Veronica Ahumada Chavez
Shahidul Alam
Abdullah Alkafri
Kimmo Aulake, MA

Gantuya Badamgarav
Jordi Baltà Portolés
Marina Barham
Romina Bianchini
François Bouda
Simon Brault O.C., OQ 

Vahni Capildeo
Jane Chu
Danielle Cliche

Sandro Debono
Carla Delfos 
Alejandro Denes
Elena Di Federico 

Yvonne Donders 
Dr Milena Dragićević Šešić

Louise Ejgod Hansen 

Guy Martial Feukwu Noule

Oliver Göbel
Arundhati Ghosh 


Honor Harger
Sue Hoyle OBE
Abid Hussain


Octavio Kulesz 
Goretti Kyomuhendo

Marie Le Sourd
Kok Heng Leun

Erwin Maas
Dennis Marita
Sergio Mautone
Kelli McCluskey
Christine M. Merkel
Kathrin Merkle
Raquel Mesa Sobejano
Ángel Moreno Marín

Barbara Negrón
Garry Neil 

Andrew Ormston


Robert Palmer
Phloeun Prim

Oussama Rifahi
Nirit Roessler 

s Sanguinetti
Annick Schramme
Isabelle Schwarz
Susanna Seidl-Fox 
Anupama Sekhar

Sana Tamzini
Chandraguptha Thenuwara

Lidia Varbanova
Helena Vasques de Carvalho

Jo Verrent
Carlos Villaseñor 

Shelagh Wright 

Karsten Xuereb 

Rana Yazaji 



Veronica Ahumada Chavez (Mexico)
Director of International Cultural Cooperation of the General Directorate of International Affairs of the Secretariat of Culture of Mexico

Veronica Ahumada Chavez is currently the Director of International Cultural Cooperation of the General Directorate of International Affairs of the Secretariat of Culture of Mexico. She encourages, promotes and monitors international cultural cooperation projects. She participates in bi-national, regional and multilateral meetings, forums and events related to cultural diplomatic agenda. Ms. Ahumada conducts negotiations and oversees the implementation of the agreements between the Secretariat of Culture and different international organizations, regions and countries in cultural and arts-related affairs.

During 2015, Ms. Ahumada worked as a Professor at the Department of Arts at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, lecturing the "Concept of art over time" for students of BA in Humanities. In 2010, she was Coordinator and Professor of Art at CentroNía / DC Public Charter School in Washington, DC. From 2001 to 2007, she collaborated in the Department of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) focusing on enhancing the relations between Cultural and Educational sector, throughout the programmes and events promoted by the Consulate General of Mexico in El Paso, Texas.



Shahidul Alam
Photographer and human rights activist

Photographer and human rights activist Recipient of the Shilpakala Award, the highest national award given to Bangladeshi artists, photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. Returning to Dhaka in 1984, he produced his seminal work, documenting the democratic struggle to remove General Ershad. A former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam’s work has been exhibited in leading galleries like MOMA, Centre Georges Pompidou and Tate Modern. A speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, Alam is a visiting professor of Sunderland University and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. He is the only person of colour to have chaired the international jury of World Press Photo. In describing Alam’s book “My Journey as a Witness”, John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine called it “the most important book ever written by a photographer”. Alam is the founder of the celebrated entities, the Drik Agency, the Pathshala Media Institute and the Chobi Mela festival of photography. He is also a new media pioneer and introduced email to Bangladesh in the early nineties.



Abdullah Alkafri
Playwright and cultural activist

Abdullah Alkafri is a playwright and cultural activist, who works as a trainer in topics related to the field of culture with many organizations. He has published and directed several plays, including "Mrs Ghada’s Pain Threshold" in Beirut, and was a member of the selection committee for "Arab Contemporary Dramaturgy" (organized by IEVP 2012). Abdullah was awarded first place in the 19th Mohammad Teymour Competition for Theatrical Creativity for his text “Damascus - Aleppo”, which was also shortlisted as a finalist in the BBC Competition for Best Translated Work in 2008. He is a founding member and Executive Manager of Ettijahat- Independent Culture. Abdullah graduated in Theatrical Studies from the High Institute of Dramatic Arts, Damascus, 2004 and completed his Master’s study at Saint Joseph University, Beirut, in the same field in 2015. He is currently a PhD Student at Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon.



Kimmo Aulake, MA (Finland)
Ministerial Advisor at the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland

Kimmo has worked professionally in the field of cultural policy for 25 years. In addition to cultural policy development, he has worked both nationally and internationally (including in the European Commission and the Council of Europe) on a number transversal themes including information society, trade policy, cultural diversity, development policy, evidence based policy development, and creative economy. As a firm believer of the power of arts and culture to foster economy, democracy and wellbeing, Kimmo has worked extensively to harness creative economy, intangible assets and cultural exports. He has also been sharing his thoughts on these topical issues in several international conferences from Brazil to Beijing and Poland to Brussels. He is or has been the chairman or member of numerous intergovernmental committees and working groups at the EU, Council of Europe, UNESCO, and INCP, including the chairman of the Council of Europe Steering Committee for Culture, Heritage and Landscape, EU Open Method of Coordination Working Group on Cultural and Creative Sectors’ Export and Internationalisation Support Strategies as well as on CCS Access to Finance.



Gantuya Badamgarav (Mongolia)
Director of Mongolian Contemporary Art Support Association (MCASA)

The Founder and Director of Mongolian Contemporary Art Support Association (MCASA) and the first Commissioner of Mongolia in Venice Biennale 2015, Gantuya Badamgarav (Gana) holds an MA in economics from Williams College in the United States and has a background in economic policy, business development and international project management. Driven by her passion for art and music, Gana has visited many museums, galleries and theaters in different countries and also served as a member of the Development Committee at the Arts Council of Mongolia. Following her passion, Gana decided to quit her successful career and established 976 Art Gallery and MCASA. Given very limited resources and risk, Gana worked actively to support contemporary art; united over organizations and people to channel their resources and passion. Through MCASA activities and efforts, in 3 years, 34 Mongolian artists were able to receive small and big size grants, including Pollock-Krasner Grant.



Jordi Baltà Portolés (Spain)
Expert and consultant for the Committee on Culture of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)

Jordi Baltà Portolés works as an expert and consultant for the Committee on Culture of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), providing research and advice to local governments with an interest in developing cultural policies and sustainable development. He also works as a freelance researcher, consultant and trainer in the areas of cultural policy and international affairs, for a range of organisations, including the Asia-Europe Museum Network (ASEMUS). Previously he was a researcher and project coordinator at the Interarts Foundation (2001-14), where he acted as the coordinator of the European Expert Network on Culture (EENC). He is a member of the UNESCO Expert Facility for the implementation of the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the U40 network ‘Cultural Diversity 2030’, the board of the Catalan Association of Cultural Managers (APGCC) and the board of the Interarts Foundation. Jordi teaches at the Online MA in Cultural Management of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) and the University of Girona (UdG), as well as the Degree in International Relations of Universitat Ramon Llull (URL). He holds a BA in Political Science (Autonomous University of Barcelona, UAB) and a MA in European Cultural Policy (University of Warwick).



Marina Barham (Palestine)
Cofounder and General Director of Al-Harah Theater, and Al-Harah Performing Arts Training Center (PARC)

Marina Barham is an active cultural operator in Palestine, the Middle East and in Europe. She is Vice president of the Palestinian Performing Arts Network, Vice President of Euromedinculture Network and TAMASI Collective for Performing arts Organizations from the MENA Region. She is a Trainer in the field of Cultural Management in the Arab World, and regularly speaks at European conferences, festivals and events on the importance of performing arts in Palestine and the Arab world. She has produced many theatre productions, and managed and organised several international, regional and local tours, including Euro-med Projects funded by the EU and Yalla Yalla International Children and Youth Theatre Festival and Street festival in Palestine.



Romina Bianchini (Argentina)

In 2003, Romina created the international platform for cultural managers “Proyecta Cultura”, which has operated in Argentina  since 2004. Romina has been a coordinator of the Urban Art Network Neural since 2011, a mentor in the International Network Mujeres x la Cultura since December 2012 and is currently also employed in the Content Department of the Recoleta Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A human-rights activist, since 2004, Ms Bianchini has worked as a Educator in the Worshops on Cultural Rights with many different communities across Latin America and the Caribbean. She  specialises in the generation and management of local and international networks for development cooperation, and has been engaged as an independent contractor in the cultural sector for the last 16 years. She is currently a Professor on the Technical Degree in Popular Music, Faculty of Fine Arts, National Universy of La Plata in Argentina.  



François Bouda (Burkina Faso)
Author, Mondoblog

François Bouda holds a “Licence” degree in Anglophone Studies and a “Maîtrise” degree in Arts Management from the University of Ouagadougou, as well as a University Degree in Cultural Projects Funding from Senghor University (Egypt). He has a long and rich experience from the cultural and artistic sphere. He mainly worked for dance company Auguste-Bienvenue, the Choreographic Development Centre la Termitière in Burkina Faso directed by world-renown choreographers Salia Sanou and Seydou Boro, and the Ecole des Sables in Senegal initiated by internationally-acclaimed choreographer Germaine Acogny, also known as the “Mother of African dance”. During his one-year mission at the Office of the Francophonie to the United Nations in New York, he developed a special interest in matters such as Francophonie, cultural diplomacy and sustainable development with a focus on cultural dynamics. Since May 2015, he is the CKU (Danish Centre for Culture and Development) Burkina Faso Programme Officer. He is responsible for managing and monitoring the Burkina Faso Culture and Development Programme. Having a passion for reading and writing, he regularly publishes articles in specialized magazines such as Africultures, Interartive and Alizé la Vie, and curates a personal blog on the Mondoblog platform, launched by French international radio RFI.



Simon Brault O.C., O.Q (Canada)
Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

Simon Brault began his five-year term as Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts on June 26, 2014. Active in the cultural sector for over 30 years, he has been a driving force behind a number of major projects. Notably, as Administrative Director and Director General of the National Theatre School of Canada, he coordinated the ambitious project of restoring Montréal’s historic Monument-National. He has also participated in initiatives such as the Forum d’action des milieux culturels de la Métropole, the steering committee of the Chantier de l’économie sociale, the Montréal Summit, the Rendez-vous novembre 2007 Montréal Métropole culturelle and Agenda 21C de la culture au Québec. An initiator of Journées de la culture, he was also a founding member and Chair of Culture Montréal from 2002 to 2014. His first non-fiction book, Le facteur C : l’avenir passe par la culture (La Presse / Éditions Voix parallèles, 2009), explained the dramatic rise of cultural concerns in the public agenda. This highly-acclaimed work was published in English as No Culture, No Future (Cormorant Books, 2010).



Vahni Capildeo (Trinidad / UK)

Vahni Capildeo is a British Trinidadian writer. After completing a BA and DPhil at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, she has held a number of roles. These include: Research Fellow, Girton College, Cambridge; lexicographer, Oxford English Dictionary; Contributing Editor, Caribbean Review of Books; (Senior) Programme Officer, Commonwealth Writers; Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow, University of Cambridge; volunteer, Oxfam Head Office and Oxford Rape Crisis. She has initiated or taken part internationally in conversations, collaborations, and teaching, e.g. at the Bocas Litfest (Trinidad) and Almost Island (Delhi). Capildeo has a particular interest in boundaries between the human and the natural; multilingualism, memory, and place. In 2015-16 she created live and online content, relationships and scheduling for the UK-wide Out of Bounds project, towards a new digital poetry map of Black and Asian voices in Britain. She is currently combining travel and writing with archival research on a twentieth-century feminist traveller and sustainable gardener, supported by the Harper-Wood Studentship (St. John's College, Cambridge). She has published five books and two pamphlets, of which the most recent is Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet; 2016) [shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Best Collection Prize].



Jane Chu (USA)
Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

Jane Chu was confirmed in June 2014 as the 11th chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. With a background in arts administration and philanthropy, she is also an accomplished artist and musician. In addition to awarding more than $240 million in grants during her tenure to date, Chairman Chu has issued new research reports on arts participation and the impact of the arts and cultural industries on the nation's gross domestic product; has traveled nationally and internationally to communities to see first-hand how the arts are impacting people and places; and launched the Tell Us Your Story project that demonstrates the importance of the arts in our lives. As part of the NEA’s 50th anniversary, Chairman Chu launched the initiative, Creativity Connects, showing how central the arts are to the country's creativity ecosystem; investigating how support systems for the arts have changed; and exploring how the arts connect with other industries. Chu was born in Oklahoma, but was raised in Arkansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She holds bachelor’s degrees in piano performance and music education, master’s degrees in music, piano pedagogy, and business administration, and a PhD in philanthropic studies, as well as an honorary doctorate in music.



Danielle Cliche (France/Canada)
Secretary of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) and Chief of Section on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Danielle Cliche is Secretary of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) and Chief of Section on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. She ensures implementation of the Convention worldwide, supports the work of the governing bodies and manages a team responsible for related operational programmes providing technical expertise to strengthen the governance of culture in developing countries or financial support through the International Fund for Cultural Diversity. In 2013, she led an inter-agency team with the UN Office for South-South Cooperation to produce the 2013 UN Creative Economy Report Special Edition, “Widening Local Development Pathways”. Previously she was research manager for the European Institute of Comparative Cultural Research (ERICarts Institute) and founding co-editor of the Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe. Since the early 1990s, she has carried out a wide range of international comparative research studies in the field of culture. A graduate of the University of Ottawa in communication theory, culture and international comparative politics, she also earned her Phd from the Vrije Universitat Amsterdam in 2009.




Sandro Debono (Malta)
Senior Curator at Malta’s National Museum of Fine Arts (Heritage Malta) and Project Lead for MUŻA (Malta)

Sandro Debono is a Maltese curator, art historian and academic. His research focus includes the dialectic between identity and national collections, museum studies and art history in general on which he has published extensively and also lectures regularly at the University of Malta and European Institutions. Sandro is Senior Curator at Malta’s National Museum of Fine Arts (Heritage Malta) and Project Lead for MUŻA, the new national community art museum for Malta and flagship project for Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture. Sandro is very active in the Maltese cultural scene working closely with Arts Council Malta on the Malta 2017 Biennale Pavilion Project and with Valletta 2018 Foundation, regularly advising on the visual arts programme. He also sits on the Malta EU Presidency 2017 Working Group (culture). The Malta exhibition and the Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels (2017) is his forthcoming project.



Carla Delfos (Netherlands) 
Executive Director European League of Institutes of the Arts

Carla Delfos trained and practiced as actress in the Netherlands and founder of the European League of Institutes of the Arts – ELIA – in 1990 and the organisation’s Executive Director since. She gave leadership to the development of ELIA into an influential independent network of over 300 institutions/universities in 55 countries, representing more than 300.000 art students. ELIA contributes to the recognition of Higher Art Education and improved conditions for graduating artists. She successfully realized numerous events and conferences, including research projects funded by the European Commission and the annual graduate festival NEU NOW.



Alejandro Denes (Uruguay)
Adjunct to the National Director of Culture within the Ministry of Education and Culture, and Assessor of the Minister of Education and Culture.

With an academic background in Visual Arts, specialized in video, photography and multidisciplinary arts, Alejandro Denes was a professor at the Instituto Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes at the Universidad de la República in Uruguay for a decade, teaching courses including in pre and post-graduation. Besides his work as a teacher, he was a member of the autonomous government of the university and represented it at the Mercosur Educativo from 2004 to 2008.

He also worked in the area of corporate social responsibility as member of the board of the Uruguay Network  for the United Nations Global Compact where he struggled to incorporate culture as a fourth pillar of sustainable development.

Since August 2015 he has integrated the staff of the Ministry of Education and Culture as assessor of the Minister and Adjunct of the National Director of Culture focused to the actions towards a National Plan of Culture and a National System of Cultural Circulation. He is also a member of the National Audiovisual Advisory Board; assessor of the Biennale de Montevideo; and was recently named Commissar of Uruguay at the 57th Biennale di Venezia. 



Elena Di Federico
Project Manager, Research and Publications at IETM

Elena Di Federico holds a master degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic of Turin (Italy). In 2005 she started working as a project manager and researcher in cultural policies both as a freelancer and for Fitzcarraldo Foundation (Italy), focusing in particular on cultural diversity, access to culture and artists’ mobility in Europe and the Mediterranean. Between 2012 and 2014 she was responsible for communication and advocacy at On the Move (Brussels), cultural mobility information network. Since late 2014 she has been responsible for research and publications at IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts (Brussels), gathering over 500 professional organisations and individual artists from the field. IETM advocates for the value of the arts in a changing world and empowers performing arts professionals through access to international connections, knowledge and a dynamic forum for exchange. IETM publications investigate how contemporary arts deal with hot topics in society and provide arts professionals with tools to strengthen their work in the areas of audience development, business models, impact evaluation.



Yvonne Donders (Netherlands)
Professor International Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, University of Amsterdam

Yvonne Donders is Professor of International Law and Cultural Diversity and Head of the Department of International and European Law at the University of Amsterdam. She completed her PhD at the Law Faculty of Maastricht University on cultural human rights and the right to cultural identity. Her research interests include public international law; international human rights law, in particular economic, social and cultural rights, and human rights and cultural diversity. She teaches courses on public international law and human rights law and gives lectures on cultural rights and cultural diversity. Prior to this post, Yvonne Donders worked as a Programme Specialist at UNESCO’s Human Rights Department. Yvonne Donders is currently a member of the Dutch National Commission for UNESCO, the Human Rights Committee of the Advisory Council on International Affairs, and the Editorial Board of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights. She is also a member of the European Expert Network on Culture. Find publications by Yvonne here.



Dr Milena Dragićević Šešić
Head of UNESCO Chair in Interculturalism, Art Management and Mediation

Dr Dragićević Šešić is an expert in cultural policy and management for the European Cultural Foundation, Council of Europe, UNESCO, Foundation Marcel Hicter, Pro Helvetia and the British Council. She has realised and developed more than 50 projects in cultural policy and management, including policy training, strategic management and capacity building training in countries including India and Cambodia. Dr Dragićević Šešić has lectured at numerous world universities, published 16 books and more than 150 essays. She is a member of editorial boards of academic and cultural reviews, a Board member of the European Diploma in Cultural Project Management (Foundation Marcel Hicter, Bruxelles); and a former ENCATC and ELIA Board. From 2007–2008, Dr Dragićević Šešić was Adviser to the Minister of Culture Republic of Serbia (2007-2008).



Louise Ejgod Hansen
Project and Research Manager, Associate Professor at School of Communication and Culture

Louise Ejgod Hansen is a cultural policy scholar who, has been managing rethinkIMPATCTS 2017 since 2013, conducting the research-led evaluation of Aarhus as European Capital of Culture 2017. Her main research areas include cultural policy on a national, regional and local level, the link between policy strategy and institutional practices as well as audience research focusing on the value of the artistic experience. She is an experienced partner in practice-research collaborations and has published academic articles as well as policy reports.



Guy Martial Feukwu Noule (Cameroon)
Cultural Engineer and Economist 

Guy Martial Feukwu Noule is a lecturer at the University of Dschang and the Institute of Fine Arts in Nkongsamba, Cameroon. He holds a Master in Economics and Management from the University of Dschang (Cameroon), and a Master in Management of Cultural Industries of the Senghor University of Alexandria (Egypt). He is the President of Collective of Experts and Cultural Entrepreneurs of Cameroon, General Secretary of Cameroon Coalition for Cultural Diversity, and the Treasurer of Arterial Network Cameroon.



Oliver Göbel (Germany)
Project Manager, Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, ERICarts

Since 2009, Oliver has been Project Manager at the ERICarts Institute and Coordinator of the Council of Europe/ERICarts project Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe. Previously, he was project assistant and worked also for the publishing house ARCult Media as Sales Manager and as research assistant for the Zentrum für Kulturforschung (ZfKf). Oliver studied political science, economics and social sciences at the University of Bonn and holds an M.A. degree. He is responsible for the coordination and logistical execution of transnational comparative research studies or projects undertaken on behalf of the European Commission, the Council of Europe and national governments. He has actively participated in many projects, for example: Contribution of Culture to Local and Regional Economic Development as part of European Regional Policy (2010 EU-project), Mobility Matters (EU-project 2009), Sharing Diversity (EU-project 2008). He was part of the editorial team of the 2001 Handbuch der Kulturpreise und der individuellen Künstlerförderung (Handbook of Awards and Scholarships in the Arts and Media) and other publications, including Rheinschiene – Kulturschiene. Mobilität – Meinungen – Marketing (2003) and European Cultural Co-operation in the G2CC-LAB-Environment (Portal) – Definition and Elements of a Conceptual Framework (2004).



Arundhati Ghosh (India)
Executive Director, India Foundation for the Arts

Arundhati joined the India Foundation for the Arts as its first fundraiser in 2000, after spending a decade in the corporate sector. She assumed the role of Executive Director on 1 June 2013. Arundhati has received recognition from several quarters for her work in the non-profit sector. In 2010 she received the Global Fundraiser Award from Resource Alliance International, the same year IFA won the ‘India NGO of the Year’ award in the medium category. She is currently a recipient of the fellowship under Chevening Clore Leadership Awards, and has worked with the National Theatre, UK to recommend a strategy for their national reach over the next 3 to 5 years. Arundhati has an Economics degree from the Presidency College, Kolkata and a post graduate in management from the Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad. She also has a degree in classical dance and is a published poet in Bangla. 



Honor Harger (New Zealand)

Honor Harger is a curator from New Zealand, who has a particular interest in art and science. She is currently the Executive Director of ArtScience Museum in Singapore. Prior to arriving in Singapore in 2014, she was artistic director of Lighthouse, a digital culture agency in Brighton, UK from 2010 to 2014. She has also worked at Tate Modern (UK), transmediale and the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation (Germany), Artspace (New Zealand), and many other arts organisations and festivals around the world. Her artistic practice is produced under the name r a d i o q u a l i a together with collaborator Adam Hyde. One of their main projects has been Radio Astronomy, a radio station broadcasting sounds from space. Honor has lectured widely including at the TED conference, LIFT in Geneva, the European Space Agency, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, California Institute of the Arts and the American Film Institute. Honor also writes about the worlds of science, art and technology, placing a special emphasis on the collision between the quantum and the cosmological, mainly in the occasional blog, Particle Decelerator.




Sue Hoyle OBE
Director of the Clore Leadership Programme

Since 2004, the Clore Leadership Programme has provided intensive leadership development for over 1,500 experienced and emerging cultural leaders from across the UK and internationally, and governance training for arts organisations, museums and libraries. Sue is also Programme Adviser to the Advanced Cultural Leadership Programme at Hong Kong University and Evaluator/Adviser for ARThinkSouthAsia, which delivers training in arts management and cultural policy across eight countries in South Asia. Sue’s extensive experience in the arts has included leadership of The Place as its Executive Director. She was Director of Dance and subsequently Deputy Secretary-General for Arts Council England, where she had responsibility for national arts strategies, policy, research and planning. She has been a Trustee of the British Council (2008-14) and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and chaired the Boards of DV8 Physical Theatre and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Theatre. Sue is a Cultural Fellow of King’s College London and Honorary Fellow of Falmouth University. She is co-author of a comparative study on arts funding in the UK and France, and was made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, in recognition of her contribution to French culture.



Abid Hussain (UK)
Director, Diversity at Arts Council England

Abid Hussain is Director, Diversity at Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts with responsibility for leading the organisation’s work on equality and the creative case for diversity. He has over a decade of experience working in the arts and cultural sector with a particular interest in leadership, talent development and philanthropic giving. He is an alumnus of the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) and a member of the John Adams Society which promotes cultural, social and educational collaboration between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. He jointly led on the development and delivery of the internationally acclaimed Arts and Islam programme and has delivered seminars, workshops, critical debates and artistic interventions across the United States of America, Denmark, Sweden and South Africa. Abid has served in an advisory role for the British Council, the Institute for Community Cohesion, Eton College and currently sits on the BBC’s Audience Council. He has served on the strategic leadership group for the Mosaic Network a mentoring programme established by HRH Prince Charles to inspire young people from deprived communities to realise their talents and potential. 



Jepchumba (South Africa)
Digital artist, curator and designer

Jepchumba has been listed by Forbes as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa 2012 and the Guardian Africa's top 25 Women Achievers. A cultural ambassador, Jepchumba is the Founder and Creative Director of African Digital Art, a collective and creative space where digital artists, enthusiasts and professionals can see inspiration, showcase their artistry and connect with emerging artists. Jepchumba is dedicated to promoting the growth of the creative technology in Africa. Originally from Kenya, she has lived, travelled and spoken around the world promoting her commitment to creativity, art and technology. An African digital artists, she is passionate about creating unique digital experiences.



Octavio Kulesz (Argentina)
Director, Editorial Teseo

Octavio Kulesz is a digital publisher and a researcher based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. With more than 15 years of experience in the publishing industry, in 2007 he founded Teseo, one of the first ebook companies in Latin America. Kulesz also works as a researcher on topics related to ebooks, social media and digital culture in emerging economies. In 2011, he delivered the highly acclaimed report "Digital Publishing in Developing Countries" (freely available online in Spanish, French, English and Chinese). He is one of the co-ordinators of the Digital Laboratory of the International Alliance of Independent Publishers (Paris) and a Unesco Expert on the 2005 Convention



Goretti Kyomuhendo (Uganda)
Director, African Writers Trust

Goretti Kyomuhendo is the Founder and Director of the African Writers Trust, a literary initiative that aims to bridge the geographical spaces that divide African writers and publishing professionals in the Diaspora and the continent, in order to promote synergies between the groups. AWT has bases in London and in Kampala, Uganda. The holder of an MA in Creative Writing from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, Kyomuhendo is one of Uganda’s leading novelists and her first novel, The First Daughter, was published in 1996, followed by Secrets no More in 1999, which won the Uganda Best Novel award in the same year. Waiting, her third novel, was published by The Feminist Press in New York in 2007. She has also published children’s books and several short stories. Kyomuhendo is a founding member of FEMRITE – Uganda Women Writers Association and worked as its first Director for ten years. In 1997, she became the first Ugandan woman to receive an International Writing Program fellowship at the University of Iowa. In 2012, Kyomuhendo was one of five international judges for the Commonwealth Book Prize. She lives in London and Uganda.



Marie Le Sourd (France)
Secretary General, On the Move

Marie Le Sourd is the Secretary General of On the Move, the cultural mobility information network active in Europe and worldwide. On the Move's main mission is to provide information on cultural mobility opportunities, funding and key challenges, such as visas and taxation. Prior to this, from 1999 to 2006 Marie was in charge of programme in the Cultural Exchange Department of the Asia-Europe Foundation based in Singapore (ASEF), and from 2006 to 2011, she worked for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the director of the French Cultural Centre in Yogyakarta (Indonesia).



Kok Heng Leun (Singapore)
Artistic Director, Drama Box

Kok Heng Leun is the Artistic Director of Singaporean theatre company Drama Box, and a prominent figure in both the English and Chinese-language theatres in Singapore. He has directed over 80 plays, including Kuo Pao Kun's Spirit Play, Forum Theatre Trick or Threat!,HERstory (Singapore Arts Festival 2011) , Drift (Singapore Season 2008), and It Won’t Be Too Long (Singapore International Arts Festival, 2015). Heng Leun is one of the most important theatre practitioners in Singapore advocating applied and engaged arts. Known to be one of the most respectable Forum Theatre practitioners in Asia, he has also ventured into multi-disciplinary applied and engaged arts projects such as Project Mending Sky which deals with environmental issues and PRISM which looks at issues of governance in Singapore. In recent years, Heng Leun has been actively advocating cultural exchanges and dialogues among artists and cultural workers in the region as well as internationally. He has also taken up teaching, curatorial and dramaturgical roles in many projects. Heng Leun is currently the Arts Nominated Member of Parliament and have actively spoke on civil society as well as arts and culture issues in the Singapore Parliament.



Kelli McCluskey (Australia)
Artist and co-founder of pvi collective

Kelli McCluskey is an artist and co-founder of tactical media art group, pvi collective. Formed in 1998 pvi create playfully subversive and participatory artworks that creatively disrupt everyday life in public spaces. Their works seek out alternative solutions for an unstable future, aiming to not just ‘make things’ but to make things happen. pvi think about audiences not as art consumers, but as creative comrades, looking to save the world through creative play and revolutionary fun. Kelli has toured extensively throughout Australia with pvi’s critically acclaimed performances and internationally, including to Taiwan, Sweden, Indonesia, Singapore, Denmark, Scotland, Prague, South Africa and Germany. Trained in performance art and media kelli researches, writes and directs for pvi and initiated the perth based artist led incubator space, cia studios [centre for interdisciplinary arts] in 2008, which she co-manages with pvi. In 2016 Kelli received the prestigious ‘outstanding achievement in emerging and experimental arts’ award from the Australia Council for the Arts for her work within the sector. She is based in Perth as principal company in residence at cia studios.



Erwin Maas (Netherlands / USA)
Theater & Opera Director

Erwin Maas Erwin Maas is a New York based theater & opera director, teacher and international performing arts advocate from the Netherlands. From 2010 to 2014, Maas was Director of Performing Arts for the Cultural Department of the Royal Netherlands Embassy & Consulates in the USA. He was a guest speaker, instructor and director at academies and universities including Yale School of Drama, NYU Drama Department, Columbia University / Barnard College, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University, Brown University / Trinity Rep, as well as numerous international academies. Erwin currently teaches at the MFA Program Performance & Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) at CUNY Brooklyn College. He is Artistic Director of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA) NYC Conference, Director of Programming for the Off-Broadway Origin Theatre Company, and Artistic Programming Associate of the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY). Erwin is a core-member of Theater Without Borders, a member of the Netherland-America Foundation Cultural Committee and is on the Artistic Advisory Board of the ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn.




Dennis Marita (Solomon Islands)
Director of Culture, Solomon Islands

Dennis was born in 1974 and a traditional Chief by birth and inheritance. He was installed chief in 1977 at a tender age of three as according to sacred customs and obligation of the Ulawa people in Solomon Islands. Education took him into the modern contemporary world and earned him a Bachelor’s Degree (BA) in Theatre Arts from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in 2001. He majors in acting and directing with a more focus on local traditional Theatre. He worked with local Theatre groups and cultural dance groups in Solomon Islands over the past 10 years.  He spent six years as a high school teacher and of which his strong cultural background and artistic ability portrays him as one of the country’s top artistic and cultural Expressionist. He joined the government in 2008 as a Senior Cultural Officer in the Ministry of Culture & Tourism. In 2010 he was given the position of Artistic Director for the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts that was later hosted by Solomon Islands in 2012. Currently, he heads the Culture Division as the Director of Culture in Solomon Islands.



Sergio Mautone (Uruguay)
National Director of Culture within the Ministry of Education and Culture

Since March 2015, Sergio Mautone has been the National Director of Culture within the Ministry of Education and Culture. Previously, he headed the Uruguayan Union of Actors (SUA) for three terms, representing Uruguay in the International Federation of Latin-American Actors (FIALA) and in the International Federation of Actors (IFA), Brussels. As an actor, he studied acting at the Montevideo Dramatic Art School “Teatro de la Ciudad” (City’s Theatre), took part in numerous dramatic and audiovisual projects in Uruguay, other countries of South America and Europe, and received various awards and distinctions for his works. He studied language and literature at the Institute Artigas of Teachers, and after he graduated, was himself a teacher for a decade.



Christine M. Merkel (Germany)
Head of the Division of Culture, Memory of the World of the German Commission for UNESCO

Christine Merkel is a social scientist with over twenty years of international professional experience in policy analysis, project management and human development, advising government and Parliament. Ms Merkel’s areas of focus are the organisational development of foundations and public organisations, capacity building of civil society leaders and young experts, the assessment of legal and technical frameworks and resource strategies. She is a seasoned designer and convenor of strategic multi-stakeholder policy dialogues on cultural diversity issues and cultural policy developments. Her working experience includes projects and expert missions in and to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Senegal, South Africa, Turkey, Romania, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Colombia, Peru and Chile. She has published widely on cultural diversity and democracy development, including a legal commentary on the 2005 Convention.



Kathrin Merkle (France)
Head of the Culture and Democracy Division, Council of Europe 

Kathrin Merkle heads the Culture and Democracy Division of the Directorate of Democratic Governance at the Council of Europe and oversees the Organisation’s novel work on Culture and Democracy Indicators and Culture and Digitisation. She coordinates Cultural Policy Reviews and the Compendium information system. Editor of numerous cultural policy publications, a reference work on everyday culture and teaching European Cultural Policy at the University of Strasbourg. Before joining the Council of Europe, Kathrin worked a number of years with UNESCO Statistics.



Raquel Mesa Sobejano Spain
Web Manager and Digital Strategist at Acción Cultural Española (AC/E)

Raquel Mesa Sobejano is Web Manager and Digital Strategist at Acción Cultural Española (AC/E). She also coordinates AC/E's Publishing Projects and its Corporate Identity. AC/E is the Spanish Agency for Culture, and it belongs to the public sector. Its aims are to promote Spanish culture and its art-historical legacy and heritage, both in Spain and overseas; to support the internationaliSation of Spain's creative and cultural sectors; and to encourage a Spanish presence at significant international cultural events. Raquel has a degree in Archaeology and Prehistory from the Complutense University in Madrid and an MA in Cultural Management from the Instituto Ortega y Gasset. She first worked in Madrid for the publisher El País-Aguilar and then in Rome at the Spanish Tourist Office. In 2000 she started working in Spain's cultural sector. In 2002 she became the web manager and graphics and publications coordinator at SEACEX (the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad), a position she held until 2012, when she started working at AC/E.



Ángel Eduardo Moreno Marín (Colombia)
Sub-Director of Cultural Practices of the Secretary of Culture, Recreation and Sports of the city of Bogota

Angel Eduardo Moreno Marin is a social communicator with postgraduate training in political science from Javeriana University in Colombia, who graduated in Latin American Culture from the University of Rosario in Colombia and Local Development from the University Asia - Pacific Japan. He was Advisor of the Culture Department of the International Convention Andrés Bello from 1996 until 2009, and part of the technical team that led projects such as “Economy and Culture”, “Cultural Legislation”, “We are Heritage”, “We are Young”, “Urban Cultures”, “Culture and Development and Latinidades”. From late 2009 to early 2016, he served as Advisor to the Office of the Minister of Culture of Colombia in the orientation and implementation of the policy in entrepreneurship and cultural and creative industries. Since February 2016, he has served as Sub-Director of Cultural Practices of the Secretary of Culture, Recreation and Sports of Bogota city, the main purpose of which is the formulation of policies concerning the city’s cultural system.



Barbara Negrón (Chile)
General Director of the Cultural Policies Observatory

Barbara Negrón is the founder and General Director of the Cultural Policies Observatory, OPC, a Chilean non-profit organisation that focuses on researching and advocating arts and cultural subjects. Bárbara Negrón has worked in the cultural sector since 1997. In 2003, when the Chilean Arts Council was created, Ms Negron was appointed by the Minister of Culture as the leader of the cultural policy making process. In this position, she led the development of the country’s first national cultural policy document. Ms Negrón has edited several books and is co-author of the research “The cultural worker situation in Chile” and “Trama Agenda: recommendations for the arts development in Chile”. Since 2014, the OPC has participated in Proyecto Trama, a three year programme funded by the European Commission, dedicated to improving working conditions for artists, technicians and arts managers in Chile. Proyecto Trama has become in a singular way to face to the complexity of these problems, with different kinds of action and approaches.



Garry Neil (Canada)
Expert on cultural diversity and status of the artist

Garry Neil is a graduate of the University of Toronto who has worked more than 35 years in arts and cultural policy, in Canada and internationally, as a consultant to governments, cultural industry firms and civil society organizations. He has extensive experience in policies for film, television, new media and the Internet, publishing, performing arts, visual arts and music. Since 2000, he has completed major projects in a wide variety of fields, including business models for the digital era, trade and business development, copyright, broadcasting regulations, sustainable cultural development, cultural impact assessment, cultural human resources and capacity building. Mr. Neil is a global expert on cultural diversity and status of the artist issues. As Executive Director of the International Network for Cultural Diversity from 2000, Mr. Neil was at the forefront of the global campaign which led to the adoption in 2005 of the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. In 2010 and 2015, he completed reports for UNESCO on the current state of implementation of the Recommendation concerning the status of the artist globally.



Andrew Ormston (Scotland)
Director of Drew Wylie Projects

Andrew Ormston is Director of Drew Wylie Projects, delivering international consultancy and project development in the cultural and creative industries. He works as an expert for the European Union's Creative Europe Programme, the British Council's 'Canny Creatives' programme, and the Compendium on Cultural Trends and Policies in Europe. He is also co-director of Sensing Place, a project devoted to utilising multi-disciplinary approaches to cultural development. His background includes directing venues, festivals and cultural administration for the City of Birmingham and in London. Andrew holds a MSc in Culture, Environment & Society from the University of Edinburgh and is a Board member of SURF (Scotland's regeneration network), Berwick Film Festival and NN Contemporary Art.



Robert Palmer
Independent consultant

Robert Palmer is an independent consultant who works internationally on a wide range of cultural projects in the areas of cultural policy and strategy, organisational development, festivals and events, the creative economy and issues related to cultural policy and strategy, cultural rights and the cultural development of cities. He was formerly the Director of Culture and Cultural and National Heritage for the Council of Europe based in Strasbourg, France (2006-2013). Prior to joining the Council of Europe, Robert Palmer worked in the cultural sector for more than 30 years, and including was an adviser to several cities and regions concerning cultural development and regeneration, cultural tourism, festivals and arts policies. He advises UNESCO, European Commission and many different European Cultural Institutes and cultural networks on cultural matters. Robert Palmer was the Director of two European Capitals of Culture (Glasgow and Brussels), published a report for the European Commission evaluating 40 European Capitals of Culture, was the Chair of the European Jury that selects European Capitals of Culture, and has advised many cities that have received the ECoC designation. He is the author of the book Eventful Cities Cultural Management and Urban Regeneration and a wide range of articles and other publications.



Phloeun Prim (Cambodia)
Executive Director of Cambodian Living Arts

A visionary cultural entrepreneur, Phloeun has spearheaded Cambodian Living Arts’ transformation from a grassroots project reviving traditional arts to the leading cultural agency in Cambodia. Phloeun has led the organization to extend its reach from local to international programming and to evolve its role from straightforward transmission of traditions to stimulating expression and innovation. Previously, he led the commercial development of Artisans d’Angkor – a public private company selling high end handicrafts. The major Season of Cambodia festival in New York April-May 2013, a $2.6 million project, involving 125 artists, 34 presenting partners including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, symbolizes the capacity that Phloeun has brought to Cambodian Living Arts. He is regularly invited to present and participate in global dialogues relating to arts in development and post-conflict contexts from the Aspen Institute, to Salzburg Global Seminar. Born during the genocide, Phloeun is proud to have returned to Cambodia and be part of the movement to use the arts for healing, social transformation and economic development.



Oussama Rifahi (Lebanon)
Director, Arab Fund for Culture

Oussama Rifahi joined AFAC as Executive Director in July 2010. Previously, he was Managing Director for Museum Development in New York with Global Cultural Asset Management, and provided cultural consultancy services to governments, cities, foundations and private collectors in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. As Director of Special Projects for the Guggenheim Foundation, Rifahi led feasibility studies of modern and contemporary museums in Lithuania and France in 2007. From 2003 to 2006, he was project manager at Mubadala in Abu Dhabi and an advisor to the chairman of Tourism Development and Investment Company - TDIC. Rifahi directed the market analysis, strategy definition and development of the business model for tourism and culture in Abu Dhabi and supported the first architectural developments on the cultural district of Saadiyat Island, as well as the initial negotiations between Abu Dhabi and the Louvre and Guggenheim museums.



Nirit Roessler (Israel)
Director, Jerusalem Culture Unlimited

Nirit is an organizational consultant specializing in the Social Change sector, with expertise in Resource Development, Strategic Planning and Capacity Building to enhance sustainability. She has been directing teams of professionals in various organizations and programs, designing best practices and intervention methodologies. In addition to mentoring and consultation she has written fundraising guidebooks and carries out many seminars and training workshops. Over the years, she has worked with hundreds of NGOs and social entrepreneurs, both in Europe and in Israel. Nirit is a graduate of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has been responsible for special projects in the Tower of David Museum (1991-1994), acted as a co-curator, carried out historical and artistic research for exhibitions, and was liaison to the Smithonian Museum in preparing a folklore festival. She edited art catalogues, has experience working with curators and in constructing content-related websites.For the past 4 years Nirit has been the professional director of JCU – Jerusalem Culture Unlimited, a pilot programme geared to provide management skills to small to medium-sized arts groups, and to encourage cultural leadership.Nirit was born in Jerusalem and has lived there most of her life.



Inés Sanguinetti (Argentina)
Founder and President of Crear vale la penaDancer, choreographer and social activist.

President of Crear Vale la Pena and coordinator of an arts across the curriculum programme in 19 public schools for the City Government of Buenos Aires. She is part of the Cultura Viva Comunitaria Latin-American Council, Argentina.She completed a Social Studies degree at Salvador University in 1982. She has a St. Andrew´s University postgraduate degree in Academic Actualization of Education New Challenges. Nowadays she supervises FLACSO University Education Management Master Diploma. Inés is President of Crear Vale la Pena Organization and she is developing Teaching for Teachers programmes in Art, Welfare and Creativity for schools and community cultural centres.She was appointed to coordinate for the City Government of Buenos Aires the implementation of 'arts across the curriculum' in 19 public schools, which applies for common education improvement and social cohesion, and is currently being transferred to Colombia and Chile. From 2005 to 2009 she coordinated the Latin American Network of Art for Social Transformation which operates in 17 countries and she is a council member of the Latin American Community Live Cultures Net. Inés Sanguinetti is a conference speaker in her country and abroad for arts for social transformation, education and culture development and she coaches national and international TED speakers. She is member of the board of the National Arts Fund in Argentina and of the Pedagogic Committee of “Transforming High School” from Voz Foundation. 



Annick Schramme (Belgium)
President of ENCATC, European Network on Cultural Management and Cultural Policy /
Professor of Culture and Policy, University of Antwerp 

Annick Schramme is full professor and academic director of the master in Cultural Management and the Competence Center Management, Culture & Policy at the University of Antwerp (Faculty of Applied Economics). She is also leading the Competence Center Creative Industries at the Antwerp Management School. Over the last years she has published about arts policy, international cultural policy, heritage, cultural governance, cultural entrepreneurship, and fashion management, cultural leadership (FIKA project on education in cultural leadership and a comparative research on cultural leadership, 2016). From 2004 until 2013 she was also advisor-expert of the Vice-Mayor for Culture and Tourism of the City of Antwerp. She is member of several boards of cultural organizations and governmental advisory committees in Flanders and the Netherlands, like the Royal Opera and Ballet of Flanders, the Flemish Fund for Literature, the UNESCO Commission. Since 2013 she has been a member of the Arts Council in the Netherlands and she became the president of ENCATC, the international network on Cultural Management and Cultural Policy. 



Isabelle Schwarz (France / Germany)
Head of Advocacy, Research & Development and Knowledge Management, European Cultural Foundation 

Isabelle Schwarz joined the Amsterdam-based European Cultural Foundation (ECF) in 2002 to set up its first cultural policy development unit. Since then, the foundation has developed into a strong and recognized European advocate for culture in Europe. Since 2013, she has led ECF’s Advocacy and R&D department, following her previous position of Head of Programmes and Advocacy. At the foundation, she initiated a series of programmes and initiatives such as Enlargement of Minds, Reflection Groups, Cultural Policy Research Award, Balkan Incentive Fund for Culture. Prior to ECF, Isabelle was Executive Director of ENCATC (European network on cultural management and policy). Her international experience combines work for intergovernmental organisations, Ministry of Culture of France, foundations and NGOs in the fields of advocacy and policy development, applied research, programme design and project management. She has particular interest in strengthening international cultural relations and advancing philanthropy in Europe. Born and raised in Germany, Isabelle studied international relations, European studies, art history and archeology in France before working internationally. She serves different juries and boards, including the steering committee of More Europe – external cultural relations.



Susanna Seidl-Fox (Austria)
Program Director, Culture and the Arts, Salzburg Global Seminar

Susanna Seidl-Fox (Austria) Susanna Seidl-Fox is the Program Director for Culture and the Arts at Salzburg Global Seminar, where she conceptualises, develops, and manages several seminars and programmes each year, including the annual Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. She is particularly interested in the transformative power of the arts and has developed programmes focusing on conflict transformation through culture, the arts as a catalyst for sustainable development, and the expansion of international cultural engagement. She has served Salzburg Global in various capacities including Academic Program Coordinator, Director of Program Development, and Director of Seminars. Before coming to Salzburg, she worked as a simultaneous interpreter for the United States Department of State, interpreting primarily for its International Visitor Leadership Program. She also worked in publishing at Random House/Pantheon Books and at G.P. Putnam’s Sons in New York. Susanna was a Fulbright Fellow and studied German theatre and literature at the Universities of Mainz and Berlin, Germany. She holds a B.A. in German literature and in government from Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, and an M.A. in translation and interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.



Anupama Sekhar (India)
Director of the Culture Department at the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

Anupama SEKHAR is the Director of the Culture Department at the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), which promotes dialogue and collaboration among policymakers, artists and arts organisations in 51 countries across Asia and Europe. Anupama is in charge of ASEF’s culture portfolio, which comprises of artistic collaborationssupport to networkspolicy dialogues and information platforms. She is also part of UNESCO’s Expert Facility to support capacity development initiatives for the implementation of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. She is a trained dancer in the Indian classical style of Bharatnatyam.



Sana Tamzini (Tunisia)
Lecturer at the University of Design, Tunis

Sana Tamzini is an artist, curator and academic with extensive expertise in international cultural cooperation and contemporary art. She advocates for artistic expression and free speech, and is the current president of the Federation of Cultural Associations in Tunisia (FACT). She has a Master Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Paris 1 -Panthéon- Sorbonne, after her graduation from the Graduate School of Fine Arts in Tunis. She has also participated in scientific research in Computer Aided Design and Visual Arts between Montreal and Paris. Since 2003, she has taught at the Graduate School of Design Sciences and Technologies of Tunis.



Chandraguptha Thenuwara (Sri Lanka)
Artist, Academic & President of Arts Council of Sri Lanka

Chandraguptha Thenuwara (BFA/MFA/MPhil) was born in 1960, Sri Lanka. He is a senior lecturer and head of the department of History and Art Theory at the University of the Visual and Performing Arts Colombo. Since December 2015 he has ben the President of Arts Council of Sri Lanka. Chandraguptha Thenuwara is a leading Sri Lankan Artist whose work focuses on issues surrounding the impact of war in Sri Lanka. In response to overwhelming crisis Thenuwara has devised his own stylistic formulation, which he has called "Barrelism"(1997). His solo exhibitions Neo-Barrelism (2007), Post Barrelism (2009), ‘Wall’ (2011), ‘Beautification’ (2013) and Monotony (2014), changed gallery space completely. His recent exhibition was ‘GLITCH’ (2016).He was a President of the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) from 2014 January to January 2015. He is an active member of ‘Purawesi Balaya’ (Citizens’ Power) organization. He lives and works in Colombo. He studied painting at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, University of Kelaniya (1978-1981) and Surikov State Art Institute, Moscow, Russia (1985-1992); MPhil at the Post Graduate Institute of Archeology (PGIAR), Kelaniya University (2006). In 1993, He founded the Vibhavi Academy of Fine Arts (VAFA), an artist-run Alternative art school. Since 1978 he has exhibited widely in Sri Lanka and abroad.  



Lidia Varbanova (Bulgaria/Canada)
Cultural consultant, researcher and manager 

Dr Lidia Varbanova has over 20 years of professional experience as a consultant, educator, researcher and manager in more than 55 countries. Her portfolio focuses on strategy, policy development, entrepreneurship and innovations, organisational development and online technologies, with a special emphasis on arts, culture and creative industries. Lidia has been permanent and visiting professor in prominent universities and training centers in Europe and Canada and has received a number of distinguished awards, among them: Dragan Klaic European award for excellence in teaching, FULBRIGHT Program, Japan Foundation fellowship, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation post-doctoral award and scholarship from Webb Memorial Trust, Oxford. Her latest books are: Strategic Management in the Arts,(2012) and International Entrepreneurship in the Arts (release July 2016), published by Routledge. Lidia is an internationally acclaimed conference speaker and moderator and an active member of several professional networks in Canada and Europe. She currently teaches at McGill University, Montreal and conducts online workshops with the University of British Columbia as well as through her professional website. She is a regular visiting professor at UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management, Belgrade and the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, Sofia.



Helena Vasques de Carvalho

Helena Vasques de Carvalho recently completed her Ph.D. thesis in Sociology of Culture - "Performing artists and professional careers" at ISCTE – Lisbon, Portugal. Her major research field relates to artist professions and market economy, vocational and professional development and performing arts in the creative agenda. Helena Carvalho is the vice-president of the Portuguese Cultural Diversity Coalition and has worked with artists issues since 2005. She has represented the Portuguese Coalition at every major international meeting of cultural diversity coalitions for ten years, working on issues related to performing arts and artists, such as working conditions, copyrights and artists career development. The coalitions are the civil partner of the 2005 UNESCO Convention. Qualified to Masters (MMus) from the University of Tennessee, USA, Helena Carvalho is also an accomplished musician and pianist. She was a Music lecturer at College level for about 11 years, and played as an Orchestra musician for some years at National Symphonic Orchestra and Gulbenkian Orchestra.



Jo Verrent (England)
Senior Producer, Unlimited

Jo believes that ‘different’ is delicious not divergent. She works in arts & culture at strategic levels with national agencies and on the ground with organisations and individuals embedding the belief that diversity adds texture, turning policy into real action.

Jo is currently the senior producer for Unlimited - a role that brings together everything she has learnt in her professional life so far. Unlimited is the world’s largest commissions programme for disabled artists, working not just to create new work but to get it seen, discussed and embedded within the world’s cultural sectors, and Jo is responsible for the impact the work has both at home and abroad.

Working with Sarah Pickthall, she runs SYNC, examining the interplay between disability and leadership in the cultural sector, running programmes in the UK, Australia and shortly, Japan. In the past, they delivered SHORT CIRCUIT fusing disabled artistry and digital acumen and PUSH ME, film making for The Space.

Jo has won both Cosmopolitan’s woman of achievement award and her village’s cup for making jam. She is on the Northern Advisory Panel for Arts Council England and access advisor for No Boundaries. She is a Clore fellow.




Carlos Villaseñor (Mexico)
International consultant, culture based development policies

Carlos J. Villaseñor Anaya is an independent international consultant for cultural based development policies, with wide expertise into the 2003 (Intangible Heritage) and 2005 (Diversity of Cultural Expressions) UNESCO Conventions. Since July 2015, he has lived in Panamá City, Panamá.He is President of Cultural Interactivity and Development, a member the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), the Cultural Economy Network, ICOMOS México and of the Latin American Legal Group for the implementation of the Iberoamerican Cultural Charter (SEGIB-OEI). Since 2011 he has been part of the Expert Facility of the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (UNESCO 2005). He has worked as a counsellor in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Panama, Ecuador and Uruguay, into cultural policy design, social cohesion, culture and public security and cultural economy; in which he has also facilitated workshops, courses and conferences on the same topics.In October 2014, he was invited by UNESCO to the Third World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries (FOCUS), where he chaired the thematic panel: “The Power of Culture for Inclusive Societies”.



Shelagh Wright
co-founder of Openº

Shelagh Wright works with a diverse range of people and projects around the world on cultural and creative economy policy, sustainable social practice and new leadership. She is a passionate internationalist and frequently works with the British Council to support young creative makers and advises on culture and development issues. Amongst many things, she is a co-founder of Openº, a Director of ThreeJohnsandShelagh, an Associate of the think tank Demos and an Associate of the Culture+Conflict initiative and faculty of Salzburg Global Seminar. Her publications include: Creativity Money Love; Where does it Hurt?; After the Crunch; So.What Do You Do?; Making Good Work and Design for Learning. Shelagh has led programmes of work on policy and practice in the UK and internationally, was a contributor to the Creative Britain strategy and a member of the EU Expert Working Group on the Creative Industries. She is also on the boards of several UK arts and cultural organisations.



Karsten Xuereb (Malta)
Executive Director, Valletta 2018 Foundation

Dr Karsten Xuereb (1978, Malta) is Executive Director for the Valletta 2018 Foundation which is responsible for Valletta’s preparations as European Capital of Culture in 2018. He was previously responsible for culture at the Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU in Brussels. He holds a Doctorate in cultural relations in the Mediterranean from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona and a Masters degree in European Cultural Policy & Management from the University of Warwick where he studied as a Chevening Scholar. He is a fellow of the U40 Network “Cultural Diversity 2030” established by the German Commission for UNESCO, and a member of the Diplomatic Cultures Research Network.



Rana Yazaji (Syria)
Executive Director of Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy

Rana has worked as a researcher in cultural policies and contributed to developing a study to monitor cultural policies in Syria which was published in a book “Introduction to Cultural Policies in the Arab Region” in addition to a range of relevant research, most importantly “National Planning & Emerging Role of Civil Society Institutions in Syria” which was published in the yearbook of cultural policies issued by Istanbul Bilgi University, and other studies on cultural economics developed with Paris Dauphine University. Rana was the manager of several projects and programs in the cultural field in a number of institutions including: General Secretary of Damascus Arab Capital of Culture 2008, “Rawafed” the cultural project for the Syrian Trust for Development. By the end of 2011, she collaborated with several independent cultural activists in establishing Ettijahat-Independent Culture which deals with activating an authentic relationship between the independent cultural and artistic act on one hand, and the Syrian community with all its diversity and multiplicity. Rana Yazaji has been the Executive Director of Al Mawred Al Thaqafy since 2014.