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Moza bint Nasser

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Moza bint Nasser Al-Missned
Sheikha Moza addressing the Third Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2010)
Consort to the Emir of Qatar
Tenure27 June 1995 – 25 June 2013
Born (1959-08-08) 8 August 1959 (age 64)
Al Khor, Qatar
OccupationChair, qatar foundation
unesco special envoy for basic and higher education, 2003-2023
chair of the board, arab democracy foundation
un advocate for sustainable development goals

Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al-Missned (Arabic: موزا بنت ناصر المسند; born 8 August 1959)[1] is one of the three consorts of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the former Emir of the State of Qatar and mother of the current Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.[2] She is the co-founder and chair of the Qatar Foundation, the largest state-owned NPO in the country.[3]

The Guardian has labelled her "the enlightened face of a profoundly conservative regime," while some refer to her as "the actual ruler of Qatar,"[4][5][6] and the "Matriarch of modern Qatar".[7]

In 2024, there has been a launch of a global media campaign calling on Sheikha Moza to leverage her authority to ensure the release of 132 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.[8] This has been called a "shadow campaign" and some of the names behind it shown to be fictitious.[9]

Early life and education[edit]

Sheikha Moza is the daughter of Nasser bin Abdullah Al-Missned,[10] a well-known opposition activist and former head of the Al-Muhannada confederation of Bani Hajer. Born in Qatar, she spent much of her childhood in Kuwait during her father's exile following imprisonment for political activities and defiance against the policies of the deposed Emir Ahmad bin Ali Al Thani. Nasser returned to Qatar with his immediate family in 1977, the same year Moza, his daughter, married Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the heir apparent of Qatar at the time.[11][12] Sheikha Moza is the second of his three wives.[6]

Sheikha Moza received a BA in Sociology from Qatar University in 1986, and holds a MA in Public Policy in Islam from Hamad Bin Khalifa University.[13][14] She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003.[15] She also holds an honorary doctorate from Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon, Imperial College London, and the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.[16]

According to a Los Angeles Times investigation published in July 2020, Sheikha Moza's son Khalifa bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was accepted to USC as a transfer student from the community college Los Angeles Mission College after she met USC president C. L. Max Nikias in 2012 in Los Angeles, California, at the behest of USC trustee Thomas J. Barrack Jr.[17] She has had a major role in the opening of US universities in Education city in Doha. Dubbed, “The woman behind Doha’s Education City” as part of Qatar’s soft power strategy on Western universities.[18]

Areas of work and philanthropy[edit]

Sheikha Moza with her husband at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. From left to right: Sheikha Moza, Michelle Obama, the US First Lady, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and Barack Obama, the US president.

Sheikha Moza co-founded and chairs the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), which was set up in 1995.[19] She has dedicated her efforts to advancing education reforms within her nation through the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development. This non-profit organization was established by her husband the same year he assumed the role of emir.[6] She established Education Above All in 2012, aiming to make education accessible to marginalized children globally.

Sheikha Moza has acted as chairperson of Silatech since 2008, chairperson of the Arab Democracy Foundation, and founded the Supreme Council for Family Affairs since 1998.[20][21] She was vice president of the Supreme Education Council from 2002 until 2012 and was made UNESCO's Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education in 2003,[22] a position she resigned in November 2023, which she said was because of UNESCO's silence about the plight of Palestinian children.[23]In 2002, she and former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani opened the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.[24] She is also a member of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medicine.[25] Besides this, she is the chairperson of Sidra Medical and Research Center, a high-tech women's and children's hospital in Doha.[26] She also endowed this medical center with $7.9 billion.[27]

In 2007 and 2010, Sheikha Moza was listed as one of the '100 Most Powerful Women' by Forbes.[28][27][29][30] She was also listed in the 'Top 100 most powerful Arabs' from 2013 to 2017 by Gulf Business.[31][32][33] In 2011 she placed second on the Vanity Fair International Best Dressed Women's list,[34] and in 2015 she was named into the Vanity Fair International Best Dressed Hall of Fame List.[35][36] According to Vogue, she has customised haute couture designs to fit Qatari modesty rules.[37] She has been involved with Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA), launched in September 2018, which focuses on womenswear designs.[38]

She said that she is not a feminist, her EEF, Education Above All program requires non Qatari female students who wish to study require a “signed consent letter and undertaking by family guardian (allowing EAA to access and confirm private information of the family).”[39]

In 2010, she played a key role in the campaign to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[40] She denies the accusations of Qatari corruption in the FIFA world cup process.[41]

In 2017, Sheikha Moza was nominated to receive The First Arab Lady Award. Her nomination was withdrawn by The Arab Women Foundation as reported by The UAE’s news agency WAM. According to Mohammed Al-Dulaimi, the Secretary-General of the Arab Women Foundation, the withdrawal followed accusations that the Government of Qatar and its rulers are supporting and financing militant groups.[42][43][44]

In 2020, A book, named, "Pregnancy and Miscarriage in Qatar: Women, Reproduction and the State", published the changing role of women in Qatari society and analyses how Qatari women navigate the competing expectations placed upon them, in which Sheikha Moza played an essential role in reflecting the nation as a centre of Arab modernity, availing themselves of the new opportunities in work, politics and public life.[45]

Political role[edit]

Sheikha Mozah in the 5th Global Forum, 2013

According to reports, Sheikha Moza plays a significant role in shaping Qatar's political, social, and foreign relations as part of the country's soft power strategy.[46] She holds considerable influence and often utilizes her public platform to express strong political opinions.[42]

Sheikha Moza has been an important figure in the Qatar Foundation, an organization instrumental in Qatar's global outreach and image rebranding. Co-founding and chairing the foundation, she contributes significantly to fostering Qatar's international relations through initiatives such as the establishment of campuses of Western universities in Qatar. This aligns with Qatar's broader strategy of building connections with Western states through philanthropy and educational partnerships.[46] Sheikha Moza's influence is evident in the nation's strategic decisions and her active role in shaping Qatar's international image, particularly in the realms of education and humanitarian efforts.[5][47][6][46][48]

In January 2024, there has been a launch of a global media campaign carrying the slogans "It's in your hands" and "You have the power". The campaign called on Sheikha Moza to leverage her authority to ensure the release of 136 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza including women, children and the elderly, among them American citizens.[8] This has been called a "shadow campaign" and some of the names behind it shown to be fictitious.[9]

Sheikha Moza writes online on issues related to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Actively engaging on social media, she predominantly focuses on the situation in Gaza, aligning her sentiments with Qatari policy.[49][50] Following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, during which Hamas killed around 1200 Israelis, and abducted 245 hostages including women and children and the Israeli response that day which killed more then a 1000 Palestinians, Moza posted a picture on her Instagram account of a man with hands on his head in front of a demolished building, accompanied by the caption: “O Allah, we entrust Palestine to you.” It was reported that since then, Sheikha Moza has regularly criticized Israel on social media. She has posted on Instagram mostly about the destruction in Gaza caused by Israeli airstrikes, often posting news about thousands of children being killed.[50][51]

Public image[edit]

Because of her multiple roles in recent Qatari history and heading the Qatar Foundation, Sheikha Moza has been referred to as "the actual ruler of Qatar".[6][5]

Titles, styles, and honours[edit]

Styles of
Sheikha Moza
Reference styleHer Highness
Spoken styleYour Highness
Alternative styleSheikha
Coat of arms as dame of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spain)

Titles and styles[edit]

Bint Nasser may be styled as "Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser".[52][53]


Foreign honours[edit]

Foreign awards[edit]

Moza was also recognized as one of the 100 Influential Celebrities in Oncology by OncoDaily.[71]


The royal couple has five sons and two daughters:


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External links[edit]