Arab Social Media Influencers From Across the Middle East Honoured for Path-Breaking Contributions

  • 17 March 2015

Institutions and individuals leading a diverse cross-section of social media-led activities were honoured for their path-breaking contributions as 'Social Media Influencers' at the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit in Dubai. The winners include entities and individuals from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and several other Arab nations.

The Arab Social Media Influencers Award attracted huge participation from all over the Arab world. The Organising Committee of the Summit said the largest individual and institutional participation were in the Corporate Social Responsibility category, which honors optimal use of social media in providing services to the society. It was followed by Blogs and Media categories.

Nominations were received from 22 countries of which 77 per cent were Arab countries. The award received submissions from Arabs living in foreign countries such as Germany, Canada, Britain, India and Italy. The UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia figured top in the list of countries with the largest number of participations in all categories. Institutional participation for the award was biggest from the UAE, while the largest number of individuals participated from Saudi Arabia.​

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, commended the outstanding achievements of the winners of Arab Social Media Influencers Award and their valuable contribution to increase awareness about issues of concern in the Arab region. "You are the pride of the Arab nation, because you sensed the needs of your community and you searched for the optimal usage of social media platforms to fulfill your noble purposes. We are proud of you, and this recognition you won today is a tribute for the Arab people, who do get deterred by challenges but look through them for prospects of excellence, achievement and innovation."

Arab Social Media Influencers Award - Winners in Institutions category:​

1. MBC Group : Winner in Media category. MBC Group is one of the leading Arabic media groups. MBC Group uses social media to raise awareness about social and humanitarian issues. Through its #Gared_balkheer, a Twitter campaign, MBC Group collected more than SAR 990,000 to provide food for Syrian refugee children.

2. Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives: Winner in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category. Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives launched 'Bab Rizk Jameel' as a social initiative to encourage people through social media channels to participate in volunteering activities as well as to offer employment opportunities. It offers loans up to SAR 300,000 for Saudi youth without interest and 5 years repayment period.

3. UTURN channel: Winner in Entertainment category. UTURN produced a number of famous TV series such as 'Ashe Elly' and 'Ala Al Tayer', and highlighted some major topics on its social media channels. UTURN is the most followed channel in the Arab world on social media with more than a million followers.

4. Ascia and Ahmad: Winner in Blogs category. Ascia and Ahmad are the owners of the Hybrids, a blog that focuses on fashion and is considered to be one of the most popular Arabic blogs.

5. THINK UP: Winner in Youth category. THINK UP helps Gulf talents, especially UAE citizens, in finding job opportunities in different companies. The company has started a hash tag on Twitter "#ThinkUPGCC" to encourage young people to serve the society, and the initiative has attracted huge social interaction.

6. Winner in Shopping category. is the largest shopping portal in the Middle East that uses social media channels to market goods through short films that explain how to purchase the goods on the site. The portal has more than 6 million social media followers.

7. #MyDubai: Winner in Tourism category. #MyDubai, an initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, aims to explain to residents and visitors about the lifestyle in Dubai by posting images in social media channels. The initiative has received considerable attention from government and private entities as well as individuals with more than 1.8 million photos posted in a short period.

8. NAFHAM: Winner in Education category. NAFHAM is an innovative electronic online service offering free 5-20 minute educational videos based on school curriculum in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Algeria. The initiative has so far broadcasted more than 8,000 educational videos.

9. Alhoush - Electronic Gate: Winner in Arts category. Alhoush displays the works of Arabic artists and designers on social media, offering purchase services through the internet. The initiative helps artists gain funding for their projects.

10. Bey2ollak: Winner in Safety and Security category. Bey2ollak application uses social media channels to share information about roads and traffic in all Egyptian cities. The initiative also gives the followers opportunity to chat about the existing projects in Egypt.

11. National Geographic Abu Dhabi: Winner in Environment category. The channel broadcasts movies and documentaries about nature, sciences, civilization and history, using social media channels to spread the best information in the Arab world.

12. Reyali Program: Winner in Economy category. Reyali is One of the most important programs launched by SEDCO Holding Company to promote financial awareness among Saudi society, especially young people, and develop their skills and provide them with the knowledge to face life's responsibilities.

13. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Winner in Public Sector category. The Ministry is responsible for the UAE's foreign affairs initiatives. The ministry has set up social media channels to communicate with citizens, raise awareness about the ministry and respond to UAE citizens' concerns all over the world.

14. Coca-Cola: Winner in Private Sector category. Coca-Cola, a global leader in the production and distribution of soft drinks, has launched many innovative social media initiatives such as 'Sahrek Lebanon' and 'Free Calls' initiative for workers in the United Arab Emirates.

15. Al-Hilal S FC: Winner in Sports category. Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club, one of the most prestigious football clubs in Saudi Arabia, publishes diverse news about the club through its social networking sites.

16. Web-Teb: Winner in Health category. Web-Teb is a website that aims to provide comprehensive medical information to the Arab community through the Internet. It publishes medical advice, articles and the latest health information and medical developments on its social networking sites which have more than 3 million followers.

17. Tech-Pills institution: Winner in Technology category. Tech-Pills monitors news coverage on technology around the world. Its social networking sites provide news and information on modern technologies, software, and applications and offer an analysis of the possible benefits to society from these technologies.

18. Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR): Winner in Politics category. ECSSR specialises in political studies and conducts research on issues related to national security and and the economic situation in the Gulf region and the UAE in particular.

19. Fikr Jaded: Winner in Entrepreneurship category. Fikr Jaded is a non-profit initiative that sheds light on successful projects in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation. It also offers opportunities to share success stories in entrepreneurship. The initiative established the Fikrstan platform to present ideas and contribute to dissemination of knowledge.

Winners in Individuals Category:

1. Turki al-Dakhil: Winner in Media category. Turki al-Dakhil is a Saudi TV presenter, journalist and column writer. He presents the Eda'at programme on Al-Arabiya channel and manages Almesbar Center for Studies and Research and Madarek Publishing House. He has a number of fans on social media channels with more than 2 million followers.

2. Fayez al-Maliki: Winner in Community Service category. Fayez al-Maliki is a Saudi artist, and ambassador of Insan Association for Orphans and also the ambassador of UNICEF in Arabia. Fayez employs social media channels to support a number of humanitarian initiatives, and promote awareness about rights in the community.

3.Rashid Al-Fawzan: Winner in Economy category. Rashid Al-Fawzan, director of Arab CNBC in Saudi Arabia, is a writer in Al Riyadh newspaper. He keeps his social media fans engaged on the latest economic developments and offers analysis on a number of topics related to economy.

4.Abdullah Almaglot: Winner in Tolerance category. Abdullah Almaglot, is the producer and presenter of 'Yeshbahak' programme on YouTube, which has succeeded in employing social media channels to promote tolerance among its fans.

5.Ghanim Almuftahr: Winner in Youth category. Ghanim Almuftahr, which is known as 'Ghanim the Winner', is a positive character and has won several achievements in sports leagues. He created Ghanem the Winner Association for Wheelchairs, and is the author of a book on his experiences.

6. Bader Saleh: Winner in Entertainment category. An artist with more than 2 million fans on his YouTube channel, Bader's 'Ish Elly' has topped the list of programmes on social media channels, and is the most watched in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the GCC.

7. Areej Al-Kharafi: Winner in Shopping category. Areej has established a website specialised on shopping in 2007 and established a series of online shops called "Fortunate Cookie", which includes the most prestigious brands. Through her social media channels Areej has highlighted her experiences in the field of entrepreneurship and shopping, utilising her brand to raise awareness about goods sold in her stores.

8. HE Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah: Winner in Public Sector category. HE Dr. Tawfiq is Minister of Commerce and Industry in Saudi Arabia and has been an assistant professor at King Saud University, Director General of Information and Communication Technology in the Arab Authority for Investment, and Director General of Saudi Industrial Cities. Through his account on Twitter, HE Dr. Tawfiq has raised awareness about the activities of the ministry and other events, in addition to providing economic advice supported with studies and statistics. He has more than 800,000 followers on social media

9. Omar Samra: Winner in Tourism category. Omar is the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest and has been chosen by the AXE Apollo Space Academy for a trip to space. Omar founded the Wild Qguanabana company for trips and adventures around the world and is working to organize a number of humanitarian and social initiatives in conjunction with these trips. He is also working to shed light on these trips and activities through his social media channels.

10. Dr. Anwar Al Hammadi: Winner in Health category. Dr. Anwar is a consultant and head of Dermatology Center at the Dubai Health Authority. He has authored a book titled '300 Q & A for Skin Diseases' and is working on his second book in the same field. Dr. Anwar devotes part of his time in educating members of the community through social media channels

11. Ghada Ghoneim: Winner in Education category. Ghada is a Saudi Arabian student who is doing doctoral study in the United States. She is one of the founders of the site 'Saudis in America', which aims to help Saudi students on scholarships to integrate into the American society by offering a comprehensive guide to the most important universities and institutes in the US. The site works to enhance communication between the Saudi students in America and provide them with support and advice.

12. Abdul Rahman Mohammed: Winner in Arts category. Abdul is a Saudi artist and musician who offers through his YouTube channel a number of songs and poems in an innovative way, accompanied by music on the guitar. His performance of the musical poem 'Osabk ishkan' by Yazed bin Muawiya achieved more than 10 million views.

13. Fadi Ghandour: Winner in Private Sector category. He is the Founder and Vice Chairman of Aramex, and the Co-Founder and Director of MENA Venture Investments, a seed capital investment company focusing on early stage tech companies in the MENA region. He is also a member of the Board of The Abraaj Group. He participated in many inititaives to support digital content and social media channels. He is also the Chairman of Wamda and Founding Investor in

14. Sami Al Jaber: Winner in Sports category. Sami was the manager of Al-Hilal football club, and a well-known player in the Saudi national team. Sami Al Jaber is one of the most followed sports star on social media in the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia. More than 3 million people follow his posts about sports news, specially football, and Al-Hilal football club.

15. Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa: Winner in Politics category. Sheikh Khalid was one of the first Arab politicians to have a Twitter account. He posts his political opinions as well as discussions and personal photos in his Twitter page, and interacts with more than 200,000 followers.

16. Amine Raghib: Winner in Technology category. Amine is the owner and founder of Almohtarif blog, which won Best Morrocan Blog 2012/2013. It is also ranked as one of the best 10 Arabic blogs according to ICFJ. Through his YouTube channel, Amine presents weekly lessons about various sectors related to technology.

17. Kaswara Al-Khatib: Winner in Entrepreneurship category. Kaswara is a Saudi businessman and Chairman & CEO at UTURN Entertainment. He is one of the top entrepreneurs and founders of innovative and successful creative projects in Saudi Arabia. Kaswara presents on YouTube many professional and interactive programs. He was chosen by Forbes Middle East as one of top entrepreneurs in the kingdom.

18. Abdullah Al Dhaheri Blog: Winner in Blogs category. The Blog been launched by Mira Ahmed Al Dhaheri in the name of her brother, Abdullah, who suffers from Down syndrome. The blog provides specialised information in Arabic to raise awareness about Down syndrome, and carries stories of this disorder from around the world. The Blog has championed several campaigns, including 'Do Not Let Me Down" campaign which aims to promote community awareness on this disorder.

The first event of its kind in region, Arab Social Media Influencers Summit brings together more than 1500 social media experts from Arab countries and across the world. As many as 38 leading speakers and influencers at the Summit will inspire young Arabs to employ their innovative ideas to serve the Arab community through optimal use of social media channels. The Summit concludes on March 18.