The Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, was honoured with the Visionary Leader award at the Arabian Business Achievement Awards.
The annual awards recognise and honour men and women from across the Middle East who have had outstanding successes in their various fields.
Sheikh Saud said he was accepting the award for two groups of people – those who have inspired him and the people of Ras Al Khaimah.
“I’m fortunate to be leading so many hardworking and talented individuals,” Sheikh Saud told a packed audience at the Waldorf Astoria The Palm.
“RAK is home to all races and religions, helping to make it one of the greatest places in the world.
"This award is for RAK and for the UAE.”
He said Ras Al Khaimah is an emirate that is changing and growing each year, with significant growth in its tourism sector.
“In five years, we’ve doubled our tourist numbers to 1 million. By 2025, we aim to reach 3 million visitors,” he said.
Another of the Arabian Business Achievement Awards was His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair. Known as the successful CEO of Mashreq Bank, chairman of the UAE Banking Federation and the chairman of Al Ghurair Investment, he is also chairman of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education.
The foundation also launched a $27 million fund this year to finance the education of thousands of refugee children in the Middle East.
In a moving tribute, Al Ghurair invited a group of four young Arab students on stage with him to receive his award calling them his “inspiration” for giving not just his money but also his time to philanthropic activities.
“They came here [to the UAE] by accident, and some of them had to work hard, [they] left high school and took jobs to support their families,” he said.
Al Ghurair said he hoped the award would encourage other people “to come forward and also talk about their programmes, and encourage the community to participate more and more in uplifting our society.”
One of the highlights of the night came at the end when eight Iraqi women received Arabian Business Achievement Awards in acknowledgement of their fighting spirit, their entrepreneurial spirit and their ability to pass on knowledge to others.
In 2015 the US-based non-profit, Prosperity Catalyst, launched a candle-making enterprise to empower vulnerable Iraqi women who were casualties of a brutal war that took their husbands and their livelihoods.
This group of determined women was selected to receive candle-making training, in order to train a larger group of women. Despite all culture barriers, family commitments, and intensity of the training, they have risen to the challenge and finished the course.
They have already passed their knowledge on to another 125 women in Baghdad. In addition, they also supported the production of 15,000 Akkadian Candle collection pieces, made in Iraq and sold in the US.
The eight - Sahar Abdulussein, Hiyam Chekhaw, Noor Hashim, Lamyaa Ibrahim, Forat Maezel, Intisar Neamah, Nazhat Salman and Rasha Shuhaib – accepted their awards from ITP Media Group CEO Ali Akawi, amid a standing ovation from the audience.
Other Arabian Business Achievement Award winner included:
Jassim Alseddiqi, Chief Executive Officer at Abu Dhabi Financial Group.
Dr Habib Al Mulla, the executive chairman of Baker McKenzie, who was the architect of the legal framework establishing DIFC, and founding chairman of Dubai Financial Services Authority.
Fadi Ghandour, the founder of Aramex who is now executive director at Wamda Capital, where he advocates for regional start-up concerns ranging from mentoring to funding.
Prasanth Manghat, CEO and Executive Director - NMC Health, UAE.
Promoth Manghat, Group Chief Executive Officer of Finablr.
Shaji Ul Mulk, founder and chairman of Mulk Holdings.
The awards also honoured a group of ‘Future Stars’, young people who we believe could be future Arabian Business Achievement award winners:
Mahdi Zahreddine, who is on a mission to improve diabetes management through Spike, a mobile assistant that uses Artificial Intelligence to monitor patient behaviour and issues reminders when needed.
Saudi fashion designer Arwa Al Banawi who creates clothes heavily focused around her passion for storytelling.
Basim Albeladi, who created the mobile app Labayh that makes psychotherapy accessible to all, while maintaining confidentiality
Mohamed Al Mutawaa Al Shehhi, a young Emirati racer has competed in, and won, multiple International Championships over the past 10 years and was recently in the top five in Rallye Mont Blanc.
U-Light team - Omar Ghanem, Omar Khattab, Muhammad Kyuare, Omar Mansour and Ahmed Yasser - project harnesses human energy to generate electricity for those living in developing countries
Aboudy El Farkh and Bachir Noufaily of start-up AURA Lab, which has built a perfume retail technology platform that uses machine learning to help retailers improve the in-store experience.
Saoud Al Kaabi an actor who is part of the Emirati generation building a film industry that can compete with the major international centres
Tariq Al Kazim, an Emirati filmmaker who has started his own production company and has produced short films and feature films.
Pritvik Sinhadc, who was recently named a World Science Scholar - the only representative from the Middle East - despite being too young to even apply. The 14-year-old published his first book on palaeontology when he was just seven, and has had two more books published since then.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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