KTV interview with Sheikha Hala Bader Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, head of the Diplomatic Women’s Committee
KTV: When and why was this committee formed?
Sheikha Hala Bader Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah: I have always been keen on promoting our rich Kuwaiti cultural heritage. I have always tried to introduce our social and cultural values and ethics to highlight the glory of our history in all my gatherings with the international community.
In 2018, Madam Samarguil, Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan, and I were invited to a meeting, where we discussed the need for a group where women ambassadors, spouses of ambassadors and women of the diplomatic community in general could get together in a friendly environment, where they could share their common interests and social experiences, where they could introduce their country’s culture and heritage, where they could exchange and enjoy the cultural and social atmosphere, and so on.
Madam Samargiul came up with the idea of having a committee for women diplomats. I realized this can be the perfect opportunity to introduce our cultural values and share them with the international community, so I recommended her to talk to Narjis Al-Shatti, who has great experience in planning and running such committees. We discussed the idea with Narjis Al-Shatti, and she agreed to join us to form a group of women diplomats in Kuwait. This is how we actually came up with the idea of this committee.
KTV: Tell us more about DWC.
Sheikha Hala: We have a mission in DWC to bring together women from the diplomatic field in Kuwait in a friendly, social and cultural atmosphere to share and create a strong social and cultural relationship between Kuwait and countries around the world. Diplomatic Women’s Committee or DWC is a volunteer committee made up of women from the diplomatic community in Kuwait, including women ambassadors, spouses of ambassadors and female diplomats.
KTV: What is the main goal of this committee?
Sheikha Hala: DWC is a volunteer organization; we work for the betterment of our country. Our goal is to introduce our cultural heritage to the world through the international community in Kuwait. Voluntary work is considered as the foundation in building and developing communities, and it represents social and civilized behaviors by which communities are developed and advanced.
Kuwait is one of the pioneer countries in the field of voluntary work. We have many different voluntary institutions and the concept is replicated in the sentiment of the Kuwaiti people. The importance of establishing a committee for female diplomats in Kuwait is to introduce them to our people, culture and traditions.
KTV: Tell us more about the members in the committee.
Sheikha Hala: This organization is mainly for female diplomats; any woman from the diplomatic community residing in Kuwait can join us. We have board members from Europe, Africa, Southeast Asian countries, Latin America and countries from central Asia. Our founding president was the Kyrgyz ambassadress, for two years. Our president now is the spouse of the ambassador of Togo. Since one of the goals of this committee is cultural exchange, we make sure countries from different continents join us, and a president from a different continent is randomly selected to share a different experience and diversity.
KTV: Tell us about some of the activities of the committee and who are your target audience in these events.
Sheikha Hala: DWC has carried out a number of very successful, outstanding programs with the support of local authorities and embassies of different countries. We have held wonderful events with the support of the ministry of foreign affairs, National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, Kuwait Art Museum and Dar al Athar.
We have a unique theme for our activities every year that are well-planned and organized. Our theme for 2019 was called “Kuwait on the Silk Road”. We did a series of events and social programs to recall the history of the Silk Road with the Chinese Embassy and with countries linked to the Silk Road, focusing on our culture and civilized modern Kuwaiti society. In 2020, we set cultural exchange as our theme, and even during the pandemic, we carried out our programs virtually, introducing culture, history, cuisine and tourism of many of our member countries, which contributed through their embassies and diplomats.
We celebrate Kuwait’s National Day every year with member countries that have joined this organization. We celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 every year and Kuwaiti Women’s Day on May 16. We hold monthly events and social gatherings, highlighting the culture and traditions of each of our participating countries. We have a grand ghabqa in Ramadan and Eid visits to prominent personalities in Kuwait.
We also hold a food festival in coordination with our member diplomats, presenting the best of traditional cuisine from their countries. We plan visits of prominent landmarks and places within Kuwait to provide an introduction to Kuwaiti history, culture, hospitality and traditions to our guest diplomats. We also plan tours to other countries, hosted by our member diplomats.