Girl of the week: Amal Alamuddin
The woman for whom George Clooney "is marrying up"
British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin is a force to be reckoned with. Publicity-shy when it comes to pop-culture titles and commenting on her private life, the 36-year-old London-based legal high flyer is also an activist and author. A barrister specialising in international law, criminal law, human rights, and extradition – her clients include the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange in his fight against extradition and the former prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko. She is also an adviser to former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.
However more recently, Alamuddin has been thrust into the global spotlight for another reason – becoming the fiancee of one George Clooney, long considered Hollywood's most eligible bachelor.
The actor – also known to be something of an activist himself having spent time highlighting atrocities in East Africa and meeting his now-fiancee at a follow-up charity event late last year – recently made headlines for an open letter he wrote in response to a Daily Mail article about Alamuddin and her mother. In the piece, he chastised the British newspaper over a "completely fabricated" article claiming his fiancee's mother disapproves of the impending marriage for religious reasons – and it brought about further attention to his beautiful Beirut-born partner.
Alamuddin's family – consisting of three younger siblings; a sister, Tala, and two brothers Samer and Ziad – left Lebanon for London in the 1980s. Her mother, Baria, whom the falsified Daily Mail piece spoke about in detail is the Foreign Editor of the Pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat, meanwhile her father Ramzi, is a retired professor of business studies at the American University of Beirut, and returned to Lebanon in 1991.
An education in Buckinghamshire, Oxford and the New York University Law School followed, and Alamuddin qualified to be come a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London, working in the Office of the Prosecutor at the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon and at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
She has been involved in high-profile cases representing the state of Cambodia, and the former Libyan intelligence chief Abdallah Al Senussi, as well as being an adviser to the King of Bahrain in connection with the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.
Alamuddin has been appointed to a number of United Nations commissions including Counsel to the 2013 Drone Inquiry by UN human rights rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC into the use of drones in counter-terrorism operations.
It's safe to say that further to Alamuddin's stylish wardrobe choices – which have somewhat unsurprisingly gained momentum in coverage of lifestyle titles across the globe since the news of her engagement – her influence on major players in world conflicts, and support of humanitarian issues, warrant far more worthy impact.