Image 1 of 14: Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud made the list for his long list of accomplishments as Chairman of mega-conglomerate Kingdom Holding Saudi Arabia. With stakes in 13 different industries, including Twitter and Newscorp, HRH (one of the world’s great philanthropists) earned a mind-blowing $10,084 every minute in 2013!
Image 1 of 14: Bassem Youssef’s popular YouTube channel morphed into a satirical news program called The Show – soon tagging him as the “Jon Stewart of the Nile”. Lampooning Egyptian leaders landed him in hot water but gained him international appeal. Worst case scenario? This funny man can fall back on his day job as a heart surgeon!
Image 1 of 14: Lina Ben Mhenni is an activist and blogger whose website, A Tunisian Girl, offered frontline reporting during the country’s uprisings that ousted longstanding President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. A 2011 candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, she is now an assistant lecturer at Tunis University. Future politician alert!
Image 1 of 14: Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, shaped the carrier into one of the fastest growing and most highly acclaimed airlines in the world. Prior to his appointment in 1997, the airlines operated only four regional aircrafts; they now fly more than 120 aircraft to over 125 destinations across six continents. Fasten your seatbelts!
Image 1 of 14: Bayan Mahmoud Al Zahran became the first Saudi female to practice law last year, and pushed the envelope even further by opening the kingdom’s first all-female legal firm! She focuses on fighting for women’s rights and helping courts understand legal disputes from a female perspective. She’s driving change!
Image 1 of 14: Fadi Ghandour is a founding partner of Maktoob.com (the world’s largest Arab online community, recently acquired by Yahoo!) and Aramex - one of the Arab world’s greatest start-up successes. The Jordan-based delivery company took on industry giants such as FedEx and DHL to become the go-to in the global express industry for the MENA region.
Image 1 of 14: Mo Farah won two gold medals at the 2012 London Olympic Games, a first for an Arab athlete (he was born in Mogadishu, Somalia and spent his early childhood in Djibouti). Following a 2011 trip to Somalia, he launched the Mo Farah Foundation and now sponsors the UK-based Muslim Writers Awards. He was awarded a CBE in 2013.
Image 1 of 14: Daoud Hanania has several firsts under his belt; he performed the first heart transplant in the Arab world at Jordan’s King Hussein Medical Centre in 1985 and the Middle East’s first kidney transplant in 1973. He's also a former Lieutenant General in the Jordanian Armed Forces and former Senator in the Jordanian Parliament.
Image 1 of 14: Maryam Matar was named as one of the 20 most influential Muslim women in science this year, devoting her life’s work to combating genetic diseases. While working in several public health positions, Matar managed to establish the UAE Down’s Syndrome Association in 2005 and the UAE Genetic Diseases Association in 2006.
Image 1 of 14: Muna Harib has a day job, but she’s a dynamo in her free time, setting up new ventures devoted to helping others. She created Seeds of Change (which promotes random acts of kindness) and Buksha (which encourages tourism to rural sites to support low-income Emiratis). She’s now documenting the plight of Syrian refugees along Jordan’s border.
Image 1 of 14: Elie Saab opened his first couture atelier in Beirut at age 18; three decades later, he now sits atop a fashion empire, with boutiques in over 50 countries selling his creations! The President of the Lebanese Republic presented him with the title of “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Cèdre”, and Beirut remains his main source of inspiration.
Image 1 of 14: Manahel Thabet holds dual doctorates in financial engineering and quantum mechanics. With a 168 IQ, it does not take a sage to guess that she was named 2013 Asian Genius of the Year. Recognized by the UN for her humanitarian missions in Africa, the Yemen native can be found at the helm of SmartTips Consultants, a consultancy she founded in 2008.
Image 1 of 14: Ahmed Hashima, founder of Egyptian Steel, is known for his entrepreneurship as much as his patriotism. He worked tirelessly to improve the image of the 30th of June Revolution in foreign media, buying space in international newspapers for prominent Egyptian writers to print “the truth” about Egypt’s second revolution. Read all about it!
Image 1 of 14: Maha Laziri is one of the youngest names on the list. Still a student, she founded Teach4Morroco, an NGO run by 10 people, all in their 20’s! Laziri and her team aim to improve the curricula in Morocco's schools, and have rebuilt a school in a remote village in the Atlas Mountains (and are in the process of building a second one nearby).
Arabian Business magazine released its 2014 list of 100 most powerful Arabs this week, featuring a star lineup of Arab women and men making a powerful and positive impact all over the planet.
Over 2,400 individuals were nominated for over nine different “powerful” categories: Leaders, Pioneers, Legends, Geniuses, Heroes, Creatives, Thinkers, Entertainers, and there is even a special category for the young’uns as “Generation Next.”
So who are these great and powerful ones, you may ask? According to the magazine, power is influence; “the more people you influence, the more powerful you are.” Employ thousands of people, manage billion-dollar projects, or affect the world through your creativity or talent – affirmative influence is the name of the game!
Of course, there are those “powerful” ones who were not included in the bidding. Royals, for example, need not apply (unless - bloodline be damned! - you’ve made your own mark on the world), and politicians were likewise excluded from the list unless their wider works pack a positive punch. However, nominees living outside the Arab world could be considered for the list, as long as they were able claim Arab descent.
Now in it’s tenth year, this handy "Who’s Who from the Middle East" is a fun read and a test of your celebrity savvy. See how many of the 2014 finalists you know (or check to see if you made the cut!)