Biography

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Initiative and co-instructor of the HKS January term course, "Leadership and Social Transformation in the Arab World," taught by MEI Faculty Chair Professor Tarek Masoud. In his previous capacity as the Fall 2021 Kuwait Program Senior Fellow, Al Qassemi led the study group, “Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art,” exploring the intersection of art, politics, and policy in the contemporary Arab world.

Al Qassemi is a United Arab Emirates-based columnist and researcher on social, political, and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf States. His tweets became a major news source during the Arab Spring, rivaling the major news networks at the time, until TIME magazine listed him in the “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011.” In 2018 he ranked 19th on the “Arabic Thought Leader Index” by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute. Al Qassimi was an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow from 2014 through 2016, a practitioner in residence at the Hagop Kevorkian Center of Near East Studies at New York University in the Spring of 2017, and a Yale Greenberg World Fellow in 2018.

Al Qassemi is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established in 2010 to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region by building a prominent and publicly accessible art collection in the United Arab Emirates. In 2018, 100 works from the collection were hosted on a long-term basis at the Sharjah Art Museum.

Sultan was a practitioner-in-residence at the Hagop Kevorkian Center of Near East Studies at New York University in the spring of 2017, a Yale Greenberg World Fellow and a lecturer at the Council of Middle East Studies in Yale University in 2018, then an adjunct instructor at the Center of Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University in 2019, a visiting instructor teaching at Boston College in 2020, and recently a Fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2023. He also taught his class, "Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art" at Bard College Berlin in 2023. Sultan is currently conducting research for a book that documents the modern architecture of the city of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

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