Presenter Biographies




American Patchwork Quartet is composed of Grammy-winning guitarist/vocalist Clay Ross, 3x Grammy-winning drummer Clarence Penn, Grammy-nominated vocalist Falu Shah, and highly acclaimed bassist Yasushi Nakamura. Together, they showcase the dynamic diversity of contemporary culture by reimagining timeless songs from America’s past.

APQ draws on a repertoire of centuries-old American folk songs that highlight America’s immigrant roots. They showcase America’s dynamic present by combining the diverse talents of four U.S. citizens, each with a unique cultural background. In this group, old songs are made new through creative arrangements that highlight the exceptional and well-honed skills of each member. APQ performances strive to counter pervasive prejudices around the issues of race and immigration.

Chef José Andrés



Chef José Andrés is a chef, humanitarian, and bestselling author. His ThinkFoodGroup comprises 28 acclaimed restaurants in the US and abroad, while his non-profit World Central Kitchen uses food as a powerful agent of positive change around the globe. Mr Andrés has twice been on TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list, was named Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 2018 and has earned four Michelin stars. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Andrés and World Central Kitchen have partnered with thousands of local restaurants, farmers, and community leaders around the country to combat food insecurity and create smart food policy. A naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Spain, Andrés has been a tireless advocate for immigration reform.

Senator Michèle Taïna Audette



Senator Michèle Taïna Audette grew up immersed in both the Innu and Quebec cultures. She was born in Wabush, Labrador, and spent her early years in Schefferville, Mani-Utenam and Montreal. From the moment she was born, she experienced discrimination as both a woman and an Indigenous person, and has dedicated herself to pursuing equality, equity, justice and social justice. Senator Audette is committed to advancing First Peoples’ issues and to building bridges to create an inclusive and respectful society for all.

She studied visual arts at the University of Quebec in Montreal and art education at Concordia University before receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Montreal in 2018 for her political and social advocacy on behalf of Indigenous women. Her past roles include president of the Native Women’s Association of Quebec and the Native Women’s Association of Canada and as commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. In 2019, she joined Laval University as a senior advisor for reconciliation and Indigenous education. She is a newly appointed senator.

Axis Dance Company


Dance Company

AXIS Dance Company, founded in 1987, is one of the nation’s most acclaimed ensembles of disabled and non-disabled performers based in Oakland, CA. AXIS creates virtuosic productions that challenge perceptions and redefine dance and disability. In 1998, Judith Smith took over Artistic Direction, and visioning a repertory company quickly trajected AXIS into the dance world with a commission by Bill T. Jones. Under her direction until 2017, AXIS toured to over 100 cities in the USA, Israel, UK, Europe and Russia. In 2017, AXIS appointed acclaimed international choreographer and dancer Marc Brew to the position of Artistic Director. Succeeding Marc in the role is Nadia Adame; an award winning choreographer, writer and AXIS alum who will continue to expand the artistry of the company in 2021 and beyond. Alongside our artistic programming, the Company provides unparalleled integrated dance education and outreach programs that remove barriers and showcase the beauty of difference.

Cristóbal Bianchi


Assistant Professor, Universidad de Chile and Lecturer, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Cristóbal Bianchi is an artist, scholar and writer from Chile, whose research focuses on the intersection of public space, poetry and performance. Having earned his Ph.D. in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, Mr Bianchi is a founding member of Casagrande Art Collective, a leading group in the staging of interdisciplinary, local, and transnational collaborative art projects in urban and aerial spaces in Chile, Spain, Germany, Poland, Croatia, Italy, and England.

Mr Bianchi was a research scholar at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at NYU –2015 to 2017– and lectured in the College of Fine Arts, University of Texas at Austin. He was a fellow of the Pablo Neruda Foundation in 1996 and in 2016 received the literary creation grant from the National Book and Reading Council of Chile. Currently he is an assistant professor at the Department of Design, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, (FAU), Universidad de Chile.

Simon Brault


Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

In 2019, Simon Brault’s mandate as Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts was renewed for four years. He has been at the head of the Council since 2014.  Also in 2019, Simon Brault became the first Canadian to be elected Chair of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA).

Mr. Brault has been active in the cultural sector for over 30 years and has been a driving force behind a number of major projects.

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).

A much sought-after speaker, Mr. Brault delivers many speeches at national and international venues every year.

Simon Brault has received numerous distinctions for his commitment to the social recognition of the arts and culture.

Sandra Budrani


President, Belize National Institute of Culture and History

Ms. Sapna Budhrani is the President of the Belize National Institute of Culture and History, the national organization tasked with the protection, preservation, and sustainable development of culture in all its forms. Appointed as the President in 2018, she has overseen strategy, resource development, and administration of an organization of four diverse, dynamic institutes which includes the Institute of Creative Arts, Institute of Archaeology, Institute for Social and Cultural Research and the Museum of Belize and Houses of Culture. Ms. Budhrani has also represented Belize in national, regional, and international forums in relation to culture.

Ms. Budhrani holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of South Wales and a Bachelor of Science in Banking and Finance from The University of the West Indies.  She serves as the Co-Chair of the Belize National Celebrations Commission and the acting Secretary General of UNESCO in Belize.

Ms. Budhrani’s mix of experiences in culture, finance and education complements her ability and desire to collaborate with cultural stakeholders and external parties in guiding the development, promotion, and safeguarding of Belize’s diverse cultural and historical patrimony.

Tihui Campos


Director of Food Culture of the Secretary of Culture, Mexico

Dr Tihui Campos is a public official dedicated to the Food Culture of Mexico in the General Directorate of Popular, Indigenous and Urban Cultures of the Secretary of Culture of the Federal Government.

Dr Campos holds a PhD in Latin American Studies, is a popular ecofeminist and a Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, UNAM. She is an Advisor to rural organisations, a social activist and cooperativist. Her areas of research have focused on the analysis of food heritage, the problems of the coffee sector, territorial governance, food sovereignty and security, and ecofeminist movements.

F Javier Campos


Director of Thriving Cultures, Surdna

F. Javier Torres-Campos is currently Director of Thriving Cultures at Surdna overseeing a portfolio dedicated to investing in Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) to prototype racially just systems and structures with their communities and build a more just world. Mr Torres-Campos’s career has been committed to supporting power building and cultural leadership as an important lever (of many) for transformative change. Prior to Surdna, Torres-Campos was the Director of National Grantmaking at ArtPlace. In his role, he built a comprehensive set of demonstration projects that illustrate the many ways in which arts and culture strengthen the processes and outcomes of the planning and development field. Before his time at ArtPlace, Mr Torres-Campos was Senior Program Officer for Arts and Culture at the Boston Foundation and prior spent six years as the Director of Villa Victoria Center for the Arts. Mr Torres-Campos was a founding member of the Constellations Fund and currently serves as a funding and evaluation partner for the Mosaic Fund and Network at the New York Community Trust.

Michelle Chawla


Director General, Strategy, Public Affairs and Arts Engagement, Canada Council for the Arts

Michelle Chawla is the Director General of the Strategy, Public Affairs, and Arts Engagement Division at the Canada Council for the Arts. She oversees communications; international coordination and cultural diplomacy; partnerships and arts promotion, including the Art Bank and prizes; policy, strategic planning, content, and foresight; and research, measurement, and data analytics.

Ms Chawla has held many roles at the Council, including Head of Arts Services, Corporate Secretary, and Director of Strategic Initiatives. She was also the Secretary-General for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. Through these roles, she has gained extensive experience with arts and culture policy, equity, governance, government and stakeholder relations, and international engagement and cultural relations.

A person of mixed race (southeast Asian/Punjabi and French-Canadian/Québécois), Ms Chawla is a member of the Sikh community, and is passionate about working in an environment that represents Canada: a place where all voices are heard and respected through arts and culture.

Elvira Correa


Minister's Cabinet Advisor, Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage, Chile

Elvira Correa studied business administration at the Catholic University of Chile and then completed a master’s degree in arts and cultural management at Kings College, London. Since 2016, Ms Correa has been working at the Ministry of Arts, Cultures, and Heritage in Chile. First, she was the coordinator of the Executive Secretary of Creative Economy, where she developed the National Plan of Creative Economy and managed projects that promoted the internationalization of arts and culture. Currently, she works in the ministerial cabinet advising on topics related to cultural organizations, cultural policy, and heritage.



Multidisciplinary Artist

Aaluk Edwardson is an Iñupiaq/Norwegian/Sàmi multidisciplinary artist born within the first moments of calm after one of the largest recorded storms in Utqiagvik, Alaska. She grew up playing along shores of the Arctic Ocean that are now underwater; similar to the shores her grandparents lived by, which are buried under waves far from the narrow spit of sand we now call beach. Aaluk started singing with the birds that would perch themselves on the chimney of her childhood home before she learned to talk. She started performing as a young actress in community performances and was known for her singing voice. Aaluk focused on writing, using performance as a medium to heal, and environmental change in Earth’s cold regions in college. Today, Aaluk is a published poet, has seen her playwriting produced in New England and Alaska, directs community performances to support cultural wellness, teaches as a creative and cultural educator for the public and Alaska’s only tribal college, and produces creative collaborations in the Arctic with Ińuit and Indigenous artists.  She is a proud mother, wife, aunt, sister, daughter, granddaughter, niece and friend. Aaluk invites you to learn more about her work and the projects she is involved in at and

Suecy Callejas Estrada


Congresswoman, First Vice President, Legislative Assembly, El Salvador

Suecy Callejas Estrada is a lawyer, cultural manager and dancer. Committed to the development of legislation and public policies that guarantee democratic access to social welfare, health, the arts, education and culture for the population, from a multicultural and socially inclusive approach.

She was a founding dancer of the National Dance Company of El Salvador (2008 and 2014). She holds a degree in Legal Sciences from the Universidad Centroamericana with postgraduate degrees in Cultural Management and International Cooperation from the University of Barcelona and in Local Public Policies from the University of Castilla-La Mancha. She was Coordinator of Cultural Management in the Mayor’s Office of Nuevo Cuscatlán, and first Secretary of Culture of the Government of San Salvador.

In June 2019, she was appointed Minister of Culture of El Salvador, a position that allowed her to be nominated to the IFACCA Board (May to November 2020). In November 2020, she left her position as Minister to participate as a candidate for Congress for the department of San Salvador. In February 2021, she was elected Congresswoman for San Salvador, becoming the woman with the most support at the polls and the second female Deputy at the national level. Since taking office as Congresswoman in May 2021, Suecy Callejas was elected by the Legislative Plenary, as part of the Board of the Legislative Assembly, in the position of First Vice-President. Congresswoman Callejas is also President of the Commission of The Family, Childhood, Adolescence, Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities, and Member of the Treasury Commission and of the Political Commission.

Ana Carla Fonseca


Consultant and Lecturer in Creative Economy and Cities

Public administrator and economist, Dr Ana Carla Fonseca graduated Master cum laude in Management and wrote the first Brazilian thesis on creative cities for her PhD in Urbanism. She has led innovation projects for multinationals for 15 years in Latin America, London and Milan and is founder of the company Garimpo de Soluções. Dr Fonseca is a consultant and lecturer in 32 countries for the IDB and the UN (UNCTAD/UNDP/UNESCO). She has written innovative books on the cultural economy, creative economy and cities, and published several digital works, including Creative Economy as a Development Strategy (2008) and Creative City – Perspectives (2009). She is dedicated to the production of practical plans for the creative economy and brand-territories, to strategies of valorisation of small cities and to the evaluation of the multiple impacts of culture, among others. Guest lecturer in several countries and recipient of literary and business awards, she was recognized by El País Brazil as one of the eight Brazilian personalities that impress the world.

Rhiannon Giddens



Rhiannon Giddens is an acclaimed musician who uses her art to excavate the past and reveal bold truths about our present. A MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Ms Giddens co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, and has been nominated for six additional Grammys for her work as a soloist and collaborator. She was most recently nominated for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other (2019).

Rhiannon Giddens’s latest album, They’re Calling Me Home is a twelve-track album, recorded with Turrisi in Ireland during the recent lockdown; it speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical ‘call home’ of death, which has been a tragic reality for so many during the COVID-19 crisis.

Juan de Marcos González



Juan de Marcos González is a musician and bandleader best known for his work with the Grammy Award-winning Buena Vista Social Club and the Afro-Cuban All Stars. The music he produces combines a number of styles, including classic son montuno, contemporary timba, swinging big band guarjira, Afro-Cuban jazz danzon, and more. Born in Havana in 1954, Mr de Marcos co-founded the group Sierra Maestra in 1978, while at University.  The band achieved great success, recording fourteen albums in Cuba, touring Africa and Europe and receiving various awards. The Afro-Cuban All Stars were born in 1994, when de Marcos developed a big band recording in Havana, featuring the neglected stars of this ‘golden age’ of Cuban music. Mr de Marcos led the Afro-Cuban All Stars on their debut European and U.S. tours and directed the Buena Vista Social Club concerts in Amsterdam and New York’s Carnegie Hall. The tremendous impact of these albums internationally positively affected the music industry in Cuba by resurrecting the career of several ‘forgotten’ legends, leaving the world with an appetite for Cuban music.

Andrés Gribnicow


Executive Director of the Association of Friends of the National Museum of Fine Arts

Andrés Gribnicow is Executive Director of the Asociación Amigos del Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Argentina. He also carries out research as an external consultant for various international organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) and the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) on creative industries and development.

Mr Gribnicow was Secretary of Culture and Creativity (2017 – 2019) and Undersecretary of Creative Economy (2015-2017) at the Ministry of Culture of the Nation of Argentina, Secretary of Culture and Tourism of the Municipality of Vicente López (2014 – 2015) and Executive Director of the Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat Art Collection (2007 – 2009), among other positions.

He holds a degree in Art and Culture Management (Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero) and is currently a Professor at Universidad de San Andrés (UDESA) for the Master’s Degree in Culture Management.

Deb Haaland


Secretary of the Interior

Secretary Deb Haaland made history when she became the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. Throughout her career in public service, Secretary Haaland has broken barriers and opened the doors of opportunity for future generations. She was elected one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress and was the first Native American woman to lead a state political party in the country. She is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and a 35th generation New Mexican.

Mohammed Hashim


Executive Director, Canadian Race Relations Foundation

Mohammed Hashim is the Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and a founding advisor of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. He also sits on the Board of Trustees of the United Way of Greater Toronto.

Mr. Hashim has worked as a labour organizer and human rights advocate for over a decade, dedicating his career to supporting equity, inclusion, and empowering communities.

As a senior organizer with the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, Mr. Hashim advocated many anti-racism initiatives, as well as other issues. He is dedicated to developing public policy that addresses systemic discrimination, and has created opportunities for marginalized communities through fellowships and community benefits agreements.

Martin Inthamoussu


President and CEO, SODRE

Since 2013, Martin Inthamoussú has worked for SODRE in Uruguay, the oldest public cultural institution in the country dedicated to the development of audiences, the promotion of culture and art, artistic education, the development of traditions and the pursuit of artistic excellence. He is the current President and CEO and a professor at the Catholic University of Uruguay.

Mr Inthamoussú holds a BA in Theatre Studies from the University of Manchester, UK, an MA in Communication and an MBA (c) from the Catholic University of Uruguay. In addition, he has a postgraduate degree in arts education from the OEI, a Postgraduate Diploma in International Cultural Affairs from the University of Girona, Spain and studied Cultural Management, Performance Venues Administration and Cultural Marketing at the Miguel de Cervantes University, Spain.

Regularly invited to present at international symposia around the world, Mr Inthamoussú is a member of the Governance Committee of the International Society for the Performing Arts and a fellow of the Devos Institute for Arts Managers at the University of Maryland, USA.

Odile Joannette


Director of the Creating Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples Program, Canada Council for the Arts

Odile Joannette is the Director of the Creating Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples program at the Canada Council for the Arts. She is a member of the board of directors at Concordia University and Culture Montréal. She also chairs the Montréal Urban Aboriginal Community NETWORK, which she co-founded and has always been part of the team of representatives for an important cultural infrastructure project in Montréal, DestiNations: International Carrefour of Indigenous Arts and Cultures.

Before joining the Council, Odile was the Executive Director of Wapikoni, an internationally recognized Indigenous organization that travels to communities in Canada and abroad to offer support in media arts creations. She also worked for the Employment and Human Resources Commission for the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador and contributed to the Quebec Native Women movement.

Odile works to promote the rights and resurgence of Indigenous Peoples, to break the barriers of accessibility, and to increase Indigenous social and societal participation.

Tina Johnson


Founder, Pattern Change Lab and Principal, Johnson Strategy & Development Consultants

Tina Johson is the founder of Pattern Change Lab and the principal of Johnson Strategy & Development Consultants, specializing in U.S. and international Climate Change Policy, diplomacy, international climate change strategic development and advocacy. Ms Johson is the former director of the National Black Environmental Justice Network as its director. Equity and justice driving forces in her work and her approach in creating transformational changes that lead to systems change.




Bamuthi (Marc Bamuthi Joseph) is a 2017 TED Global Fellow, an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative, and an honoree of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. His work investigates cultural erasure through performances that range from opera to film. Bamuthi’s opera libretto, We Shall Not Be Moved, was named one of 2017’s Best Classical Music Performances by The New York Times. His evening length work created in collaboration with composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, The Just and The Blind, was commissioned by Carnegie Hall and premiered to a sold out house at Carnegie in March 2019. While engaging in a deeply fulfilling and successful artistic career, Bamuthi also proudly serves as Vice President and Artistic Director of Social Impact at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Emil Kang


Program Director for Arts and Culture, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Emil J. Kang is program director for Arts and Culture at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation where he leads the grantmaking program nurturing exceptional creative accomplishment, scholarship, and conservation practices while advancing a diverse and sustainable ecosystem for the arts. Previously, Mr. Kang served as executive and artistic director of Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, a multi-disciplinary performing arts program he founded in 2005. In 2016, Mr. Kang was also named special assistant to the chancellor for the arts and founded Arts Everywhere, a campus and community-wide initiative dedicated to integrating artistic practice, learning, and engagement in the lives of the entire community. Prior to UNC, Mr. Kang served as President and Executive Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He has served as a member of the National Council on the Arts since 2012, having been appointed by former President Barack Obama.

Andrea King


Director, Culture and Arts for Love and Living (CALL)

Andrea S. King is the Director of the Culture and Arts for Love and Living (CALL), a non-governmental organisation which aims to position Barbados’ cultural industries practitioners to contribute to the economy, develop the sector as a major economic platform, and empower creatives to have sustainable, successful businesses to combat generational poverty.

As a former consultant to the Government of Barbados’ Ministry of Culture, Ms King was instrumental in establishing the Barbados Film Commission and was the first Director of the Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority.

An award-winning journalist, Ms King specializes in cultural and creative industries development, cultural policy development, cultural and creative industries policies, cultural statistics, freedom of artistic expression and status of the Artist. As a creative, she is known for her practical ongoing work in fashion and music management, and was instrumental in founding several NGOs in music, fashion and audio-visual sectors in Barbados and the Caribbean.

Michela Marino Lerman


Tap Dance Artist, Performer, Choreographer, Educator and Bandleader

Michela Marino Lerman is an internationally acclaimed tap dance artist, performer, choreographer, educator, and bandleader. HuffPo calls her a “hurricane of rhythm” and the New York Times declares her a “prodigy” and describes her dancing as “flashes of brilliance.” She is a proud student of Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, Leroy Myers and Marion Coles.

Michela’s Love Movement, Lerman’s music project, is a hybrid of the highest levels of musicianship and hoofing. With original music, spirituals, jazz, traditional and electronic tap boards, Michela’s Love Movement reflects a journey through the seven levels of love we experience throughout life.

With a teaching career that was sparked by a master class she gave at age 15, Lerman has since taught in more than 15 countries, 30 tap and dance festivals, and numerous universities including Yale and Tulane. Sharing the rich history of tap dance through education is deeply rooted in all her work.

Lin-Manuel Miranda


Songwriter, Actor and Director

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning songwriter, actor and director. Creator and original star of Broadway’s Tony-winning Hamilton and In the Heights. Additional Broadway: Freestyle Love Supreme (Co-Founder, Guest Star), Bring It On: The Musical (co-composer/co-lyricist) and West Side Story (2009 revival, Spanish translations).

Mr. Miranda, and The Miranda Family, are active supporters of initiatives that increase people of color’s representation throughout the arts and government, assure access to women’s reproductive health, and promote resilience in Puerto Rico. TV/Film Credits include: Hamilton, His Dark Materials, Fosse/Verdon, Saturday Night Live, We The People, Sesame Street, Moana, Mary Poppins Returns, In the Heights and Vivo. Additional 2021 Film Releases: tick, tick… BOOM! (film directorial debut) and Disney’s Encanto. He lives with his family in New York.

Ángel Moreno


Manager, Honda Cultural Center, Banco de la República, Colombia

A cultural manager with 25 years of experience in the sector, Ángel Moreno has a postgraduate degree in political science from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, a diploma in Latin American Culture from the Universidad del Rosario and a diploma in Local Development from the Asia-Pacific University of Japan.

He has been an Advisor to the Culture Area of the International Organization, Convenio Andrés Bello.  From 2009 to 2016, he was Advisor to the Office of the Minister of Culture of Colombia in the orientation and implementation of the policy on entrepreneurship and cultural and creative industries. He was Director of Local Affairs and Participation of the Secretary of Culture, Recreation and Sport of the city of Bogota, guiding policies around cultural entrepreneurship, territorial management, differential approaches and citizen participation.

Mr Moreno served as Head of the Department of Culture and Manager of the Roberto Arias Pérez Theatre of the Caja de Compensación Familiar Colsubsidio. Since June 2018 he has been the Manager of the Cultural Center of Banco de la República in the city of Honda, Tolima.

Cary Morin



Cary Morin brings together the great musical traditions of America like no other and is described as “one of the best acoustic pickers on the scene today.” With deft fingerstyle guitar and vocals that alternately convey melodic elation and gritty world-weariness, Morin crafts an inimitable style often characterized as roots-infused Native Americana with hints of bluegrass, folk, blues, and rock. He has performed at renowned venues across the globe, including the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, and is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. David Bromberg describes him as “a unique and brilliant guitar player, songwriter and singer.” A tribute to the American South, Morin’s seventh solo release, Dockside Saints, merges Morin’s celebrated style of Native Americana with the spirit and sounds of Cajun, Creole and Zydeco music. The album was produced and engineered by multi-Grammy winner Tony Daigle at the renowned Dockside Studio. Listen at

Emellie O’Brien


Founder and CEO, Earth Angel

Emellie O’Brien is the Founder and CEO of Earth Angel. A pioneer of the sustainable filmmaking movement, she has worked with over 50 major motion pictures and television series to reduce their environmental impact as well as their budget since 2011. Recent clients include the Emmy and Golden Globe winning series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Spielberg’s Oscar nominated film The Post. Her sustainability leadership on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 contributed to it being acclaimed as “the most eco-friendly blockbuster in Sony Pictures’ history.”

Ms O’Brien holds a BFA in Film & Television from NYU, is a Climate Reality Corps Leader, an inaugural Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses alum, and 2018 Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 Rising Star. She also sits on the board of Young Entertainment Activists and the Production Initiatives Association.

Georgiana Pickett


Trustee, Merce Cunningham Trust

Georgiana Pickett has been a steadfast contributor to the arts for 27 years. After entering the field in her hometown of Buffalo, Ms Pickett moved to Miami to became the Artistic Director at Miami-Dade College’s Cultural Affairs Department. For six years, she led a presenting program focused on Latin America and The Caribbean. Believing in the arts’ ability to change community, Pickett became a contributor to many arts organizations and served on the Board of Directors of CEPA Gallery, Tigertail Productions and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

Since 2003, MS Pickett has called Brooklyn home and became the Executive Director of 651 ARTS, a presenter and producer of contemporary performing arts from the African Diaspora. After eight years at 651 ARTS, she was hired by Mikhail Baryshnikov as the Executive Director of the Baryshnikov Arts Center, which serves as a creative laboratory, meeting, and performance space for a vibrant community of artists from around the world.

Georgiana Pickett currently serves on the Arts Advisory Board of the Princess Grace Foundation and is a trustee at the Merce Cunningham Trust.

Angelique Power


President and CEO, Skillman Foundation

Angelique Power is president & CEO of the Detroit-based Skillman Foundation, a private foundation that puts its resources toward Detroit youth—their justice, their power, and their promise. With assets over USD $500 million, The Skillman Foundation provides approximately $18 million in grants annually.

Prior to The Skillman Foundation, Power was president of the Chicago-based Field Foundation. During her tenure, racial justice was centered, changing how and who the foundation funds, creating community accountability structures, rethinking metrics, and updating its investment policy. Under her leadership, the foundation doubled the size of its giving and programming.

Power co-founded Enrich Chicago, dedicated to anti-racism organizing, and helped to found Just Action, focused on helping institutions activate their 2020 racial equity statements. She also led a systems change effort to help solve for racial disparities found in the pandemic. Power is the board chair of 6018North and a board member of the Julian Grace Foundation.

Ernesto Ottone Ramirez


Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO

Mr Ernesto Ottone R. is the Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO. Prior to this position, Mr Ottone R. served as Chile’s first Minister of Cultures, Arts and Heritage from 2015 to 2018. As Minister of Culture, he created a Department of First Peoples, a Migrants Unit and strengthened copyright laws and heritage protections. During this time, he also chaired the Regional Centre for the Promotion of Books in Latin America and the Caribbean (2016 – 2017).

From 2011 to 2015, Mr Ottone R. served as Director-General of the Artistic and Cultural Extension Center of the University of Chile, which manages the National Symphony Orchestra of Chile, the Chilean National Ballet (BANCH), the Chile Symphony Choir and the Vocal Camerata. From 2001 to 2010, he held the position of Executive Director at the Matucana 100 Cultural Center in Santiago.

Mr Ottone R. holds a Master’s degree in Management of Cultural Institutions and Policies from the University of Paris IX Dauphine (1998) and a Bachelor of Arts in theatre from the University of Chile (1995).

Alice Sheppard

Photo by Beverlie Lord



Alice Sheppard is a USA Artist, Creative Capital grantee and Bessie Award winner, Alice Sheppard creates movement that challenges conventional understandings of disabled and dancing bodies. Engaging with disability arts, culture and history, Alice’s commissioned work attends to the complex intersections of disability, gender, and race. Alice was a 2018 AXIS Dance Company Choreo-Lab Participant made possible with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and such journals as Catalyst and Movement Research and Performance Journal.

Alice is the founder and artistic lead for Kinetic Light, a project based ensemble, working at the intersections of disability, dance, design, identity, and technology. Kinetic Light engages intersectional disability aesthetics as a creative force and access as an aesthetic critical to the creative process to create transformative art and advance the intersectional disability arts movement.

*** IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Alice Sheppard, a multi-racial Black woman with coffee-coloured skin, blonde, copper, and red striped curly hair gazes towards the camera. She wears a black shirt; her face rests in the palm of her face, her elbow sits on her thigh, and a gold necklace gleams at her neck.

Step Afrika


Dance Company

Step Afrika!, founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams, is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping . Under Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s cultural exports, touring more than 50 countries across the globe. Step Afrika! ranks as one of the top ten African-American dance companies in the United States. Step Afrika! blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities; traditional West and Southern African dances; and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling artistic experience. Performances are much more than dance shows; they integrate songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation.

Step Afrika! performed at the White House for President Barack Obama and the Company is featured prominently at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History & Culture with the world’s first stepping interactive.  Step Afrika! introduced stepping to Broadway with two critically-acclaimed productions in 2017 and 2019 and in 2021, the Company helped launch the World Expo in Dubai. To learn more, visit

Jesse Wente


Anishinaabe Writer, Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office, and Chair of Canada Council for the Arts

Jesse Wente is an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster, speaker and arts leader. Born and raised in Toronto, his family hails from Chicago and the Serpent River First Nation. Mr Wente is best known for his 24 years as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, and he spent 11 years with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)—the last seven as the director of film programmes at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

An outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and First Nations, Métis and Inuit art, he has spoken at the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Canadian Arts Summit and numerous universities and colleges. In 2017, Mr Wente was named the inaugural recipient of the Reelworld Film Festival’s Reel Activist Award. He was named the first Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office in February 2018 and received the Association of Ontario Health Centres Media Award for 2018. In 2017, Mr Wente was appointed to the Board of the Canada Council for the Arts and became its Chair in July 2020.

Marco Werman


Executive Editor, The World

Marco Werman is the host and Executive Editor of the The World from WGBH and PRX. Mr Werman leads a team of producers, reporters and contributors who, every weekday, explain the unsettling events and diverse people of the planet for an audience hungry for perspectives from outside the US.

Werman was part of the team that created The World, and since then has won an Emmy award in 2006 for his Frontline documentary about political changes in Libya. He has reported around the globe, and spent years covering West Africa for the BBC and other news organizations. He also plays jazz and blues violin, and is currently writing a novel based on the life of his grandfather.

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