DUBAI, TGO: It is not just superpowers but all countries in the world require a place in the global order; and countries such as Canada and the UAE have a key role in the global arena, the Head of State of Canada told the Emirates News Agency.
“It’s very important to recognize that countries like Canada and the UAE have a critical role to play in international cooperation. You know it is not just about the superpowers, [but] it’s about every country. And every country around the world requires a place in our world, both in our own economy and in our own environment. But that is also being affected by other countries through trade through other means,” said Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada, who was on a three-day official visit to the UAE.
In an exclusive interview with news agency on Saturday in Dubai, she added that “so, it’s important to have this connection to other countries, and I think that right now, especially with peace and security [concerns], it’s really important for us to continue that dialogue and have an understanding of what we are facing as a nation and as a world.”
Therefore, “I feel that Canada and the UAE have those important roles to play,” stressed Simon who became Canada’s first Indigenous governor general in July 2021. She is also the Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
She gained national and international recognition for her work on Arctic and Indigenous issues and for her efforts in advocating for indigenous people’s rights, youth, education and culture.
Visit to reenergize bilateral ties
She said Canada and the UAE can work together in a wide range of areas such as economy, sustainability, education, food security, and peaceful coexistence. “I mean the list goes on. Themes like those are all really important issues that we are also talking about in our country. So, it has really been good for me to come here to help reenergize our cooperation, so that we can start to see where we can collaborate even further than what we’ve already done,” said the top official, emphasizing that “So, we feel that the UAE is a very good partner for us.”
She met with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; Reem Al Hashemy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of the Expo 2020 Dubai; Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), and some other top officials.
Women’s empowerment, UAE’s inspiring feat
Sharing her thoughts about gender equality, Simon, 74, recollected that “when I was a young woman, I was challenged by the situation that I was often the only woman in our leadership and gender equality was not something that was discussed very widely in those days, which was quite some time ago!”
However, she is happy that now there is a real recognition for women’s role in society.
Simon commended a high representation of women in the UAE’s workforce in general and in national parliament (Federal National Council – FNC) and the federal cabinet. “I think it’s inspiring to see that this is happening. We are working in the same area in Canada to inspire more women to be part of parliament and part of economic development.
“I really applaud you [UAE] for the type of changes that you are making here.”
She suggested that “we should continue working on gender equality, even if we feel that we have good representation. If you are inclusive in what you do, it brings more cohesiveness, more collaboration, more positive results. And I think that will have a very positive impact on families.”
The governor general attended Canada’s National Day celebrations at Canada Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai and toured the global event.
“Well, it has been an amazing experience. I’ve gone through quite a few pavilions. I wish I had more time to visit all the pavilions, but nevertheless, it’s been an astonishing experience. I can’t believe that, despite the pandemic, everything is as is beautiful as it is. And people seem to be enjoying it so much here,”
“So, I’ve had a really good experience and I congratulate all the people that have been involved.
She wants to come back to explore the UAE more. “I really would like to come back just to have another experience of being here. Maybe a bit longer, so I can have some free time and go and see things instead of being in the city.”
Lessons from diverse experience
Before becoming the Governor General, Simon had an illustrious career as an advocate for Arctic and indigenous issues, radio broadcaster, constitutional activist and expert, and ambassador, apart from holding many executive positions with important responsibilities.
Talking about that diverse experience, she said, early on in her career when she was a young woman, she learned that it was important to collaborate and to listen.
“It was really important for me to carry that perspective and to work with people so that you can come together in a common position. You know sometimes you disagree, but you need to talk it through. As Governor General, all my various career experiences have really brought me to a point, where now we feel as a country we’re ready to reenergize our relationship with different people across the country, particularly indigenous peoples in Canada, which is where I come from, also with the rest of the world.”