Former refugee from Palestine named as world’s most influential young Arab

Palestinian-Canadian author, reporter and entrepreneur, Chaker Khazaal is proof that refugees can go on from displacement to incredible achievements. For this he has been named the world’s most inspiring young Arab, according to a new ranking published by Arabian Business on Sunday.

The 28-year-old beat 22-year-old Shamma Al Mazrouei, the youngest ever member of the UAE cabinet, and the country’s first ever Minister of State for Youth Affairs. Al Mazrouei was ranked second, ahead of Saudi entrepreneur Khalid Alkhudair.

The annual ranking reveals the 100 Arabs aged under 40 who are making a significant difference in the world, within their respective fields including science, arts, sport, business and government.

Click here to view the top 100 Arabs aged under 40

Rounding out the top 10 were: Hassan Al Thawadi (38), Noura Al Kaabi (37), Bader Al Kharafi (38), Fahad Al Rasheed (38), Saif Abou Zaid (33), Ahmad Belhoul (38) and Sultan Al Qassemi (38).

The UAE dominated the list with 23 young Arabs, down from 24 last year. Egypt (15), Lebanon (13), Saudi Arabia (12) and Palestine (10) also scored high.

Khazaal spent his early life living in Bourj El Barajneh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut before emigrating to Canada after winning the Global Leader of Tomorrow Award from York University in Toronto. From there he released his critically acclaimed novel ‘Confessions of a War Child’ in 2013, the first in a thriller-romantic trilogy of fiction inspired by true stories of refugees and war around the world, mainly in the Middle East.

Khazaal also formed a group of professional refugees from around the world, offering them contractual remote employment in e-marketing, graphics, social media management, and different web solutions. Thus, not only has he shone in a personal capacity but he has worked to improve the lives of others refugees.

Meanwhile, eyes are on Al Mazrouei in her new role leading the way for Emirati youth. Only appointed in February, she is expected to help increase their involvement in decision making and represent their interests, which will likely include entrepreneurship and education.

Alkhudair is a standout representative of Saudi youth, having given up a comfortable job at auditor KPMG and taken the risk of creating his own company to help others. Glowork focuses on solving female unemployment in Saudi Arabia and he estimates it has now helped more than 26,000 women find direct jobs in the kingdom, while a far greater number have benefitted from access to the firm’s advice and career fairs.

The list does not include royal family members.

Click here to view the top 100 Arabs aged under 40


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