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Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein

Princess Haya bint Al Hussein
Princess Haya (wearing green) congratulating the FEI winner, November 2012
Spouse Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Sheikha Al Jalila
Sheikh Zayed
House Hashemite
Father Hussein of Jordan
Mother Alia al-Hussein
Born (1974-05-03) 3 May 1974 (age 40)
Amman, Jordan

Princess Haya bint Al Hussein (born 3 May 1974) is the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan from his third wife, Queen Alia. Princess Haya is the junior wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. She is known as Her Royal Highness Princess Haya of Jordan (Arabic: ھيا‎), a title derived from her father.


Princess Haya studied in Britain, where she attended Badminton School for Girls in Bristol, Bryanston School in Dorset and later St Hilda's College, Oxford University, from which she graduated with a BA honours degree in philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE).


On 10 April 2004, Princess Haya wed His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.[1]

On 2 December 2007 in Dubai, Princess Haya gave birth to her first child, Sheikha Al Jalila bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.[2] The baby's birth coincided with the United Arab Emirates' 36th celebration of its National Day.[3] On 7 January 2012, she gave birth to her second child, Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.[4]


Princess Haya participated in the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia representing Jordan in show jumping, where she was also her country’s flag bearer.[5] Additionally she is the Individual bronze medallist of show jumping in the 1992 Pan Arab Games in Damascus, Syria.

Princess Haya was elected president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in 2006 for an initial four-year term[6] in the FEI's first contested presidential race. She made history a second time in 2010, when dissatisfaction with her record led to her becoming the first sitting FEI president to be challenged in a re-election bid. She succeeded, however, in refuting the criticisms and in winning a second and final four-year term receiving an overwhelming mandate of 75 percent of the vote, soundly defeating her most vocal critics.[7]

On 7 June 2008, New Approach, a three-year-old colt owned by Princess Haya, trained in Ireland by Jim Bolger and ridden by Kevin Manning, won the Derby Stakes. On 25 October 2008, her three-year-old colt, Raven's Pass, won the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic. After being named the European champion 2-year-old in 2007 and winning the 2008 Epsom Derby, New Approach was retired at the end of the 2008 racing season.[8]

In 2009, due to her contribution to the equine world, she was made the first Patron of Retraining of Racehorses.[9]

Princess Haya holds the position of President of the International Jordanian Athletes Cultural Association which was founded to provide athletes with incentives and support they require from sport clubs and national federations.

Charitable activities

Jordanian Royal Family

HM The King
HM The Queen

HM Queen Noor

Princess Haya has engaged in a wide range of humanitarian activities and founded Tikyet Um Ali, the first Arab NGO dedicated to overcoming local hunger, in her native Jordan, which provides food assistance and employment opportunities to thousands of poor families. In November 2012, Tiliyet Um Ali announced a campaign to quadruple the number of its beneficiaries in a drive to eliminate hunger in Jordan and help meet the UN Millennium Development Goals on hunger by 2015. TUA will expand to reach all Jordanian families with insufficient income to meet basic food needs. In addition, a parallel jobs creation program to help TUA beneficiaries become more self-sufficient was announced—Tikiyet Abu Abdullah.

Princess Haya now chairs Dubai's International Humanitarian City which is the world's largest operational center for the delivery of aid both in emergencies and for long-term development. Ten UN agencies and nearly 40 non-government organizations are members of the IHC which has supported relief efforts all over the globe including to Syrian refugees affected by civil war, to East Africa during the last drought, in Pakistan during the 2009 floods, and to Afghanistan and Yemen. The IHC has also hosted UN and NGO staff evacuated during emergencies and civil unrest. Princess Haya was an ambassador for the World Food Programme 2005-2007,[10] and then appointed a UN Messenger of Peace in July 2007 by Secretary-General Ban-Ky Moon. She was a founding member of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Global Humanitarian Forum based in Geneva, and writes editorials and articles on hunger, nutrition and the UN Millennium Development Goals,[6][11] and serves on the boards of many non-profit organizations. In August 2012, she supported the 2012 United Nations' World Humanitarian Day in Dubai.[12] Under Her patronage, Dubai hosted the Global Meeting of the World Food Programme for 2012 and is increasingly a center for UN and regional meetings on development and humanitarian aid.

She is a member of the Honorary Board of the International Paralympic Committee. [13]

International Equestrian Federation (FEI) controversies

Before her re-election in 2010, Princess Haya faced persistent and highly public criticisms from some members of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Bureau for behaving dictatorially and violating the organisation's democratic principles and procedures to pursue her own agenda.[14] Some members of the FEI Bureau and the international press expressed the opinion that her behaviour reflected her background as a member of an unelected ruling family accustomed to unquestioning obedience, rather than an elected president of a democratic institution.[15] Her re-election campaign was opposed by both of her personally chosen vice presidents and a majority of the FEI Bureau members who had worked with her.[14]

In 2009, in the middle of the FEI's campaign to eliminate doping and horse abuse in equestrian sport, Princess Haya's husband and stepson were both convicted by the FEI for serious doping violations.[16] Princess Haya ceded presidential powers to a senior colleague for the FEI disciplinary processes on the matter. She later complained that the issue would be used to "injure and damage the reputations of myself and my family."[17]

Positions, roles, and honorary titles

Awards and recognition[28]

  • Al Saaoon Fi Al Kheir Award (2009). Honours GCC women leaders for their volunteer and community work.
  • Grand Cordon of Al Nahda (Order of the Renaissance) (2006) by King Abdullah II in recognition of Her notable humanitarian profile and for Her distinguished role in efforts to alleviate hunger and poverty on global and regional levels
  • the International Golden Helm Award from the International Association of Golden Helmsmen of Tourism in recognition for setting up a tourism campaign at the request of King Hussein during her equestrian training in Germany between 1997 and 1999. The campaign resulted in a rise in the numbers of German and German-speaking tourists to Jordan from two per cent to 12.5 per cent in a two-year period (2000).
  • Equestrian Personality of the Year (1996) from Spanish Equestrian Federation.
  • First and only woman in Jordan (to date) to hold a heavy goods and articulated vehicle licence.
  • She is the only a member of the Jordanian Royal family to be member of a trade union
  • Nominated ‘Athlete of the Year’ by Arab BBC Radio after winning numerous national and international events in the Middle East and Asia (1994).
  • Voted ‘Athlete of the Year’ by the Jordanian Public (1993).
  • Twice decorated by HM the Late King Hussein for excellence in international equestrian sport (1988 and 1992).
  • Five time winner of Jordanian National Show Jumping Championships (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1992).
  • Nominated by the International Femmes Mythique Association as one a ‘Legendary Women’


External links

  • Official website
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