DCM Alia Al Suwaidi speaking at a Meridian International event.

A Decade of Change: Women Flourishing in Global Diplomacy

June 24, 2024

By Alia Al Suwaidi, Deputy Chief of Mission, UAE Embassy of Washington, D.C.

As the world celebrates the International Day for Women in Diplomacy, I'm taking a moment to look back on my own journey, where I’ve witnessed first-hand the growing presence of women at the diplomatic and policymaking table. The shift has been both inspiring and transformative, and it reflects a broader recognition of women’s capabilities and contributions.

This progress is exemplified by a moment early in my career as a diplomat for the United Arab Emirates, during a pivotal bilateral meeting between the UAE and the US, to negotiate parameters around the then-proposed US Customs and Border Protection Pre-Clearance facility to be built at the Abu Dhabi International Airport (which eventually opened in 2014).

While negotiations were taking place, I was struck by the fact that there were no other women at the table – Emirati or American. That moment resonated with me. It fueled my career growth and commitment to champion the inclusion and advancement of all women in public service.

DCM Alia Al Suwaidi speaking in front of a microphone


Now, a decade later, I’m proud to serve as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC, supporting the strategic direction and overall management of our diplomatic initiatives in the US, and helping enhance the longstanding UAE-US bilateral relationship.

I’m proud to say my career trajectory hasn’t happened in isolation; many women have fulfilled their dreams of becoming diplomats, leading to a robust and incredibly diverse diplomatic corps filled with women from all over the world.

Time and again, women have demonstrated their capabilities, strength, and talent, proving their presence at the negotiating table is indispensable for crafting resilient and comprehensive solutions.

Women are no longer fighting for a place at the table; they’re now flourishing. In DC, I’m surrounded by powerful women who are making a positive impact — not just in diplomacy, but across all levels of government. There’s US Vice President Kamala Harris, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, each who serve as leaders and role models for women to follow in their footsteps.

Women are doing significant work—writing policy, crafting legislation, advocating for critical causes, and effecting substantial change through their expertise and dedication. All of this is made possible through the support of countries like the US, where I currently live, and the UAE, which I call home—underscoring both nations' shared commitment to putting women on equal footing.

As the only country in the MENA region that has achieved parity at the parliamentary level, the UAE continues to set the bar high for nations in the region. The UAE's commitment to achieving gender parity is evident, with recognition from the World Economic Forum's 2024 Global Gender Gap Report and a high ranking in the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security’s 2023 WPS Index.

Group of people sitting on either side of a table facing one another


Over the past decade, I have witnessed an inspiring evolution. With the UAE government’s full support of women excelling in their careers, I see this as a significant way to increase women’s participation in all areas, especially in the field of diplomacy.

Looking ahead to future I expect to see more women engaged worldwide. This powerful trend signifies a broader cultural shift toward gender equality in our societies. It also sends a powerful message to young women and girls that they too can aspire to roles in international leadership.

As we continue to break barriers, the diplomatic landscape becomes richer and more representative, ultimately leading to more equitable and just outcomes for all.