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Friday, December 3, 2021

Meet ‘Mama Mariam’: Qatar’s new Minister of Social Development and Family Mariam Al-Misnad


Orphans under her care at Dreama referred to her as “Mama Mariam”.

Qatari authorities have engaged in drastic changes in the country’s governance, from the Shura Council elections to the latest Cabinet reshuffle, which introduced new names and ministries to the Gulf state.

Among the ministries introduced by Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani earlier this month was the Ministry of Social Development and Family, appointing Mariam bint Ali bin Nasser Al-Misnad as its chief.

So who is this new minister?

Within a week of the appointment, Al-Misnad launched a service that gives Qatari citizens the opportunity to meet her to discuss issues of concern.

She has also met with a number if senior ranking officials, including Rola Dashti, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia [ESCWA].

News of her new post at the ministry was widely praised among Qataris online, all of whom pointed to her years of experience in helping women, children and survivors of abuse.

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Al-Misnad earned an Executive Master’s degree in Strategic Planning and Business Administration from HEC University in 2014 and has over 15 years of experience in social work within the Qatari community.

During her career, she has held a number of managerial positions in various key institutions in Qatar, including the Dreama Orphans Care Center, where she served as the executive director.

Her role at the orphanage has been praised by influential figures and orphans alike and her positive contribution to helping those in her care earned her the title “Mama Mariam” among the children.

As reported by Doha News earlier this year, orphans at the centre had complained of a deterioration in conditions since she left.

Similar sentiments were shared by women and children at the Protection and Social Rehabilitation Centre [AMAN], where she had served as executive director to help those dealing with abuse.

In 2013, Al-Misnad was the Regional Director of Communication and Awareness Campaigns at the Education Above All Foundation [EAA], an organisation set up to ensure children are provided access to education around the world.

Prior to that, Al-Misnad was the acting CEO of the Childhood Cultural Center in 2008 and a member of the Childhood Committee at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in 2006.

In July this year, Al-Misnad was appointed as the Doha Institute’s Executive Director of Administration and Finance Division before later receiving the International Social Responsibility Excellence Award for 2021 in recognition for her humanitarian work.

She was also twice awarded the title of ‘Ambassador of Orphans’ by the Higher Committee organising the “Sanabil” Award for Social Responsibility in the GCC, becoming the first Gulf woman to do so.

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