Qatar Museums announces leadership appointments

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, June 17, 2024

Qatar Museums announces leadership appointments
Shaika Nasser Al-Nassr.

DOHA.- Qatar Museums today announced several new leadership appointments within the organization, including Mohammed Al-Rumaihi as Chief Executive Officer, charged with overall responsibility for leading the organisation, establishing its priorities, and delivering its mission. Mr. Al-Rumaihi has served as Acting CEO of Qatar Museums since July 2023, during which time he has managed the organisation’s wide-ranging activities while assessing structure and capabilities across all of QM’s institutions and rapidly increasing platforms.

Sheikha Amna bint Abdulaziz Al Thani, who has served QM since 2022 as Deputy CEO of Museums, Collections, and Heritage Protection, has been named to the new strategic role of Chief of Museum and Heritage Development. On the basis of her extensive leadership experience, including her tenure as Director of the National Museum of Qatar (2013-2023), she is now charged with overseeing the development, strategic planning, and operational management of the new Lusail Museum, Art Mill Museum, Qatar Auto Museum, and Dadu, as well as the future heritage sites, museums, and projects undertaken by QM in Qatar.

Dr. Julia Gonnella, who has led the Museum of Islamic Art since 2017, has been appointed Director of the Lusail Museum, currently in development. A new kind of institution, part global think tank and part art museum, the Lusail Museum will feature the world’s pre-eminent collection of Orientalist art, to be housed in an iconic building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron. Sheikh Abdulaziz H. Al Thani, who oversaw Qatar Museums’ communications throughout the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, is now the Director of the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ). In addition, Shaika Nasser Al-Nassr, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Museum of Islamic Art, who has been at the museum since 2007, will take over Dr. Gonnella’s current position as Director.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, said, “Mohammed Al-Rumaihi has made an immediate impact on Qatar Museums during his first six months with our organisation, positioning us strategically for the future. His diverse experience has already advanced the growth of Qatar Museums as we work toward inaugurating new platforms such as Design Doha and opening new institutions such as the Lusail Museum and the Art Mill Museum. Our new executive appointments for Dr. Julia Gonnella, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Thani, and Shaika Nasser Al-Nassr are key elements of a restructuring of Qatar Museums that will advance the work of each institution while helping the organisation as a whole reach new heights.”

Mohammed Al-Rumaihi said, “My first months at Qatar Museums have been a period of immersion into the invaluable work of the organisation and the remarkable, ongoing accomplishments of its components and staff. With gratitude toward Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa for the confidence she has placed in me, I am eager to move ahead with our extraordinary staff, including the newly appointed directors, as we realise the ambitious and still-growing mission of Qatar Museums.”

Mohammed Al-Rumaihi
Mohammed Al-Rumaihi came to Qatar Museums from the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, bringing more than 17 years’ experience in senior positions across the sports, media, culture, and education sectors. At the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Mr. Al-Rumaihi served as Chairman of the Hayya Platform Steering Committee, ensuring the success of initiatives by building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders from different government entities, and as Vice Chairman of the Strategic Office for Consultation and Follow-Up. He provided strategic advice to senior leaders on readiness for the FIFA World Cup and ensured proper management, risk identification and mitigation planning, and execution. Throughout the FIFA World Cup festivities he served on the executive leadership team as Steering Committee Secretary.

Prior to his assignments on the Supreme Committee, Mr. Al-Rumaihi served in several executive capacities at the Al Jazeera Media Network, where he managed branding and positioning strategy, served as official spokesperson, delivered the iconic 20th anniversary event, and was a core team member in developing and executing the transformation strategy of Al Jazeera. He also played a key strategic planning role at Msheireb Properties, leading the development of the experience design and activation for Msheireb museums. From 2005 through 2007, he managed the planning and integration of projects for the Doha Asian Games Organizing Committee.

A proven leader, Mr. Al-Rumaihi has worked with the Qatar Leadership Center to upgrade the selection process of trainees and the curriculum for leadership development in partnership with internationally renowned universities. Throughout his career, he has managed large teams of employees, fostering environments of trust, support, accountability, and high performance.

Mr. Al-Rumaihi earned his Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering from the University of Portsmouth and his Master of Business Administration degree from Cardiff University.

Sheikha Amna bint Abdulaziz Al Thani
During her tenure as Director of the National Museum of Qatar (2013-2023), Sheikha Amna played a transformational role leading up toward the museum’s opening in 2019, managing the delivery of the curatorial programme and museography, permanent galleries, interactive displays, playgrounds, and family exhibits, including the project to restore the Old Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani as an integral part of the identity and experience of the National Museum of Qatar. As Director, she oversaw the temporary exhibition programme, beginning with Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim: A Leader’s Legacy (1913-1949), which explored the origins and modern history of the state of Qatar. To complement the Museum’s historiographic exhibitions, she worked with international museums to advance program and exhibition partnerships, such as The Shape of Time: Art and Ancestors from Oceania from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2023-2024). Alongside these international initiatives, Sheikha Amna oversaw the ongoing series of Mal Lawal biennial exhibitions, which launched in 2012 to focus on local heritage from personal perspectives, principally through the display of private collections. Expanding the remit of the National Museum to contemporary art, Sheikha Amna oversaw the development of exhibitions and art commissions including Olafur Eliasson: The Curious Desert and Pipilotti Rist: Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You.

Priorities for Sheikha Amna in the field of heritage protection included a significant expansion of archaeology and heritage within QM to celebrate Qatar’s unique and rich identity with multiple projects in development to restore heritage houses, royal palaces, and archaeological sites, as well as the creation of visitor centres and interpretive trails including the forthcoming Al Zubarah UNESCO World Heritage Site Visitor Centre.

In 2022, Sheikha Amna played a key role in supporting the opening of the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, together with the delivery of a portfolio of exhibitions to coincide with the FIFA World Cup. In 2023, under her guidance, QM launched the NMoQ Explorer, a major digital platform for online users to explore the collection of the National Museum of Qatar using artificial intelligence and interactive experiences, with the collaboration of Microsoft. This development was followed by the opening of the AI Digital Centre at the National Museum of Qatar to enable young students to learn coding and digital skills.

Sheikha Amna currently serves as Chair of ICOM Qatar, the national branch of the International Council of Museums. She earned her MSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics with a concentration on cultural theory and practices and her BS in Business Administration and English from Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Julia Gonnella
Dr. Julia Gonnella joined Qatar Museums as Director of the Museum of Islamic Art in April 2017. She has been responsible for the overall management and full programming of the museum and took the lead on the recent relaunch of the museum, which upgraded the space and introduced a completely new and enhanced family-friendly visitor experience that allows for a much deeper understanding of the rich Islamic heritage and culture. In addition to her directorial role, Dr. Gonnella has co-curated MIA's blockbuster exhibition for the World Cup, Baghdad: Eye's Delight, as well as MIA's 10th anniversary exhibition, Syria Matters (2018).

Before joining Qatar Museums, Dr. Gonnella worked at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin, where she oversaw many exhibitions and research projects. One of her principal research interests focused on the Citadel of Aleppo, where she has been excavating for over ten years. A scholar of Islamic art and archaeology, she has authored, and co-edited numerous books and exhibition catalogues, including the recent comprehensive Collection Book for MIA’s Relaunch. Dr. Gonnella has previously taught at Berlin and Bamberg Universities.

She earned her B.A. in Islamic Art and Archaeology and M.A. in Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Art (SOAS) in London and received her Ph.D. from the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany.

Sheikh Abdulaziz H. Al Thani
Now Director of the National Museum of Qatar, Sheikh Abdulaziz H. Al-Thani previously spearheaded the sponsorships programme for Qatar Museums, where he was responsible for managing internal and external stakeholder engagement for fundraising and joint activation development. During the lead-up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, Sheikh Abdulaziz played a key role in the communications function within Qatar Museums, overseeing the growth and expansion of the department to ensure that all components of the Qatar Museums portfolio had the necessary media relations capacity. Sheikh Abdulaziz also brings substantial experience in the financial sector to his role at the National Museum of Qatar. At the Qatar National Bank, he implemented advanced data matching and collection practices to improve the experience of stakeholders and staff. He holds a B.A. in Business Management from Heriott-Watt University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Sustainable Energy from Hamad Bin Khalifa University. He serves on the National Committee of Qatar ICOM, representing the nation in the International Council of Museums.

Shaika Nasser Al-Nassr
Shaika Al-Nassr is the Director of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) Doha. Al-Nassr boasts a long history of service at MIA, spanning 17 years, across several roles. Most recently, Al-Nassr held the position of Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs, where she oversaw the museum’s relaunch in 2022. Prior to this role, Al-Nassr was Head of Exhibitions, a position she held since 2007. Al-Nassr has managed numerous exhibitions and projects, and has also contributed to the MIA publications Unseen Treasures (Doha, 2010) and Reading Quranic Manuscripts (Doha, 2011).

A passion for Islamic art and museology led Al-Nassr to pursue further education. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature from Qatar University (QU), she pursued a postgraduate degree in Islamic art from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London in 2008. In 2011, she obtained a master's degree in Museum Studies from University College London (UCL).

In addition to her academic achievements, Al-Nassr has presented over 15 papers across her career – research, academic and others – both locally and internationally, including in the United States, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Japan, and other countries. She has also participated in various training programmes, including the ’Executive Leadership’ programme at Qatar Leadership Centre and the ’Museum Leaders: The Next Generation’ programme, organised by the Getty Leadership Institute in Boston, the United States.

Al-Nassr has gained valuable experience through internships at prestigious institutions such as Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Shaika Nasser Al-Nassr is a member in International Committee for Exhibitions and Exchange (ICEE/ ICOM), the International Exhibition organization (IEO), American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and Travelling Exhibitions Network (TEN).

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