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Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

Chair, Fashion Trust Arabia

One of the world’s most prolific patrons of the arts has turned her attention to supporting fashion design talent emerging from the Middle East and North Africa.


Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is the sister of Qatar’s ruling emir and one of the country’s leading voices for art and culture. She also co-chairs the only fashion prize of its kind in the Arab region — Fashion Trust Arabia. In her work she aims to empower creatives in all fields across film, arts, fashion, design and photography.

Sheikha Al Mayassa studied at Duke University in North Carolina, graduating in 2005 with a BA in Political Science and Literature. She was on track to begin postgraduate studies in Public Administration at Columbia University when her father, the then-emir of Qatar, appointed her chair of Qatar Museums in 2006.

Under her leadership, Qatar Museums has had an estimated annual spend of $1 billion, making her “the undisputed queen of the art world,” according to Forbes. The museums group has also partnered with the Prada Foundation for the global competition Curate, which was launched in May 2013.

More recently she was appointed to co-chair the newly created Fashion Trust Arabia. Additionally chaired by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and Lebanon-born founder Tania Fares, it champions designers from the Middle East and North Africa region. The FTA’s prize selects winners for each of its five categories — bags, shoes, jewellery, eveningwear and ready-to-wear — with the prize money amounting to up to $200,000 and FTA partner MatchesFashion stocking the winning collections. Judges for the inaugural prize in April 2019 included Victoria Beckham , Pierpaolo Piccioli , Alexander Wang , Sonam Kapoor and Moncler Chief Executive and President Remo Ruffini .

Sheikha Al Mayassa’s connections to the fashion world also extend to her family ties to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the investment arm of which has previously acquired big retail names such as Harrods and Printemps.

Sheikha Al Mayassa was ranked 91 on the Forbes Power Women list in 2014 and in the same year, she featured in the Time 100. She lives in Doha and is married with four children.

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The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.