President, Bahrain Authority For Culture And Antiquities
Currently President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Her Excellency Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa spearheads national efforts to develop cultural infrastructure in Bahrain for heritage conservation and sustainable tourism. She is the founder of the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research and has been the Chairperson of its Board of Trustees since 2002. Shaikha Mai also launched the nationwide “Invest in Culture” initiative, forging public-private partnership to establish the cultural Bahraini infrastructure sites, among them the Bahrain Fort Site Museum and the Bahrain National Theatre. In addition, she is the mastermind of annual cultural tourism initiatives Spring of Culture and Bahrain Summer Festival, the founder of Taa’ Al Shabab cultivating Bahraini youth with cultural talents, and a renowned local historian who authored seven books.
Amongst the myriad achievements of Shaikha Mai are the 2005 and 2012 inscriptions of Bahrain Fort Site and Pearling: Testimony of an Island Economy as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the establishment of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage to conserve the MENA region’s cultural and natural heritage.
Shaikha Mai has received numerous accolades for her achievements. She was the first laureate of Colbert Prize for Creativity and Heritage in 2010, winners of the Social Creativity Award by the Arab Thought Foundation, the Arab Women of the Year Award 2015 and Watch Award 2015 by World Monuments Fund. She was decorated with the Légion d’Honneur, the Moroccan Order of Ouissam Alaouite, the Order of the Italian Star, and the First Class Order of Merit from His Majesty King Hamad of Bahrain. She was instrumental for Bahrain Pavilion to win the Silver Pavilion Architecture Award at Expo Milan 2015, and was designated as “The Special Ambassador of the International Year of Sustainability for Development 2017” by the World Tourism Organization.