Sultan Al Qassemi

Noted Emirati art collector, curator, cultural and social commentator, Sultan Al Qassemi is a lynchpin in the cultural ties between the UAE and the US. A figure who is as well-known around university campuses in Washington, DC, Boston and New Haven, as he is in the art galleries in Sharjah and across the Emirates, Sultan Al Qassemi has been a visiting researcher at several major universities, including Yale, New York University, Georgetown, Boston College and Harvard.

His first courses with American students were as practitioner-in-residence at New York University where he combined his regional expertise and passion for art into a special workshop: The Politics of Modern Arab Art. It was a fitting role for the founder and principal curator of the Sharjah-based Barjeel Art Foundation, which most recently debuted the largest collection of abstract art by Arab artists in "Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950's-1980's" at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery.

But perhaps the role Sultan most revels in is that of teacher. When not on campus, he hosts regular “Cultural Majlis” events that connect people, ideas and cultures. These intimate discussions facilitate dialogue and understanding among students and community members from the Middle East with their American counterparts. Sultan’s desire to educate and share the intricacies of Arab culture with young Americans has led to many memorable teaching moments.