Leading Arabs shine in Time 100

by Talal Malik on Monday, 05 May 2008

Sheikh Mohammed, pictured, has been recognised for his pursuit of excellence from  business to sports. (Getty Images)

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal are some of the leading Arabs to be included in Time magazine’s annual list of the world’s most influential people.

The Time 100 in its 2008 published this week included Sheikh Mohammed, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, as “Dubai’s visionary [who] wants youthful Arab minds to reach for the skies”, and Prince Alwaleed, owner of Kingdom Holding, as “America’s biggest foreign investor [who] finds ways to unite East and West”.

“His pursuit of excellence extends from business to sports… and it has made him a role model for a new generation of Arab leaders,” wrote Time journalist Scott McLeod about Sheikh Mohammed, who was included in the category of ‘Heroes and Pioneers’.


Time magazine has been publishing the Time 100 for the past five years, which is a non-hierarchical compilation of the world’s most influential people in five categories including ‘Leaders & Revolutionaries’, ‘Heroes & Pioneers’, ‘Scientists & Thinkers’, ‘Artists & Entertainers’ and ‘Builders & Titans’.

It is compiled as a result of a debate among leading world academics and the selected 100 people are recognised for changing the world, for better or for worse.

Riz Khan, a host on the Al-Jazeera English channel and the author of Alwaleed, an authorised biography about Prince Alwaleed, wrote for Time magazine about his inclusion.

“He crosses boundaries in a unique way, proudly emphasising his role as the largest individual foreign investor in the US and mingling with power brokers from business, politics and even entertainment, in the East and the West,” Khan said about the prince, who was included in the ‘Builders and Titans’ category.

ArabianBusiness.com this year picked Prince Alwaleed as the world’s most powerful Arab in its annual list, the Power 100, for his business and charitable achievements, but specifically excludes political and religious leaders from its rankings.

To view the Power 100 2008 click here.

Both Sheikh Mohammed and Prince Alwaleed share ambitions to build the world’s tallest building, something that the ruler of Dubai has already achieved.

“Where’s the tallest building in the world? It should come as no surprise that it’s in the realm of Sheikh Mohammed,” wrote McLeod in introducing the Dubai ruler in the Time 100.

“When the Burj Dubai is completed next year, the 160-plus-story spire of offices and luxury apartments will be the latest jewel in the impressive crown that Sheikh Mohammed, 58, has been steadily assembling for a quarter-century.”

Kingdom Holding in February invited contracts to build the Mile High Tower in Jeddah, which could be twice as tall as the Burj Dubai.

RELATED: Prince Alwaleed to invite bids for mile-high tower

Other Arabs could also be found in this year’s Time 100 in most of the categories.

Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr was included in the category of ‘Leaders and Revolutionaries’ for being a major political broker who is able to turn up the level of violence in the country at will using his militia.

Madeeha Hasan Odhaib, a 37-year-old Iraqi councillor who has been dubbed the Mother Teresa of Baghdad, was recognised as a heroine and pioneer for her dedication to helping Iraq’s internally displaced people.

In the category of ‘Builders and Titans’, two Arabs were included beside Prince Alwaleed.

Ali Al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s minister of petroleum and mineral resources, was included for “pretty much controlling the world’s oil tap” at a time when oil prices are soaring.

Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born British communications entrepreneur, was also in the category, due to his concern about good governance and accountable institutions in his native Africa.


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