Her Ex­cel­lency Maryam Eid Almheiri on Abu Dhabi’s me­dia in­dus­try boom

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“YOU MUST LOVE WHAT YOU do if you work in the me­dia in­dus­try, as it sur­rounds you wher­ever you are,” says Her Ex­cel­lency Maryam Eid Al Mheiri.

As the CEO of the Me­dia Zone Author­ity and twofour54 in Abu Dhabi, me­dia is clearly an in­dus­try that has Her Ex­cel­lency’s heart, and it’s no sur­prise that she has made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to build­ing up the in­dus­try in Abu Dhabi.

Ac­cord­ing to HE Al Mheiri, Abu Dhabi’s Eco­nomic Vi­sion 2030 has iden­ti­fied me­dia as one of its 12 key growth sec­tors for eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion. Nu­mer­ous strate­gies are com­ing into play in or­der to build a sus­tain­able and thriv­ing me­dia in­dus­try that will also drive forth cul­tural de­vel­op­ment within the Emi­rate.

“In just un­der ten years, I’m proud to say Abu Dhabi has be­come a lead­ing choice for con­tent cre­ators,” HE Al Mheiri notes.

From at­tract­ing ma­jor film fran­chises such as Star Wars and nu­mer­ous Bol­ly­wood block­busters to film in the emi­rate, to host­ing more than 470 me­dia com­pa­nies from around the globe, in­clud­ing CNN and Car­toon Net­work, Her Ex­cel­lency ex­plains that the pros­per­ity of Abu Dhabi’s cur­rent me­dia sec­tor is due to fac­tors such as its ver­sa­til­ity and the lo­cale of the emi­rate, which is ex­pected to at­tract more pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies in the near fu­ture.

As the CEO of the Me­dia Zone Author­ity – Abu Dhabi, HE Al Mheiri is re­spon­si­ble for lead­ing these strate­gic agen­das and, as part of her role in twofour54, she is work­ing to­wards in­creas­ing en­gage­ment and col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors, as well as lo­cal and for­eign ones.

She is also a board mem­ber of the Abu Dhabi Me­dia Com­pany and was re­cently ap­pointed the act­ing Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Abu Dhabi Gov­ern­ment Me­dia Of­fice.

Named one of the 100 Most Pow­er­ful Arab Women by Forbes last year, HE Al Mheiri’s ca­reer growth and prom­i­nent po­si­tion in Abu Dhabi’s me­dia in­dus­try ev­i­dently has a lot to do with the fact that it in­volves el­e­ments she holds dear.

“I am pas­sion­ate about two things: the econ­omy and our peo­ple,” she says. “Ev­ery­thing I get in­volved in has one thing in com­mon: to drive Abu Dhabi for­ward. This may be through de­vel­op­ing the me­dia in­dus­try, cre­at­ing and in­spir­ing our youth through Ara­bic con­tent, at­tract­ing in­vest­ment, grow­ing the econ­omy, or work­ing on so­cial ini­tia­tives to pro­mote the val­ues of our na­tion of in­clu­sion, such as the Spe­cial Olympics.”

Her Ex­cel­lency’s pas­sion is ev­i­denced by the nu­mer­ous other no­table caps she dons: HE Al Mheiri is a mem­ber of the Abu Dhabi Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil’s Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee and the Abu Dhabi In­vest­ment Com­mit­tee; she is also a board mem­ber of Spe­cial Olympics UAE and the Higher Com­mit­tee for the 2019 Spe­cial Olympics World Sum­mer Games, which will be held in Abu Dhabi.

As part of its in­tern­ship ini­tia­tive, twofour54 works closely with ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions that have ded­i­cated pro­grams for me­dia and other creative in­dus­tries to adapt cur­ric­ula for the rapidly chang­ing needs of con­tent cre­ators in the re­gion. One of their goals is to nur­ture up­com­ing tal­ent and tackle the chal­lenge of chang­ing the per­cep­tion of me­dia as a vi­able ca­reer over other tra­di­tional choices, notes HE Al Mheiri.

She adds that, to­day, me­dia is deeply en­tan­gled with daily life, and believes this is a great op­por­tu­nity rather than a chal­lenge. Me­dia’s om­nipres­ence en­ables to­day’s youth to ex­plore di­verse cul­tures and top­ics, al­low­ing them to learn, share and ex­pe­ri­ence, she notes: “This opens doors to take qual­ity Ara­bic con­tent to the rest of the world. The shift from tra­di­tional to dig­i­tal me­dia has em­pow­ered our youth and en­trepreneurs to take their sto­ries to a world stage.”

In light of these prospects, Her Ex­cel­lency’s ad­vice to the new gen­er­a­tion is “never for­get that op­por­tu­nity is all around us. We live in a coun­try that believes in us and wants us to suc­ceed. So, work hard, stay fo­cused, seize these op­por­tu­ni­ties and we will all grow to­gether as a na­tion.”

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