Manal Ataya '01 has been awarded the Chevaliers de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the ambassador of France to the UAE. The Knights of the Order of Arts and Letters is an award presented by the French ministry of culture. Ataya received the award at a ceremony held at the French Embassy in honor of her contributions to the success of the Emirati-French Cultural cooperation.
Alongside fellow Emirati, Hissa Al Dhaheri, Ataya is said to have “played a major role [...] in the dialogue between France and the United Arab Emirates.” Ataya’s work at the Sharjah Museums Authority for the past few years was essential in promoting cultural exchange. Her efforts have helped launch the second part of the Emirati-French Cultural Dialogue.
Major: Studio Art and Communication Studies
Other Degrees: Masters in Museum Studies from Harvard University
On-Campus Activities: German Club, International Students Association, Student Assembly
Ataya has served as the director-general of the Sharjah Museums Authority for ten years. The authority that she oversees is responsible for the creation and development of museum projects as well as fostering relationships with members of the international museum community. Ataya has played an integral role in developing a groundbreaking exhibition, which presented forty years of archaeological cooperation between France and the UAE. The exhibition featured more than 100 priceless objects excavated by the French Archaeological Mission to the UAE. An academic archaeology conference organized by the authority ran in tandem with the exhibition. This brought together French and Arab archaeologists.
In addition to her role as director-general, Ataya currently serves on the boards of the College of Fine Art and Design, University of Sharjah and of the regional center for cultural heritage preservation in the Arab region. Manal “thanks Hamilton for being the first place in which people believed in me and pushed me to utilize my potential. I will never forget these great gifts that I was given of education, love and friendship.”