Shahidul Alam (Bangladesh)

Gantuya Badamgarav (Mongolia) 

Karima Bennoune - tbc (Algeria/USA) 

François Bouda (Burkina Faso) 

Simon Brault O.C., O.Q (Canada) 

Danielle Cliche (France/Canada) 

Sandro Debono (Malta) 

Carla Delfos (Netherlands) 

Yvonne Donders (Netherlands) 

Jepchumba (South Africa)

Octavio Kulesz (Argentina) 

Goretti Kyomuhendo (Uganda) 

Elvira Marco (Spain) 

Kelli McCluskey (Australia) 

Robert Palmer (UK)

Nirit Roessler (Israel) 

Inés Sanguinetti (Argentina) 

Susanna Seidl-Fox (Austria) 

Isabelle Schwarz (France / Germany) 

Anupama Sekhar (India) 

Sana Tamzini (Tunisia)

Carlos Villaseñor (Mexico) 

Shelagh Wright (UK) 

Karsten Xuareb (Malta)

Rana Yazaji (Syria) 




Shahidul Alam  (Bangladesh)
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.







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). 

Simon Brault has received numerous distinctions for his commitment to the social recognition of arts and culture. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec, a Fellow of the CGA and CPA Order, and is a recipient of the 2009 Keith Kelly Award for Cultural Leadership. In 2015, he received the Quebec CPA Order’s prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award for bringing together “two worlds that were once disparate – the arts and business – an alliance that significantly benefits society at large.” 








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. 


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.  



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.


Elvira Marco (Spain)
Director General, Acción Cultural Española 

Elvira Marco joined AC/E as Director General in March 2012. She holds a law degree from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid and a degree in political and business science from the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid, and completed the directors’ programme (PDG) at the IESE Business School. She has vast experience in directing cultural and external projection programmes and is a regular contributor to publications and seminars.

From 2007 to 2012 she worked with the IESE Business School on the design of the Cultural Institution Management Programme, developed on the basis of research into the national and international cultural sector. Some of the initiatives in which she has taken part as an independent advisor are the Citizens’ Initiatives Pavilion at Expo Zaragoza 2008 and the Madrid Pavilion at Expo Shanghai 2010.

From 2000 to 2006 she was Secretary General of the Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior, having previously held the post of Director of Programmes at the Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoración de los Centenarios de Felipe II y Carlos V (1998–2000).


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.

Kelli is a passionate advocate for live art and experimental practice and its continued growth in this country and is always on the look out for ways to champion experimental art forms in Australia. She is currently on the board of NAVA [National Association for the Visual Arts], Australias’ peak lobby organisation advocating for the rights of artists and securing policy and legislative change.

Kelli has mentored a host of emerging practitioners through her work with pvi as well as through state and federal initiatives such as spark youth arts, splendid arts, situate arts in festivals and Australia's first one-on-one performance festival, proximity festival which she co-founded in 2011.

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. 

Find more information about Kelli and pvi at:



Robert Palmer (UK)
International consultant and cultural policy expert. Former Director of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage, Council of Europe. 

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 

Dancer, 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.


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

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 Ddevelopment, 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, Culture Department Asia-Europe Foundation

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 collaborations, support to networks, policy 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)
Curator the Ministry of Culture

Sana Tamzini is an artist, curator and academic with extensive expertise in international cultural cooperation and contemporary art. She is currently a curator for Tunisia's Ministry of Culture and the director of the plastic arts department. 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.


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”. 



Karsten Xuareb (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.