InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016

Welcome to CEO Middle East’s sixth annual list of the world’s most powerful Arab women — our yearly look at the most important female influencers across the Arab world.
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1 (#1 in 2015)
\nSheikha Lubna Al Qasimi
\nMinister of Tolerance

\n\nAfter six years on the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women list, Sheikh Lubna Al Qasimi retains her top spot. In her many years of government service, she has held various positions. She has been Minister of Economy, Minister of Foreign Trade and Minister of International Cooperation and Development in the UAE’s federal government. Last month saw her \nadd another string to her bow as the country’s first Minister of Tolerance. A great champion for women in business, Sheikha Lubna is also a regular advocate for women’s rights, education, and empowerment.

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2 (#42 in 2015)
\nZainab Salbi
\nActivist, talk-show host
\nUS (Iraq)
\nCulture and Society

\n\nZainab Salbi is an author, women’s rights activist, humanitarian, \nsocial entrepreneur and media commentator. But as of last year, she is also an influential talk-show host. Nida’a, which launched last October, is designed to “celebrate the dreams and achievements of Arab women” and Salbi has already interviewed the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton on the show. The founder and former CEO of Women for Women International has dedicated her life to serving female survivors of war, and it has distributed more than US$103-million in direct \naid, and has impacted more \nthan 1.7-million people.

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3 (#5 in 2015)
\nReem Al Hashimy
\nMinister of International Cooperation

\n\nIt has been another busy year in the stellar career of Reem Al Hashimy, who was appointed the UAE’s Minister of State for International Cooperation in the recent cabinet reshuffle. After having played an instrumental role in UAE’s successful Expo 2020 bid, Al Hashimy is now managing director of its organising team. Expo 2020 is expected to provide 277,000 new job opportunities, and bring in almost US$25 billion in added economic activities. Al Hashimy is at the forefront of making that possibility a reality.

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4 (#55 in 2015)
\nDalia Mogahed
\nDirector of research
\nInstitute for Social Policy \nand Understanding
\nUS (Egypt)
\nCulture and society

\n\nDalia Mogahed is front and centre in the battle to change public opinion about the Muslim world. She was selected by US President Barack Obama to advise the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, and is the former executive director of the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies. Recent interviews with the likes of The Daily Show host Trevor Noah have seen her raise important issues, such as the vilification and discrimination of Muslims. She is also President and CEO of Mogahed consulting in Washington D.C.

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5 (NEW)
\nNawal El Moutawakel
\nInternational Olympic Committee

\n\nThe first woman from a Muslim-majority country to win Olympic gold — at the 400m hurdles in Los Angeles in 1984 — El Moutawakel has gone on to hold a host of important posts in her country. She was appointed Morocco’s Minister of Sport in 2007, and now holds a prominent position in the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Most recently, she has been \npresident of evaluation commissions for the selection of the host city for the two most recent Olympic Games.

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6 (NEW)
\nKatia Bouazza
\nHead of capital financing, \nLatin America
\nUS (Algeria)
\nBanking and finance

\n\nWidely regarded as one of the most influential women in global finance, Katia Bouazza has had a powerhouse career with HSBC since joining the lender in 1996. She now leads HSBC’s Latin American business, and also serves as the only woman on the bank’s capital financing executive committee in London. Bouazza has made it a priority to encourage more women to stay within what is still a male-dominated and hugely competitive industry.

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7 (#11 in 2015)
\nNayla Hayek
\nSwatch Group
\nSwitzerland/UAE (Lebanon)

\n\nNot only does Nayla Hayek head up the mammoth Swatch Group, which has a global workforce of nearly 40,000, she is also CEO of Harry Winston as well. Daughter of Swatch Group founder Nicolas Hayek, she has helped the firm diversify its revenues. She is the only chairwoman in Swiss corporate business, and is also a famed breeder of Arabian horses.

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8 (#4 in 2015)
\nLubna Olayan
\nOlayan Financing Company
\nSaudi Arabia
\nBanking and finance

\n\nLubna Olayan is the public face of the Olayan Group, a colossal Saudi conglomerate with stakes in Credit Suisse and the National Grid in the UK. It also has an estimated $400m property portfolio in Paris. The group was founded in 1947 by her father, the late entrepreneur Sulaiman S. Olayan.

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9 (#10 in 2015)
\nZainab Mohammed
\nChief Property Management and Marketing Officer

\n\nWith a career spanning more than 14 years in the real estate sector, Zainab Mohammed has become recognised within the industry as a driving force behind Dubai’s growing property sector and a hugely influential figure who consistently creates growth and profit opportunities across all of her portfolios.\nAs chief property management & marketing officer at wasl properties, a subsidiary of wasl Asset Management Group, a semi-government entity and one of the largest  property development and asset  management companies in the UAE,  Ms Mohammed leads  more  than 150 employees in more than 10 major  divisions.\nAs head of property management she oversees the management of 35,000 residential units and a total of 373 retail and commercial outlets in different projects across Dubai.

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10 (#21 in 2015)
\nZaha Hadid
\nUK (Iraq)
\nArts and entertainment

\n\nDame Zaha Hadid is probably the most famous architect on the planet right now. The British-Iraqi followed up 2014’s unveiling of Qatar’s first World Cup stadium with incredible designs for Beijing’s new airport terminal (scheduled for 2018), and the Bee’ah Headquarters in Sharjah. Earlier this year, Hadid won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ gold medal.

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11 (#8 in 2015)
\nSalwa Idrissi Akhannouch
\nAkwa Group

\n\nSalwa Idrissi Akhannouch founded petroleum products distributor Akwa Group. And as the CEO of retail and luxury group Aksal, she also holds exclusive rights in Morocco to distribute various fashion brands such as Zara, Banana Republic and Gap, and has built an impressive real estate portfolio, including 50 per cent of Morocco Mall — Africa’s largest shopping centre, which attracts 15-million visitors each year.

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12 (#20 in 2015)
\nHanan Al Kuwari
\nMinister of Public Health

\n\nDr Hanan Al Kuwari’s appointment as Qatar’s Minister for Public Health last month was just the latest step for one of the country’s top public servants. She also runs Qatar’s public healthcare provider, Hamad Medical Corporation, which oversees eight specialised hospitals around the country, as well as running the national ambulance service and home healthcare services.

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13 (#11 in 2015)
\nAmina Al Rustamani
\nGroup CEO
\nTECOM Group

\n\nRunning some of Dubai’s largest and most successful business parks, Dr Amina Al Rustamani is working to develop Dubai Design District (d3). The executive has won praise and awards for her leadership, which will boost Dubai’s economy through fashion, design, and art. Her role at Dubai Holding unit TECOM Group sees her overseeing 10 business communities, with nearly 5,000- businesses and a 74,000-strong workforce.

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14 (#62 in 2015)
\nAmira Yahyaoui
\nActivist, journalist
\nCulture and society

\n\nA long-term resident on this list, Amira Yahyaoui’s work to bring accountability to her home country of Tunisia continues. She is the founder of Al Bawsala, a public policy and accountability NGO, and is also a Meredith Greenberg Yale World Fellow. She co-chaired the World Economic Forum in Davos this year.

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15 (NEW)
\nLujain Al Ubaid
\nSaudi Arabia
\nCulture and society

\n\nLujain Al Ubaid co-founded Tasamy in 2011, a non-profit organisation that focuses on finding sustainable solutions to social problems by encouraging and empowering youth, leaders, private and governmental institutions to achieve social entrepreneurship. Two years ago Tasamy launched Kun (meaning ‘to be’), a 60-day social entrepreneurship course. Al Ubaid is a global fellow at Acumen, the company that raises donations to invest in companies and leaders.

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16 (#7 in 2015)
\nMona Almunajjed
\nSaudi Arabia
\nCulture and society

\n\nDr Mona Almunajjed is an award-winning and prominent sociologist at the forefront of women’s affairs in her home country. Her latest book, A Celebration of Success, challenges the misconceptions and misunderstandings about Saudi women. She is also an advisor to many universities and agencies, including the UN.

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17 (#2 in 2015)
\nAmal Clooney
\nHuman rights lawyer
\nUK (Lebanon)

\n\nLawyer Amal Clooney — nee Alamuddin — is taking on governments in Azerbaijan, the Maldives and Egypt over human rights. Her clients have included Julian Assange and Yulia Tymoshenko. Clooney has also been appointed to a number of UN commissions, including advisor to Special Envoy Kofi Annan on Syria, and Counsel to the 2013 Drone Inquiry by the UN’s Ben Emmerson QC.

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18 (#26 in 2015)
\nSamia Halaby
\nUS (Palestine)
\nArts and entertainment

\n\nSamia Halaby is one of the Arab world’s best-known and most distinguished female artists. \nFleeing with her family from \nPalestine to Beirut in 1948, and later to the US in 1951, Halaby studied design at the University of Cincinnati and painting at Indiana University. She later taught at some of the world’s most prestigious art institutions, such as The Cooper Union, Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, and the University of Michigan. She was also the first female art professor to teach at the Yale School of Art.

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19 (#19 in 2015)
\nHuda Al Ghoson
\nExecutive director for human resources
\nSaudi Aramco
\nSaudi Arabia

\n\nHuda Al Ghoson has spent 30 years working for the Middle East’s largest company, and has set the bar for other women looking to follow in her footsteps. As head of human resources for Saudi Aramco, she is responsible for the employment of some 60,000 workers.

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20 (#16 in 2015)
\nHayat Sindi
\nEntrepreneur, Inventor, Scientist
\nSaudi Arabia

\n\nHayat Sindi’s career in diagnostics, biotechnology and inventing has been hailed not only in the Middle East but around the world. She became the first Saudi and female scientist to become a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for sciences, and was one of the first 30 women to be appointed to Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council – the formal advisory body to the King. Her main focus is currently her fellowship programme, the i2 Institute, through which she aims to mentor and develop the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs.

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21 (#36 in 2015)
\nNoura Al Kaabi
\nMinister of State \nfor the Federal National Council

\n\nNoura Al Kaabi is one of five new female members of the Emirati cabinet, following her promotion last month. Her stints on the Federal National Council, the UAE’s highest consultative body, and as CEO of Abu Dhabi media free zone twofour54, have seen Al Kaabi’s work take on ever greater performance. She was one of the key players in convincing Disney to film its blockbuster hit Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the deserts of Abu Dhabi.

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22 (#28 in 2015)
\nSomayya Jabarti
\nEditor in chief
\nSaudi Gazette
\nSaudi Arabia

\n\nSomayya Jabarti is the first woman ever to take control of one of Saudi Arabia’s newspapers. The editor-in-chief of the Saudi Gazette replaced Khaled Almaeena in February 2014, and the appointment was noted as a milestone in a country where women’s rights are sometimes limited.

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23 (#24 in 2015)
\nMajida Ali Rashid
\nAssistant director general
\nDubai Land Department

\n\nAs assistant director general of Dubai Land Department, and head of the Investment Management and Promotion Centre — the department’s investment arm — Majida Ali Rashid has played an important role in developing Dubai’s real estate sector and standing as an investment destination. During her tenure she has explored numerous opportunities for the promotion of Dubai, launching various schemes that have contributed to attracting global investment to Dubai’s real estate sector, while ensuring transparency in the market through a constant process \nof monitoring and policy.

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24 (#17 in 2015)
\nLeila Al Solh
\nVice president
\nAlwaleed Philanthropies
\nCulture and society

\n\nThe youngest daughter of former Lebanese prime minster Riad Al Solh, Leila Al Solh served as Lebanon’s minister of industry, but is best known as vice president of Alwaleed \nPhilanthropies. Under her \nmanagement, the foundation \nhas supported education, \nhealth and social organisations \nthroughout the country. Al Solh was the first woman to be \nappointed minister in Lebanon when she took the industry \nportfolio in 2004, a year after taking the role with Alwaleed Philanthropies. Al Solh has published two books on Lebanon: Les élections de 2009, les enjeux culturels(The 2009 Elections, CulturalIssues) and Un Liban à retrouver (A Return to Lebanon).

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25 (NEW)
\nGameela Ismail
\nCulture and society

\n\nPolitician, activist, human rights defender and television presenter, Gameela Ismail is a well-known figure in Egypt. Her 1.8 million followers on Twitter receive regular updates on the political scene. Ismail is the co-founder of the Al Ghad party, and also founded Egyptian Women for Change.

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26 (#44 in 2015)
\nMuna Abusulayman
\nSaudi Arabia
\nCulture and societ

\n\nWhether it’s fashion, television, education or community development, Muna AbuSulayman has done it all. She is still the co-host of Kalam Nawaem, the longest-running TV show in the Arab world, and is the co-founder of Meedan, an Arabic content translation site, as well as sitting on the boards of many organisations. The former head of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation, AbuSulayman is also a noted public speaker, who has focused on breaking down \nstereotypes that exist about Arab or Saudi women.

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27 (NEW)
\nJameela Al Muhairi
\nMinister of State for Public Education

\n\nJameela Al Muhiari was appointed as the UAE’s Minister of State for Public Education in February. Prior to that, she served as the head of Dubai School Inspection Bureau at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) where she was responsible for assuring and raising the quality and standards in Dubai’s private schools.She also served as the executive director of Dubai Knowledge Village from 2004 to 2008, following which she served as executive director in charge of the private education sector in Dubai Education Council.

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28 (NEW)
\nRaghida Dergham
\nBeirut Institute
\nCulture and society

\n\nThroughout her long career, Raghida Dergham has made it her mission to foster a better understanding of Western and Arab cultures. She is multiple award-winning journalist, a popular lecturer, an expert on foreign relations and the dean of international media at the UN. She is also the founder and chairman of the Beirut Institute, an independent thinktank for the Arab world.

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29 (#23 in 2015)
\nFatima Al Jaber
\nBoard member
\nAl Jaber Group

\n\nNow sitting on the board of Al Jaber Group, as well as running the conglomerate’s projects committee, Fatima Al Jaber is one of the most prominent female executives in the Gulf. She was the first Emirati woman to be elected to the board of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce in 2009, and has had numerous other board positions in the public and private sectors.

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30 (NEW)
\nShahira Zeid
\nVice chairman and CEO
\nMZ Investments

\n\nShahira Zeid is one of Egypt’s most prominent private sector executives. She is the chairman of MZ Investments, a holding company that oversees various firms operating in the energy, logistics, tourism and hospitality sectors, and one of Egypt’s most enterprising private equity companies. Zeid is also vice Chairman of Maridive Group. She sits on the board of Egypt’s International Economic Forum (EIEF) and its affiliate the Arab Global Forum, and is head of the Forum’s Woman’s Strategy Group. She is also active in the Suzanne Mubarak Women for Peace Movement, a board member for the Egyptian Food Bank and a participating member of the Arab International Women’s Forum.

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32 (NEW)
\nSahar Nasr
\nMinister for International Cooperation

\n\nSahar Nasr took a top job in Egypt’s government in November last year, capping a fine career of public service. She had previously served as lead financial economist at the World Bank. Nasr has also been an associate professor at the economics department of the American University in Cairo (AUC) since 2002, and was a professor at the British University in Egypt (BUE) 2006 to 2011.

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33 (#29 in 2015)
\nRaja Al Gurg
\nManaging Director
\nDubai Business Women’s Council
\nCulture and society

\n\nNot only does Raja Al Gurg excel as managing director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, but also sits as a board member of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, president of the Dubai Business Women’s Council, and board member of the Dubai Women Association. She is also the chairperson of the Al Jalila Foundation.

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34 (#12 in 2015)
\nRana Dajani
\nScientist, activist
\nCulture and society

\n\nSocial innovator Rana Dajani’s main job may be a molecular genetics associate professor at the Hashemite University in Zarqa, but it is her bold literacy programme We Love \nReading that most inspires. The founder and director of the initiative aims to create a library in every neighbourhood in Jordan, in order to foster a love of reading among Jordanian children. Her work on this front began in 2006 at a community mosque where Dajani held weekly storytelling session with children aged four to 10. The programme has spread to 24 countries worldwide, and has indirectly impacted 50,000 people.

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35 (NEW)
\nNemat Shafik
\nDeputy governor
\nBank of England
\nUK (Egypt)
\nBanking and finance

\n\nDame Nemat Shafik is one of the most influential women in the British financial sector. She sits on the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee. and served as deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund between 2011 and 2014. She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in June last year.

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36 (#54 in 2015)
\nJoumana Haddad
\nAuthor, activist
\nCulture and society

\n\nJoumana Haddad’s forthright views have left her facing death threats in her native Lebanon. Not that that has stopped her. Her books, including Superman is an Arab and I killed Scheherazade have been translated into many languages; she’s the founder of a controversial quarterly women’s magazine; and she’s also served as the administrator for the Arab Booker Prize.

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37 (NEW)
\nHessa Al Jaber
\nMinister of Information and \nCommunication Technology

\n\nThe third Qatari women to assume a place in the country’s cabinet, Dr Hessa Al Jaber previously ran the country’s telecoms regulator. As well as several senior positions on global and national bodies, she has also worked tirelessly to help people with disabilities in Qatar.

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38 (NEW)
\nShamma Al Mazrouei
\nMinister of State for Youth Affairs

\n\nShamma Al Mazrouei is the youngest ever member of the UAE cabinet, and the country’s first ever Minister of State for Youth Affairs. After studying at New York University Abu Dhabi, where her thesis was on the labour market prospects for Emirati women, she won a \nFalcon Scholarship to study at Oxford University in the UK, where she took a master’s degree in public policy. She was a co-designer of the NYUAD Al Nahda Institute.

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39 (#38 in 2015)
\nLina Attalah
\nFounder, editor-in-chief
\nMada Masr

\n\nLina Atallah was the editor of Egypt Independent before it was closed down by the country’s authorities. Undeterred, she gathered together the cream of the paper’s young journalists and founded Mada Masr, an online newspaper. In a country where the situation for journalists has become “intolerable”, according to Reporters Without Borders, Mada Masr has become one of the few independent, critical voices. Attalah studied journalism at the American University in Cairo. She has written for publications including Al-Masry Al-Youm English Edition, Reuters, Cairo Times and the Christian Science Monitor.

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40 (#74 in 2015)
\nAmal Al Qubaisi
\nFederal National Council

\n\nAmal Al Qubaisi was appointed to lead the UAE’s Federal National Council in November last, year — the first woman to take the role. She was also the first woman to be elected to the FNC, and the first to be appointed to the Abu Dhabi Educational Council.

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41 (#61 in 2015)
\nNawal El Saadawi
\nActivist, writer, feminist
\nCulture and society

\n\nNow 84, Nawal El Saadawi has been a thorn in the side of \nconservative Egyptian \ngovernments for decades. \nShe is a feminist, writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist, \nas well as being the founder and president of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association, and the co-founder of the Arab \nAssociation for Human Rights.

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42 (#39 in 2015)
\nGrace Najjar
\nManagement consultant
\nBanking and finance

\n\nWith a wide-ranging portfolio of projects across MENA and Europe, Grace Najjar has cemented her reputation as one of the region’s leading management consultants. She has worked on a wealth of projects across Euripe and the Middle East and North Africa. She has also been an academic assessor for the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture since 2004, in which role she evaluates joint European projects. Spare time is spent lecturing at universities in both France and Lebanon. Najjar holds a degree in electrical information technology and systems from ESIB in Lebanon, and a master’s degree in networks and telecommunications from ENST in Paris.

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43 (#13 in 2015)
\nHaifa Al Mansour
\nFilm director
\nSaudi Arabia
\nArts and entertainment

\n\nHaifaa Al Mansour made global headlines in 2012, when she became the first person to shoot a feature-length film in Saudi Arabia. The festival smash hit Wadjda was just the start for Al Mansour, whose next film, a biopic of Mary Shelley entitled A Storm in the Stars, will be released next year. She has also just completed her first novel, The Green Bicycle, based on the events that take place in Wadjda.

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44 (NEW)
\nRafia Ghubash
\nArab Network for Women, Science and Technology

\n\nThe former president of Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain, Professor Ghubash has long been a role model for Arab women in the Gulf. She has served as dean of the UAE University medical school, and, in 2012, she opened the first museum in the UAE that is dedicated entirely to the accomplishments of women from the region.

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45 (#73 in 2015)
\nNermin Saad
\nSaudi Arabia

\n\nThe idea for Nermin Saad’s business,, came when her husband took a job in Saudi Arabia.According to the qualified engineer, she found herself unable to work in the engineering field, forcing her to either “sit at home or change my career”. Taking her own experience into consideration, as well as that of her over-worked husband, Saad developed a virtual engineering office that has grown to work with many of Saudi Arabia’s top construction firms. aims to provide jobs for female engineers without having to upset the social boundaries within the workplace and physically mix the sexes. The online platform outsources work to women who can work from home, easing the load on the male employees, while allowing women to use the qualifications they had worked so hard to achieve.

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46 (#48 in 2015)
\nMaryam Matar
\nUAE Genetic Diseases Association

\n\nDr Maryam Matar is one of the UAE’s finest public servants, and was the first Emirati woman to hold the director general in the Dubai Government. As well as leader of the UAE Genetic Disease Association, Matar is also Deputy Chairperson of Dubai Cares. Her many achievements include various outreach initiatives, including the ‘UAE Free of Thalassemia in 2012’, as well as the UAE Down’s Syndrome Association in 2005.

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47 (NEW)
\nZaina Erhaim

\n\nAleppo-based journalist Zaina Erhaim picked up the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism in October last year, for her fearless reporting on the civil war in her home country. Despite having a safe job in the UK, Erhaim chose to return to Syria and document the harrowing stories unfolding in the war-torn country.

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48 (#31 in 2015)
\nShaikha Al Bahar
\nDeputy group CEO
\nNational Bank of Kuwait
\nBanking and finance

\n\nShaikha Al Bahar is deputy CEO of one of the Gulf’s largest banks, National Bank of Kuwait. The lender oversees $78bn in assets, as of the end of last year. Also on the board of the International Bank of Qatar, a director of Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC, vice chairman of Watani Investment Company KSCC, and vice chair of Watani Investment Company KSC, Al Bahar is an important figure in Kuwait’s business landscape.

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49 (#30 in 2015)
\nHamdiya Al Jaff
\nTrade Bank of Iraq
\nBanking and finance

\n\nAs the chairman of the Trade Bank of Iraq, Hamdiyah Al Jaff run’s Iraq’s biggest financial institution. Despite being only a decade old — set up by the USafter the invasion of the country in 2003 — it has been enourmously influenctial. Established to assist with the reconstruction of Iraq, Al Jaff has a huge say on how the country’s various new projects and infrastructure will \nbe financed.

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\nSoha Al Qishawi
\n(US) Palestine

\n\nBased in Houston, Texas, the Palestinian is working on NASA’s Orion spacecraft programme, helping to design and engineer the vessel to transport astronauts into deep space. Al Qeshawi grew up in Gaza City but studied engineering at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, Texas. Soon after graduation, she began work on NASA’s Space Shuttle \nprogramme, which she \nwrapped up in 2011.

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52 (#3 in 2015)
\nLoujain Al Hathloul
\nWomen’s rights activitst
\nSaudi Arabia
\nCulture and society

\n\nAl Hathloul was arrested along with Maysaa Al Amoudi, and referred to a terrorism court for defying the Saudi Arabian driving ban for women. Making the most of her large social media following, Al Hathloul live-Tweeted the journey to Saudi Arabia for the world to watch.

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54 (#14 in 2015)
\nBayan Mahmoud Zahran
\nSaudi Arabia

\n\nAfter becoming the first Saudi female practicing lawyer in 2013, Al Zahran opened the country’s first ever all-female practice in 2014. Her career started after working as a legal consultant, before being allowed to become a fully licensed lawyer. Her company now fights for the rights of local women, and helps courts understand legal disputes from a female perspective.

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55 (NEW)
\nHend Amry
\nArtist, writer
\nQatar (Libya)
\nArts and culture

\n\nHend Amry was forced in to the limelight shortly after the Boston marathon bombings, when one of her Tweets went viral. Her message, ‘Please don’t be a Muslim’ (referring to the potential suspect of the attack) drew condemnation and applause from the Arab world. Since then, she has continue to amass a powerful social following, speaking out against the conflict in Libya.

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56 (#51 in 2015)
\nMaha Al Ghunaim
\nGlobal Investment House
\nBanking and finance

\n\nOne of five friends who founded Global Investment House in 1998, the company is one of the region’s biggest investment firms. She took it public in 2008, becaming the first Kuwaiti company on the London Stock Exchange. It was forced to unlist, but its refinancing plan became a model for others.

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57 (#85 in 2015)
\nAmal Al Marri

\n\nAmal Al Marri co-founded SALT in the middle of 2014 and it has been a huge hit ever since, attracting thousands of customers, including members of the royal family who have become regulars at the vintage trailer which sells sliders and shakes. Dubai’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan and his family are often seen picking up a bite to eat, helping the restaurant to become one of the most talked-about new eateries in the region. With plans to take the SALT trailer to new locations and destinations, Al Marri’s stock is sure to rise very high very quickly.

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58 (#69 in 2015)
\nMona Eltahawy
\nJournalist and activist
\nUS (Egypt)

\n\nA regular name in the media, Eltahawy came to prominence in 2011. Now a central figure for activism against patriarchal behaviours, governments and societies. Her first book, Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, released to controversial, but critical, acclaim.

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59 (#89 in 2015)
\nAhlam Mosteghanemi
\nArts and entertainment

\n\nOne of the most successful female writers in the Arab World, Mosteghanemi’s poetry and fiction revolves around controversial topics in the region, such as love, sexuality, women’s rights, corruption and politics.

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60 (#68 in 2015)
\nNahed Taher
\nGulf One Investment Bank
\nSaudi Arabia
\nBanking and finance

\n\nThe Saudi-born CEO is credited as being the first woman in the Gulf to take charge of an investment bank. She turned down a high-powered job with the International Monetary Fund to return home and “do something for my country”. Having started as a senior economist at Saudi Arabia’s NCB, Taher co-founded Gulf One Investment Bank in 2005. The bank has financed the construction of several key projects in the region including the airport terminals that serve pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Having excelled in a traditionally male-dominated field, Taher is also a strong advocate for a greater role for women in the Kingdom.

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61 (NEW)
\nMariam Al Mansouri
\nMaror, Fighter Pilot

\n\nMajor Mariam Al Mansouri became the first female Emirati fighter pilot, but she went beyond her previous achievements when she led the UAE’s air strikes on ISIL in Syria. She remains an example for young women everywhere, captivating the Arab world and beyond. One of eight children, Al Mansouri says her family have always supported her career choice, and she has no plans to go elsewhere.

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\nMiriem Bensalah Chaqroun
\nLes Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès and Holmarcom Group
\nBanking and finance

\n\nWearing two CEO hats at the same time, Chaqroun is the CEO of Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès, a leading company listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange that specialises in water and bottling. She is also the CEO of the Holmarcom Group, one of the five largest industrial and commercial groups that belong to her family. She is also the Chairperson of the Euro-Mediterranean Center of Mediation and Arbritration.

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\nArts and entertainment

\n\nOne of the most well-known Middle Eastern singers, Fairouz has been flying the flag for Arab music for decades. She began her musical career in the 1950s, and quickly became known as ‘jewel of Lebanon’. Her songs contained themes such as her home country’s beauty, as well as calls for peace and freedom.

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64 (#53 in 2015)
\nSalma Hareb
\nJebel Ali Free Zone Authority

\n\nFormer lab technologist Salma Hareb spent years studying for diplomas in information technology and business while also holding down a job at Dubai’s Department of Health before she decided on a change of career. She now looks after one of the most important groups for the Dubai Economy. The free zone, made up of more than 7,000 companies, contributes more than 20 per cent of Dubai’s GDP on a year-to-year basis, and sustains employment for more than 1.4-million people. Hareb started out as a planner, but quickly moved up the ranks to CEO.

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66 (#37 in 2015)
\nSamia Al Amoudi
\nCancer specialist
\nSaudi Arabia

\n\nHaving diagnosed herself with breast cancer in 2006, Al Amoudi has been a tireless campaigner in bringing the issue to prominence in the Middle East. The obstetrician, gynaecologist and assistant professor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah continues to raise awareness through a regular column in Al Madinah newspaper. Samia Al Amoudi has played such a vital role in highlighting the importance of early examinations for breast cancer that in 2007 she was recognised by then US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice as being one of the most courageous women in the world. A trailblazer in more ways than one, Al Amoudi was also a member of the first group of doctors to graduate from the medical college at King Abdulaziz University in 1981.

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67 (#58 in 2015)
\nMona Al Marri
\nDirector General
\nDubai Media Office

\n\nAppointed to her role in 2012, Al Marri manages the media affairs between the government of Dubai and the media. Just two years later Al Marri was named the most influential Arab media personality by the Arab Union of Electronic Media. Having previously established herself as an expert in public relations and media, Al Marri continues to shape Dubai’s image to the media at home and abroad. She is also vice president of the Dubai Ladies Club and a board member of Young Arab Leaders. Al Marri is currently the Chair of DWE Board which is considered one of the most active organizations in the field of women empowerment in the region.

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68 (NEW)
\nChristine Tohme
\nFounding director
\nAshkal Alwan
\nArt and culture

\n\nTohme was the recipient of a Prince Claus Award in 2006, in recognition of her achievements in supporting local art production and criticism. The Beirut-based curator started Ashkal Alwan, the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, a non-profit institution that supports contemporary art. Most recently it was announced that Tohme would curate the Sharja Biennial 13, opening in March 2017.

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69 (#29 in 2015)
\nMuna Al Gurg
\nDirector of Retail
\nEasa Saleh Al Gurg Group

\n\nAn active member of Dubai’s business and non-profit community, Muna Al Gurg’s primary responsibility is towards her family business - the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group - a diversified international conglomerate formed by her father in Dubai in 1960. She is currently Director of Retail for the 56-year-old family business and responsible for strategy and operational development for the group’s international and local retail brands that include United Colours of Benetton, Siemens, Unilever and IDdesign.

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70 (NEW)
\nIqbal Al Assad

\n\nHaving graduated from high school at aged 12, Al Assad went on to graduate as the Arab world’s youngest ever doctor at aged 20 in 2013. The child prodigy, who grew up in a rural Lebanese village, she later received a medical scholarship from the Qatar Foundation, and now works at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Doha.

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71 (NEW)
\nArts and entertainment

\n\nHaving commanded the attention of popular culture since she won a Lebanese music competition in 1992, Elissa has released nine studio albums to date. She was chosen to be one of the judgest on X Factor Middle East in 2012, and remains to this day. She was recently awarded a World Music Award for a best-selling artist in the Middle East.

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73 (#90 in 2015)
\nHayv Kahraman
\nUS (Iraq)
\nArts and entertainment

\n\nBorn in Baghdad in 1981, Kahraman’s artwork reflects issues of gender, honour killings and the war in her home country. She began oil painting at the age of 12, after moving from Iraq to Sweden. Her style makes reference to Japanese and Arabic calligraph and art nouveau.

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74 (#94 in 2015)
\nSara Akbar
\nKuwait Energy

\n\nHaving spent three decades in the oil and gas industry, Akbar is now affectionately known as ‘The Firefighting Lady’. She has long been hailed as one of the most highly regarded spokespeople in the industry, having started her career in 1981. The firefighter moniker stems from the important role she played in Kuwait’s oil production recovery efforts following the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

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75 (#65 in 2015)
\nTawakkul Karman
\nNobel Peace Prize
\nCulture and society

\n\nKnown in Yemen as ‘Iron Woman’ or ‘Mother of the Revolution’, Karman is a journalist, politician and senior member of the Al-Islah political party. In 2011 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in human rights, the first Yemeni, Arab woman and second Muslim women to win the highly-coveted award.

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76 (NEW)
\nEaman Al Roudhan
\nZain Kuwait

\n\nResponsible for launching the first mobile prepaid service in Kuwait, Al Roudhan now overseas all of Zain’s business operations in its largest and most profitable market. She kicked off her career at Zain in 1998.

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78 (NEW)
\nMuna Al Hashemi

\n\nHaving joined Batelco in the engineering department, just 11 years later she was named CEO of Bahrain’s leading telecoms firm.

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79 (NEW)
\nAhdaf Soueif
\nArts and entertainment

\n\nOne of the Arab world’s most acclaimed authors, it was Soueif’s reporting on the Egyptian revolution that inspired her most recent book, The Map of Love.

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80 (NEW)
\nAysha Al Mudahka

\n\nIn charge of the largest mixed incubator in the region, Al Mudahka aims to develop Qatar’s next big companies, in tech and beyond.

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81 (NEW)
\nMyriam Fares
\nArts and culture

\n\nHaving released her fifth studio album just last year, Fares broke streaming records on Anghami, the popular music streaming service for Arabic music.

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85 (#93 in 2015)
\nArts and entertainment

\n\nThe singer continues her judging role on Arab Idol. As well as producing 12 albums, she is backed by 5.56 million followers on Twitter.

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87 (#78 in 2015)
\nBadreya Al Bishr
\nNovelist, journalist
\nSaudi Arabia

\n\nThe author, journalist and TV host never shies away from tackling taboo topics. She also lectures at King Saud University’s Department of Social Studies.

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88 (NEW)
\nNemah bint Jamiel bin Farhan Al Busaidiya
\nMuscat Governorate

\n\nOnly one woman was elected in Oman’s recent Shura Council elections last year, as Al Busaidiya was voted in to represent Muscat’s Seeb district for another four years.

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89 (NEW)
\nNoor Al Qatami
\nAl Qatami Group

\n\nUnder the group’s brand umbrella, Al Qatami looks after a supermarket as well as a variety of food and beverage outlets employing nearly 600 people.

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91 (#57 in 2015)
\nRanda Ayoubi
\nRubicon Group Holding

\n\nThe Jordinian animator and producer has brought joy to thousands of children through her company’s films and cartoons.

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92 (NEW)
\nMaha Al Muneef
\nExecutive director
\nNational Family Safety Program
\nSaudi Arabia

\n\nA specialist in paediatric infectious disesases, Al Muneef works to spread awareness about domestic violence and child abuse.

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93 (#80 in 2015)
\nHanan Solayman
\nEl Mandara

\n\nFounded in 2012, the Mandara Media Foundation iis bringing media to Egypt’s masses by creating news wesbites to underserved communities.

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94 (#46 in 2015)
\nRasha Al Roumi
\nKuwait Airways

\n\nAl Roumi has not only updated an ailing airline, but instilled confidence in the company and Kuwait’s aviation sector in general.

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95 (#59 in 2015)
\nSarah Shuhail
\nEwa’a Centre for Women and Children
\nCulture and society

\n\nSince opening her shelter in 2008, Shuhails’ work has raised awareness of prostitution and saved hundreds of women and girls from sex trafficking.

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96 (#79 in 2015)
\nHind Seddiqi

\n\nOne of the most powerful women in the jewellery industry, Hind Seddiqi is also a role model for Emirati women.

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97 (#91 in 2015)
\nIsmahane Elouafi
\nDirector general
\nInternational Centre for Biosaline Agriculture

\n\nWith more than 15 years’ experience in agricultural research, Elouafi is helping poor farmers in places where water is scarce.

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98 (#82 in 2015)
\nManal Al Sharif
\nSaudi Arabia
\nCulture and society

\n\nArrested for getting behind the wheel of a car in her home country of Saudi Arabia in 2012, Manal Al Sharif remains a focal point for women’s rights in the kingdom.

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99 (NEW)
\nBoushra Almutawakel
\nUS (Yemen)
\nArt and entertainment

\n\nAlmutawakel’s work focuses particularly on issues of gender, and representations of women and their clothing.

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100 (#77)
\nElissa Freiha
\nFounder and director

\n\nCo-founder of women-only investment platform WOMENA, Freiha is changing the face of investment in the MENA region.