First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska is on a visit to the United Arab Emirates. She arrived in the UAE at the invitation of the Forbes 30/50 Forum, which will be held in Abu Dhabi on March 7-10 on the occasion of International Women's Day.
On the first day of her visit, Olena Zelenska met with the President of the UAE, Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The First Lady thanked the Sheikh and the United Arab Emirates for supporting important UN General Assembly resolutions and humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people.
"Today, during a meeting with the President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, I had the opportunity to personally thank him and the people of the Emirates for the extremely important and valuable humanitarian assistance provided to Ukrainians in the difficult times of repelling Russian aggression," Olena Zelenska said.
She presented to the President of the UAE a project of her Foundation to build safe separate housing for family-type children’s homes in Ukraine that lost housing as a result of Russian aggression. A design of a typical house with a bomb shelter and autonomous heating has been developed.
"I was pleased to hear that the UAE would join our initiative," the First Lady said.
During the visit, Olena Zelenska also visited the UAE National Library and Archives, which is among the ten most technologically advanced in the world.
Olena Zelenska donated the books to the library as part of her Ukrainian Bookshelf project. Such shelves have already appeared in more than 20 countries, including Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Türkiye, the Czech Republic, Greece, and France. The project aims to expand the world's awareness of Ukrainian literature, history, and culture by donating modern Ukrainian publications to local libraries.
In addition, Olena Zelenska visited the interreligious complex “The Abrahamic Family House”, which opened in Abu Dhabi on March 1. It combines a Christian church, a Muslim mosque, and a Jewish synagogue in one space. The complex got its name from the biblical Abraham, whose teachings are the basis for the world's major religions - Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The complex is designed to implement the provisions of the document "Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together" (known as the Abu Dhabi Declaration), which was signed in 2019 by His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El Tayeb. The purpose of the document is the peaceful coexistence of the world's major religions. The construction of the three religious buildings next to each other has gained particular significance after the normalization of relations and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel in September 2020.
"I was truly happy to see this inspiring place with my own eyes. People may have different religions, languages, histories and cultures. But the main values - human life, mercy, justice - are common to all," the First Lady emphasized.
The President's wife also met with Ukrainian women in the UAE who have united in the Ukrainian Women's Initiative organization. Launched in 2021 with the support of the Embassy of Ukraine, the community holds webinars and training sessions to inform about the country's culture and employment, combating gender-based violence and protecting the rights of women and children.
The organization's partners include the Embassy of Ukraine, the Ukrainian community in the UAE, and others.
"This is people's diplomacy, when the country is represented by its citizens. This is what is happening now, when millions of Ukrainians are abroad because of the war and bring their culture and language with them," the First Lady summarized.