We’re celebrating women leaders in the Arab Gulf who are leading dynamic organizations and elevating their communities through the power of culture and creativity. These women are dedicated to highlighting local narratives, developing untapped potential, and showcasing to the world the values, identity, and expressions of our region.
We want to take the time to appreciate their relentless effort and drive, their leadership through these trying times, and their belief in the importance of culture in making a positive change.
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi
President of the International Publishers Association (IPA)
An accomplished leader in the publishing world, Sheikha Bodour is the founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, a children’s publishing company. Aside from Kalimat, she is also the founder of Kalimat Foundation and the Emirates Publishers Association. She has recently been appointed the president of the International Publishers Association (IPA), and in that role she
Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa
President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities
Sheikha Mai was previously an appointed Minister of Information in Bahrain, making her the first woman to ever lead this position in Bahrain. She is now the chairperson of the Board of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage and the president of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities. In 2017, she was appointed the Special Ambassador of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Sayyida Susan Al Said
Founder of Bait Muzna Gallery
Founded by Sayyida Susan, Bait Muzna is a center for contemporary art and filmmaking which aims to provide young Omanis with a different medium of artistic expression. Sayyida Susan commits to sharing her expertise with the developing artists in Oman.
Sheikha Hussa Sabah al-Salem Al-Sabah
Director-General of Dar al- Athar al-Islamiyyah
Sheikha Hussa co-founded Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah with her late husband Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in the 80s. She also lectures on Islamic art and culture at several universities and has also contributed to publications of related research interests. She is involved in architectural preservation and works to ensure that traditional buildings are protected and restored to their original design.
Founder and chairperson of the Saudi Fashion Week, Princess Noura Bint Faisal aims to develop Saudi talents through enhancing their skills to meet international standards. She is now at the Saudi Ministry of Culture, where she works as an advisor and member of the Fashion Commission which is aimed to enable and support designers in the kingdom.
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Chairperson of Dubai Culture
Sheikha Latifa is the chairperson of Dubai Culture, where she worked on projects like Sikka Art Fair, Art Dubai, Middle East Film and Comic Con, and more. She aims to support the industry through highlighting local artists in amplifying their craft. She is also the vice chair of the Emirates Literature Foundation, honorary chairman of the Zayed University Alumni Association Board. She has also recently been named First Arab Lady of the Year in appreciation of her active role in supporting the cultural and creative ecosystem locally and regionally.
After her graduation from university, Sheikha Al-Mayassa founded Reach Out to Asia, a philanthropic NGO focusing on helping victims of natural disasters in Asia by providing quality education. Sheikha Al-Mayassa is the chairperson of Qatar Museums and the chairperson of Doha Film Institute, an independent cultural organization to support the growth of the local film community. She also founded M7 Qatar and Fashion Trust Arabia, which is the only initiative of its kind in the Arab World that focuses on nurturing talented creatives and designers.
HE Noura Al Kaabi
Minister of Culture and Youth
As UAE Minister of Culture and Youth, her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi is dedicated to nurturing creative talent, building a sustainable creative infrastructure and ecosystem, and promoting cultural initiatives on a national and international level. She is also President of Zayed University and Chair of the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science.
Princess Haifa Bint Abdulaziz Al-Muqrin
Permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the UNESCO
Princess Haifa was appointed the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the UNESCO, making her responsible for promoting peace and coexistence between different nations and cultures through international cooperation in education, the sciences, and culture. The Princess has also worked in the Ministry of Economy, at which she was the head of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) sector.
Director of Art Jameel
Antonia is the director of Art Jameel, a foundation that supports artists and creative communities across the Middle East. She oversees Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, the biggest project under Art Jameel, and has extensively written on the art and film scene in the Middle East.
Sheikha Hoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi
President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation
Sheikha Hoor is the president and director of Sharjah Art Foundation. She is a curator who established the foundation in 2009 and has a passion for supporting experimentation and innovation in the arts. Sheikha Hoor also serves on the Board of Directors at the MoMA in New York, among other positions like the Chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Sharjah.
CEO of the Doha Film Institute, Fatma Hassan Al Remaihi is responsible for managing the direction of the Institute through ensuring that filmmaking is prioritized in the region. She also directs the Qumra and Ajyal Film Festivals, and has been ranked among 500 most influential business leaders shaping the global entertainment industry by Variety International for the 2017, 18, and 19 editions.
CEO of Misk Art Institute
Reem is the CEO of Misk Art Institute, an artist-led cultural organization from Saudi Arabia – supporting grassroots artistic production, exchange and diplomacy. She boasts 15 years of experience in different fields before holding office at Misk Art and is well-versed in strategic planning, leadership, and communication, where she believes they are all pillars to creating a creative environment.
Director General of Dubai Culture
Hala is the Director General of Dubai Culture, where she aims to show Dubai as an incubator for creativity and creative people. Inspired by the wisdom of her country’s leadership, Hala sees empowering those around her a necessity to keep a relationship of peace and trust. She also has diverse experiences in fields like, oil and gas, entrepreneurship, sustainability, communications, and media.
An independent curator and art historian, Reem Fadda is the director of Cultural Foundation at the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism. She has also been part of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project and was largely involved in the collection-building process.
Sheikha Bibi Duaij Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Chairperson of AlSadu Society
Focusing on education and innovation, Sheikha Bibi is the chairperson of AlSadu Society, an artistic house and museum in Kuwait that safeguards Kuwait’s textile and weaving heritage for future generations. She also developed new in-house programs for youth and creative professionals to relaunch the practice of sadu-weaving in a contemporary way.
Managing Director of Red Sea International Film Festival
Shivani has been a professional in the media and entertainment industry for 23 years and is currently the managing director of the Red Sea International Film Festival, Saudi's first International Film Festival, bringing filmmakers, artists and audiences together. She also worked on leading start-ups and founded NearEast Entertainment, a network that helps individuals and organizations premiere content, grow their brand, and launch initiatives across art, culture, and entertainment.
Director General of Saudi Arabia National Museum
Laila is the director general of the National Museum in Riyadh. She produces engaging exhibitions and works to ensure the quality is both enriching and educational. She works to engage local talents with the institution’s efforts to amplify, showcase, and appreciate their work through collaborating in different projects.
Words: Jood Althekair