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InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture

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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
10 (#21 in 2015)
\nZaha Hadid
\nArchitect
\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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
18 (#26 in 2015)
\nSamia Halaby
\nArtist
\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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
59 (#89 in 2015)
\nAhlam Mosteghanemi
\nAuthor
\nAlgeria
\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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
63 (#86 in 2015)
\nFairouz
\nSinger
\nLebanon
\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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
68 (NEW)
\nChristine Tohme
\nFounding director
\nAshkal Alwan
\nLebanon
\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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
71 (NEW)
\nElissa
\nSinger
\nLebanon
\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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
73 (#90 in 2015)
\nHayv Kahraman
\nArtist
\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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
79 (NEW)
\nAhdaf Soueif
\nAuthor
\nEgypt
\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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
81 (NEW)
\nMyriam Fares
\nSinger
\nLebanon
\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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
85 (#93 in 2015)
\nAhlam
\nSinger
\nUAE
\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.

InPics: The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2016 - Arts, Entertainment & Culture
99 (NEW)
\nBoushra Almutawakel
\nPhotographer
\nUS (Yemen)
\nArt and entertainment

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