Manal Ataya
Director General, Sharjah Museums Authority

Manal  Ataya
Manal Ataya is a museums professional with 17 years of senior managerial experience in museum development, cultural heritage management and cultural diplomacy.

As Director General of SMA, she oversees a team of over 600 staff working in Sharjah’s network of 16 museums which cover areas of modern and contemporary Arab art, Islamic history, UAE heritage and archaeology.  Ataya is a leading figure in the UAE cultural sector, dedicating her time to advocacy initiatives for accessible arts education, programs that promote cross-cultural dialogue and social inclusion.

She serves on numerous advisory boards including Global Cultural Districts Network; the University of Sharjah’s College of Fine Arts, Hamilton College; Make-A-Wish Foundation  and ICCROM-Sharjah, the Arab region’s field office of the UN’s body for cultural heritage preservation.

Ataya was awarded the Order of Arts & Letters by the Republic of France and the Order of Merit from the Republic of Germany in recognition of her significant contributions to culture.

Ataya is a graduate of both Hamilton College (2001) and Harvard University (2004).