Role Model: The Rise of Sports Women in the Arab World

  • Zahra Lari, first Emirati figure skater to compete internationally

  • Samar Nassar, CEO of the Local Organizing Committee, FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2016

  • Raha Moharrak, youngest Arab and first Saudi woman to climb Everest

Panel 5 - Sport Across Generations: Opportunities and Challenges

  • Sister Madonna Buder, ‘the Iron Nun’, oldest record holder in Ironman triathlons

  • Tania Sachdev, International Master and Woman Grandmaster chess player

  • Julie Kitchen, 14-time Muay Thai and kickboxing World Champion

  • Amal Murad, first Emirati parkour instructor


Day 1: 6 November 2017

Workshop 1 - Women and Leadership: Networking for Change-makers

  • Rym Abdullah Al Falasy, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Board Member of the Gender Balance Council of Abu Dhabi.

  • Emma Lax, former Head of Women's Sport and Lifestyle at CSM Sport and Entertainment

Workshop 2 - Disney’s Healthy Living Commitment: Inspiring Healthy Living Through Storytelling and Characters

    • Reem Maziq, Senior Manager, Healthy Living EMEA at The Walt Disney Company


Workshop 3 - UAE Success Stories: The Secrets to Establishing a Successful Sports Business

  • Anoud Al-Saadi, UAE national fencer, Sharjah Women’s Sports Foundation

  • Houriya Taheri, Executive Member of Women's Football Committee and UAE National Women’s Team Head Coach

  • Shaikha Al Qassemi, Emirati crossfit athlete

Day 2: 7 November 2017

Workshop 4 - 50 Years: The Evolution of the Special Olympics

  • Loretta Claiborne, 10-time Special Olympics medallist in seven separate disciplines

  • Michelle Kwan, double Olympic medallist, five-time World and nine-time U.S. figure skating champion

Workshop 5 - Sports Photography by Getty

  • Maddie Meyer, Photographer, Getty Images

Workshop 6 - Modern Physical Education: From Teacher to Role-model

  • Alan Pascoe MBE, former President of CSM Sport and Entertainment and former Olympic athlete

  • Apollo Perelini, former Samoan international rugby union and rugby league professional, former Director of Sports for Repton School Dubai and current UAERF High Performance Manager

Workshop 7 – Inspiring Behavioural Change: A Dual Perspective

  • Kate Bosomworth, Board Member, Sport England and board lead of ‘This Girl Can’ campaign

  • Tricia Thompson, former Director of Sky Cycling, Sky TV  



ICSW 2017 takes place from 6-7 November at ADNEC. Registrations are free of charge and open now at