Amid QMA complaints, Shaikha Al Mayassa announces restructuring

The Qatar Museums Authority will be reorganizing itself into a “private entity for public good,” chairwoman Shaikha Al Mayassa Al Thani has announced. 

In a memo sent to staff today addressing this week’s controversy, she said the government of Qatar has approved QMA’s request to transition away from being a state-run entity, due to the bureaucratic requirements that entails.

The Museums Authority has been under fire this week following a scathing newspaper column published in Al Arab on Sunday accusing its expatriate management of corruption and nepotism.

QMA drew even more criticism after it responded to Faisal Al Marzoqi’s piece with the threat of legal action.

Under the new status, the authority would no longer be required to follow certain government regulations regarding hiring and other processes, but would still be subject to oversight by the State Audit Bureau, Al Thani said. She continued:

“With our transition there will be new policies put in place to govern the organisation encompassing finance, human resources, the tendering process, etc.

This transition will also require more individual accountability: employees of the QMA will be expected to take more responsibility and I have no doubt you will all meet this expectation.”

Al Thani, sister of the new Emir, also put to rest rumors that she was leaving the organization or that it was merging with the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.

She did not discuss a timeline for QMA’s transition, but said executive director Ed Dolman would announce details in the coming weeks.

She also threw her support behind Dolman, the former head of the world’s largest auction house Christie’s, who has received much criticism from some members of the Qatari community in messages posted on Twitter this week.

In her email, Al Thani said:

“All his staffing decisions have been made based on professional merit and have no foundation in cultural divisiveness as suggested recently by a journalist in the social media.

Our Qatari to non-Qatari staff is a reflection of the reality of our society. Experts and specialists are employed on the basis of need; parallel to this we have over 60 scholars studying under QMA scholarship — studying subjects such as urban planning, architecture, art history and fine arts.”

The chairwoman also called freedom of the press an “integral part of our community,” but expressed disappointment at what she called falsely circulated information.

She concluded by emphasizing the authority’s need to hire experienced expats:

The best museums in the world are run by international staff and the best people are employed on the basis of their knowledge not of their nationality. Qatar and the QMA are a reflection of this global reality.

You have my commitment and that of Ed Dolman, who agreed to step in as acting CEO at my request, to continue to develop the QMA with the highest level of professional business ethics and practices.

Here are her full remarks, in Arabic and English:

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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