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Mahira Abdelaziz during the Arab Hope Makers Gala Dinner at the Nammos, Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. Image Credit:

The third edition of the Arab Hope Makers initiative, which offers a Dh1 million award for the most inspiring philanthropists in our society, took over the UAE once again this week, starting with a star-studded Arab Hope Makers Gala Dinner on February 19 at Nammos, Four Seasons, which preceded the final award ceremony the following evening at Coca-Cola Arena.

On the red carpet, we caught up with some of the Arab world’s biggest influencers, actors and television presenters, who shared with us the main source of hope in their life — and how they hope to give it back.

Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Ahmed Helmy

A veteran Egyptian comedian, actor and TV personality, Ahmed Helmy is also a judge on Arabs Got Talent

The person who gives Ahmed hope: “My father, even though he passed away, because he lived a difficult life – a very difficult life – from when he was born to the time that he died. From experiencing poverty in the beginning, to then saving some money by the sweat of his brow, to losing all of that money and being back to the wire, to falling ill, to enduring that illness for long years, to then dying with a smile on his face. I don’t have an example hope more than that.”

Celebrating 17 years with actress-wife Mona Zaki: “It’s a nice feeling of course, we don’t count so that we don’t feel it too much, but thank god, it’s a nice feeling.”

On a big anniversary celebration: “Maybe next year!

Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Noha Nabil

Known as @nohastyleicon on Instagram with 8.2 million followers, Noha Nabil was named one of Forbes ‘Top 10 Arab Women Social Media Influencers’ in 2017

The person who gives Noha hope: “My kids. The rosy world that they’re living in is contagious. When I enter their planet, which is all dreams, play, laughter and innocence, it is almost like a detox for me from everything else that I’m facing. It charges my energy. After that, I’m prepared to face a war – I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all.”

Her personal style motto: “I would say trendy but conservative, as much as possible. I’m constantly watching out for trends and I choose what fits me and fits the society we’re in.”

2020 trends to watch out for: “So many! We’re heading to minimal. Simplicity, light colours, and single colour [styles]. The puffiness and craziness of the 80s and 90s, which we saw [come back] last season, is gone. Now, it’s much plainer in terms of make-up, clothing and choices.”

On her dress for the gala: “Today, it’s not minimal. [laughs] I wanted to wear white because I feel like it is a colour that is connected to charity initiatives. The designer is Elie Madi, from his latest collection. We did a fitting and picked the dress in the span of two hours.”

Participating in ‘Arab Hope Makers’: “To me, this is one of the most important initiatives from Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid [Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.] This is my third time participating. This year, it is more of an entertainment, charitable festival, and entertainment and fun is my thing. It continues my message on social media platforms and it draws out hope and joy, so why not?”

Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Mahira Abdelaziz

Emirati TV anchor Mahira Abdelaziz is currently the host of the MBC programme ‘Ghadan Ajmal’ (‘Tomorrow Is More Beautiful’)

The person who gives Mahira hope: “I believe that everyone in our life has a positive side that you can learn from, not just a single person. It’s impossible for us to be always positive – even if it’s in my nature to be positive, of course it won’t be 24/7. We have moments when we are negative, or when we doubt ourselves. But the idea is: how do you overcome these negative thoughts and stop them from controlling you? I receive hope from every person – from a child, from a sheikh, from the elderly. And sometimes, if my mood is high, I try to give back as well, because at the end of the day, it’s a circle of life: we have to give and take, not just simply take.”

Her definition of hope: “‘Hope’ is waking up every day with a new beginning. Don’t get stuck in the past. Plan for the future, but don’t restrict yourself to specific projects – because maybe God has something even more beautiful hidden for you.”

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Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dana Al Tuwarish

Kuwaiti/Iraqi social media influencer Dana Al Tuwarish has an interest in lifestyle and fashion, with more than 2.3 million followers on her Instagram @daneeda_t

The person who gives Dana hope: “Always my mother, of course, because she is a self-made person and a fighter. She likes goodness for all people – I see my mother as my first supporter, as well as the first person to support others.”

Why she supports other women: “I wanted to wear a dress by a local Kuwaiti designer [Hamsa] today; I typically always wear gowns by international designers, but I wanted to change it up this time, because it’s important for me to support women in any shape or form. Girls should always support each other.”

On setting up her own charity: “My goals for this year include my charity initiative, which I have been working on for a while. I would really like to register it under the Ministry of Commerce, and increase exposure around it it across the GCC, so that I can work from within Kuwait to the outside.”

Participating in ‘Arab Hope Makers’: “It’s my first time and I was so happy to have both opportunity and the time to come [from Kuwait] and be a part of it. Humanitarianism is something that must come from us all – and this is a place that can bring us together.”

To those who look up to her: “I want to tell them to always chase after their goals and make them come true, even if it exhausts you, because you will reach them.”

Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Amr Adib

One of the most successful Arab TV hosts, the Egyptian media personality currently hosts ‘Al Hekaya Ma’ Amr Adib’ (‘The Story with Amr Adib’) on MBC Masr

The person who gives Amr hope: “My mother was the source of hope in my life, from the beginning. Because she’s the one who raised us on the notion that nothing is impossible. My mother always knew what to do – and a person who always knows what to do, shows you that there is hope in life. Anything you think you cannot do, your mother will teach you that you can. She was the reservoir and bank of hope in my life.”

The most important reminder: “Children – children in any place – in America, in Africa, in Asia, in the Arab world. Anywhere. Children are the ones who hold hope. We are from a previous generation. Now, the child is the one who needs hope, and the one who we need to plant hope within.”