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President of The Africa Institute and Global Studies University 

President of The Africa Institute and Global Studies University

Hoor Al Qasimi has been leading the development of The Africa Institute into a significant international institution, building on the Afro-Arab cultural and scholarly exchange in Sharjah, including the landmark 1976 “Symposium on African and Arab Relations” that envisioned a future nexus for learning and collaboration between the two regions. Working closely with Dr. Salah M. Hassan, Chancellor of Global Studies University and Dean of The Africa Institute, she continues to influence its programs and future direction.

Following the founding of Global Studies University (GSU), she has been appointed as President of both GSU and The Africa Institute, highlighting its commitment to academic excellence under her leadership.

A practicing artist and curator, Al Qasimi is also President and founding Director of Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) which was established in 2009 as a catalyst and advocate for the role of art in Sharjah, the UAE, regionally, and internationally. With a passion for supporting experimentation and innovation in the arts, Al Qasimi has continuously expanded the scope of the Foundation over its 10-year history to include major exhibitions that have toured internationally; artist and curator residencies in visual art, film, and music; commissions and production grants for emerging artists; and a wide range of educational programming for children and adults in Sharjah. As Biennial Director, Al Qasimi co-curated Sharjah Biennial 6 (2003) and Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present (2023).  Under her leadership, Sharjah Biennial has become an internationally recognized platform for contemporary artists, curators, and cultural producers. Her leadership in the field led to her election as President of the International Biennial Association (IBA) in 2017, an appointment that transferred IBA’s headquarters to Sharjah. She is currently appointed as the Artistic Director for the 2026 edition of the Biennale of Sydney.

In addition to her role at The Africa Institute, Global Studies University, and Sharjah Art Foundation, Al Qasimi also serves as President and Director of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, which inaugurated its first edition in November 2019.

Al Qasimi serves on the Board of Directors for Kunst-Werke Berlin e. V. and Ashkal Alwan, Beirut. She is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Fine Arts and Design, University of Sharjah, and is a member of the advisory boards for Khoj International Artists’ Association, New Delhi; Darat al Funun, Amman; Independent Film Council, ICA, London; and the Eye Art & Film Prize Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam (2022–2024).

Previously, she was a board member for MoMA PS1, New York (2010–2021), and the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2013–2016). She was also a member of the Prince Claus Award Committee (2016–2020) and served on juries and prize panels for the MAXXI Bulgari Prize (2022), Pinchuk Art Centre’s fifth edition of the Future Generation Art Prize (2019), Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (2019), Maria Lassnig Prize (2017), Mediacity Seoul Prize (2016), Hepworth Wakefield Prize for Sculpture (2016), Berlin International Film Festival–Berlinale Shorts (2016), Videobrasil (2015), Dubai International Film Festival (2014) and Benesse Prize (2013).

Al Qasimi holds an MA in curating contemporary art from the Royal College of Art, London (2008). She earned a diploma in painting from the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005), and received a BFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2002).

Next up Salah M. Hassan