Manal Ataya is a museum specialist with 12 years experience in cultural heritage preservation, museum development and cultural diplomacy. As Director General of the Sharjah Museums Authority she is responsible for the overall management of 16 museums in the emirate of Sharjah. The authority is responsible for the strategic development of future museum projects, fostering partnerships with the international museum community and leading the efforts to deliver international best practice in museum services. The current museum offering covers Islamic culture and history, contemporary art, heritage, maritime history, archaeology, science and children’s learning. Manal Ataya holds a BA in Studio Art and Communication Studies from Hamilton College and a Graduate Degree in Museum Studies from Harvard University, USA. She is a Clore Fellow having completed the distinguished UK cultural leadership program in 2010. She currently serves on the advisory boards of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences-University of Sharjah and ICCROM-ATHAR, the regional center for cultural heritage preservation in the Arab region. She also serves as a member of the Supreme Committee for the File of Sharjah – the Trucial States Portal.