Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf: Wafa Qasimieh -The Advocate
As Senior Advisor in the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department of the Government of Dubai, Wafa Qasimieh plays a key role in strategizing and executing key educational and humanitarian initiatives. In many ways, she epitomizes the spirit of advocacy: passionate but deliberate, visionary but realistic, committed but with imbued with a sense of alertness and operational dexterity. “I had no idea about the total package of advocacy when I was a child – what it entails and how to get involved,” she says. “But as I grew older, I started to learn. My advocacy involves Social Welfare, Humanitarian, Leadership and Educational causes. It is not easy, but because of the full support of my family and the Filipino community here in the Gulf, I am able to surmount any challenge with a positive attitude.”
In December of 2010, the President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III presented the highly revered Banaag Award to Wafa for her tireless efforts in assisting distressed Filipino workers in the UAE and extending financial assistance to impoverished Filipinos in her hometown of Iloilo and as well as in other regions. Wafa also received much praise for the valuable role she played in speeding up the process of airlifting OFW’s from war-torn Libya. Her position in the Government of Dubai and ability to speak fluent Arabic enables her to be a nexus of understanding between the Filipino community and the Arab world. “Working in the Government for almost 2 decades is already a test of managing and linking myself with their requirements and qualifications, not only being an employee but being a friend as well,” she says.
She says that the key to success is positivity. She elaborates, “I promise myself that I shall work untiringly and relentlessly because I am very optimistic that my real reward will come from God on the day of reckoning. And for all our collective efforts, I pray that we all be rewarded together.”