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\nCEO, Crescent Petroleum
\nHe is the brains behind the Arab Stabilization Plan which hopes to tackle youth unemployment in the Arab world. Majid Jafar is also the CEO of Crescent Petroleum, the Middle East’s oldest private oil & gas company, and Vice-Chairman of the Crescent Group of companies which includes interests in port management, logistics, contracting, private equity and real estate. He is also Managing Director of the Board of Dana Gas (PJSC), the first regional, private-sector integrated natural gas company in the Middle East, in which Crescent is the largest shareholder.
\nIn addition to his professional commitments, Majid Jafar serves as Vice-Chairman of the Global Energy Initiative (GEI), Vice-Chairman of the Global Agenda Council for Youth Unemployment at the World Economic Forum, and a Board Member of: the Carnegie Middle East Center Advisory Council, the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce (UAE), the Sharjah Expo, the Iraq Energy Institute, and the New Leaders of the International Institute of Education (IIE).
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Mona Al Munajjed
\nDr Mona Al Munajjed is an award-winning sociologist. She has spent 15 years working and advising various UN international agencies, including the International Labour Office, the UN International Children’s Fund, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
\nAl Munajjed has also carried out work for the UN International Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Between 2008 and 2011, she worked as a senior advisor at Booz & Co’s Riyadh office, where she wrote in-depth reports on social issues in the \nArab region.
\nShe received the UN-21 Award for excellence, outstanding coordination and individual productivity in 2005. She has spoken at many international forums and conferences, and is also an accomplished author; her books include ‘Saudi Women Speak; 24 Remarkable Women Tell Their Success Stories’. Al Munajjed is currently working as a consultant for the Saudi government, as well as a number of private companies, and is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines in the Gulf region.
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Sultan Al Qassemi
\nIf you’re interested in the Middle East and have a Twitter account, then you’ll be well acquainted with Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi.
\nHis columns have appeared in titles such as the New York Times, the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Open Democracy, the Independent and the Guardian. He tweets prolifically @SultanAlQassemi and has just over 278,000 followers. In fact, if you are reading this on the internet, the chances are that you have arrived here via the power of his network. Al Qassemi received a master’s degree in global banking and finance from the European Business School, where he graduated with distinction in 2004. He received his BSc in International Business Administration from the American University of Paris.
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Hassan M. Yousef
\nHassan M Yousef is a well-known Syrian writer, novelist, playwright, screenwriter and journalist. Born in February 1948, in north-west Syria, Yousef started his career in journalism in the early 1970s as cultural editor of daily Arabic-langyage newspaper Tishreen.
\nYousef wrote the scripts for many of the Arab world’s most famous television serials, including parts 1 and 2 of Ekhwat Al Turab (Brothers of Blood). The show won a gold award at a drama festival in Cairo in 1996, while it also picked up the silver award at a radio and television festival in Tunisia in 1998.
\nYousef has also written many novels and plays. Many of his works, especially his novels, have been translated in to languages as diverse as French, English, Russian, and Chinese.
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\nEditor-in-Chief, Saudi Gazette
\nSomayya Jabarti is the first woman ever to take control of one of Saudi Arabia’s newspapers.
\nThe appointment of Somayya Jabarti, who has worked in media for more than a decade, including at the Saudi Gazette’s rival paper Arab News, is a milestone in a country where women’s rights are limited.
\n“It was not a question of gender but of merit that decided and earned her this opportunity,” the outgoing editor-in-chief Khaled Almaeena wrote in a farewell letter posted on the newspaper’s website.
\n“She is determined and dedicated, and I can assure her and the team that I will be there to assist and advise, so that Saudi Gazette further advances as a media unit in a highly competitive and digital age.”
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\nGhassan Shami has had a long and distinguished career in journalism, particularly in Syria where he was bureau chief of ‘Alkifah Al Arabi’ magazine and ‘Sabah Al Kheir’ magazine. He also worked as the managing director of the Al Nahda radio station, and was managing editor of the Al Binaa newspaper. He has been involved in the writing and overseeing the production of five films and documentaries about the history of early Christianity in Levant, including one about St Maroun and another about St Simon (which won the Cairo Festival Award for documentaries section in 2001). On top of that, he is the writer and presenter of “Ajras Al Machrek” TV show tackling the issue of the Christian culture in the Levant, which was broadcast on Al Mayadeen.
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Ghassan Bin Jiddu
\nJiddu was a hugely influential journalist at Al Jazeera, running the network’s Beirut office and producing acclaimed coverage of the war in Lebanon, before quitting the network in 2011 over what he perceived to be bias against Syrian president Assad.
\nSince then he has established his own pan-Arab satellite television station based in Beirut, Al Mayadeen.
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\nChairman, Gulf Bank
\nOmar Alghanim was elected as the chairman of Gulf Bank in March 2013. Previously, he held the position of deputy chairman after his election in 2012 and he was serving as board member since 2009. Omar is also the chief executive officer of Alghanim Industries, a privately owned company with business operations in 40 countries world-wide. He joined the company in 2002 as general manager of the Technology Division with full P&L responsibility. Based on the division’s performance, he was promoted to executive director in 2004 with broader management responsibilities. After leading the successful turnaround of the company by rejuvenating the management team, Omar was again promoted to the position of CEO, a position he has been holding since 2005.
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Bayan Mahmoud Al Zahran
\nNot content with becoming the first Saudi female practising lawyer last year, Bayan Mahmoud Al Zahran went one better in January by opening the country’s first ever all-female practice.
\nIts brief? To fight for the rights of local women and help courts to understand legal disputes from a female perspective. One can only assume that she is likely to be extremely busy in the next few years.
\nAl Zahran had been working as a legal consultant for several years before she was allowed to become a fully licensed lawyer last year, along with three other women, Jihan Qurban, Sarra Al Omarri and Ameera Quqani.
\nShe became the first female lawyer to defend a client last year when she appeared in the General Court in Jeddah.