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Sheikh Abdulaziz H. Al Thani Opens Up About Taking the Helm at the National Museum of Qatar

Sheikh Abdulaziz H. Al Thani takes the helm at the National Museum of Qatar following his work in sponsorships and the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

Sheikh Abdulaziz H Al Thani

Sheikh Abdulaziz H. Al Thani TOP The National Museum of Qatar, designed by Ateliers Jean

In the lead-up to its 50th anniversary, the National Museum of Qatar – inaugurated in 1975 as the Qatar National Museum – has appointed Sheikh Abdulaziz H. Al Thani as its new director. Prior to taking the helm, Sheikh Abdulaziz was in charge of sponsorships at Qatar Museums, the cultural institution that also oversees the museum. He also oversaw communications during the 2022 Fifa World Cup. Drawing from these professional experiences, Sheikh Abdulaziz tells Vogue Arabia that he’s ready for this next chapter.

“Identifying and securing strategic partnerships, engaging with stakeholders, and leading fundraising efforts are essential to managing a cultural establishment and navigating its complexities,” he says of his exposure to the inner workings of the museum ecosystem. “Thanks to the strong foundations I’ve been able to build within Qatar Museums, as well as the guidance and support I’ve received along the way, I now lead the National Museum of Qatar with a focus on nurturing and celebrating our nation’s cultural legacy, engaging with its present, and inspiring the country’s aspirations for the future.”

Much of that guidance has come from his predecessor, HE Sheikha Amna bint Abdulaziz Al Thani, who held the director position for a decade. Taking the reins now as Chief of Museum and Heritage Development, she leaves behind a well- equipped team of dedicated professionals. Sheikh Abdulaziz says her focus on prioritizing talent development and her legacy of adaptability will remain at the heart of the museum’s mission: “One of the most impactful lessons Sheikha Amna imparted on me is the importance of preserving Qatar’s heritage while embracing innovation to diversify and appeal to broader audiences.”

Sheikh Abdulaziz’s appointment was one of several announced by Qatar Museums earlier this year in a slew of changes that its chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has described as “a restructuring that will advance the work of each institution while helping the organization as a whole reach new heights.” Sheikh Abdulaziz is optimistic about the current transitional period and believes it will usher in more partnerships that can ultimately enrich the country’s cultural scene. As someone who witnessed first-hand the positive impact of the buzz surrounding Qatar generated by the Fifa World Cup, he understands the importance of maintaining that momentum and reach. “The growth in global and regional attention is evident in our increased visitor numbers and the various collaborations both ongoing and in development,” he explains, adding that those collaborations have since included an exchange between Qatar Museums and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “As we approach the 50th anniversary of the National Museum of Qatar, I look forward to commemorating this important milestone,” he says, “reflecting on our accomplishments since our inception and anticipating what the future holds.”

Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of Vogue Man Arabia

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