Abu Dhabi to Convene World Leaders from Government, Arts, Media and Tech
Abu Dhabi, UAE, April 9, 2017 — The organisers of CultureSummit 2017 Abu Dhabi, which begins today in the Capital, have announced the cultural diplomat award-winners to be honored at the April 9-13 gathering in the UAE (United Arab Emirates). CultureSummit 2017 Abu Dhabi is a global cultural leadership forum that is due to welcome over 300 participants from more than 80 countries worldwide.
The five-day event will bring together leaders from the worlds of government, arts and media, technology and policy to address the role culture can play in relation to some of the challenges of our time. The programme, which can be found here, features an extraordinary lineup from a diverse background of individuals with unique insights and stories to tell. These include HE Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, Chairwoman, Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi & twofour54; HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
The inaugural CultureSummit 2017 Cultural Diplomat Award Winners were selected on the basis of their contributions to the practice of cultural diplomacy--either as individuals or on behalf of their organisations. Each winner has both broadened and elevated the practice of using culture to promote international understanding, bridge differences and promote positive change worldwide. They include:
- Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, winner of the highest civilian award of the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition for her active support of the importance of cultural diplomacy throughout her career as a diplomat and in particular during her tenure as US Secretary of State
- El Sistema, creators of the El Sistema youth orchestra program (represented by Eduardo Méndez, Executive Director, Simon Bolivar Music Foundation)
- HE Dr. Anwar Bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, UAE
- HE Dr. Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and the Cultural Advisor at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs
- Sesame Workshop, producers of Sesame Street worldwide (represented by Sherrie Westin, executive vice president, Global Impact and Philanthropy)
- The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the legendary orchestra initiative (represented by Tabaré Perlas, CEO, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra)
The 2017 Artists-in-Residence were chosen by the CultureSummit organisers on the basis of lifelong achievement in the arts and established creative leadership in their fields. Each is an acknowledged master in their art form as well as being a thought-leader, advancing public understanding of the arts and the use of the arts as a tool to promote understanding and positive social change. They include:
- Tan Dun, Composer/Conductor, Academy Award winner (PRC)
- Idris Khan, Visual Artist, internationally acclaimed (UK)
- Liz Lerman, Choreographer, MacArthur Award winner (USA)
CultureSummit 2017 will also include featured participants, performances and installations by leading artists, and discussions and workshops from some of the most acclaimed thinkers and innovators in the arts, tech, the media, arts management, philanthropy, and public policy.
About the Cultural Diplomat Award Winners & Artists-In-Residence:
Dr. Madeleine Albright
Former US Secretary of State
Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group
Madeleine K. Albright is Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and Chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. Dr. Albright was the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. In 1997, she was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and was a member of the President’s Cabinet. She is a Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Dr. Albright chairs the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. She is also the president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. In 2012, she was chosen by President Obama to receive the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of her contributions to international peace and democracy.
El Sistema, creators of the El Sistema youth orchestra program
Represented by Eduardo Méndez, Executive Director, Simon Bolivar Music Foundation “El Sistema”
Born in Caracas, Venezuela on Dec. 6, 1978, the younger brother of two, Eduardo Mendez grew up in Merida with his parents, Laura and Gustavo. At the age of 5, he started playing the violin in a nucleo and continued to play in the Chacao’s nucleo in Caracas until he auditioned for the Simon Bolivar Orchestra. Mendez was accepted and played with the orchestra, traveling on several international tours in America and Europe, until 2003. He graduated from the law school at the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello in 2000 and graduated as a magister in public policies from IESA in 2007. Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, as executive director of El Sistema, named him in 2008 after 12 years of uninterrupted work alongside him. Mendez continues in his role as executive director today.
HE Dr. Anwar Bin Mohammed Gargash
Cabinet Member and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
HE Dr. Anwar Bin Mohammed Gargash was appointed in 2006 as Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs. In February 2008, HE Dr. Gargash was given the additional responsibility of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. In February 2016, he has been appointed as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Dr. Gargash holds a number of positions in addition to his Ministerial positions as he is the Chairman of the National Elections Committee, overseeing the UAE’s first elections which took place in 2006 and the subsequent elections in 2011 and 2015. He is also the Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Al Owais Cultural Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy and leads the UAE team for the Human Rights Periodic Review. Dr. Gargash received his Ph.D from King’s College.
HE Dr. Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh
Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Cultural Advisor at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs
HE Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh has been active in service of the government and as an interpreter for the president of the United Arab Emirates since 1968. He is the assistant minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation at the Foreign Ministry and the cultural advisor at the UAE Presidential Court. HE Dr. Nusseibeh is a board member of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority since 2012, contributing to the development of some of Abu Dhabi’s major cultural and art initiatives. He has served as a trustee of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and the International Prize for Arab Fiction. He is the chairman of the London School of Economics LSE Middle East Centre Advisory. He is also the president of the Alliance Francais Abu Dhabi.
Sesame Workshop, producers of Sesame Street worldwide
Represented by Sherrie Westin, executive vice president, Global Impact and Philanthropy
Sherrie Rollins Westin is executive vice president, Global Impact and Philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organisation behind Sesame Street. Westin oversees the workshop’s programs, addressing the needs of children from India to South Africa to the United States and providing early education through mass media and targeted initiatives. Westin’s career spans media, the private sector, nonprofit, and public service. She was assistant to the president for public liaison and intergovernmental affairs under President George H.W. Bush, assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and held senior positions at the ABC television network and U.S. News & World Report. Westin serves on the boards of UNICEF, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and Mount Holyoke College. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was named a 2016 Leading Global Thinker by Foreign Policy magazine. Westin holds an honorary doctorate from Concordia College and graduated from the University of Virginia.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the legendary orchestra initiative
Represented by Tabaré Perlas, CEO, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Tabaré Perlas has been chairman of the Daniel Barenboim Foundation since 2007.
He manages the international network of foundations created by Barenboim as well as the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which he has accompanied since its creation in 1999 in Weimar, Germany, by Barenboim and the late philosopher Edward Said. In addition to other Arab musicians who had interacted through the prism of war found themselves living, working, and making music together as equals. The utopian experiment in promoting common understanding quickly evolved into a legendary orchestra, which has given concerts every year in the most prestigious venues of the world.
The Barenboim-Said Academy and its Pierre Boulez concert hall, which Perlas helped create on these principles, opened, respectively, in December 2016 and March 2017 in Berlin.
Composer/Conductor, Academy Award winner
The world renowned artist Tan Dun, following in the footsteps of his musical icons composer/conductor’s Mahler and Bernstein, has made an indelible mark on the world’s music scene with a creative repertoire that spans the boundaries of classical music, multimedia performance, and Eastern and Western traditions. A winner of today’s most prestigious honors including the Grammy Award, Oscar/Academy Award, Grawemeyer Award for classical composition, Musical America’s Composer of The Year, Bach Prize of the City of Hamburg and Moscow’s Shostakovich Award, Tan Dun’s music has been played throughout the world by leading orchestras, opera houses, international festivals, and on the radio and television. As a composer/conductor, Tan Dun has led the world’s most esteemed orchestras. Orchestra, and has recently been named Honorary Chair of the Carnegie Hall China Advisory Council. As a global cultural leader, Tan Dun uses his creativity to raise awareness of environmental issues and to protect cultural diversity. In 2010, Tan Dun served as “Cultural Ambassador to the World” for World EXPO Shanghai and most recently, UNESCO appointed Tan Dun as its global Goodwill Ambassador.
Tan Dun records for Sony Classical, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Opus Arte and Naxos. His recordings have garnered many accolades, including a Grammy Award (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and nomination (The First Emperor; Marco Polo; Pipa Concerto), Japan’s Recording Academy Awards for Best Contemporary Music CD (Water Passion after St. Matthew) and the BBC’s Best Orchestral Album (Death and Fire).
Visual Artist, internationally acclaimed
Born in Birmingham in 1978, Idris Khan lives and works in London. Since completing his master's degree at the Royal College of Art in London in 2004, he has shown internationally multiple times, including his most recent solo show at the New Art Gallery Walsall, Birmingham (2017). Drawing inspiration from the history of art and music as well as key philosophical and theological texts, Khan investigates memory, creativity, and the layering of experience. Khan is known for his large-scale works — sculpture, painting, and photography — in which techniques of layering are used to arrive at what might be considered the essence of an image, and to create something entirely new through repetition and superimposition.
Khan’s latest major commission was unveiled in November 2016, in celebration of the UAE’s Martyrs’ Day, forming a permanent public monument that stands as the centrepiece of “Wahat Al Karama”, the Memorial Park in Abu Dhabi.
Choreographer, MacArthur Award winner
Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, and the recipient of honors including a 2002 MacArthur 'Genius Grant' and a 2017 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award. Key to her artistry is opening her process to various publics, resulting in research and outcomes that are participatory, urgent, and usable. She founded Dance Exchange in 1976 and led it until 2011. Her recent work Healing Wars toured the US. Liz teaches Critical Response Process, creative research, the intersection of art and science, and the building of narrative within dance at institutions such as Harvard, Yale School of Drama, and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her third book is Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer. As of 2016 she is an Institute Professor at Arizona State University.