- Name: Alia Hamad Thani Obaid Al Shamsi
- Date of Birth: April, 1963
- Marital Status: Married
- Bachelor of Education, Department of Psychology, United Arab Emirates University (1988)
- ISO Certificate – Quality, 9001/2008
- 33 years in the educational field, which I started working as a teacher, then as a school principal for 22 years.
- CEO of UAE Teachers Association (2019 – 2018).
- Control Expert at the Sharjah Special Education Authority (to present).
- Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Al Iman Private Schools, Abu Dhabi (2018 to present).
- Member of the Executive Committee of the Book-Friendly Schools Initiative in Sharjah.
- A key member of the Participation Assessment Committee for the Book-Friendly Schools Initiative in Sharjah.
- Member of the Executive Committee of the Child Protection Policy Development Initiative at Sharjah level.
- Member of the Executive Committee of the Sharjah Private Education Authority's participation in the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).
Educational and Professional Awards
- Distinguished Administrative Award, Ajman Education Zone.
- Sheikh Khalifa Award for Education.
- Al-Ma'aaly Award for Excellence, Ajman Education Zone.
Participation in Work Teams and Committees
Participation in many committees and work teams at the level of schools, Ajman Education Zone, Ministry of Education, and Community Institutions, including the following:
- Quality Initiative Team/ISO 200/9001.
- Administrative Team for Central Professional Training for Educators, Ministry of Education.
- Monitoring the Specialized Training Program, Arabic for all Levels of Study.
- Monitoring Vocational Education Communities, Ajman Educational Zone.
- Monitoring the Research Presented at the Education and Future Conference for two consecutive years.
- Former Member of the Board of Directors of the Teachers Association (2009 - (2017).
- Chairman of the Training and Development Committee at the Teachers Association.
- Chairman of the National Identity Promotion Initiative for public associations in UAE.
- Member of Ajman Society for Social and Cultural Development.
- Member of the Emirates Society for Human Rights.
International and Arab Positions
- Participation in the International Labor Conference, United Nations, Geneva (2011).
- Member of the Official Civil Society Team representing UAE.
- Participation in the Arab Labor Conference, Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt (2014-2019).
- Elected Member of the Arab Women's Committee, Arab League, Cairo.
- Permanent Member of the Regional Network for Social Responsibility, Kingdom of Bahrain 2015.
- Presentation of a UAE Research, at the Conference of the Regional Network for Social Responsibility, entitled: "Improving Government Work", Kingdom of Bahrain (2016).
- Participation in Presenting UAE's Experience in Smart Learning in UAE Schools, Education Conference, Kuwait (2015).
- Representing the Ministry of Education by presenting the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE), implemented at the school, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah Forum (2012).
- Participation in the 1st Women and Work Conference, Kuwait 2016.
From the educational field you started and kicked off your career... How do you evaluate your professional experience during 32 years of work?
I see those years as years of service to the homeland, in which I lived every moment with love and passion for everything that I aspired to achieve on the level of my professional life, whether in the field of education, management of the Teachers Association, or currently in the Authority. Honestly, serving homeland is an honor and pride for any person, especially if this homeland is UAE; the State blessed with its leadership, people, civilization, and originality. Thus, it is not too much for us to spend our whole life serving this State, which has given us love, safety, and care since our childhood.
You served in the profession of prophets and messengers... What is your view on the role of the teacher in society?
The word "teacher" still has its magic in our lives, even if the view at the significance of the teachers' role in society got diminished with time due to the leap made by technology. In fact, teachers have advantages that any technology fails to provide, because the teacher doesn't only provide the educational role, s/he provides guidance, which is a role that remains largely important in our lives, given that societies prosper not only with knowledge but with values and morals. Throughout the history of mankind, the teacher remained the inspiring figure with the magic wand capable of promoting the spirit of will and determination in the hearts of his/her students with his/her stimulating words and charming words that go through the hearts like magic. The teacher has always been rectifying many personalities, instilling identities, promoting values, and giving hope to many students. It is the teacher who provided society with scholars, doctors, and engineers who enjoy, in addition to their own specializations, ethics of their professions, which they would have never enjoyed had it not been for the teacher. It is thanks to teachers that societies are coherent and h5. Who amongst us does not remember a teacher's favor done for him/her and how much the teacher's role has had a profound effect on shaping his/her future.
Poor attention to any of the cornerstones of the educational process, on top of which is the teacher, weakens its value, do you agree on that?
Yes, of course, the teacher should receive attention because s/he represents an important component of the educational process. In my viewpoint, teachers represent the most important component. However, attention should be given by the authorities in our Arab World to promote the role of teachers and supporting them to perform their role effectively not only from a financial perspective, but also from a moral one through restoring prestige to the teachers' role, drafting appropriate legislations that contribute to improving the quality of the educational process and environment as a whole, developing ongoing incentives for the teacher, and supporting teachers for development and improvement. I would like to point out that the teacher plays an important role in developing himself/herself through the training provided by many institutions in the State. For example, we at the Teachers Association, which I was honored to work within its team as a CEO, provides many of such courses, through our internal programs or the external courses that we partnered with third parties to coordinate teachers' free participation in them, along with many other programs that contributed to enhancing the teachers' role in the educational process.
You just mentioned the "teacher's prestige", where does this prestige come from?
The teacher's prestige comes first from home as parents should instill this prestige within their children since the beginning of the relationship between the student and the teacher, given the fact that cultivating such a status prepares the student to accept receiving the instructions and guidance of the teacher as a person of authority, thus such guidance is well-received be the student. On the contrary, the teacher loses this kind of status due to marginalization of his/her role or instructions at the level of the requirements of the school day, such as school projects, etc. Moreover, students must be taught that the teachers' requests are always welcome, which will further promote the teachers' role among students.
Secondly, the teacher must set an example for students in everything, because his/her actions made in front of the students go through a deep analysis by students, which may not be expressed immediately by students, however, such actions are cultivated in the students minds and they build on them their future actions and ethics. Therefore, the role of the teacher is inseparable from the role of the father in many cases. Actually, teachers are fathers, so to speak. That's why we recommend the teachers to take care of the students, and we tell parents to honor teachers so as to enable them to deliver their message to the fullest.
Thanks to Allah, UAE pays great attention to the teacher, because it understands the importance of education in enhancing its position and the position of its people as well as their image both regionally and globally. Therefore, we currently witness many ongoing projects based on developing and maximizing the role of the teacher and upgrading the position that befits its role in our society.
You have many contributions besides education in areas related to work, workers, environment, social responsibility, etc., what is the link between such fields that led you to contribute to them?
The truth is that there is a great link between education and various other fields in any society, because the more you learn the more you know about important societal values that are difficult for you to ignore, which makes you seek to contribute to them so as to improve the level of awareness about them. Therefore, knowledge of issues does not replace contributing to them as knowledge alone is not enough. A person must be a contributing, positive, participant, and interactive one since these are the rights of State and citizenship, and I did not do a favor for my State I just played my role in it– that role that is dictated to us by our national and professional conscience. Consequently, I sought to have the honor to work and participate in other activities besides my duties such as many education-related Arab conferences and meetings as well as many social responsibility programs and activities based on my belief in the importance of consolidating collective responsibility of our social issues.
In your opinion, what are the key challenges that still face women in some of the societies where women do not achieve their goals?
When you look at most of societies in which women fail to perform their roles, you see that the challenge they face is poverty, which often results in illiteracy and ignorance, and this triangle "poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance" unfortunately greatly limits the developmental role of women in poor societies. which is why UAE, thanks to Allah, has many contributions to the fight against poverty in many countries, and was ranked first among other countries in the field of humanitarian and development aids, and attention to women, family, and education was a great part of such contributions.
Do you support early retirement of women?
I am not either for or against it, because every woman can consider the circumstances of her life and whether retirement is the best solution for her or not. However, I personally believe that retirement is the easiest solution to get out of problems instead of facing them in an unconventional way. I have also seen how retirement has created many gaps in the lives of some of my colleagues who opted for returning to work as a solution to such problems. Therefore, I wish all of my fellow sisters who are considering retirement to think carefully before making such a decision and to have a look at the benefits provided by the Pensions Law for people who continue in service for longer periods as well as the services that can be used to increase their service.
You have contributions and participations on the topic of improving government work... What do you think we should do to strengthen this orientation in our institutions?
Any work should be planned and have clear goals and those in charge of it should have the knowledge and experience of the tasks that must be worked on and the indicators that must be achieved and monitored against the developed plans, which is -in my viewpoint- the simplest definition for improving government work. In case we improve such a simple definition with the values of training and continued education so as to refine various skills, activation of the control means, enhancement of transparency, realization of the principle of reward and punishment, and other values associated with the work improvement, we would have been achieved the required since we won't invent the wheel allover again. I believe that in order to succeed you must plan and possess all the correct implementation tools through good mechanisms according to the nature of the work you are performing.
The support from leaders, officials, or competent higher authorities undoubtedly contributes to facilitating the means of success in performing the work and enabling supervision, follow-up, and direction that it requires in many cases... How did you find such support during your career?
During my career in Sharjah and Ajman, I witnessed the great eagerness of the high leadership in both emirates to continue the educational progress in an unprecedented way, which reflects a clear awareness of the value of education in building societies. For example, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah and Member of the Federal Supreme Council of UAE, ordered implementing a comprehensive maintenance plan for about 52 schools in the private sector and providing such schools with all their needs before the start of the school year so as to provide a stimulating and attractive educational environment for school students. Such care is based on his keenness on his children students in the government or private sector. Working in Ajman, I also closely sensed the support of His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman and Member of the Federal Supreme Council of UAE, to educational efforts in the Emirate and his constant guidance to us to care for students, cultivate our national values, and motivate them continuously to enhance the UAE's position regionally and globally. We also witnessed multiple visits of his wife, Sheikha Fatima bint Zayed bin Saqr Al Nahyan, Chairman of Umm Al Moumineen Women's Association, to our schools, as she has pioneering contributions in the education file in the Emirate.
Do you believe in the capabilities of the future youth?
Yes, young people have the potential, ambition, and ability to achieve personal and national glory, and we, thanks to Allah, have seen many national figures who recently made history for UAE. Thanks to Allah, the youth of today are able to continue these achievements through continuous guidance and motivation, consolidating Emirati and Arab values so that they do not drift along with the currents of modern globalization, which is an important role for all educational institutions in society, starting from families to schools, mosques, universities, media, and other institutions with great influence in our society. I wish each party plays its role to the fullest since any disruption in any of such roles will negatively affect the future of such generations, which we hope will remain a wealth for our homeland that enhances its progress and prosperity both in present and future.