Princess Haya meets Pope Francis ahead of Haiti visit
Published Friday, October 14, 2016
In Her capacity as UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of International Humanitarian City (IHC), HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop of Rome, at the Vatican, as part of a one-day official visit to Rome.
HRH Princess Haya then attended the ‘United for Peace’ football match and immediately after the direction of Sheikh Mohammed, met an airlift from Dubai’s International Humanitarian City (IHC) at Rome Fiumicino Airport (they were refueling in Rome), to travel to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to oversee a delivery of 90 metric tonnes of relief supplies to those affected by Hurricane Matthew.
During her meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis, HRH Princess Haya engaged in a conversation about hunger, as both individuals are advocates of combating hunger for the millions of people who suffer around the world. Princess Haya briefed His Holiness about Dubai’s International Humanitarian City, and how it has grown since 2003, under the directives of Sheikh Mohammed, to become the largest and busiest logistics hub for humanitarian aid in the world.
She also informed His Holiness about Sheikh Mohammed’s recently launched initiatives – the first being the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Tolerance, which will lay the base for developing tolerant young Arab leaders and support a promotion of values that reflect tolerance and openness, and the second, the International Institute of Tolerance (the first of its kind in the Arab world), which will offer advice and views on policies to promote values of tolerance among nations, publish studies and research reports to instill the principle of acceptance among youth.
Following the meeting, Princess Haya attended the latest edition of the Soccer Match for Peace at Rome’s Olympic Stadium. The Italian organisations UNITALSI (Society for the Transport of Sick People to Lourdes and International Sanctuaries) and AMLIB (Non-for-profit organization for Love and Freedom) joined forces with the International Organisation of Pontifical Right SCHOLAS to organise the match for charity, ‘United for Peace’.
As part of the opening ceremony, HRH Princess Haya was asked by the Vatican to plant an olive tree of peace at the Olympic Stadium.
Also in attendance of the match were representatives from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for World Peace, who were there to support Ismail Matar, Star of Al Wahda Club and the UAE National Team.
Following the match, Princess Haya then immediately flew to Haiti on an IHC airlift to personally deliver and oversee the distribution of relief supplies, after Hurricane Matthew abruptly demolished the island last week. At least 1.4 million people require immediate attention, with almost 300,000 people residing in temporary shelters as many small towns and villages have been wiped off the map. Princess Haya previously visited Port-au-Prince on a similar mission after the equally devastating earthquake hit in 2010.
The aid shipment was organised by the International Humanitarian City per the instruction of Sheikh Mohammed, and included supplies from the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot and its partners including Save the Children, Handicap International, World Vision International, Catholic Relief Services, USAID and Lutheran World Relief.
The aid, which was transported on a 747B-400 personally owned by Sheikh Mohammed, is valued at more than $350,000 and is estimated to impact approximately 340,000 people. It includes water purification units, mosquito nets, medical supplies, tents and other support equipment that will be distributed among those in need. The focus of the aid shipment (as cholera is a growing concern) is facilitating access to a sufficient supply of quality water, education, shelter, child protection, health and nutrition for those affected.
The UAE has always played an important role in providing aid and assistance during disasters and crises. Last month, per the direction of Sheikh Mohammed, over 100 tonnes of aid were delivered to Entebbe, Uganda for 60,000 South Sudanese refugees that had fled the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.