Power, influence, success, inspiration…you name it, they have it.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again, the publication of the Arabian Business Power 100 for 2009 – our special guide to the world’s 100 most influential Arabs.
So who is in this year’s list? Topping the tree for the fifth year in succession is HRH Prince Alwaleed, once again not just the world’s richest Arab, but in our view the world’s most influential Arab.
A hundred places below him, propping up the Power 100, is the Freej cartoonist taking the region by storm, Mohammed Harib.
Between them is a variety of names from all walks of life – media, fashion, business, sports, science, academics – even charity work. These are the people who have made the biggest impact on a global scale.
This year sees a record 52 new entries, with the highest newcomer straight in at No.3, Muntadhar Al Zaidi.
The Iraqi journalist found international stardom in December last year by hurling his shoes at President Bush.
He may be serving 3 years behind bars for the incident, but that hasn’t stopped the Al Zaidi global phenomena – from street protests around the globe in support of him, to computer games, shoe sales, songs being written about him, a movie in the making and even a marriage proposal, Zaidi has clearly been one of the most influential Arabs of the past decade.
Also making the top 5 for the first time is Hydra CEO Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, climbing to No.4 thanks to his TV show “The Hydra Executives” and his purchase of Manchester City Football Club.
It means that with both Dr Fahim and Al Zaidi in the upper echelons of the list, two of our top five are under 35 years old – a clear sign that the younger generation is taking over when it comes to power.
Al Zaidi is one of a remarkable five new entries in this year’s top ten. Straight in at No.6 is the Palestinian theatre director Amir Nizar Zuabi, who’s play “Alive From Palestine: Stories Under Occupation” has been a sell out in the US, and earned rave reviews in London and Edinburgh.
The best-selling author Mohammed Al Aryan is one place behind him, while in eighth place is Dr Mohamed Nedal Alchaar. His work on accounting standards for Islamic finance have had a massive global impact on the business world. And in tenth place is Fayez Al Maliki, the star of the first Saudi movie to be screened in the Kingdom for 30 years.
This year’s list features 23 entries from media and arts, three from science and medicine and two from the field of charity. The highest female newcomer is at No.11, the Kuwaiti television presenter Fawzieh Al Dorai.
As always, we should stress that the list is not scientific but entirely subjective.