Firsts are always memorable. Fast Company Middle East held its inaugural Most Creative People in Business awards on June 23 in Dubai, recognizing leaders not for their rankings or positions but for their ability to transform, pivot, and rewrite the future creatively.
Held at the iconic Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard’s Armani Hotel, Fast Company Middle East’s Most Creative People in Business awards and gala night brought together over 200 guests to honor creative leaders in the Middle East.
Setting the stage for the night was the award-winning opera singer and UNWFP advocate Zeina Barhoum who belted out famous tunes Majida El Roumi’s Kalimat and the Sound of Music. Amid the glitz and glamor of the event, Barhoum addressed the audience with a humbling reminder. “It’s great to perform after two years of COVID and be here and see everyone in person,” she said.
In his welcome address, Ravi Raman, Publisher of Fast Company Middle East said, “Launching Fast Company and the Most Creative People in Buisness list is so relevant, as the region is the new home of innovation.”
The evening brought together the shapers of tomorrow – from government officials, athletes, and mental health advocates to journalists and artists who are pushing the boundaries.
In a touching tribute, skin-positivity influencer Logina Salah, honored with the Rewriting The Rules award, said, “A calm sea never made a skilled sailor,” encouraging the audience on how times of trials and tribulations have power behind it. Challenging situations test our skills, make us work harder, and develop creative and innovative solutions.
Raha Moharrak, the first Arab woman to climb Mount Everest, offered a different kind of encouragement. Accepting the award for Rewriting The Rules, she said, “Thank you for helping me prove you can be born in a desert and still touch the sky.”
The award ceremony was about conversations around creativity, its intangibility, and its coherence with the future, reassuring that as long as the world had enough human creativity, no problem would be too big to solve.
Another pioneering honoree, reaffirming the importance of human creativity and its relevance in the future, was H.E. Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation. He said, “Human beings will always drive the past, present, and future.”
Honored for trying new and innovative ideas to bring about a new level of transformation in Dubai, Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, spoke about the success of Expo 2020 Dubai, saying how decisions “challenging the status quo” enabled the city to be future-forward.
Performing on the night was stand-up comic Mina Liccione, dubbed as UAE’s laughter queen.
The honorees and their profiles showcased inclusivity and gender parity across all fields. Luisa Javier, a Saudi-based biotechnologist who created the fastest disinfectant in the world with her business partner Sandra Medine said, “I would never have imagined being selected in the Most Creative People in Business coming from a scientific background. I’m humbled to see the creativity behind science recognized.”
The night ended with Barhoum returning to perform Never Enough from the Greatest Showman. And that was a fitting ending to an illustrious and memorable night.