Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi
There won’t be many people who are surprised to see Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi retain top spot in this power list, such is her influence not only throughout the region, but across the world.
Number one for the fifth year in a row, Sheikha Lubna has continued to boost the UAE’s role as a major donor and key player in global human development through her role as the Federal Government’s Minister of International Cooperation and Development.
Carrying out her responsibilities with her trademark energy and enthusiasm, Sheikha Lubna has ensured the UAE’s overseas aid donations have continued to increase. A recent report shows that aid of this type more than tripled to nearly $6 billion in 2013 – the year she took up her role, after a lengthy spell as Minister of Foreign Trade.
During her time as Minister of Foreign Trade, and before that as Minister of Economy, from 2004-2008, the UAE enjoyed its most prosperous period and highest volumes of foreign trade.
As well as her numerous ministerial responsibilities, Sheikha Lubna is also a board director at the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, a member of the governing board of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy – National University of Singapore, a board director at the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, a member of the board of trustees of the Dubai School of Government, and co-founder and board member of the Friends of Cancer Patients.
Also a great champion for women in business, Sheikha Lubna is a regular advocate for womens rights, education, and empowerment.
Earlier this year, in her role as president of Zayed University, she helped forge ties between the university and Dubai Women Establishment, in a bid to unite their efforts in boost the participation of UAE women, and to help them reach their personal and professional goals.
Last month, she also spoke at the Government Summit, calling for improvements for women, and highlighting UAE grants to educate girls in other countries such as Pakistan and Yemen.
She said: “When a society doesn’t focus on female education, you see after a while that it does not provide women with enough opportunities. In the UAE today, we’ve seen that education for women has been a priority since the inception of the state and women were able to access many sectors because of education.”
Amal Clooney – nee Alamuddin – shot into public prominence in 2014 when she married A-list Hollywood celebrity George Clooney.
But the truth is that the new Mrs Clooney has been one of the most high-profile – and busy – lawyers and activists in recent years, fighting numerous human rights, international law and criminal law cases, with clients such as Julian Assange and Yulia Tymoshenko on her books.
Educated at Oxford University and the New York University School of Law, Clooney started her career at Sullivan & Cromwell before moving to the Office of the Prosecutor at the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Working on high-profile cases representing the state of Cambodia, the former Libyan intelligence chief, and others, she was later appointed to a number of UN commissions, including as advisor to Special Envoy Kofi Annan on Syrian, and as Counsel to the 2013 Drone Inquiry by UN human rights rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC.
Clooney’s campaigning has seen her meet with William Hague during his tenure as British foreign secretary to discuss how to protect children in conflict zones from rape and sexual violence, and in October last year she became involved in the repatriation of the Elgin Marbles for the Greek government.
Earlier this year she began work on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and recent reports suggest she is set to represent 14 Irish men who claim they were tortured by the British Army.
Loujain Al Hathloul
Occasionally a single incident can catapult a woman into the headlines, establishing her as a symbol for a particular cause.
Loujain Al Hathloul is one such woman, whose defiance of the Saudi Arabian driving ban for women led to her imprisonment, subsequent release, and a raising of the controversial topic at home in the GCC and around the rest of the world.
Al Hathloul was arrested along with Maysaa Al Amoudi and referred to a terrorism court in the Saudi capital of Riyadh last December. She was taken in by police when she attempted to drive from the UAE into Saudi Arabia, with Al Amoudi arrested when she went to the border to support her, according to reports.
The driver’s large social media following had been following her journey before the arrest, as Al Hathloul was tweeting regular updates as she got closer to the border.
Having been arrested on 1 December, the women were freed this February, prompting Al Hathloul to tweet for the first time since her arrest. “Peace be upon you, good people,” she wrote.
It’s no surprise to see Lubna Olayan in the top five yet again, given her status as Saudi Arabia’s most prolific businesswoman.
Olayan is the CEO of Riyadh-based Olayan Financing Company, a group founded by her father in 1947 which has become one of the kingdom’s most successful conglomerates with operations across distribution, manufacturing, services and investments.
Sitting on the board of the group along with her brother Khaled and sisters Hayat and Hutham, it is thought that the private family has accumulated a fortune topping $10 billion.
With operations and participation in more than 40 companies, OFC is also one of the leading investors in the Saudi and regional stock markets.
As well as her work with OFC, Olayan is on the board of trustees of the Arab Thought Foundation – a think-tank focussing on issues within the Arab world – as well as a non-executive director to WPP, and on the advisory boards for Rolls-Royce and Ctigroup. She is a member of the International Business Council of the Word Economic Forum.
Further positions include sitting on the board of directors of INSEAD, membership of of college and university boards, and seats on boards of philanthropic organisations such as Alfanar, and medical associations.
Reem Al Hashimy
After having played an instrumental role in UAE’s successful Expo 2020 bid last year, Reem Al Hashimy’s workload has increased exponentially as she works towards the global event which will arrive in five years.
Expo 2020 is expected to provide 277,000 new job opportunities, and bring in almost $25 billion in added economic activities, and Al Hashimy is at the forefront of making that possibility a reality.
Not only is she responsible for laying the groundwork necessary to host 25 million visitors, but she is also an integral part of the team looking beyond 2020, ensuing Dubai makes the most of the event in subsequent years.
And that’s just one part of her responsibilities. As Minister of State for the UAE, Al Hashimy is a vital part of the federal government, as well as managing the International Affairs Unit of the Executive Office of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai.
In addition she chairs Dubai Cares, a charity aimed at improving children’s access to primary education in poorer parts of the world, as well as the Emirates Competitiveness Council, which works with public and private entities to endorse polices and undertake actions which will drive the UAE’s competitiveness agenda.
And it doesn’t stop there. Al Hashimy is also the chair of the National Bureau of Statistics, and has travelled the world to improve relationships between the UAE and other countries.