Industry: Culture and society
Designation: Social and political commentator
It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is one of the UAE’s most famous citizens. Whether he’s debunking myths about Dubai in the British press or railing against the growth of sectarianism in the region, Al Qassemi’s opinions are widely respected by his army of 335,000 followers on Twitter.
The Sharjah native came to worldwide prominence during the ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions, when Al Qassemi’s rapid Twitter output established him as an authoratitive voice on Middle Eastern affairs. “I felt, in a tiny, minuscule way, that I contributed — among many, many other people — to what happened,” he told the Guardian newspaper in 2011. But Al Qassemi’s first love lies in the world of art. He founded the Barjeel Art Foundation in 2010, which aims to showcase the works of established and emerging contemporary artists from the Arab world. It also houses over 200 pieces from Al Qassemi’s private collection. Last month, he co-directed the Global Art Forum at Art Dubai. Al Qassemi is also a non-resident fellow at the Dubai School of Government.