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ADIHEX Highlights Importance Of Women’s Role In Falconry

Women in Falconry is one of the main topics of the conference "The Future of Falconry", which will be hosted in the next edition of ADIHEX in cooperation with UNESCO and organised by Emirates Falconers' Club and the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF) which currently has 110 associations from 90 countries, totalling more than 75,000 falconers worldwide.

ADIHEX is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Falconers’ Club, from September 27 to October 3, 2021 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

It is organised by the Emirates Falconers’ Club with the official sponsorship of Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, International Fund for Houbara Conservation and Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

The falconry year-round events organized by the UAE over the past two decades have encouraged girls to learn the arts, skills and techniques of falconry, hunting and safari, which allowed them to take part in falconry competitions, just as happened in equestrian and other traditional sports.

Not to forget that the Mohamed bin Zayed School of Falconry and Desert Physiognomy in Al Ain celebrated, in 2018, the graduation of the first group of female falconers, who mastered the principles of Arabian Falconry and its morals, rules, and ancient arts.

The school witnessed a vast influx of students eager to learn the art of Arabian Falconry and the principles of desert life. To date, it has been able to attract 2,021 students of both sexes, including 1,163 males and 858 females.

The International Festival of Falconry IFF organised by Emirates Falconers' Club in 2011, 2014 and 2017 in Abu Dhabi, as well as all the editions of ADIHEX, beheld the participation of many female falconers from all over the world along with many female researchers from Europe, USA and Japan.

Abu Dhabi's heritage activities and events celebrated the presence of well experienced and promising European and Japanese female falconers. As for Emirati women, many of them participated in the IFFcompetitions in the "Remah" desert.

Majid Ali Al Mansouri, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of ADIHEX, President of IAF and Secretary General of the Emirates Falconers’ Club, stressed that Emirati women are very keen on holding on to their national identities and the customs and traditions of their society, with falconry as one of its most important pillar, as they grow and engage in various fields confidently and strongly.

Falconry has become the sport of the Emirati family as many amongst them own birds; and since falcons were a man's favourite companion on hunting trips for livelihood, there grew a strong historical relationship between them, so it has been little trouble to revive this authentic heritage, especially since UAE families are keen to visit falconry events and enjoy the performances in nature, as mothers capture pictures of their children with falconers and falcons.

The UAE is today the country of many female falconers who train, teach and raise birds, including some who specialize in treating falcons. Just as there has been a shift in the past few years as Emirati women entered the equestrian world, it is not unlikely that they tackle falconry next, regardless of it being quite an arduous sport.

Today, 8-year-old Emirati Osha Khalifa Al Mansoori thrives brilliantly at various festivals and exhibitions, as she walks a path of continuous successes that she first stepped into at four years of age when she participated in the President Cup Falcon Competition, as well as ADIHEX and the 4th International Festival of Falconry in 2017, organised by Emirates Falconers' Club.

She is considered one of the youngest, if not the youngest, female falconers in the world.

For centuries, until recently, falconry has been the sport of the ruling elites in many countries of the world. And with the resemblance its rules and practices have with certain social and political structures, it is not surprising that many prominent women have had the passion for falconry throughout ages, as they exercised it with great appreciation and elegance; for instance, Mary Queen of the Scots who has devoted most of her time to this sport.

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