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Most Creative People in Business 2024 gala night – toasting the year’s finest creative leadership

The invite-only gala night celebrated the spectacular achievements of 43 extraordinary individuals

Most Creative People in Business 2024 gala night –  toasting the year’s finest creative leadership
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

Glitz, glamor, motivational speeches, and thumping music, Most Creative People in Business 2024 was the biggest celebration of creativity, as the exclusive gala night unfurled to spotlight a year of spectacular achievements of 43 extraordinary individuals. Their work exemplifies the transformative power of creativity in propelling industries forward and establishing new standards of excellence. 

Hosted on May 30 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, with Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab as the backdrop, Anthony Touma, semi-finalist of The Voice France and winner of Dancing With The Stars set the stage for the night, belting out foot-tapping numbers, including a cover of Bruno Mars’ Talking to the Moon and his singles, Baklava and Show Me How You Dabke.

Ravi Raman, Editorial Director and Publisher of Fast Company Middle East, opened the ceremony by thanking the honorees for inspiring us with courage and creativity. He said, “We look beyond business success and focus on people who use creativity to transform their industry. In our journey, we have seen four core values you have in common: courage, conviction, clarity of thought, purpose, and creativity.”

“I have known and met many of you, and there’s another value that all of you have in common: extreme humility. When we contacted you, the first reaction was, ‘Why me?’ It’s the humility that makes you who you are. Thank you for inspiring us,” he added. 

The evening brought together the shapers of tomorrow—from government officials, athletes, entrepreneurs, and artists who are pushing the boundaries and voices of change.


H.E. Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, received the award for For Bringing Good Things to More People, and she used her time at the podium to address the endeavor to make Dubai an incubator for creativity and talent. “I’d like to thank our wise leadership, who has always challenged the status quo and raised the bar for us. We are committed to making Dubai an incubator for creativity and a driving hub for talent,” she said.

Accepting the honor, Ahlam Balooki, the CEO of the Emirates Literature Foundation, said, “The real gratification for me is celebrating the honor of literature and working with authors and getting to highlight stories that deserve to be told.” 

The award ceremony reassured all that as long as the world had enough human creativity, no problem would be too big to solve.

Abdulla Lutfi, an artist on the autism spectrum known for uniquely interpreting the world, shared his challenging journey. “I am truly honored to accept this award. Receiving this recognition fills me with great pride and gratitude. My journey has been challenging, with some focusing on my autism rather than my artistry. Today, I am proud to stand here not just as an autistic artist but as an artist celebrated for creativity and innovation.”

“Thank you for this honor, which motivates me to keep pushing boundaries and embracing new horizons in art and business,” added Lutfi, honored under the Delighting Us category. 

Saying contributing to the creation of art is an emotional and transformative experience, Paolo Petrocelli, Head of Dubai Opera, who was also honored for his pioneering contribution to creativity, said. “It’s a journey that celebrates our shared humanity and aligns the duties and differences, reminding us that we can make a better world together. This is a collective process. Art can change the world, and we know that our society needs peace, love, and understanding more than ever, so let’s keep contributing to making a change through art and building a brighter future.”

Accepting the award, entrepreneur Zain Masri, who has digitized about 1,000 traditional Palestinian cross-stitching patterns and made them available for download on her platform, Tirazain, said, “Thank you for recognizing Tirazain, which tells the stories of women, hope, and resilience. At the crux of everything, it tells the story of struggling people who plead. My heart is with them today.” 

At a time when the world is facing the highest number of violent conflicts, making an impassioned speech, Karen Wazen, a prominent Middle Eastern entrepreneur and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, said, “While I stand here, I am also very aware of another reality. It is 2024, and while we embrace and acknowledge the innovations, technology, and progress that humankind has made. We are also regressing in the most important thing – humanity.

“Genocide, displacement, and injustice are not just words; these are the harsh realities of millions of people silenced by oppression. It is a duty to be a voice for the voiceless. It is a duty to speak against injustice.” 

The gala ceremony ended on a high note, with the room filled with excitement and enthusiasm. We celebrated the power of creativity and were inspired by the honorees’ accomplishments. It was a night where cultures were bridged, minds met, and we looked back on what unbridled creativity can unlock.

Anghami was the official entertainment partner for this year’s Most Creative People in Business, and  Jumeirah Group was the official host for the occasion.

Check the full list of Fast Company Middle East’s Most Creative People in Business 2024. 

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