Founder and chairman GEMS Education Education $2.2bn
SUNNY VARKEY’S CONTRIBUTION to the UAE economy has made his education provider GEMS a household name. Offering six different curricula in 250 schools across 13 countries, GEMS is the world’s largest operator of K-12 schools. However, Varkey is also a renowned philanthropist having donated AED100m ($27.2m) to Dubai Cares, allowing the NGO to reach out to millions of children around the world. With the Varkey Foundation, a trust he founded in 2010, he began The Global Teacher Prize in 2014; referred to as the Nobel Prize for teaching, it donates $1m annually to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.