The UAE is home to an estimated 155,000 Lebanese expats, spread mainly across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah. They form one of the largest community of non-citizen Arabs within the UAE, and an increasing number of students have moved here for better education and career opportunities.
Dubai, in particular, remains a popular touring destination for many Lebanese people. The majority of Lebanese expatriates who work in the UAE are highly educated, fluent in Arabic in addition to both French and English, and affluent.
There are also more than 15,000 Lebanese companies operating in the Jebel Ali Free Zone alone.
Here are 9 notable Lebanese in UAE everyone should know about:
1. Elias Bou Saab
Elias Bou Saab was named Minister of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon in February 2014. Minister Bou Saab, a native of Dhour El Choueir, co-founded the American University in Dubai, the first US-accredited university in the Gulf, and has overseen its development into one of the premier educational institutions in the region.
2. Pierre Choueiri
Pierre Choueiri is the son of media mogul Antoine Choueiri, and the heir of the Choueiri Group. Today, the group companies market and manage the advertising space of 28 satellite and one terrestrial television stations, 13 print titles, 14 radio stations, and more than 40 web portals.
It also operates a network of outdoor signs in the Gulf. The group operates in the 10 markets covering the MENA region, Europe and Japan. The network includes 12 subsidiaries, six representative offices and more than 800 executives.
3. Elie Khouri
Elie Khouri is a Lebanese-French marketing and communications executive in Dubai. He is the CEO of Omnicom Media Group MENA, the media services division of the Omnicom Group. He has been a frontrunner in the Middle East's media industry since being appointed as the Regional Managing Director of OMG in 2007.
He is also responsible for expanding the group's Middle East operation, which has overtaken some of the region's established players.
4. Diana Haddad
Diana Haddad is a Lebanese singer and television personality who also holds an Emirati citizenship and is based in the UAE. Haddad is one of the most popular Arabic pop musicians in the Arab World and has been so since the mid-1990s.
She comes from the southern Lebanese town of Maghdouche, although born in the Mountain town of Bsalim. Haddad lives in Dubai but frequently visits her native Lebanon as she owns real estate there.
5. Jessica Kahawaty
Jessica Kahawaty is a Lebanese Australian lawyer, TV Host, beauty queen, model, and charity worker.
Jessica studied a combined degree of Bachelor of Laws and Business with a major in Finance in Sydney. In her acting career, she has filmed various commercials for known brands such as Maybelline Cosmetics for India and Lexus cars for Australia. She has also been featured in major catwalks, magazines, and photo-shoots around the world.
While focusing on her career, Kahawaty also conducts community service and hosts her own charity events. In 2007, she raised money for charities in both Australia and Lebanon, most notably Charity: Water.
6. Najwa Kassem
Najwa Kassem is a Lebanese journalist and television presenter (anchor) for Al Arabiya based in Dubai.
A year after joining the Al Arabiya team, she experienced and survived a bombing attack on the Al Arabiya's Baghdad news station. Eight people died in the bombing.
Kassem has received many professional awards, and she was named by Arabian Business Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the Arab world.
7. Rima Maktabi
Rima Maktabi is a Lebanese TV presenter and award-winning journalist who returned to Al Arabiya after hosting CNN's monthly program Inside the Middle East for two years.
She was amongst several female Arab journalists who first became known for her reporting during the 2006 Lebanon War.
Rima graduated from the Lebanese American University in Beirut with a bachelor's degree in Communication Arts and a master's degree in International Affairs. She began her career in television at the age of 18 and is currently based in Dubai.
8. Osman Sultan
Osman Sultan is the CEO of Du and has driven the company to become a key player in the region, with around 8.3 million mobile customers and more than 555,000 fixed line subscribers.
He currently resides in Dubai and is of Lebanese descent.
9. Rafic Fakih
Rafic Fakih lives in the UAE, is the Managing Director, and holds the UAE rights to one of the most successful fast-food brands in the world, McDonald’s.