Emirates NBD brings a new voice to a 250-year-old tradition on International Women’s Day
Emirati poetess, AlHanouf Mohammed, leads a unique new poetic fusion at Expo 2020 Dubai
Dubai, UAE, 10 March 2022: Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) region, marked International Women’s Day by paying tribute to a 250-year-old tradition with an interesting spin, along with Emirati poetess, AlHanouf Mohammed at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Dubai-based poet and published author, AlHanouf Mohammed, opened her performance for International Women’s Day at Expo 2020 Dubai with the lines “I am the poem and here are my words for you. I wish I could have told their story to Zayed and Rashid”.
She paid a powerful poetic tribute to the women of the UAE, their incomparable achievements, and their inspiring spirit. However, it was no ordinary performance that AlHanouf brought to the stage. Her verses were interspersed with a unique and intriguing chorus voiced by a group of men, chanting in unison at periodic intervals.
“It is inspired by a 250-year-old tradition called Al Azi”, said AlHanouf when asked about this chorus. “Our men have performed this art form for many generations, and it is a very powerful form of poetry that celebrates honour, valour, courage, and achievement. What we perform today, however, is not Azi. It is inspired by it – but is something completely different. It is a new kind of fusion poetry. I am the first Emirati woman in over 250 years to try something like this, it has never been done before; so it was important that the style of poetry we create is also something completely new while remaining rooted in our heritage and culture”.
AlHanouf’s strong, confident voice resonated across a raptured audience, as she celebrated Emirati women, echoed by the supportive cries of the Emirati men lined up behind her, is a sight that makes one marvel at the incredible journey of the UAE’s people over the last two and a half centuries.
“While the rest of the world is empowering women, the UAE’s women are already empowered. They are already at the forefront of our country as leaders, innovators, changemakers, and pioneers”, says Moadh Bukhash, Chief Marketing Officer, Emirates NBD. “We all believed in this idea from the very moment it was first brought to us by our partners at Leo Burnett. It is simple and elegant yet bold and powerful. It nods to our past while celebrating our today and heralding our future.”
As the world celebrates women on this day, Emirates NBD has made one thing certain – Emirati women have taken the stage and their voices will reverberate loud and clear for a long time to come. Please watch the full video of the poem at @emiratesnbd_ae on Instagram or on Youtube.
Among other activities to celebrate the day, the Group made a landmark announcement on International Women’s Day, becoming the first UAE banking group to publicly commit to female leadership targets, aiming for 25 percent of senior roles to be filled by women by 2027. Reflecting the Group’s growing commitment to both Diversity and Inclusion, and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), the pledge is aligned with the UAE government’s focus on increasing female equality and representation across workplaces.