Three young Qataris who have served as leaders in sport, business and technology have been recognized among the Middle East’s movers and shakers, ranking in the latest list of the 100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40.
The man leading Qatar’s 2022 World Cup plans, Hassan Al Thawadi, was listed as the region’s third most influential person, according to an index compiled by industry publication Arabian Business.
Al Thawadi, 37, is secretary general of the Supreme Committee of Delivery & Legacy, and oversees construction of all the stadiums and infrastructure that must be ready ahead of the tournament.
He has held the position since March 2011, after serving as CEO of Qatar’s 2022 bid committee.
During his tenure, he has had to address a number of controversial issues, including corruption allegations over Qatar’s bidding process, human rights concerns about workers building venues for the event and FIFA’s decision to shift the date of the tournament to the winter.
A law graduate from Sheffield University in the UK, Al Thawadi also serves as General Counsel of the state’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
That fund has invested in some of the world’s biggest brands including Barclays, Harrods and UK supermarket chain Sainsburys.
Internationally-renowned Qatari athlete Mutaz Barshim was also recognized on the index, as one of the Arab world’s leaders in sport.
The 23-year-old Olympic bronze medalist high-jumper took the 73rd spot in this year’s ranking. He sparked a social media craze last year after his record-breaking performance at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels in September when he cleared 2.43 meters (about 8 feet), making him the second highest jumper of all time.
His achievement caught the attention of sports commentators, and spawned a meme under the hashtag #ThingsBarshimCouldJumpOver, featuring photoshopped images to show the scale of the athlete’s feat.
The third Qatari to make the list is entrepreneur and businessman Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon, who became a public name after setting up the community website I Love Qatar (ILQ) in 2008.
Al Haroon, who took 85th place, is also founder and CEO of Haroon United Group.
HUG describes itself as “a group of young and enthusiastic Qataris and long-term residents who helped to build one of Qatar’s most vibrant holding companies,” whose interests include King Koil, Shake Shack and The Camel Co.
Al Haroon is also head of interaction and innovation at Vodafone Qatar and is executive director of marketing and communications at Qatar Stars League – the top professional football league in the country.
He has featured on a number of lists of young people to watch in the region, including being named Young Achiever of the Year by Arabian Business in 2014 and Entrepreneur of the Year by telecoms ministry ictQatar in 2011.
He thanked his 40,000 followers on Twitter for helping him achieve his latest accolade:
Honored to be on the Top 100 Most powerful Arabs list. Thank you to everyone who pushes me to be a better person http://t.co/V01fjN0vkc
— Khalifa Al Haroon – Mr. Q (@iloveqatar) April 19, 2015
Earlier this year, in a separate list published by Gulf Business, some 15 Qataris were included 100 Most Powerful Arabs 2015 list.
This list, which included royal family members and politicians who had strong corporate connections, saw Qatar figures take seven of the top 50 spots. Al Thawadi was in 11th place in that index, making him the top-ranking Qatari.
Qatar has one of the fewest number of leaders on this year’s Top 100 index.
The UAE has the most, with 24 of its leaders included, while Lebanon follows in second place with 15. Palestine has 12, Egypt 10 and Saudi Arabia nine entries.
The list does not include any members of royal families or politicians, and none of Qatar’s top three are women.
Leading the power list is Egypt’s Jawad Nabulsi, a 33-year-old activist, entrepreneur and humanitarian who founded the non-governmental organization Nebny Foundation.
Initially established to provide medical assistance to those caught up in the 2011 uprising, it has developed to economically empower Egypt’s youth through micro-finance loans, support for skilled craft workshops and other initiatives.
Kuwaiti businessman Bader Al Kharafi was ranked second. One of the heads of the family conglomerate MA Al Kharafi & Sons Company, he became director of the group’s executive committee in 2012 and is vice-chairman of telecommunications organization Zain Group, which has 44.3 million customers in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
In an editorial introducing the list, Arabian Business editor Ed Attwood said:
“The list is a celebration of the Arab world’s brightest talent, particularly in a part of the world where good news is sometimes hard to come by.”
The UAE along with a calm and stable Lebanon can really be leaders in the Media, Education and Science and Technology sectors in Arabia!
Lebanon is not in Arabia.
Where is it then? Are you Lebanese?
Just to clarify , Arabia historically is the Arabian peninsula including what is now KSA , Qatar , Bahrain , Kuwait , UAE , Oman and Yemen.
Lebanon is an Arab country , but in this sense is not in Arabia.
I meant the Arab world!
“Internationally-renowned Qatari athlete Mutaz Barshim..” That really makes me laugh. I know this guy. I have watched him perform excellently at Diamond League meetings. He is, indeed, a super-star. But, go and ask some Qataris about him. They will say:” Who?” So much about their excitement for sports and their own “heroes”.
Oh come on…I’m all for the bashfest but how many did you actually ask? I spoke to 20 that all follow him closely and I don’t “hang out” with too many locals. Stick to villagio, maids and labors…
My ‘sample’ is about 500 from all backgrounds: from Al Thanis to Al Marris, and the Iranian Qataris, too. Maybe 5% of them have heard the name Barshim. I don’t say this is representative. It’s only what I’ve experienced.
Thank you for your friendly and qualified reply.
Whats an Iranian Qatari?
To answer your question: Al Emadi, Al Fardan, Al Darwish, and many, many more.
you right and more…
I’m a Qatari, & I would’ve let this slip if you were a local, but you’re not. You’re a foreigner. Plus part of your information is wrong. Emadi and Darwish aren’t the same. Emadi are Iranian by origin ‘ajam’, Darwish are Arabs who before coming to Qatar lived in Iran as part of an ethnic minority and locally called ‘hwla’ or ‘arabs of persia’. But hwla have been in Qatar for at least more than 130 years and have fought alongside sh Jassim and were here when Qatar was founded in 1878 along with the known tribes which makes them original Qataris (Check sh Mohammed bin Ahmad Al Thani’s book about Qatar’s history). Some current Marris weren’t in Qatar before 1930 and by law are considered naturalized, but still I assume you would’ve described them as Qataris instead of “Saudi Qataris”. I suggest a ‘Daniel’ asks his Kuwaris before commenting about something that is purely a local matter, or better yet, never comment about local matters.
Why not just post the information on Wikipedia, and call it a day. I always fail to understand why us Arabs are too fenced in to our own culture, like it was a secret. That’s how the colonials ruled us, and that’s how we hinder our own cultural growth.
Welcome the foreigners and teach them our rich history. So no one calls us arrogant fools anymore.
So you have done a survey on how many Qataris know Barshim? I would like to have a look at that.
I see your Thanis and Marris and raise you some Kuwairis 🙂 I’m sure there’s a lot that don’t know the name of the planet we’re on, but this article was about the exceptions. Let’s not take that away from them.
People know who I’m talking about most times I mention Mutaz Barshim in a conversation. It’s interesting to note considering 99% of the people I talk to have no idea what ‘Kay-tar’ is.
Why should I be excited about sports or know athletes just because the gov’t is promoting Qatar as a sports destination? It doesn’t mean I have to change my interests to match. I respect his achievements, hardwork and dedication but watching sports is not my thing. I choose my own heroes and national success is not a criteria.
Please DN sort out your reporting on stats … Of course Qatar is likely to have the fewest number, there are only 300,000 Qataris as against 1.5 million Emiratis and 1.2 million Kuwaitis. It’s all about proportions and ratios, really not difficult maths.
It depends what you want to point out: ratios or absolute numbers. And that again depends on your intention of what you want to report. Basically, statistics are always misused, or used for a purpose.
Absolute numbers distort especially in this case when the cohorts are so disparate in size. This is pretty basic maths let alone basic journalism
Not really. India has over a billion people but their gold medal tally at the Olympics is appalling. (Can’t Indians run, jump or swim?) compare their record to Australia whose pop is about 20 million who get many multiples of the medians India gets. It’s not all about population.
Agreed that it is not all about population. However, your example is biased based on the fact India has a limited gene pool compared to Australia (a more racially diverse nation). Physical characteristics that help in certain athletic skills may not be the norm in India (For example long legs or height in general). Also their is a cultural aspect, many want their children to grow up as an engineer, Dr. , Lawyer etc. Most athletes start their sports during their childhood and have to practice hours a day to be competitive. From what I understand of the culture most Indian parents would want their child to spend those hours studying not on a sport.
In addition the lack of infrastructure, sports facilities and training grounds.
And generally eating FAR too many chapatis.
Even so, Qatar has achieved so much over the past couple of decades. The number should be even more all things considering.
Those publications are influenced by their funding sources.
Has an Al Thwaidi always comes across well, obviously well educated, good communicator and talks a lot of sense. Also defends Qatar’s corner against negative publicity. A number of Qataris in the government could learn from him
Very encouraging to see this, I got caught up in that editorial piece “… Where good news is hard to come-by” its time Arab leaders and influences start fixing the stereotype that has been of the the middle-east at large.
I always appreciate when life fighters are recognized! Well-done Mutaz! In Rio 2016 you will bring the first gold medal to Qatar in Olympics.