Jabalna Magazine – New York
These four Lebanese women were listed among “Forbes’ World’s 10 Most Powerful Arab Women" published last year. They ranked as follows:
Amal Clooney (Rank #2) – Human rights lawyer
A lawyer who specializes in human rights and international law, Amal Clooney has represented high-profile clients such as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and the Greek government in its quest to repatriate the Parthenon Marbles from the U.K. She served as adviser to the King of Bahrain, and Kofi Annan when he was the United Nation’s Envoy to Syria. In September, she made headlines when an Egyptian court sentenced her client, Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Al Fahmy, to three years in prison. Clooney, who was born in Beirut, fled with her family to the U.K. during the Lebanese civil war. She holds law degrees from Oxford University and New York University, and practiced as a litigation attorney at New York white-shoe law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. Clooney was propelled into the limelight when she married actor George Clooney last year in a much-publicized wedding in Venice.
Nayla Hayek (Rank #4) - Chair, Swatch
Nayla Hayek took over the reins of Swatch Group after her father, the legendary Lebanon-born Nicolas Hayek, passed away in 2010. In 2013, she played a central role in acquiring fine jeweler Harry Winston for $750 million, plus the assumption of up to $250 million of debt. Swatch, which in addition to its iconic plastic watches, sells the Omega, Blancpain and Breguet brands, among others, reported $9.4 billion in revenues last year. (Swatch is one of the world’s largest buyers of polished diamonds). In January 2015, Harry Winston announced it will sponsor amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research’s 27 gala events over the next three years—the single biggest coporate partnership in amfAR’s history. A keen equestrian, Hayek is a member of the World Arabian Horse Organization, and serves as international Arabian horse judge.
Reem Accra (Rank #7) – Fashion designer
Born in Beirut, Reem Acra first became known for her bridal gowns, before launching her prêt-a-porter collection in 2003. Based in New York, Acra has a loyal clientèle in the Middle East. But stars, such as Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé, and Halle Berry have helped raise her profile by wearing her lavish designs on the red carpet. A graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Acra often tells the story of how an embroidered silk organza gown she made from her mother’s dining room tablecloth caught the eye of a fashion editor, and helped propel her career. She serves on the board of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council.
Ayah Bdeir (Rank #9) - Founder, littleBits
In 2011, Ayah Bdeir, 32, created New York-based littleBits, which makes circuits that snap together with tiny magnets. Designers and engineers use them for prototyping, but they are easy enough to use by children and non-professionals to create fun gadgets. More than 2,000 teachers around the world have adopted them as learning tools. In June, the startup raised $44 million in a Series B round, bringing the company’s total funding to nearly $60 million. Bdeir is a co-founder of the Open Hardware Summit, which believes in freely sharing inventions. She graduated with a degree in computer engineering from the American University of Beirut, and earned a Master’s in computer culture from the MIT Media Lab in 2006.
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