Monday, March 31, 2014

Powerful Arabs - Generation Next

Ahmed Hashima
Egyptian Steel

A self-made entrepreneur who has built an empire, Egyptian Steel, from scratch, Ahmed Abou Hashima is a role model for Arab young people. He’s also famous for being patriotic and has shown great support for the will power of Egyptians by improving the image of the 30th of June Revolution in foreign media, through buying pages in prominent newspapers such as the Times (UK) and newspapers in South Africa and COMESA, to print articles written by prominent Egyptian writers portraying the actual truth about the 2nd Egyptian Revolution.

Muna Harib
Founder, Breathing Numbers

Emirati Muna Harib Al Muhairi may spend her working hours in a busy communications role, but her spare time appears to be almost entirely devoted to helping others. Five years ago, she set up Seeds of Change, a group established in the UAE to promote random acts of kindness. More recently, she co-founded Buksha — an organisation which supports low-income Emiratis in rural parts of the country by encouraging tourists to visit those areas — with Nojoud Al Bastaki. But more impressive even than those contributions has been the time Al Muhairi has spent in Jordan, visiting refugee camps set up in the aftermath of the Syrian civil war. Her Breathing Numbers project aims to document the plight of the hundreds of thousands of people trapped on the Jordanian border.

Maha Laziri
Founder, Teach4Morroco

Maha Laziri is one of the youngest names on our list — and is in fact still studying for a degree — but she has already made the most of the limited opportunities available to her. She is the founder of Teach4Morocco, an NGO that employs a team of ten people, all aged under 30. The entity has rebuilt a school in a remote village in the Atlas Mountains, and is building a second school nearby. The projects have been funded by the French institute Sciences Po Aix, and have been helped by volunteers from local villages. Right now, she’s looking at new projects, as well as improving curricula in Morocco’s schools.

Ayah Bdeir
Founder, littleBits

Ayah Bdeir has packed more into her 31 years than most of us do in a lifetime. She is most famous for littleBits, a collection of tiny circuit boards that snap together with magnets like Lego — allowing artists, students and designers to have a greater understanding of electronics. After creating the first littleBits prototype in 2008, she founded Karaj, Beirut’s first non-profit lab for experimental arts, architecture and tech. She has been a mentor on Stars of Science, the Middle East’s first reality show focusing on innovation. Bdeir was named one of Fast Company’s most creative people in business for 2013.

Mona Ataya
CEO, Mumzworld

Mona Ataya is a woman who doesn’t do things by halves.

“My mission is to make Mumzworld the undisputed leader in mother and baby shopping,” she says of the e-commerce business she founded in 2011 which already stocks 90,000 products and expects to hit 200,000 registered users by the middle of 2014.

Having recorded 23-times growth in sales, six-times growth in registrations and a 40 percent consumer loyalty rate within its first 18 months, Mumzworld has established itself as the go-to website for mothers, but one suspects that, for Ataya, this is just the beginning.

Lina Ben Mhenni
Blogger, Activist

A future political leader? Many people think so. 30 old Lina Ben Mhenni’s English and Arabic language blog, A Tunisian Girl, was propelled into the international spotlight during the political unrest that toppled her country’s longstanding President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Mhenni’s blog published photographs and videos of those injured during the country’s unrest, taken during her regular trips to hospitals. During the Tunisian Revolution, Ben Mhenni acted as a volunteer correspondent for the international media, including France 2 and France 24.

She was a candidate for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, and now works as an assistant lecturer at Tunis University.

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