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From Museums to Fine Art, Emirati Salama Al Shamsi Does It All

If there is one woman who wears many hats, it is Salama Al Shamsi. She is the director of Qasr Al Hosn and senior project manager of Zayed National Museum, at the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She is also one of the faces behind important projects in the Emirati capital and, with a passion for food, is the founder of the elegant restaurant Salama’s. So, how did Al Shamsi become a woman who literally does it all?

Al Shamsi is primarily experienced in both leadership and museums, which have been key to her success in the cultural and tourism sector. In fact, she was certified in Executive Education for Museum Leaders at Higher Colleges of Technology in 2011, she earned a degree in Leadership at Wharton School in 2019, and she completed the Program for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School in 2020. She previously worked for TDIC as protocol officer and communication and protocol executive till 2013 before joining UAE's Department of Culture and Tourism.

Under her leadership, Abu Dhabi witnessed the restoration of Qasr Al Hosn, an ancient castle that once served as a local watchtower, now repurposed into a museum. The city blocks surrounding the historical site were redeveloped as well. Al Shamsi was also instrumental in developing museum collections, and luring in a new audience through extensive outreach and advocacy programs.

Al Shamsi would also go on to launch Salama's, an elegant restaurant situated in Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi famous for its picturesque scenery and great food. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a handful of Emirati restaurants banded together during the holy month of Ramadan to distribute meals to front-line workers, with Al Shamsi taking charge of the initiative. It was one of many efforts in supporting front-line workers and the government's battle against the pandemic, while bringing back the feeling of Ramadan to everyone.

Al Shamsi was even chosen to be one of a handful of Emirati mentors to be featured at Vacheron Constantin in Geneva, a city where she has had fond memories as a child. The advice she gave to aspiring entrepreneurs is that making mistakes is crucial to learning how to succeed, while putting emphasis on collaboration.

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