Life in Palestine comes with numerous challenges. It is made even more difficult for aspiring entrepreneurs, artists and writers who want to build themselves a future and achieve their dreams, just like everyone else.
So much so that a new UN report is now warning that the Gaza Strip could become “uninhabitable” by 2020 if its current economic conditions continue without improvement.
These conditions include eight years of economic blockade, conflict that has accelerated the “de-development” of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and severe water and electricity crises, as well as destruction of vital infrastructure, according to the report .
That's what makes these 13 Palestinians even more inspirational for their hard work and perseverance.
1. Faris Zaher
Faris Zaher is a Palestinian entrepreneur who co-founded the online travel Palestinian startup Yamsafer, he is currently the CEO. Zaher is also a Global Shaper and a Country Curator with the World Economic Forum's Ramallah Hub.
2. Amer Shomali
Amer Shomali is a Palestinian visual artist who uses conceptual art, painting and filmmaking to highlight issues in Palestinian society. In addition to his art exhibitions, Shomali co-directed "The Wanted 18" in 2014, a historical Palestinian documentary that has been just submitted to the 88th Academy Awards for competition in the Foreign Language Film category.
3. Saed Nashef
Saed Nashef is a Palestinian entrepreneur who founded Sadara Ventures, a Palestinian capital firm that invests in Internet, mobile and software startups and the Ramallah-based IConnect Tech. Nashef also serves on the board of Yamsafer.
4. Irina Naji
Irina Naji is a Palestinian artist who creates paintings. Palestinian Arts Festivals said her work is "fluid and portrays life with grace and a fine calmness capturing a moment of beauty for the eye to examine.”
5. Mahmoud Kaiyal
Mahmoud Kaiyal is a Palestinian physician and entrepreneur who founded and is the CEO of WebTeb, a leading medical Internet portal in the Middle East that brings users certified information about health and lifestyle from the medical community.
6. Nabil Anani
Nabil Anani is a Palestinian artist who is widely recognized ad the key founder of the contemporary Palestinian art movement. A painter, a ceramicist and a sculptor, Anani won numerous awards including the 1997 State of Palestine Award in Fine Arts and the 2006 King Abdullah of Jordan Award in Fine Arts for the Middle East.
7. Rafat Abushaban
Rafat Abushaban is a Palestinian business development specialist, startup mentor, writer and lecturer, he lectures on entrepreneurship and writes for Wamda. Abushaban is also the director of Startup Grind Gaza.
8. Muayad Alayan
Muayad Alayan is a Palestinian director who makes films about the lives of Palestinians. His first short film “Lesh Sabreen?” was awarded and officially selected at more than 60 film festivals including Clermont Ferrand International Film Fest and Dubai International Film Festival.
9. Asma'a Abu Talikh
Asma'a Abu Tailkh is a Palestinian entrepreneur and writer who founded Ana Arabi, a Palestinian startup that provides educational children's stories in Arabic online, which she writes. Talikh won Mobaderoon 2' Project's competition of 30 startups.
10. Sliman Mansour
Sliman Mansour is a Palestinian painter who is recognized as one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Palestinian art. Also an author, Mansour wrote "Both Sides of Peace: Israeli and Palestinian Political Poster Art" in 1998.
11. Feras Nasr
Feras Nasr is a Palestinian entrepreneur and businessman who founded and is the CEO of AidBits, a Ramallah-based startup that digitizes and streamlines reports and data collection for non-governmental organizations.
12. Basel El-Maqosui
Basel El-Maqosui is a Palestinian painter, photographer and video artist. His work has been shown in exhibitions all over the Middle East and Europe, he also founded Windows for Contemporary Art Gaza.
13. Nedal Zahran
Nedal Zahran is a Palestinian entrepreneur and businessman who co-founded the Palestinian startup accelerator Fast Forward, which provides aspiring Palestinian entrepreneurs the resources and support they need to succeed in the global market.