Date published: May 1, 2012
HRH Prince Alwaleed Alsaud is one of the most recognisable faces of the contemporary Arab World. Well known as a successful entrepreneur and businessman, with interests spread across multiple international organisations, Prince Alwaleed has gained a reputation as a generous philanthropist with a truly global perspective. He is committed to bringing together people of all races and religions in the furtherance of understanding and peace. The past year has seen seismic change in the Middle East and although long acknowledged as a visionary and a reformer, Prince Alwaleed is increasingly looked to as a man with his finger on the pulse of democratic change and development. On page 54, Prince Alwaleed talks to Pat Lancaster about change, reform and the promise of a better future.
Tawakkul Karman (Yemen)
The youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, aged 32, Tawakkul Karman has toured the world, highlighting the struggle for women's rights in her homeland. As a champion of free speech for many years, in 2005 Karman set up the campaign group Women Journalists Without Chains. She is considered by many to be the female face of the Arab Spring.
Karmen, who earned a degree in political science from the University Sana'a, told Yemeni women to stop feeling they were part of the problem and become part of the solution.
Bahder Abdullah Al Darwish (Qatar)
Bahder Abdullah Al Darwish runs the familyowned 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 luxury Lagoona West Bay Mall. Plans were mooted to list Darwish Holdings shares on the Qatar bourse in 2008 but the company subsequently pushed back its stock market debut in the wake of the international financial crisis.
Rashad Bin Muhammad Al Zubair (Oman)
Rashad Bin Muhammad Al Zubair serves as Deputy Chairman and Group President of the Zubair Corporation and is also Chairman of Oman Arab Bank SAOC, the main subsidiary of Ominvest. He is the Director of Dana Gas PJSC and a director of the Muscat Capita] Market Authority. Al Zubair is also the founder of the unique Bait Al Zubair Museum in Muscat. Inaugurated in 1998, the museum is dedicated to his grandfather, Sheikh Ali bin Juma, and operates with the aim of preserving and exhibiting ethnographic material relating to Oman as well as introducing contemporary talent.
Raja Easa Al Gurg (UAE)
As managing director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, as well as president of the Dubai Business Women's Council, Al Gurg has become a figure of considerable power and influence. A board member at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, she is also a member of the Dubai Economic Council, the Arab International Women's Forum, the National Advisory Council and the College of Business Sciences. She has set up her own charitable foundation, the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Charity Foundation, which provides a range of social development programmes, including education and research.
HH Princess Ameerah AI-Taweel (Saudi Arabia)
The Vice Chairwoman of Alwaleed Foundation, she has become one of the world's most recognised philanthropists along with her husband, Prince Alwaleed. She supports a wide range of international humanitarian interests. Princess Ameerah opened an orphanage in Hurkina Faso in 2011 and has spearheaded humanitarian trips to Pakistan and Somalia. She is a member of the board of trustees at the Doha-based Silatech organisation, a social initiative to create jobs for young people in the Arab world.
Dr Amina Al Rustamanž (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.
lssad Rebrab (Algeria)
Born in May 1944, lssad Rebrab is a self-starter who began his career as a teacher of business and accounting. Today he runs Algeria's biggest conglomerate, which is 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, about 6okm 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.
Miloud Chaabl (Morocco)
Miloud Cha‚bi is the founder of Ynna Holding and the owner of the Ryad Mogador hotel chain and the Aswak Assalam group of supermarkets. Cha‚bi is renowned for his philanthropic and charitable work and operates of one of the largest charity organisations in Morocco, the Miloud Cha‚bi Foundation. In 2008 he donated 10% of his personal fortķnelo fund construction of the 6rst American university in Morocco, in conjunction with the University of Maryland.
Ornar Hamad Almana (Qatar)
Omar Hamad Almana set up the Almana Group in 1961. The holding company currently represents some of the biggest international firms operating in the Gulf States, including the Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, Dodge & Jeep, Peugeot, IBM, Coca-Cola and KFC. The Doha-headquartered Almana Real Estate, is regarded as a premier provider of luxury villas and residences. Outside the business world, Almana was instrumental in setting up the American School in Qatar in the 1980s.
Ahdaf Soueif (Egypt)
Ahdaf Soueif is among the world's most highly acclaimed novelists. Her debut novel, In the Eye of the Sun, was published in 1993, followed by The Map of Love, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1999, has sold over a million copies and was translated into 21 languages. In 2008, Soueif launched the first Palestine Festival of Literature.
Said Khoury (Palestine)
Born in Safad, Palestine, Khoury got his first job helping to build Tripoli Airport. Later, in 1952, he founded Consolidated Contractors
International Company (CCC), 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 Businessmen's Association and is governor of the Arab Monetary Fund.
Shafik Gabr (Egypt)
The Egyptian chairman of ARTOC Group Investment St Development is a consummate networker. Founder and president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt; the Chairman of the Arab Business Council and Chairman of the Council of Advisers, MENA Region, at the World Bank Gabr, an acclaimed collector of Islamic art, he is also a member of the Initiative for Peace and Cooperation in the Middle East.
Sultan Ali Al Jaber (UAE)
CEO of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, which is 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. Al Jaber was recently appointed as a board member of the Young Arab Leaders Organisation, and has held positions at companies including ADNOC/ GASCO and served as managing director of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce in Los Angeles.
Wadah Khanfar (Palestine)
The head of Al Jazeera was 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 trade from the ground up, working as a journalist in various war zones including Iraq and Afghanistan. He became Managing Director of the Al Jazeera Channel in 2003, and Director General of the Al Jazeera Network in 2006.
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.
Lubna Olayan (Saudi Arabia)
The Chief Executive Officer of the Olayan Financing Company (OFC), she is considered an important spokesperson for women's rights in the Middle East. Olayan was the first woman to speak at a "mixed" conference - the Jeddah Economic Conference in 2004. She currently sits on the board of trustees of the Arab Thought Foundation and is also a board member of AI Panar, which supports grassroots organisations in the Arab world.
Nabil El Araby (Egypt)
An Egyptian diplomat, El Araby was appointed to the position of Secretary General of the Arab League in 2on. He was Egypt's permanent representative to the United Nations from 1991 to 1995 and has held several other diplomatic and governmental positions. El Araby was a board member of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute from 2000 to 2010.
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, Bahrain
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Issa Al Ņaber (Saudi Arabia)
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 School of Oriental and African Studies.
Adel All (UAE)
Founder of Air Arabia, Ade! 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 has received several awards for his contribution to the development and expansion of the aviation industry.
Muna AbuSulayman (Saudi Arabia)
A leading media personality in the Middle East and founding co-host of one of MBC TV's most popular social programmes, she has become a celebrity and a regular contributor to the World Economic Forum who is often asked to contribute to issues relating to Arab society, media and the furthering of understanding between the East and the West. In 2005, she became the first woman in Saudi Arabia to be appointed a goodwill ambassador by the UN Development Programme.
Elie Saab (Lebanon)
Born in 1964 and sometimes known simply as 1ES', Saab is a fashion designer who has achieved worldwide recognition. Launching his Beirutbased 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. In 2011, he launched his own perfume brand, Le Parfum.
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 Director General of Dubai 's Department of Hconomic Development. He is a senior aide to Dubai's Ruler, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Wael Ghonim (Egypt)
Googie's head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa came to prominence when he was abducted and held in captivity during the uprising against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, His bravery resulted in a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. His social networking company is credited wilh keeping protestors in touch during the Arab Spring and is now considered by many an emblem of change in Arab world. He continually features prominently in polls of popular influential Arabs.
Suad Al Humaidi (Kuwait)
Suad Al Humaidi is considered an ambassador for businesswomen across the Middle East region. She is the owner of commercial and residential complexes both in Kuwait and abroad, and is a leading member of The Property Owners Union of Kuwait. She is also a member of the board of management for Saradar (Saudi Bank) in Lebanon and has a stake in several other financial institutions, including the National Bank of Kuwait.
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-tobusiness online marketplace, which now has franchises across the Middle East region. 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.
Mohamed Latif Jameel (Saudi Arabia)
Active in real estate, financing, advertising, media and the distribution of electronics and household appliances, Jameel also owns the world's largest Toyota dealership with operations in the Middle East, UK, Central Asia and China. As an art philanthropist he has funded galleries around the world, including one showcasing more than 10,000 Islamic artifacts at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Fadi Ghandour (Jordan)
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 theSuIiman S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut and retains an involvement in the socioeconomic development of underdeveloped communities. Ghandour is also a founding partner of Maktoob. com, the largest Arab online community.
Othman Benjelloun (Morocco)
The Chairman and CEO of BMCE Bank successfully pioneered the transformation of BMCE Bank, which was privatised 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. He is also a keen supporter of South-South cooperation.
Ali bin Ibrahim Al Naimi (Saudi Arabia)
Al Naimi has held the position oi" Saudi Arabian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources since 1995. After completing his Master's degree in geology at Stanford University in the United States, he joined Saudi Aramco in 1957 and began climbing the managerial 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.
Dr Nasser Al Saidi (UAE)
Chief Economist and CEO of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the multitalented Al Saidi was previously Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in Lebanon (1998-2000) and First Vice-Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon. His distinguished career as an economist includes serving as adviser and director for various government organisations and financial institutions worldwide, including membership of the UN Committee for Development Policy.
Souhayr Belhassen (Tunisia)
A Tunisian human rights activist, she has been president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), since 2007. In Tunis, she founded the weekly cultural magazine 7$ury and co-authored Bourguiba, a critically acclaimed biography of the former Tunisian premier. Belhassen was awarded the Takreem 2011 Arab Woman of the Year award in Qatar for her work in the field of human rights.
Hanan Al shaykh (Lebanon)
Born in Beirut in 1945, this author rose from humble beginnings to become one of the world's best-loved Arab writers. 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, all written in Arabic, have been translated into nine other languages. Her latest project was a modern adaptation of the classic One Thousand and One Nights, which was also showcased to great international acclaim at the eclectic Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Abdel Hamid A. Shoman (Jordan)
Born in 1947, Shoman is now the chairman of Arab Bank, first established in Jerusalem in 1930 by his grandfather, also known as Abdui Hamid Shoman, with a view to serving the Arabs of Palestine. Shoman took over as chairman and CEO of the bank following his father's death in July 2005. In addition to his responsibilities within Arab Bank, Shoman is also a member of the Jordanian Senate and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.
Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt)
Born in 1931, this celebrated grande dame of Arab literature and progressive thinking is a novelist, a playwright, a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, a non-fiction writer and lifelong political activist. Although proudly Egyptian, she has become an icon around the world. Her books about women and society, written in Arabic have been translated into 30 languages. A long outspoken critic of the former Egyptian government, she actively participated in the Arab Spring and has vowed never to give up the struggle for truth and democracy.
Majid Al Futtaim (UAE)
Shopping mall magnate Majid Al Futtaim is responsible for bringing indoor skiing to Dubai's deserts and presides over retail real estate spanning the Middle East from Egypt to Oman, after taking control of his family's mall assets. He also operates the Carrefour brand of supermarkets throughout Middle East and continues to invest, working with the Omani government to build the country's first luxury residential development
Feisal Abdul Rauf (Kuwait)
Born in Kuwait in 1948, Feisal Abdul Rauf is the Imam of Masjid Al Farah, a New York City mosque and also hoids a bachelor's degree in physics from Columbia University. Rauf was first associated with the proposed contruction of the "Ground Zero Mosque" and is a permanent trustee of the Islamic Cultural Centre (ICC) in New York. He is a tireless worker for the building of bridges between Muslims and the West.
Khalaf Al Habtoor (UAE)
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 its Arab Leagues States headquarters in Cairo.
Dr Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser (Saudi Arabia)
Vice Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Dr Muhammad Al Jasser is Chairman of the Board of a variety of organisations, including the Arab Investment Company. His opinions are frequently sought by the IMF; he was a member of the Negotiation Team on the accession of Saudi Arabia to the WTO in 2005 and was honoured in 2009 with the King Abdulaziz Medal of the First Order for his services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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. The Alshaya Group has diverse holdings including real estate, construction, hotels, multiple retailing, IT and advertising. Alshaya was appointed CEO of the retail division in 1990 and oversees its franchising operations throughout Europe. He is also a member of the Arab Thought Foundation.
Adrian Ahmed Yousif (Bahrain)
The CEO of Albaraka Banking Group (ABG), he is one of the premier names in the Arab world in terms of Islamic banking. In addition to a distinguished career with the Arab Banking Corporation, he is also the Chairman of Albaraka Turk Participation Bank, Banque Albaraka d'Algťrie, Albaraka Bank Ltd South Africa, Albaraka Lebanon and the Kuropean Islamic Investment Bank.
Abd Al Bari Atwan (Palestine/UK)
Born in Palestine in 1950 and one of u children, L ondo n -based Palestinian journalist, commentator and editor-in chief of the Arabic newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, Atwan famously interviewed Osama bin Laden in 1996. As editor of Al Quds Al Ambi, Atwan has become a well-known public figure in the western, as well as the Arab media, and is a popular and regular guest on Dateline London, BBC World , Sky News, Al jazeera KngHsh and several Arabic-language networks.
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair (UAE)
He was appointed Chairman of DIFC Authority Board of Directors in April 2O12. 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 19605. In addition to his role as the CEO of the Mashreq Group, this billionaire businessman is Chairman of the Al Ghurair Group and a supporter of many charitable organisations at home and abroad, including UNICEF and the UAE's Disabled Sports Federation.
Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser bin Khal id Al Thani (Qatar)
She was named Woman CKO of the Year in 2006 for developing Qatar's economic and social presence in the Arab world and is founder and Chairperson of Amwal and CEO of Al Wa'ab City. Sheikha Hanadi won the accolade Businesswoman of the Year at the Arabian Business Achievement Awards Qatar 2010 and was recently voted among the world's top 20 female banking and nuance role models. Actively involved in community initiatives, she serves as a trustee on the board of the Arab Women's International Forum.
Amr Al Dabbagh (Saudi Arabia)
After gaining a BA degree in Business Administration from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Al Dabbagh obtained 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 group's expansion into housing, real estate and telecommunications. Al Dabbagh notably founded the Jeddah Economic Forum in 1999 and has since worked tirelessly putting into practice his vision for the future of Saudi Arabia.
Ibrahim Dabdoub (Kuwait)
Chairman of the Arab business council ot 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.
Tariq Ramadan (Egypt)
Hailed as a 21st century philosopher, Tariq Ramadan is a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University. He studied Arabic and French literature at Master's level and holds a PhD in Arabic and Islamic studies from Geneva University. He is also a television presenter, poet, writer and academic who features prominently in contemporary thinking.
Sultan Soud Al Qassemi (UAE)
Non-resident fellow at the Dubai School of Government, Al Qassemi's editorial is published regularly by the UAE's The National newspaper.
He has developed an influential social media network and is an active tweeter (22"d on a recent list). He has held the position of Chairman of Young Arab Leaders' UAE chapter since 2008 and is also Chairman of Barjeel Securities in Dubai.
Sulaiman Al Rhajhi (Saudi Arabia)
Al Rhajhi s the Chairman of the largest Islamic bank, Al Radjhi in Saudi Arabia, established by royal decree in 1988. The bank includes retail, corporate and investment banking. Al Rhajhi is a dedicated philanthropist: in 1970 he founded the SAAR Foundation, a flagship corporation representing charities, think tanks and business entities. He also has financial interests in Al Rajhi Bank, the Yanbu Cement Company and the National Agricultural Development Company (Nadec).