HRH Prince Alwaleed Alsaud is possibly the world’s most instantly recognisable Arab. His myriad activities in global business make international headlines on a regular basis. However, in addition to his commercial interests, which are spread across multiple, diverse international organisations, from hotels to social media, Prince Alwaleed has a reputation for being a keen advocate for social reform in Saudi Arabia. He is a vocal supporter of gender equality and employs many more women than men at his Kingdom Holding company. HRH is also a generous philanthropist, committed to bringing together people of all races and religions in an attempt to develop a climate of understanding and peace in which all sections of the global community might prosper.
In January 2013, Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi chaired the UAE’s sixth House session, becoming the first ever woman to do so. Dr Al Qubaisi was a popular choice when she was appointed the first deputy speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC) and represents the success of Emirati women in achieving participation in the country’s decision-making process. Her academic qualifications include a Bachelors degree in Architecture from UAE University in 1993, a Masters degree from University of Sheffield (UK) in 1995 and a PhD Degree from University of Sheffield (UK) in 2000. In June 2015 Dr. Al Qubaisi was appointed to the board of directors of the Environment Agency by UAE President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Rashad Bin Muhammad Al Zubair (Oman)
Rashad Bin Muhammad Al Zubair is the Deputy Chairman and Group President of the Zubair Corporation but this art-loving businessman also holds the office of Chairman of Oman Arab Bank SAOC, the main subsidiary of Ominvest. Al Zubair is the Director of Dana Gas PJSC and served as a Director of the Muscat Capital Market Authority for more than six years until 2008. He serves as Deputy Chairman of Barr Al Jissah Resorts and is the founder of the unique Bait Al Zubair Museum in the old town of Muscat, which preserves and exhibits ethnographic material relating to Oman’s past and present. Inaugurated in 1998, the internationally acclaimed museum is dedicated to the memory of his grandfather, Sheikh Ali bin Juma.
Khaldoon Mubarak (UAE)
Khaldoon Mubarak is the Chairman of the the UK Premiership Football Club Manchester City. He is also CEO of Mubadala, the company established by the Government of Abu Dhabi as a principal agent in the diversification of that emirate’s economy. Through Mubadala, Mubarak has overseen many of the oil-rich emirate’s strategic investments and key development projects. Mubarak is also aide and advisor to the Crown Prince of the UAE, HH Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Educated in the US and a graduate of Tufts University, Al Mubarak sits on a number of boards, including First Gulf Bank, Ferrari and the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. He is Chairman of the Executive Affairs committee and of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC). As chairman of the Abu Dhabi Motor Sport Management Company, Al Mubarak was a key figure in negotiating for the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi and was influential in getting the FIFA Club World Cup to be held there. A member of the Board of Trustees for New York University, Al Mubarak began overseeing the development of a NYU campus in Abu Dhabi in 2013.
Bahder Abdullah Al Darwish (Qatar)
Bahder Abdullah Al Darwish is head of the family-owned company Darwish Holding, a conglomerate whose activities include retail, business services and real estate.
Al Darwish introduced the largest multi-brand luxury store in the Middle East to Qatar, Fifty One East, and also developed the $348m luxury Lagoona West Bay Mall. Darwish has mooted a proposal to offer shares in the latter on the Qatar bourse but to date, there have been no developments in this quarter.
Issad Rebrab is a self-starter who began his career as a teacher of business and accounting. Born in 1944, today the teacher runs Algeria’s biggest conglomerate, an entity involved in steel, automobile importing, agricultural foodstuffs and an oil refinery (Cevital). In 1998, Rebrab launched the project to create an industrial/ energy complex, Cap 2015, east of Algiers, together with a small town of 250,000 inhabitants, with the ambition of generating 100,000 direct jobs and a further million indirect jobs.He runs a newspaper Liberté and is the president of Hyundai Motors Algérie which he manages with his son Omar.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Olayan Financing Company (OFC), she is considered an important spokesperson for women’s rights in the Middle East, who leads by quiet example. Although Olayan came to international prominence when she became the first woman to publicly speak to a mixed gender audience at the Jeddah Economic Conference of 2004 she has proved herself an accomplished businesswoman. She currently sits on the board of trustees of the Arab Thought Foundation and is also a board member of Al Fanar, which supports grassroots organisations in the Arab world.
Yousra is amongst the Arab world’s biggest entertainment superstars.She first started making films in the 1970s, and quickly developed a strong working relationship with the legendary Egyptian actor Adel Imam. Her best-known collaborations were with director Youssef Chahine, with whom she made three films. Yousra’s portfolio also includes a number of TV shows that have been popular during Ramadan, and a supporting role in the Yacoubian Building,made in 2006.She has also worked as a UN goodwill Ambassador.
Pierre Choueiri (Lebanon)
It is more than half a century since Pierre Choueiri’s father, Antoine, put in place the foundations of one of the Middle East’s biggest media empires. When Antoine died in 2010 he passed the reins and the responsibility to Pierre, who today manages the group and controls the advertising space of 23 satellite and terrestrial TV stations, as well as 14 print titles and nine radio stations. It has clients in 11 markets across the MENA region, as well as in Japan.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi founded Kalimat Publishing in 2007, to help develop and nurture publishing in the UAE and to fill the gap in the market for good Arabic children’s books. Eight years later, Kalimat has published over 100 titles and won many awards at regional and international book fairs. Sheikha Bodour has championed the rights of woman in Sharjah and currently heads up the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).
Born in 1964 and often referred to simply as ‘ES’, Saab is a fashion designer who has achieved worldwide recognition. Launching his Beirut-based fashion label at the age of 18, he became an overnight success on becoming the first Lebanese designer to dress an Oscar academy winner; his creation was worn by Halle Berry in 2002. Saab repeated this coup dressing Emily Blunt and Jessica Biel at the 2012 Golden Globes and Sandra Bullock at the Oscars in 2013. At the Oscar ceremony in Hollywood in 2014, Angelina Jolie was resplendent in ES couture.His perfume brand, Le Parfum, launched in 2011, has become an international bestseller.
Adel Ali (UAE)
Founder of Air Arabia, Adel Ali is credited for his efforts to make air travel accessible to everyone. He launched the Middle East and North Africa’s first low-fares airline, which began operations in October 2003. Ali previously served as Vice President of Commercial and Customer Services for Gulf Air and has also held senior management positions with British Airways. Considered something of an aviation pioneer, Ali is keen for Arab countries to open up more secondary airports in and around their most populous cities, to aid the freeflow of low-cost airline passengers and freight. He has received several awards for his contribution to the industry and become something of a regional hero of the people in the process.
Omar Hamad Almana founded the Almana Group, one of Qatar’s oldest and biggest business conglomerates in Doha in 1961. The giant group represents some of the biggest international firms operating in the Gulf area, including the Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, Dodge & Jeep, Peugeot, IBM, Coca-Cola, Pizza Hut and KFC. Almana Group has 18 subsidiaries with diversified activities ranging from cars, general contracting, computer services, steel structures and travel; more than 22 affiliated companies and several joint venture operations both inside and outside Qatar. Almana Real Estate is regarded as a premier provider of luxury villas and residences; its upcoming projects include the Hyatt Plaza and two further Almana towers in Doha.
As head of MBI international, his business influence spans tourism with JJW Hotels and resorts, foodstuff with the AJWA group (one of the largest Middle Eastern food companies), as well as oil industries with Continentoil. Sheikh Mohammed has funded scholarship programmes through his MBI Al Jaber Foundation and is the founder of the London Middle East Institute at the city’s highly respected School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Born in Jenin in 1969. Khanfar studied engineering at the University of Jordan and went on to complete postgraduate studies in philosophy, African studies, and international politics. He learned his journalistic trade from the ground up, working in various war zones including Iraq, and Afghanistan. He became Managing Director of the Al Jazeera Channel in 2003, and was Director General of the Al Jazeera Network in from 2006 to 2011. He is co-founder and President of the Al Sharq Forum, an independent network dedicated to developing long-term strategies for political development, social justice and economic prosperity of the people of the Middle East
The charismatic and articulate Chairman of Emaar Properties, one of the world’s largest real estate companies and a key player in the development of Dubai’s real estate sector, Alabbar runs more than 60 companies under the Emaar umbrella. He also serves as Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development and is a senior aide to Dubai’s Ruler, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Last year (2014) under his leadership, Emaar listed its shopping malls and retail business, Emaar Malls Group, on the Dubai Financial Market with one of the largest IPOs in the region.
Born in 1959, Ghandour is the founder and CEO of ARAMEX, the world’s fifth-largest courier company. A board member of Abraaj Capital, he has served on the advisory board of the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut and retains an involvement in the socio-economic development of underdeveloped communities. Ghandour is also a founding partner of Maktoob. com, the largest Arab online community. He serves on the board of Oasis 500, an early stage and seed investment company in Jordan that provides entrepreneurship training, mentorship guidance, incubation and additional follow-up investment funds and is the Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) at the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (IBA). He is also Founder and Chairman of Ruwwad for Development, a regional private sector-led community empowerment initiative that helps disadvantaged communities overcome marginalization through youth activism, civic engagement, and education, and provides access to capital for microbusinesses in marginalized communities. Ghandour launched Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility (CER), a collaborative movement which aims to lobby, mobilize and organize private sector efforts in building entrepreneurial ecosystems in the region.
Sultan Ali Al Jaber is CEO of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, mandated by the UAE government to undertake and drive the Masdar Initiative – Abu Dhabi’s vision of investment in the future of energy and environmental sustainability. In 2012 he was the winner of the prestigious UN Champions of the Earth award in recognition of his efforts in this area. Dr. Al Jaber is a board member of the Young Arab Leaders Organisation and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC); the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp. and Sky News Arabia. He is Vice Chairman of the UAE Federal Health Authority and serves on the boards of the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), ALDAR Properties and ZonesCorp. He also holds the position of managing director of the board of the recently formed Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), which aims to help realise the UAE’s foreign policy aspirations by preparing a cadre of highly qualified diplomats.
The dynamic octogenarian Miloud Chaâbi is the founder of Ynna Holding and the owner of the Ryad Mogador hotel chain and the Aswak Assalam group of supermarkets. His inspirational story has been one of rags to riches. At the age of 15, he worked as a goat herder and taught in his local mosque until he had saved money to start his own construction company. Since then he has risen to become among the richest men in Morocco. Chaâbi takes a strong stance against alcohol, which is banned from both his hotel chain and supermarkets. He is renowned for his philanthropic and charity work and operates of one of the largest charity organisations in Morocco, the Miloud Chaâbi Foundation.
Mohammed Al Shaibani (UAE)
Mohammed Al Shaibani is director general of the Ruler’s Court, the prime government body of the emirate and the CEO and executive director of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the holding company that manages the government’s investment portfolio. Additionally, he was appointed a board member at Dubai World in 2010. Shaibani is also the vice chairman of The Supreme Fiscal Committee of Dubai and serves as a board member of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) Limited, The Knowledge Fund and International Humanitarian City (IHC) and as the chairman of Dubai Islamic Bank. Since 1998, he has held the position of president at the Dubai Office, a private management office for the royal family of Dubai. In 2013, Al Shaibani was named Deputy Chairman of the Higher Preparatory Committee of the World Expo 2020 to be held in Dubai. He is widely regarded as one of the region’s most influential ‘behind-the-scenes’ personalities.
Fawzi Ahmed Kanoo (Bahrain)
Fawzi Ahmed Kanoo is Deputy Chairman of the Gulf-based shipping, industrial, financial and travel conglomerate founded in Bahrain in 1890 by his forefather, Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo. He is the fifth generation of the Kanoo family to serve in the company and also currently holds additional positions as Executive Director of the Bahrain Ship Repair & Engineering Company, as well as directorships of Aluminium Bahrain and of the Gulf Hotels Group in Bahrain.
Othman Benjelloun (Morocco)
The Chairman and CEO of BMCE Bank successfully pioneered the transformation of BMCE Bank, which was privatisation in 1995, from a public company to a universal private banking group. He is an Honorary Fellow of King’s College, London, President of the Maghreb Bankers’Association and has been the Chairman of Morocco’s Bankers’ Association since 1995 and among the wealthiest people in his homeland. He is also a keen supporter of South-South cooperation and a member of the World Union of Arab Bankers.
Mohamed Al Mady (Saudi Arabia)
Al Mady joined SABIC in 1976 with a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wyoming, USA, and held various key positions within the company before his rise to the top. Under Al Mady’s stewardship, SABIC has grown from a company that employed six people in 1976 to one that today, employs over 40,000 with a market capitalisation in excess of $95bn and the world’s undisputed biggest chemical maker. Al Mady made headlines in 2013, when he said that compulsory military service could help to solve the Arab youth unemployment crisis. The move would help to change the mindset of young people unwilling to consider certain jobs, he told a World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan. Two years later, the incoming Saudi monarch, King Salman, appointed the Sabic chief executive to the position of chairman of the Kingdom’s General Organization for Military Industries.
Munib Al Masri (Palestine)
Geologist Masri hails from the West Bank town of Nablus. Masri, who was once a close confidant of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, made his fortune in oil and gas working in the Gulf and North Africa. When the Oslo peace process kicked off Masri helped set up the Palestine Development and Investment Ltd. (PADICO), the largest private investor by initial investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which he chairs. The holding group controls over 30 companies across various industries. Much of his time has been dedicated to reconciling the Palestinian Hamas movement with President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah group, in addition to trying to foster dialogue among Israelis and Palestinians who aspire to live in peace within the context of a two-state solution. Al Masri, who also serves as chairman of Palestine Development & Investment Co., is one of the co-founders of Breaking the Impasse, a group of Palestinian and Israeli business leaders cooperating for peace.
Mohamed Alshaya (Kuwait)
As Chairman of the retail division of the Alshaya Group, he is one of the most successful retailers in the Middle East. Alshaya’s first experience in retail was a three-month work experience stint for the UK-based retailer Mothercare, stacking shelves and advising mothers on which prams to buy. When he joined the Alshaya Group in the 1980s he became involved in the franchise part of the retail division of the firm before taking over as CEO in 1990.Three years later he became the executive chairman. The Alshaya Group has diverse holdings including real estate, construction, hotels, multiple retailing, IT and advertising. He is also a member of the Arab Thought Foundation, a non-profit organisation tasked to advance Arab cultural solidarity, and promote Arab world progress, with openness to world cultures. The Foundation seeks to bring about initiatives, programs and development forums, and build partnerships within the Arab culture to advance diligence and creativity values in it.
Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt)
No list of important Arabs could ever be complete without this grande dame of Arab literature and progressive thinking. Born in 1931 she is a novelist, a playwright, a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, a non-fiction writer and a lifelong political activist. Her novels and books on women and society are written in Arabic and translated into as many as 30 languages. A long outspoken critic of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, she actively participated in the Arab Spring uprisings in and around Tahrir Square and has vowed never to give up the struggle for truth and democracy, although she accepts she may not be around to witness it in her homeland.
Mohamed Latif Jameel (Saudi Arabia)
Abdul Latif Jameel is active in real estate, financing, advertising, media and the distribution of electronics and household appliances. He is a keen yachtsman and a generous art philanthropist who has funded galleries around the world, including one showcasing more than 10,000 Islamic artifacts at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, where he also promotes modern Arab art with the bi-annual Jameel prize. In 2015, the Prince of Wales presented Jameel with an Honorary Knighthood in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his activities, supporting the arts in the UK .
Helal Al Marri (UAE)
Al Marri played a key role in helping Dubai win Expo 2020. He previously worked as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Co, one of the world’s leading consulting firms. He holds an MBA degree from the London Business School and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He is currently the Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) – the principal authority responsible for strengthening Dubai’s positioning as a world-leading tourism destination.Prior to his DTCM job, he was CEO of the Dubai World Trade Centre, where he was instrumental in establishing Dubai as a global financial and commercial hub.
Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi (UAE)
Minister for Foreign Trade appointed on November 2004, Sheikha Lubna was the first woman to hold a ministerial post in the UAE. In 2000 she founded Tejari, the Middle East’s first business-to-business online marketplace, which now has franchises across the Middle East. Sheikha Lubna sits on the board of directors at the Dubai Chamber for Commerce and Industry, and is also on the board of the National US Arab Chamber of Commerce. In March 2014, she was appointed President of Zayed University in Abu Dhabi.
Ibrahim Dabdoub (Kuwait)
Chairman of the Arab business council of the WEF, Dabdoub has been at the helm of the National Bank of Kuwait as its CEO since 1983. Dabdoub first joined NBK in 1961 where his career progressed from Head of Credit to Deputy Chief Executive Officer in 1969, to CEO in 1983 and to Group CEO in 2008. Before embarking on his banking career Dabdoub studied in Bethlehem, Turkey, and at Stanford University, California. He has been a keen proponent of rich Arab countries donating funds and expertise to an ‘Arab Marshall Plan’ to help provide jobs and opportunities for young people from the poorer Arab states. In late 2013 he announced his intention to retire from NBK but he will continue to work as a consultant to the board of directors after he leaves the bank said in a statement.
Still known as the Arabs’ ambassador and the ‘Jewel of Lebanon’, Fairouz is considered one of the greats of the Middle East music scene. Born Nouhad Haddad in November 1935, she received her education in Beirut and started her musical career as a chorus singer at the Lebanese radio station. In the 1950s, her career took off after she teamed up with the Rahbani Brothers, Assi and Mansour, who also worked at the radio station as musicians. Today, she is revered in the region. Although she has never sung in Jerusalem, the key to the holy city is among her most prized possessions.
Hanan Al Shaykh (Lebanon)
Born in Beirut in 1945, this author rose from humble beginnings to become one of the Arab world’s best loved writers both at home and abroad. By the age of 16, she had already published essays in the newspaper Al-Nahar, before going on to study at the American College for Girls in Cairo. Her book Women of Sand and Myrrh was chosen as one of the 50 Best Books of 1992 by Publishers Weekly (USA). Her novels, which are intelligent, witty and often regarded as controversial in the more conservative Arab states, are all written in Arabic. Al Shaykh’s books have also been translated into nine other languages. Her latest novel, “The Virgins of Londonistan,”was published at the end of 2014.
Ali bin Ibrahim Al Naimi (Saudi Arabia)
Al Naimi has been Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources since 1995 and is internationally regarded as a strong hand at the wheel. He joined Saudi Aramco in 1957, climbing the corporate ladder to become the first Saudi president of the company in 1983. His experience of the oil industry is extraordinarily detailed, making him a popular participant at industry meetings, much valued for his wit and wisdom, as well as his expertise in the field. He completed his Masters degree in geology at Stanford University in the United States,
After gaining a BA degree in Business Administration from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, he gained experience in banking and finance at Merrill Lynch in New York, Coutts of London and Banque Worms in Paris. As Governor of SAGIA, Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority, he has led the groups’ expansion into housing, real estate and telecommunications. Al Dabbagh notably founded the Jeddah Economic Forum in 1999 and has since put into practice his vision for the future of Saudi Arabia. A generous philanthropist he is on record as saying: “Along with financial success comes social obligation . . . By making better lives for today’s children, we ensure a brighter future for all tomorrow.”
Chairman of Al Habtoor Group and Dubai National Insurance & Reinsurance Company, he is a member of the Dubai Economic Council, formed in March 2003. Habtoor was given honorary membership of the Arab American Medical Association in recognition of his contribution to the establishment of the Arab Cultural Awards by the AAMA in February 2008.The General Council Secretariat recognised him as GCC Economic Pioneer for the year 2008 at the headquarters of Arab Leagues States. Speaking at a meeting in July 2015, Habtoor assured young Emiratis that there were still many opportunities available to them and he urged the first generation of Dubai traders to share their experiences and knowledge with the younger generation of entrepreneurs.
Was named “Woman CEO of the Year” in 2006 for developing Qatar’s economic and social presence in the Arab world. She is founder and Chairperson of Amwal, the first company to receive a licence for investment banking in Qatar,deputy CEO of the Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani & Sons Group and also CEO of Al Wa’ab City Real Estate development project. Sheikha Hanadi, who began her career as a lecturing assistant in the Economics Department of Qatar University won the accolade ‘Businesswoman of the Year’ at the Arabian Business Achievement Awards Qatar 2010 and was also voted among the world’s top 20 female banking and finance role models. Actively involved in community initiatives, she serves as a trustee on the board of the Arab Women’s International Forum.
Zaha Hadid (Iraq)
The Iraqi-born architect was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 2004. She has designed one of the iconic London 2012 Olympic stadiums, the performing arts centre at Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island project, the modern art museum of Rome (MAXXI) and the Opera House in Guanzhou, China. Her London-based firm has been commissioned to design the new Baghdad HQ for the Central Bank of Iraq HQ, Hadid’s first ever project in her homeland. She was made a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, in 2012.
Sultan Soud Al Qassemi (UAE)
Non-resident fellow at the Dubai School of Government, Al Qassemi’s writing is published regularly by the UAE’s The National newspaper. He has developed an influential social media network and is an active tweeter. He has held the position of Chairman of Young Arab Leaders’ UAE chapter since 2008 and is also Chairman of Barjeel Securities in Dubai. In February 2014 Sultan Al Qassemi joined the Global Commission on Internet Governance and later that year became an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow. He is also the founder of the Sharjah based Barjeel Art Foundation
Abdel Bari Atwan (Palestine/UK)
Born in Palestine in 1950 and one of 11 children this London based Palestinian journalist and commentator was editor-in chief of the Arabic newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi until he resigned in 2013. Atwan famously interviewed Osama bin Laden in 1996. Atwan has become a well-known public figure in the western media and the Arab media for his lively and intelligent approach to news analysis. He is currently the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, the Arab world’s first Huffington Post-style digital news and opinion website.
Sulaiman Al Rhajhi (Saudi Arabia)
Is the Chairman of the largest Islamic bank, Al Radjhi in Saudi Arabia, established by royal decree in 1988. The bank includes retail, corporate an investment banking. Al Rhajhi is also a philanthropist founding the SAAR Foundation, a flagship corporation representing charities, think tanks and business entities. Al Rajhi also has financial interests in the Al Rajhi Bank, the Yanbu Cement Company and the National Agricultural Development Company (Nadec).
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair (UAE)
He was appointed Chairman of DIFC Authority Board of Directors in April 2012. Born in 1954, he trained as an industrial engineer in the United States before taking over as head of Mashreq Bank, which was founded by his father in the 1960s. In addition to his role as the CEO of the Mashreq Group, this billionaire businessman is Chairman of the Al GhurairGroup and a supporter of many charitable organisations at home and abroad, including UNICEF and the UAE’s Disabled Sports Federation. Prominent UAE businessman Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair has In July 2015, Al Ghurair, pledged one-third of his company’s assets in perpetuity to establish a regional education foundation in his father’s name. An initial $1.1 billion will be directed to the Abdullah Al Ghurair Education Foundation, which in the first phase, will aim to provide an initial 15,000 Emiratis with scholarships to the top universities,
Majid Jafar (Sharjah)
He is the brains behind the Arab Stabilisation Plan which hopes to tackle youth unemployment in the Arab world. Majid Jafar is also the CEO of Crescent Petroleum, the Middle East’s oldest private oil & gas company, and Vice-Chairman of the Crescent Group of companies which includes interests in port management, logistics, contracting, private equity and real estate. He is also Managing Director of the Board of Dana Gas (PJSC), the first regional, private-sector integrated natural gas company in the Middle East, in which Crescent is the largest shareholder. Regarded by some as an industry visionary, in March 2015, Jafar urged the region’s oil producers to take advantage of the lower oil prices to reform the sector and enhance their future competitiveness.
Dr Amina Al Rustamani (UAE)
Dr Amina Al Rustamani holds the position of CEO of TECOM Business Parks, the umbrella organisation for nine of Dubai’s free zones. Al Rustamani joined TECOM in 2001 as a project engineer for Samacom before taking control of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and International Media Production Zone. Al Rustamani has also played a significant role in establishing Dubai International Film Festival. She also championed Dubai’s successful Expo 2020 bid.
Akbar Al Baker (Qatar)
Akbar Al Baker has been instrumental in shaping the development of Qatar Airways into one of the fastest growing and most highly acclaimed airlines in the world.
Born in Doha, he is a graduate in economics and commerce and worked at various levels in the Civil Aviation Directorate before becoming Qatar Airways’ CEO in 1997. Al Baker has spearheaded the growth of Qatar Airways, which operated only four aircraft in a regional capacity prior to his appointment. Qatar Airways currently flies more 149 aircraft(up from 120 in 2014) to over 145 destinations (up from 125 in 2014) across six continents.
He is also member of the Executive Committee of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO), a member of the board of governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and is a non-executive director of Heathrow Airport Holdings. In June 2015, Al Baker was awarded the prestigious Legion d’Honneur – the French medal of honour created by Napoleon Bonaparte by the President of France, Francois Hollande, for his leadership in the aviation industry and for spearheading the drive to promote Qatar Airways.
Said Khoury (Palestine)
Born in Safad, Palestine, Khoury founded Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) in 1952, one of the first Arab construction companies. CCC has built landmark projects from Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison to the Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington DC and has undertaken other major projects in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Africa and the Gulf. He chairs the Palestinian Businessman’s Association and is governor of the Arab Monetary Fund. He sponsored the establishment of the Said Khoury IT Center of Excellence (SKITCE) at Al Quds University.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem
Under his leadership DP World, the world’s third largest ports company, currently operates almost 70 terminals across six continents, including new developments in Africa, India, South America, Europe and the Middle East. Born in 1955 in Dubai, Bin Sulayem’s first job after graduating from college in the late 1970s was as a customs inspector at Dubai’s then sleepy port. Since then he has made ports and free trade zones his speciality subject. Since the 1980s, Bin Sulayem has been one of the most prominent businessmen in Dubai, He was the first Chairman of the Dubai government’s tax free Jebel Ali Free Zone, when it was founded in 1985. In addition to chairing Dubai World he helped found Nakheel, one of the UAE’s largest property developers and Istithsmar, a major investment holding company. Both companies are Dubai World subsidiaries. Bin Sulayem was educated in Dubai and the United States.
is the first female editor-in-chief of a newspaper in Saudi Arabia. She was appointed editor-in-chief of the Saudi Gazette, which was launched in 1978, in Februarylast year, having been deputy editor for some time before that. She previously worked at Arab News. Commenting on her promotion to editor of the Saudi Gazette, Jabarti observed: There’s a crack that has been made in the glass ceiling and I am hoping it will be made into a door.”
Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohamed Bin Saud Al Thani
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani took over from Ahmed al-Sayed as the head of QIA, one of the world’s most powerful sovereign wealth funds. He remains chairman of the partially state-owned Ooredoo (formerly Qtel Group).
Mahmood Hashim Al Kooheji
Was appointed to the position of CEO of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company in 2012; he is also a director at the firm. He was educated in Bahrain and the UK. Mumtalakat $7.2 billion of assets with stakes in 38 firms, including Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco), Gulf Air, and Aluminium Bahrain (Alba). Mumtalakat had a particularly strong 2013, with profits rising 135 per cent to BD109.4 million, and is now looking to expand its portfolio,to double the fund’s size over the next few years. Part of Al Kooheji’s brief will be to try to return Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air to profitability. “The focus is on re-aligning the network, simplifying the fleet and right-sizing the company. This process is already in progress and we believe that our efforts will see Gulf Air become a financially stronger airline,” he said. Al Kooheji was educated in Bahrain and the UK.
Sheikha Mayassa Bint Al Thani
Born 1983 Sheikha Mayassa is the sister of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim. She is the Chairwoman of Qatar Museums and, as such, responsible for cultivating significant cultural events in the region. According to well placed sources, her acquisition budget on behalf of Qatar Museums is an estimated $1 billion a year.
Sheikha Al Mayassa is said to have used some of her generous budget to acquire what was at the time the most expensive painting in the world, Paul Gaugin’s ‘When will you marry?’ in 2015 for $300 million, as well as other works by Cezanne, Bacon and other, significant, more contemporary artists. She has staged major exhibitions in Qatar with some of the leading lights of the international art world and continues to oversee a number of museums including Doha’s stunning Museum of Islamic Art, designed by Pei. She is also Chairwoman of the Doha Film Institute.
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