100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40
Zeina Abou Chaaban
50

Zeina Abou Chaaban

Industry: Culture and society

Company: Palestyle

Designation: Founder

Country: UAE (Palestine)

Country of origin: @ZeinaAbuChaaban

Age: 32

Founded in 2009, Palestyle’s main line is luxury handbags which are sold in high-end boutiques in the UAE and elsewhere in the region, employing Palestinian refugees to help produce the items, and investing 5 percent of its total sales into development projects in refugee camps.

Based in Dubai’s Motor City, the company has empowered more than 400 refugee women by using their traditional embroidery which is distributed with each and every one of the company’s bags.

A Dubai resident for the past 22 years, Palestinian Abou Chaaban studied and worked in the emirate before taking the bold step into entrepreneurship.

A three-year stint at Procter & Gamble was enough to convince her that the corporate world was not where she saw herself, instead yearning “to do something by myself in social development”.

Abou Chaaban graduated from the American University in Dubai in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in e-business and she was honoured with the exclusive European Council of International Schools Award upon her graduation from Al Mawakeb School in 2000.

She has also led social outreach programmes and summer camps for underprivileged children with Manar Iman Charity School in UAE and with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

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