Three Qatari men have once again been ranked among the Middle East’s most prominent leaders, with two of them moving up in this year’s edition of The 100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40 list.
They are Hassan Al Thawadi, Mutaz Barshim and Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon.
The highest-ranked Qatari on the index, which was compiled by Arabian Business based on who’s “making a significant difference in the world,” continues to be Al Thawadi.
The 38-year-old secretary general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy is the region’s fourth most influential person, dropping a spot from last year.
The SCDL oversees construction of all the 2022 World Cup stadiums and related infrastructure ahead of the tournament.
Al Thawadi, who also ranked in the new Qatar Power List 2015, is one of the most public defenders of Qatar’s bid.
According to Arabian Business, the Sheffield University graduate has handled international pressure about corruption allegations, labor abuses and other issues with grace.
The publication quoted him as saying to the UN earlier this year:
“We are aware that the international spotlight can place a focus on our country that can occasionally feel uncomfortable.
In spite of this we are driven by the power of our conviction and the spirit of our vision that has constantly motivated us from the day we launched our bid. We are utilizing this spotlight to assist in delivering the progress to which our state is steadfastly committed to.”
Once again, no Qatari women feature in this year’s rankings, which do not include members of the ruling family.
The top-ranked Arab is Palestinian-Canadian author, reporter and entrepreneur Chaker Khazaal, who Arabian Business said “is proof that refugees can go on from displacement to incredible achievements.”
And 22-year-old Shamma Al Mazrouei, the youngest ever member of the UAE cabinet, and the country’s first ever Minister of State for Youth Affairs, came in second in the rankings.
Of the 100 people ranked, most hailed from the UAE (23), then Egypt (15), Lebanon (13), Saudi Arabia (12) and Palestine (10).
Meanwhile, 24-year-old high jumper Barshim has moved up from 73rd last year to 61st in this year’s rankings.
The athlete has several awards under his belt, including the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He is preparing to jump for gold at this year’s tournament in Brazil.
According to Arabian Business, he told the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that he “grew up nothing special, like any kid in Qatar.”
But the publication added that “in the eyes of Qatar and the world, Barshim is today without a doubt someone special.”
Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon
Another young Qatari who has moved up in the rankings this year is Al Haroon, who went from 85th to 74th this year.
The entrepreneur, who like Al Thawadi made the Qatar Power List last year, became a public name after setting up the community website I Love Qatar (ILQ) in 2008.
ILQ has since grown into a network of websites. Al Haroon is also CEO of Haroon United Group (HUG) and executive director of the Qatar Stars League.
He has been involved with Raqami TV, an award-winning new channel with more than 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. He is also well-known for the popular QTips series, in which he and his colleagues field questions about Qatari cultural in a humorous way.
Arabian Business called him a “successful online specialist” and an ambassador for many things, including cancer awareness.