He’s one of our favourite Instagrammers and Tweeters. He’s also pretty prolific on Facebook too.

So who better to make a star turn at this week’s Arab Social Media Influencers Awards to dish out some trophies?

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, met with the region’s social media stars for a summit at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The royal was joined at the two-day conference by his sons, Crown Prince of Dubai HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Deputy Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Ghanim Al Muftah

Around 2,500 attended the summit, and many got a chance to rub shoulders with the royals, including 14-year-old Qatari Instagram sensation, Ghanim Al Muftah.

The teen, who has nearly one million followers, was born with a rare condition that affects his spine – but he certainly hasn’t let it hold him back.

Despite his young age, Al Muftah owns a multi-branch ice cream company, according to the Khaleej Times, and is also a keen swimmer, ice skater, and diver (he even hopes to compete in the Paralympics one day).

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Sheikh Mohammed also met with UAE artist and UN Goodwill Ambassador, Hussain Al Jassmi, who performed a piece on the piano at the event.

“It’s important to be real and to project your real image as you represent yourself as well as your society and country. One should be committed to one’s principles,” he told attendees, revealing that he accepts comments with an “open heart.”

Hussain Al Jassmi

“I prefer to keep my personal likes for myself, I prefer privacy.”

He urged influencers to be real with their followers, telling them: “Charisma comes not from the tongue, but from actions and ethical behaviour. Either you learn or you burn, and I have decided to learn.”

The summit was organised under the directives of Sheikh Mohammed, and allowed local and international influencers to get together and network, as well as show off their talents with performances ranging from acapella songs to comedy.

The royal also used the get-together to announce plans for an “Arab Social Media Influencers Club”, which aims to encourage creativity and youth engagement.

sheikh mohammed

The club will hopefully increase the participation of Arab youth in the growth and development of the region, said Her Excellency Mona Ghanem Al Marri.

“You have a responsibility to help create positive change through these platforms,” she told attendees, revealing that Sheikh Mohammed sees his social media channels as opportunities for direct interaction with people.

The royal said as much during the awards ceremony, where he told guests: “There is no doubt that social media has impacted people’s lives, and provided an opportunity for talented people in their domains to influence their environment and followers.”

“It is very important to know that the ability to make a positive impact on society is a gift that needs to be used to help develop communities and support their aspirations. In addition, we need to highlight successful models and encourage creative talent in order to achieve the highest excellence.”

Sheikh Saif bin Zayed

Winners included His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, in the category of individuals representing the public sector, and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, HE Dr Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, in the category of politics.

MBC sports anchor Mustapha Al Agha took home the public choice award, while singer Al Jassmi took out the art category.

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Images: Dubai Media Office