Thursday, March 10, 2016

8 most powerful Arab women

Be it in art, law, business, policy or government; these Arab women top the global power lists

1. Shaikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE

Nationality: Emirati, Age: 54


"Dubai is the living model of what the Expo is all about. It's about partnerships and alliances." - On Expo 2020
As the first woman in UAE history to hold a ministerial position, Shaikha Lubna is a trailblazer for all women in the region.
Shaikha Lubna is ranked first as per the Forbes list of 10 most powerful Arab women in government (2015). She also falls in the top 50 most powerful women in the world (Forbes 2015).
Other designations: Board of the Dubai Chamber for Commerce and Industry, Board of the National US Arab Chamber of Commerce
Social activities: Volunteering with the Friends of Cancer Patients Society and serving on the Dubai Autism Centre Board of Directors

2. Lubna Olayan, Saudi Arabia

Nationality: Saudi Arabian, Age: 60


“I am a proponent, though, of a system in which opportunities are ‘gender neutral’ and of a true meritocracy that sees the right person in the right position for the right reasons, regardless of gender.” - ABANA, New York
Olayan was the only woman in a 4000-strong workforce for 18 years. She was the first woman in Saudi Arabia to deliver a keynote address, at the Jeddah Economic Forum in 2004.
She has been ranked number 1 on the 2015 Forbes list of 100 most powerful Arab business women. She also falls in the top 100 most powerful women in the world (Forbes 2015).
Current designation: CEO, Olayan Financing Company
Other designations: Board of WPP (British marketing firm), Board of Saudi Hollandi Bank, International Advisory Board of Rolls-Royce and Citigroup, member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, and the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations
Social activities: INSEAD Board, Arab Thought Foundation, Board of the Down Syndrome Charitable Association (Riyadh)

3. Shaikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad, Qatar

Nationality: Qatari, Age: 33


“People have said, 'Let's build bridges,' and frankly, I want to do more than that. I would like to break the walls of ignorance between East and West.” - Ted Talk
She is the youngest of this list yet no less prolific with her rising fame as the face of contemporary art in the Middle East and abroad.
Ranked third in the Forbes 2015 list of most powerful Arab business women in the world, Shaikha Mayassa stood first in ArtReview's Power 100 in 2012.
Current designation: Chairperson, Qatar Museums (earlier Qatar Museum Authority), Founder and Chair, Doha Film Institute
Social activities: Chairperson, Reach Out To Asia (ROTA – access to education for underserved people in Asia)
Interesting fact: She bought the world’s most expensive painting last year for a whopping US $300 million (approx. 1.1 billion dirhams)

4. Nemat Shafik, Egypt

Nationality: British, Age: 53


"Combination of empirical scientific rigor but at the same time being more human and earthy were a big part of my upbringing" - Interview with Harry Kreisler, 2001
At 36, she was the youngest ever vice-president of the World Bank and has been conferred the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
She has been ranked first in Forbes 2015 list of 10 most powerful Arab women in the world (overall category). She is ranked 66 in the world's most powerful women (Forbes 2015).
Current designation: Deputy Governor, Bank of England
Other designations: Board member, British Museum, Board member of the Middle East Advisory Group to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Former Deputy Managing Director of IMF
Social activities: Board member of Minority Ethnic Talent Association and Economic Research Forum for the Arab World, Iran and Turkey

5. Nayla Hayek, Lebanon

Nationality: Swiss, Age: 65


“We are all very emotional in our family. Our business is selling emotion: most people buy watches and jewellery as gifts.” - The Telegraph, 2015
Nayla Hayek is the fourth most powerful Arab woman in the world (overall category) as per Forbes 2015
Current designation: Chairwoman, Swatch Group, CEO, Harry Winston Inc.
Other designations: International Arabian horse judge and breeding expert
Social activities: Sponsor deal with AMFAR (American Foundation for Aids Research)
Interesting fact: Harry Winston Inc. is now the owner of the world’s largest flawless blue diamond which Hayek bought for US $23.8 million (over 87 million dirhams)

6. Zaha Hadid, Iraq

Nationality: British, Age: 65


"I never took no for an answer. I never sat back and said 'walk all over me, it's OK'." - CNN, 2014
In architecture, Hadid became the first woman ever to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Gold Medal in 2015. In 2012, she was conferred the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Zaha Hadid is the third most powerful Arab woman in the world (overall) as per Forbes MIddle East 2015
Current designation: Professor, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria
Notable projects: She is renowned for her theoretical works including The Peak in Hong Kong, the Kurfurstendamm in Berlin, and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales. Her other notable creations include the Bridge in Zaragoza, Spain; the Riverside Museum at Glasgow's Museum of Transport; and Guangzhou Opera House.

7. Raja Easa Al Gurg, United Arab Emirates

Nationality: Emirati, Age: 60


"All these years that I have been working – more than 35 years – I have been able to achieve my goals. It’s completely up to me how I push myself.” - Gulf Business, 2015
Raja Easa Al Gurg manages Easa Saleh Al Gurg conglomerate, a diversified business with 26 companies spread across the GCC.
In the Forbes list of 100 most powerful Arab business women, Raja Easa Al Gurg occupies second rank. She is also featured in the Forbes 2015 list of 100 most powerful women in the world.
Current designation: Managing Director, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group LLC (ESAG)
Other designations: Deputy Chair of the Dubai Healthcare City Authority and president of the Dubai Business Women Council, board member of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry

8. Amal Clooney, Lebanon

Nationality: British, Age: 37


“I am still doing the same jobs as I was doing before. If there is more attention being paid than there was before, then that’s good.” - NBC News, 2016
As a high-profile lawyer, Amal Clooney has represented Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks;  former prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko and Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy. But she has garnered more media attention as the wife of Hollywood celebrity George Clooney.
She has been ranked as the second most powerful Arab woman in the world (overall category) by Forbes 2015.
Current Designation: Lawyer, Doughty Street Chambers (International law and human rights)
Current clients: Jailed former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, Louis Olivier Bancoult and Chagos islanders, Azerbaijani journalist, Khadija Ismayilova