Date published: May 1, 2010
The World's 50 Most Influential Arabs
For the second year in succession, the outright winner of our poll is Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin TaIaI bin Abdulaziz Alsaud. This multibillionaire businessman (Forbes recently listed his fortune at $19.4 billion) is also a generous philanthropist with a strong social conscience. He supports many charities and centres of learning in the Arab world and beyond which aim to aid people of various nationalities and religions to develop a greater understanding of each other. HRH Prince Alwaleed outlines his philosophy and beliefs in an exclusive interview with The Middle East's editor, Pat Lancaster, on page 54.
Shafik Gabr (Egypt)
Chairman of the Executive Board ot Egypt's International Economic Forum (EIEF) and Managing Director of the ARTOC Group for Investment and Development. Gabr founded the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt in 19S2, serving as its President from 1995 to 1997. In 1993 he was elected Global Leader of Tomorrow by the WEF. He is currently Chairman of the Arab Business Council, promoting its agenda.
Lubna Olayan (Saudi Arabia)
The Chief Executive Officer of the Olayan Financing Company (OFC). As well as her many achievements in business, she has acted as a spokesperson for women's rights in the Middle East. In 2006, Ms Olayan joined the board of Al Fanar, a nongovernmental, nonprofit venture supporting grass-roots organisations promoting social change. She was the first woman to speak at a "mixed" conference in 2004 in Jeddah.
Mohammed Alabbar (UAE)
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 also serves as the Director General of Dubai's Department of Economic Development and is a senior aide to Dubai's ruler and UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Dr Nasser Al Saidi (UAE)
Chief Economist and CEO of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and previously Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in Lebanon (1998-2000) and First ViceGovernor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Dr Al Saidi is a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy. His distinguished career includes serving as adviser and director for government organisations worldwide.
Fadi Ghandour (Jordan)
Born in 1959, Ghandour is the founder and CEO of Aramex, the world's fifth-largest courier company. A board member Abraaj Capital, he has served on the advisory board of the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut. He is involved in the socioeconomic development of communities and is also a founding partner ofMaktoob.com, the largest Arab online community.
Fahd Hariri (Lebanon )
Fahd Hariri is the youngest son of Rafiq Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, who was assassinated in 2005. This 27-year-old billionaire is the head of several panArab conglomerates and owns a stake in family businesses in construction, banking and media. He runs a design studio for furnishings. He is a board member of Beirut's terrestrial and satellite Future Television network.
Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan (UAE)
Minister of Higher Hducationand Scientific Research, Chancellor of the Tj^ ? University, the Higher Colleges of Technology and President of Zayed University, amongst other high-ranking academic positions. Sheikh Nahayan is also Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Group, Union National Bank, and United Bank and the founder and Chairman of Bank Altaian and heads Warid Telecom International.
Issad Rebrab (Algeria)
Born in 1944, Issad Rebrab is a selfmade man who began his career as a teacher of business and accounting. Today he runs Algeria's biggest conglomerate, the Cevital group. He is involved in steel, automobile importing, agricultural foodstuffs and an oil refinery. In 1998, he embarked on a plan to create an industrial energy complex, Cap 2015, to generate 100,000 direct jobs and another million indirect jobs.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem (UAE)
As the Chairman of Dubai World, a powerful economic engine for expanding Dubai's growth abroad, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem is recognised as one of the emirate's leading businessmen. His leadership has spearheaded ground-breaking developments and offerings, including the Dubai Ports World purchase of the UK's P&O Group for $6.8 billion in 2006, the industry's largest acquisition.
Omar K. Alghanim (Kuwait)
Outside his responsibilities at Alghanim Industries, he represents his family's majority share in Gulf Bank and is a founding shareholder of Perella Weinberg Partners and Chairman of Injaz Kuwait. He began his career in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley, London, specialising in advisory services for merger and acquisition transactions and corporate finance restructuring.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (UAE)
The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed is a true entrepreneur and philanthropist. He has overseen the development of Dubai through probably the fastest expansion of any city. In 2007, he set up the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation that aims to develop knowledge and skills while nurturing culture and heritage. He is also a major figure in thoroughbred horse racing.
Queen Rania (Jordan)
Born in August 1970 in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, she earned a degree in Business Administration from AUC. She has campaigned for rights tor women and children; set up the Madrasati initiative to renovate Jordan's most-dilapidated schools; and is a supporter of microfinance initiatives. In 2008, she launched her own channel on YouTube. Her informal style has made her a firm favourite internationally.
Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber (UAE)
He is CEO of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, mandated by the government to drive the Masdar Initiative - Abu Dhabi's investment in the future of energy and environmental sustainability. A board member of the Young Arab Leaders organisation, he has held positions at companies including ADNOC-GASCO, and served as MD for the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce in Los Angeles.
Zaha Hadid (Iraq)
An artist who pushes the boundaries of architecture and design, her work experiments with spatial quality, light and landscape. She received international acclaim in 2004, winning the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She designed a London 2012 Olympic stadium and new projects include the modern art museum in Rome, a major bridge in Abu Dhabi and the Performing Arts Faculty on Saadiyat Island.
Adnan Ahmed Yousif (Bahrain)
The CEO of Albaraka Banking Group (ABG), he is one of the premier names in the Arab world in Islamic banking. He had a distinguished career with the Arab Banking Corporation, culminating in his appointment to the board. He is the Chairman of Albaraka Turk Participation Bank, Banque Albaraka d'Algérie, Albaraka Bank Ltd South Africa, Albaraka Lebanon and the European Islamic Investment Bank.
Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt)
Born in 1931, this grande dame of Arab literature and progressive thinking is a novelist, playwright, medical doctor, psychiatrist, nonfiction author and lifelong political activist. Her novels and books on the position of women in society are written in Arabic and translated into 30 languages. An outspoken critic of the Egyptian government, in 2004 she became a candidate for the presidential elections.
Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned (Qatar)
Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned has been engaged in education and social reforms in Qatar for many years. She is the Chair of Qatar's Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and President of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. In 2007, she was awarded the Chatham House Award for her advocacy of closer relations between Islamic countries and the West.
Abdallah S. Jum'ah (Saudi Arabia)
The President of Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company, until 2008, he remains an influential member of the board of directors A graduate of AUB, who completed the Programme for Management Development at Harvard University in 1976, Jum'ah joined Saudi Aramco in 1968 and was appointed President in November 1995, succeeding the current Minister of Oil and Petroleum, Ali Al Naimi.
Ali bin Ibrahim Al Naimi (Saudi Arabia)
Al Naimi has held the position of Saudi Arabian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources since 1995. After completing his master's degree in geology at Stanford University, he joined Saudi Aramco and rose until he became President, the first Saudi Arabian to do so. His oil industry experience is highly regarded and he is always a popular participant at industry meetings, much valued for his wit and wisdom.
Saif Al Islam Muammar Al Gaddafi (Libya)
The son of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and head of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, which plays a significant and beneficial role overseas, especially in negotiations and ransom payments for the release of hostages. Seif Al Islam is head of organisations including Libya's National Consultancy and chairs the National Anti-Drug Association of Libya.
Muna Abu Sulayman (Saudi Arabia)
A leading media personality in the Middle East and founding co-host of one of MBC TV's most popular programmes, she is a celebrity, a regular contributor to the WEF and to issues relating to Arab society, media, and understanding between the East and the West. In 2005, she became the first woman in Saudi Arabia to be appointed by the UN Development Programme as Goodwill Ambassador.
Asma Assad (Syria)
As First Lady, she initiated and supported programmes designed to foster economic development and improve the quality of life for Syrian people. In 2001, she established Syria's first rural development NGO, the Fund for Integrated Rural Development. She has highlighted the key role of women in development and facilitated their participation, and is a sponsor of events promoting Syria's culture and history.
Ibrahim Dabdoub (Kuwait)
He has been at the helm of the National Bank of Kuwait as CEO since 1983. Dabdoub joined NBK in 1961, progressing 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 Turkey, and at Stanford University, in the US. In 1997 he was elected Arab Banker of the Year bv the Union of Arab Banks.
HH Princess Lalla Salma (Morocco)
Born Salma Bennani in 1978, she is the first wife of a Moroccan ruler to have been publicly acknowledged and given a royal title. Princess Lalla holds a degree in computer science and worked in Casablanca as an information services engineer at the ONA Group, the country's largest private holding company. She has been involved with the Fez Sacred Music Festival and is a keen supporter of local cancer associations.
Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser bin Khalid Al Thani (Qatar)
Named Woman CEO of the Year in 2006 for developing Qatar's economic and social presence in the Arab world, Sheikha Hanadi is founder and Chairperson of Amwal and CEO of Al Wa 'ab City. In 2009 she was voted one of the top 20 global banking and finance women role models. Actively involved in community initiatives, she serves as a trustee on the board of the Arab Women's International Forum.
Dr Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser (Saudi Arabia)
Vice Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Dr Al Jasser is chairman of the boards of organisations which include the Arab Investment Company. His opinions are much valued by the IMF: he was a member of the Negotiation Team on the accession of Saudi Arabia to the WTO. He has been honoured with the King Abdulaziz Medal of the First Order for his services to the Kingdom.
Abdullah Salem El Badri (Libya)
'Ihe current Secretary General of OPEC, his previous roles in Libya include Minister of Petroleum; Minister of Energy and Electricity and Deputy Prime Minister for Services. El Badri has also served as Chairman of the Waha Oil Company and the Libyan National Oil Company. He has played a vital role in attempting to get Libyan oil production back on an even keel, after years of sanctions and neglect.
Zahi Hawass (Egypt)
Born near Damietta, Egypt, in 1947. Hawass studied Greek and Roman archaeology at Alexandria University and is recognised as an antiquities expert. He is Secretary General to Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, responsible for the country's prestigious monuments. He is UN Goodwill Ambassador to Japan, and a Commander and Officer of the French and Italian government. In 2006, he won an Emmy for his TV work.
Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (Bahrain)
Before assuming the duties of Crown Prince, Sheikh Salman was Vice Chairman of the Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research, and Chairman from 199s to 1999. In 1995 he was also appointed Defence Under-Secretary. He is Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and spearheaded the initiative to bring Formula 1 racing to Bahrain and the Middle East.
Othman Benjelloun (Morocco)
Ihe Chairman and CEO of BMCE Bank has successfully pioneered the transformation of BMCE Bank since its privatisation in 1995, from a public bank to a universal private banking group. He is an Honorary Fellow of King's College, London, has been the Chairman of Morocco's Bankers' Association since 1995, is President of the Maghreb Bankers' Association and supports South-South cooperation.
Dr Mohamed Mostafa EIBaradei (Egypt)
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a UN organisation. In 2005, Dr EIBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He began his career in the Egyptian diplomatic service. He lectures on international law, arms control and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and is a potential contender in the Presidential elections in Egypt.
Sultan Qaboos (Sultanate of Oman)
One of the most charismatic Arab leaders, Sultan Qaboos has transformed Oman into a vibrant and successful nation. This year, he celebrates 40 years of achievement. He has championed Middle Eastern peace and cooperation, working tirelessly to keep communication open between the GCC, Iran and Yemen. His policies on education, health and gender equality have created a more diversified economy.
Suad Al Humaidi (Kuwait)
As the owner of a group of hotels and residential complexes in Kuwait, Suad Al Humaidi is an influential member of The Property Owners Union in Kuwait and widely considered an ambassador for business and women in the region. She is also a member of the board directors of Bank Audi (the Audi Saradar Group) in Lebanon and owns stakes in the National Bank of Kuwait.
Amr Al Dabbagh (Saudi Arabia)
Al Dabbagh gained a BA in business administration from King Abdulaziz University and then spent time in banking at Merrill Lynch in New York, Coutts in London and Banque Worms in Paris. As Governor of SAGlA, he has led the group's expansion into housing, real estate and telecommunications. He founded the Jeddah Economic Forum and has put into practice his vision for the future of Saudi Arabia.
Sulaiman Al Rajhi (Saudi Arabia)
Chairman of the largest Islamic bank, Al Rajhi, in Saudi Arabia, which was established by royal decree in 1988. The bank includes retail, corporate and investment banking. A noted philanthropist, he has founded the SAAR Foundation, a flagship corporation representing charities, think-tanks and business entities. He received his bachelor's degree from King Abdulaziz University.
Naguib 0. Sawiris (Egypt)
Chairman and CEO of Orascom Telecom, one of Egypt's largest and most diversified conglomerates, and Chairman of Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA and Mobinil. He is a member of the Advisory Committee to the New York Stock Exchange Board of Directors and holds membership of both the Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of the Arab Thought Foundation and the Cancer Society of Egypt.
Hussein Al Uzri (Iraq)
Al Uzri established the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) in 2003 to facilitate the government of Iraq's trade with the rest of the world. Prior to joining TBI, Al Uzri served as a managing director at Card Tech, a major emerging markets financial IT and consulting firm and spent 10 years in Moscow managing that firm's activities in Russia. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University and is fluent in English, Arabic, and Russian.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Issa Al Jaber (Saudi Arabia)
As head of M BI International, his business influence spans tourism with JJW Hotels & Resorts, food with the AJWA group (one of the largest Middle Eastern food companies) as well as oil industries with Continentoil. He has actively promoted cooperation between Europe and the Arab world, by initiating agreement through the MBI Al Jaber Foundation's cooperation with the Council of Europe.
Mohammed Latif Jameel (Saudi Arabia)
Active in real estate, finance, advertising, and the distribution of electronics and household appliances, he also owns the world's largest Toyota dealership with operations in the Middle East, UK Central Asia, China. An art philanthropist, he has funded galleries around the world, including a gallery showcasing more than 10,000 Islamic artifacts at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Elie Saab (Lebanon)
Born in 1964, sometimes known simply as 'ES', he is a Lebanese fashion designer with worldwide recognition, having launched his Beirut-based label when he was 18. Although his main workshop remains there, he also has workshops in Paris and Milan. He became an overnight success after being the first Lebanese designer to dress an Oscar winner - Halle Berry - in 2002, repeating this success at the 2010 Oscars.
Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi (UAE)
Currently Minister for Foreign Trade and previously Minister of Economic and Planning of the UAE, Sheikha Lubna was appointed in 2004 and holds the distinction of being the first woman to hold a ministerial post in the UAE. A graduate of California State University, she is the CEO of Tejari, the Middle East's premier electronic business-tobusiness marketplace.
Abdel Bari Atwan (Palestine)
Born in Palestine in 1950, one of 11 children, as I.ondonbased editor-in chief Arabic newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, Atwan has become one of Europe's most respected Palestinian voices. He interviewed Bin Laden in 1996 and has since become a well-known public figure and speaker in the media, and a regular guest on Dateline London, BBC World, Sky News and Al Jazeera English, as well as on several Arabic-language networks.
Dr Fawzieh Al Dorai (Kuwait)
Dr Al Dorai is the face of one of the region's most popular television talk shows - a psychologist with a background in sex education, she fronts Kuwaiti television's Seerat El Hob (The Love Story), a prime-time phone-in show. She is frequently regarded as the Arab Oprah Winfrey. A published author, Al Dorai has written more than 14 books and is a regular contributor to local publications.
Mohammed Al Bahar (Kuwait )
Chairman of National Bank of Kuwait, the country's oldest public company and one of the most consistent performers among the region's banks, he is involved in various industries: Al Bahar's construction group is the regional distributor for Caterpillar heavy construction equipment. He is recognised for his righteous principles and his widespread humanitarian efforts.
Leila Ben Ali (Tunisia)
First Lady Leila Ben Ali, wife of the Tunisian president, is the current Chairwoman of the Arab Women Organisation (AWO), which was established in 2000 under the umbrella of the Arab League. Mme Ben Ali will hold the position till 2011. In this role, she has set up the Arab Women's Commission for International Humanitarian Law and works tirelessly to improve the conditions of women.
Mohammed Hassan Omran (UAE)
Chairman of Etisalat since 1976, he has led the UAE telecoms company into Africa and the Middle East. In 2008, he received an award from Al Iktissad WaI Aamal Group celebrating his achievements and contribution to the telecommunications industry, and industry in general, during the second Abu Dhabi Economic Forum. Omran has played a crucial role in giving Etisalat a socially responsible business perspective.
Khalaf Al Habtoor (UAE)
Chairman of Al Habtoor Group and Dubai National Insurance & Reinsurance Company, he is a member of the Dubai Economic Council and honorary member of the Arab American Medical Association for his contribution to the establishment of the Arab Cultural Awards in 2008. In 2009, he was awarded the Sharjah Voluntary Work Award. He is a benefactor of the American University of Cairo.
Gamal El Deen Muhammad Hosni Sayed Mubarak (Egypt)
Born 1963, he is the younger of the two sons of current President Hosni Mubarak. He is also the Chairman of the Future Generation Foundation (FGF), an NGO dedicated to job training, and an honorary member of Rotary Clubs, awarded in May 2000. He is the General Secretary of the Policy Committee of the National Democratic Party and is currently planning to run for President.
Abdel Hamid A. M. Shoman (Jordan)
Born in 1947, he is now the chairman of Arab Bank. The bank was established in Jerusalem in 1930 by Abdel's grandfather, Abdul Ha meed Shoman, with a view to serving the Arabs of Palestine. Following his father, Abdul Majeed Shoman's death in July 2005, Abdel took over as chairman and CEO. He is a member of the Jordanian Senate, with a bachelor of science degree in business administration.