World’s Most Influential Arabs of 2023
By: Souria Dabbousi / Arab America Contributing Writer
In 2022, Arabs achieved new heights in various fields, including space exploration, climbing the world’s tallest mountain, and dominating the entertainment industry. These female power listers are breaking down barriers in the boardroom and beyond. We are pleased to welcome 12 new members to the list this year; they have distinguished themselves by outstanding achievements in various sectors.
Coming in first on the list is Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Al=Rumayyan directed the strategy of the sovereign wealth fund to diversify the kingdom’s economy and invest in growing industries. The fund developed investment companies to look for possibilities around the MENA area and started various businesses to improve the local economic environment. Along with its giga-projects, the fund established Ceer, the first electric vehicle brand in the kingdom.
Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri
Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, is also a catalyst for progressing advanced sciences and their economic impact on the country. As chairperson of the UAE Space Agency, Al Amiri commits to the best of her abilities by keeping the organization advanced while supporting the nation’s space capabilities.
Sultan AlNeyadi began his six-month mission in March when he landed at the International Space Station. After Hazza Al Mansoori’s trip to space in 2019, Al Neyadi, who was a member of the inaugural group of the UAE Astronaut Program, became the second Emirati astronaut to visit space.
AlNeyadi, a member of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6, will work with many space agencies on the voyage to carry out scientific research on various subjects. The objective also calls for educational outreach initiatives to encourage the next generation of scientists.
Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
The Emir of Qatar’s sister and a prominent figure in the country’s art and culture is Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. She outlined the nation’s intentions to increase its cultural offerings during the following seven years in March 2022. These plans included adding three new art institutions: the Lusail Museum, the Art Mill Museum, and the Qatar Auto Museum.
The National Museum of Qatar and the Museum of Islamic Art are two architecturally stunning institutions that, under Sheikha Al Mayassa’s direction, have solidified Qatar’s status as a dynamic hub for arts and culture in the Middle East and beyond. She also serves as chair of the Qatar Leadership Centre, Reach Out to Asia, and the Doha Film Institute.
Elie Habib and Eddy Maroun
Lebanon’s Anghami has flourished into a successful company with 1.52 million paying members in 2022 and $48.1 million in unaudited sales, up 35.6% from 2021.
In order to provide Mashreq Bank’s UAE customers with free access to Anghami Plus for up to 12 months, the two companies joined in October 2022. The collaboration will also provide unique regional content via podcasts and custom music production. Forty-seven telecom relationships with the streaming platform make purchases and subscription payments easier. More than 75 million Arabic and other foreign music and almost 100,000 podcasts are included in its library.
Its co-founders, Elie Habib and Eddy Maroun, took advantage of the absence of a quality digital music service. Since then, Anghami has attracted over 3.7 million users in less than a year, streams about 5 million officially licensed Arabic and English music, and has been integrated with seven mobile carriers.
Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab established his label in 1982. With ateliers in Paris and Beirut, Saab’s ELIE SAAB house has internationally solidified its place in the haute couture category. Saab stunned guests during the Paris Haute Couture Week in July 2022 by introducing a lineup of gorgeous male outfits with his iconic range of women’s gowns fit for the red carpet. After almost two years, the renowned Lebanese designer returned to Paris in January 2022 with a vivid collection.
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