Interview: HE Dr Sheikha Aisha Al-Thani

HE Dr Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh bin Nasser Al-Thani is the chair and founder of Al Faleh Group which provides educational services in Qatar, through three centres, including Doha Academy. She is also a founding member of the board of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP). She discusses with Alliance editor Charles Keidan the moral position that underlines her philanthropy, her belief in the connection between education and the affirmation of rights and the role of philanthropy in creating links between cultures.

You did a PhD at Cass Business School in London, was that on a subject linked to philanthropy?

My background was strategic management. That was my masters thesis and then I thought ‘what is missing in my country?’. We ranked very well in a lot of sectors, but not in corporate governance, so I based my thesis on corporate governance which sat well with the philanthropic activities I was involved in, because corporate governance plays a huge role in philanthropy. You hear about money in foundations going to administrative functions, rather than actually to the people who need it, and it’s all down to corporate governance, so I’m very happy that I was able to go into that discipline at the Cass Business School. I was also introduced to influential people in the field, like Professor Jenny Harrow and Professor Paul Palmer, with whom I’ve since worked on some of my philanthropic papers as well as on projects.

What gave you the idea to establish the World Congress for Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP)?

Next Interview to read

Interview: Naina Batra, Chief Executive of the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network

Andrew Milner