Who was the biggest MidEast influencer of 2014?


Let me start off by saying thank you to my great colleague Becky Anderson, for inviting me to this year’s CNN #Influencer debate. It was a great privilege to have been selected to attend such an enriching event, especially that it is relevant to this year’s regional headlines: so who was the most influential person in the Middle East for 2014?

Hosted by CNN anchor and presenter Becky Anderson, the debate became not only a platform of views from/for all sorts of individuals, but it also served as a personal learning platform for me. I was able to witness the most personal of opinions, view and expressions from people that may have impacted or changed my view on things.

By analyzing audience data gathered by the CNN Arabic website across the year, they were able to identify the top ten key personalities that have made the biggest impact on the region, they are the following:

  • Abdel Fattah al Sisi, President of Egypt
  • King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
  • Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Self-Proclaimed Caliph of the “Islamic State”
  • Barack Obama, President of the United States of America
  • Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel
  • The Foreign Extremist Fighter
  • Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran
  • Mariam Al Mansouri, First Emirati female fighter pilot
  • The Middle Eastern Refugee
  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey

It is important to note that the abovementioned list of names was selected beforehand by CNN Arabic’s audience.

There is no doubt, I believe, to anyone, that US President Barack Obama will make it to the said list, it is, however, surprising that the controversial Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self-proclaimed Caliph of the “Islamic State”, made it in the list, not to mention, he made it 3rd, ahead of the world leader.

Did Baghdadi make it to the list because the audiences think, in all honesty, that he was an influencer? Or was it just the relevance of the recent unfortunate events that put him third in that list?

Abdel Fatah al Sisi, Egypt’s recently assigned president, was hailed as the most influent in the list.

How do we even define an influencer? Do we count the years of service, do we base it on passion for social work? Do we base it on the impact of their actions, whether the nature is good or evil?


Here is the full discussion: