'Her Highness Sheikha Moza a symbol of empowered Qatari woman'
October 07 2018 12:11 AM
Noelia Paola Romero, wife of Argentine ambassador Carlos Hernandez, said they plan to continuously c
Noelia Paola Romero, wife of Argentine ambassador Carlos Hernandez, said they plan to continuously collaborate with initiatives to empower women in Qatar. PICTURE: Jayan Orma

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, has become a symbol of an empowered Qatari woman, the wife of Argentina's ambassador Carlos Hernandez has told Gulf Times.

“Having worked in gender equality and humanitarian assistance for quite a long time, Her Highness Sheikha Moza is an institution and the first contact I had with Qatar many years ago. And because of her, my husband and I always held Qatar in such high esteem,” said Noelia Paola Romero, who was also the former lawyer of Argentina’s White Helmets Commission (WHC).

WHC, she noted, is a unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina in charge of designing and implementing humanitarian assistance.

Romero, who arrived in Doha with her husband two months ago, said they find all Qatari women they have met to be extremely well-educated, determined and focused, and at the same time “feminine and humbled” – a testament of Her Highness Sheikha Moza’s achievement for tirelessly empowering women in her country.

“That is actually remarkable. It is evident with characteristics like these, why they play such important roles in the Qatari society, both in the public and private sectors,” she said. “To be honest, my husband and I weren’t expecting anything less since it’s the country of Her Highness Sheikha Moza.”

Romero, who recently took part in and was among the speakers at the Doha Women Forum (DWF) 2018, said she and Hernandez plan to continuously collaborate with such initiatives to empower women in Qatar.

The forum, she pointed out, was one of her first contacts with Qatari women, describing it as “an invaluable experience to learn from them and to see how incredible they are”.

“Even when we seem to come from very different cultures, we discovered that the differences are just superficial: since we arrived everyone made us feel at home,” explained Romero, adding that both Qataris and Argentinians are very friendly and hospitable – both valuing family and loyalty.

“At the same time, it showed us that Qatari women are empowered already and stories like the ones of Sheikha Asma al-Thani, Eman al-Sulaiti and Fatima al-Mulla (the last case is actually very similar to my sister's life story, who is also an engineer like her),” she said as she recounted her participation in the forum.

“Qatari women have amazing role models among themselves. I’m truly proud to be their guest, and I’m sure my husband and I will leave this country with ties of deep friendship,” Romero added.

* Advocacy

Being in charge of designing the agreements, Romero said she always took pride in doing her duty considering gender equality in the crisis response organised by WHC.

She promoted alliances with the female leagues for football and basketball, the Argentine chapter of Vital Voices and United Nations Women, among others.

“Since animals are also my passion, I also organised for the first time in my country a workshop for volunteers regarding the question of animals in the context of humanitarian assistance, and as a result, the governmental agencies involved committed themselves to develop a protocol to have standardised procedures,” Romero added.

About promoting Argentina's culture and arts in Qatar, she disclosed that ambassador Hernandez is keen to bring to Qatar typical traditions such as "malambo, which Qatar residents will love”.

“I know that there's a tango festival that takes place each year, and we’re looking forward to be part of it later this month,” Romero said.

“There are also incredible Argentinian artists like Helmut Ditsch, the highest estimated artist from Argentina, who my husband is trying to convince to bring his work to Qatar,” she added. “He was extremely generous and donated a work of his own as a gift to His Highness the Amir when my husband presented his credentials as an ambassador.”

Romero said she is being introduced to Qatar's art scene by friends such as Austrian ambassador Willy Kempel, "who is a long-time friend of her husband and a fabulous artist as well; and Assil Diab, the first female graffiti artist who painted a mural on the Doha Fire Station's wall who I met at the DWF".

“Also, Ahmed Hassan Bilal, who has been supporting us since we arrived, introducing us to the most amazing people, and Dana Alfardan, internationally renowned Qatari songwriter and symphonic artist, who also has been an amazing friend,” she noted.

About the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Romero said the Argentine Football Association will be open to share experiences with Qatar and offer its inputs in order to make the prestigious tournament a success.

“Argentina is a two-time world champion and we Argentinians simply love football and live it with passion,” she stressed.

“As a start, we became volunteers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the third day the possibility was open to the public. I and my husband have been supporting Qatar, assisting all its friendly matches so far, and we were even wearing the Qatari official t-shirt,” Romero recounted.

Profile

Noelia Paola Romero is a lawyer who graduated with honours, having been granted the Honour Scholarship and the Gold Medal for having the best academic record of her promotion (9.51 out of 10). She also received the Excellence Award from the Bar Association of the City of Buenos Aires.

She completed several postgraduate studies: Criminal and Strategic Intelligence Analysis; Security, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights; Addictions; and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

She officially validated her Law Degree to the corresponding Spanish one, and completed a Master in Spanish Law at the University of Salamanca, Spain. She was the first Argentine national to study and complete the curriculum of the International Anti-Corruption Academy (Austria, 2011).

Among other positions within the Argentine Government, she served as general co-ordinator of the National Security Council, co-ordinator of the Interministerial Working Group on WMD Commodity Identification Training.

Romero also performed as a legal adviser in several governmental agencies such as the Homeland Security Secretary and the White Helmets Commission on Humanitarian Assistance, having worked in those appointments with the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the ones related with gender equality and women's empowerment.

She is a member of the Argentine Council on International Relations, the Lawyers Association of Buenos Aires, Argentina and the Lawyers Association of Madrid, Spain. Her mother tongue is Spanish and she also speaks English, German and Romanian.

Last updated: October 07 2018 12:45 AM


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