Ali Mahdi Nouri
Winner of the 2010 Freedom to Create Main Prize, with his Al-Bugaa Theatre Troupe in Sudan, Ali Mahdi Nouri joins the judging panel for the 2011 Prize. Based out of Khartoum, Nuba Mountain and Darfur, the Al-Bugaa Theatre Troupe stages mobile performances in Sudan’s most dangerous conflict zones to bring their message of peace and reconciliation to everyone, including militia groups and refugees in camps.
Ali Mahdi sees his mission as speaking out for peace with his Theatre in Conflict Zones, in Sudan and all over the world through his work as Vice President of the Sudan Centre of the UNESCO organisation, the International Theatre Institute. He is also the Founder of the National Group of Puppet Theatre in Sudan and the Mahdi Art Centre in Khartoum. President of the Center for Theatre in Conflict Zones in Sudan, Ali Mahdi is a well known actor and director in his home country, appearing in plays performed across the globe since 1979. He has also been a jury member in numerous theatre festivals across the world, has published many articles on the theme of culture, theatre and conflict, and wrote the introduction to a UNICEF book on Children and Displacement.
Ali Mahdi is one of the most prominent spokespeople for children in Sudan and across the world, and has led many initiatives with UNESCO on child welfare. He organised the First Program for Supporting Former Child Soldiers in South Sudan serving more than 1000 former child soldiers and integrating them in their families and communities. He also established three Psychosocial clinics in Darfur to cure children and women and others affected by the Darfur war and also set up a centre to provide medical support and training for the women of Darfur. Ali Mahdi was part of the Sudanese delegation when the government signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, committing itself to banning the recruitment of children under the age of 18 in armed force.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul was born in Bangkok and grew up in Khon Kaen in north-eastern Thailand. He began making film and video shorts in 1994, and completed his first feature in 2000. He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998. Often non-linear, with a strong sense of dislocation, his works deal with memory, subtly addressed personal politics and social issues. Working independently of the Thai commercial film industry, he is active in promoting experimental and independent film-making through his company Kick the Machine, founded in 1999.
His art projects and feature films have won him widespread international recognition and numerous festival prizes, including two prizes from the Cannes Film Festival. In 2005 he was presented with one of Thailand's most prestigious awards for visual artists, Silpatorn, by the Thai Ministry of Culture. In 2008, he has become the first artist to receive the Fine Prize from the 55th Carnegie International, USA. Also in 2008, the French Minister of Culture and Communications bestowed on him the medal of Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature.
His film, Syndromes and a Century, completed in late 2006, was the first Thai film to be selected for competition at the Venice Film Festival. He has also completed a short film commission Vampire for Louis Vuitton premiered at the Espace Louis Vuitton in Paris. Apichatpong is also one of 20 international artists and filmmakers commissioned to create a short film for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 2009, the Austrian Film Museum published a major English language monograph on his work.
His latest project, Primitive, consists of a large-scale video installation, a short film, an artist's book, and a feature film, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. The film has won a Palme d'Or prize at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010, making it the first Southeast Asian film to win the film world's most prestigious award.
He is currently working on a project focusing on the Mekong River at the Thai-Laos border.
Achmat Dangor helped found Black Thoughts a writers' collective that sought to counter the suppression of 'radical' black culture by disseminating banned literature in Black townships. In 1973 he was banned under the country's security laws. This restricted his movements and in effect he was banned from writing. To earn a living he worked in a cosmetics factory, but wrote in secret and published under a pseudonym in alternative journals. When his banning order expired he was able to publish overtly again, mostly in collections of poetry and fiction. His first novel, Waiting for Leila was published in 1981. He has since continued to combine literature with work in social justice.
He was the founding Director of the Kagiso Trust, South Africa's first significant black–led community Foundation, and has since filled many crucial positions, including Head of the Rural Development Forum; CEO of the Independent Development Trust, Director of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund; Director of Advocacy at the UN AIDS agency; he is currently Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. He was a visiting professor of literature and creative writing at City College's Harlem campus in New York. He continues to write and has published fiction as well papers on development, race/ racism, poverty eradication and community.
Ana Tzarev is a Croatian born artist who has lived and travelled extensively around the globe. In a world rapidly merging into a monoculture with the advance of globalization Ana captures, records and celebrates the fascinating traditions and creativity of disappearing cultures.
Ana's life and work reflect the themes which celebrate creativity and beauty; championing culture and diversity; demonstrating compassion and challenging injustice; understanding our co-dependence and promoting community; tolerance; and respect.
She views her paintings as a postcard to future generations, able to tell stories of the richness and diversity of cultures and traditions which have shaped civilizations throughout the ages.
Ana feels strongly for people who are casualties of conflict and repression, having struggled herself through hardships in Croatia during the Second World War. In a series called Dispossessed, she depicts the plight of these people highlighting their anguish and hope for a better future. Ana is an eternal optimist who believes the human spirit can conquer oppression and claim the freedom to create that releases the joy of self expression residing in every soul.
Ana was recently featured in a solo exhibition at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum as part of the Hanoi Millennium celebrations. Upcoming museum exhibitions include the Russian State Museum in St. Petersburg among others. Her works are held in private and corporate collections in Asia, Europe and the U.S.A. She is represented by the Ana Tzarev Gallery in New York which showcases her paintings, sculpture and works on paper as well as presenting special exhibitions of other internationally acclaimed artists consistent with her longstanding commitment to cultural awareness and social consciousness.
Dalia Ziada is an Egyptian rights activist, blogger, published writer and poet who at the age of twenty five joined the American Islamic Congress as the founding director of its North Africa bureau in Cairo.
Dalia dedicates her life to promoting women's rights, freedom of expression, and nonviolent action in her homeland and across the Middle East. In November 2008, despite numerous security and logistical challenges, Ziada organised the first Cairo Human Rights Film Festival, the first film festival of kind in the history of the Middle East. On 11 September 2009, Ziada founded the Fearless Fighter for Faith Freedom campaign to promote religious freedom and tolerance.
Dalia has been fighting against Female Genital Mutilation and all forms of violence against women since she was a young girl. She has given several lectures on women's rights and freedom of expression at some major global events, including at the American University in Cairo, The American Embassy in Cairo, the ICDS Rawaq Center in Cairo, Harvard University, the CATO Institute in Washington DC and Morocco's Al-Akhawyn University.
Dalia has been profiled as a women's rights champion by Culture Connect Magazine, Time Magazine, CNN, PBS TV, BBC Radio, CBS Radio, Al-Arabiya TV, Al-Jazeera TV and Al-Ahram Newspaper. She was also invited to attend a speech given in 2009 by President Obama in Cairo, after which she was invited to a private meeting with White House Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett.
Dalia holds a BA degree in English Literature from Ain Shams University in Egypt and is currently studying for her Masters Degree in International Relations at the Fletcher School at Tufts University in the United States of America.
Daryl Hannah has been passionate and committed to practicing a low impact lifestyle for close to two decades. She has produced, hosted and shot numerous environmental awareness/ health TV appearances including pieces for CNN International and Good Morning America. Daryl has been a greening consultant for events such as the Virgin Music Festival, attended by over 150,000 people. Her many speaking engagements include keynote speeches at the UN Climate Change Summit, UN Global Business Conference on the environment, every year at the National Biodiesel Board Conference, Natural and Organic Products Expo, LOHAS and many other universities and events.
Daryl designed dhlovelife.com her website dedicated to sharing solutions on how to live more harmoniously with the planet and all other living things.
She is the founder of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, which is a certification program for sustainably produced, harvested and produced biofuels. She sits on the board of the Environmental Media Association (EMA), Eco America, the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and the Action Sports Environmental Coalition and has received numerous awards for her advocacy and activism.
Daryl is a documentary and narrative filmmaker. Her short, The Last Supper, won a prize at the Berlin Film Festival among others and she is editing a documentary at the moment on human trafficking. She has acted in over forty films since the age of 11.
D*Face is one of the most prolific contemporary urban artists of his generation. Working with a variety of mediums and techniques, his aim is to encourage the public not just to 'see', but to look at what surrounds them and their lives, reflecting our increasing fascination with celebrity, fame, consumerism and materialism.
Examples of his work include his 'collaboration' with H.R.H Queen Elizabeth II on a series of bank notes that were put into circulation for an unsuspecting public to notice in their change. He also painted the portrait of a newly installed Pope Benedict XVI, which was shown for the first time at the Outside Institute in May 2005, as well as on MTV Rome, to critical acclaim.
D*Face was one of fifty artists commissioned to create a 50th anniversary Penguin book cover and is the only urban artist to date to be featured on the front cover of the fine art publication Art Review. His sell out shows Death & Glory, EyeCons, aPOPcalypse now and most recently All your Dreams Belong to Us in New York firmly established D*Face's presence within the global contemporary art market. Whilst retaining his notoriety by putting his work into the public domain around the world, his work also regularly sells at Christies, Sotheby's and Bonhams auction houses.
D*Face recently created the artwork for Christina Aguilera's number one selling album 'Bionic' and in 2005 set up the gallery StolenSpace, which he curates to this day and continues to be London's foremost contemporary urban art gallery.
Photograph © Viktor Vauthier
Fatima Bhutto is a Pakistani-born poet, journalist and social activist.
Fatima graduated from Columbia University in 2004, majoring in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 2005 with a Masters in South Asian Government and Politics.
She is the author of three books: Whispers of the Desert, a volume of poetry, 8.50 a.m. 8 October 2005, a collection of first-hand accounts from survivors of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and her most recent book, Songs of Blood and Sword, a portrayal of her father, Murtaza Bhutto which spent two months topping best seller lists across Asia.
Fatima also wrote a weekly column for Jang - Pakistan's largest Urdu newspaper and its English sister publication The News – for two years. She covered the Israeli Invasion and war with Lebanon from Lebanon in the summer of 2006 and also reported from Iran in January 2007 and Cuba in April 2008. Fatima's work has appeared in the New Statesman, Daily Beast, Guardian, and The Caravan Magazine.
Photograph © Amean J
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Kwame Anthony Appiah grew up between England and Ghana, in a multi-national family that now includes cousins, nephews, nieces and in-laws on every continent. He studied medical sciences and philosophy as an undergraduate at Clare College, Cambridge. After a year back home in Ghana, he returned to Clare to take the PhD in philosophy. Since finishing his doctoral work, he has taught in the United States, while lecturing often at universities in Europe, Africa and the Americas. In 2002, he started teaching philosophy at Princeton University. His most recent books are Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, Experiments in Ethics and The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen.
When he is not on the road - traveling to discuss his ideas and keeping up with his widely-dispersed family - or busy with his teaching and research at Princeton, Professor Appiah likes to relax at his home in New Jersey, where he and his partner tend small flocks of sheep and ducks. He also works on a number of boards, including, since 2008, as President of the PEN American Center, a writer's organization devoted to advancing free expression and global literary fellowship. One day, he hopes to have the time to finish his fourth novel.
Salman Rushdie is the author of ten novels including Midnight's Children (which was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981). He is also the author of a book of stories, and three works of non-fiction – Imaginary Homelands, The Jaguar Smile, and Step Across This Line. He is the co-editor of Mirrorwork, an anthology of contemporary Indian writing.
A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Salman Rushdie has received, among other honours, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers' Guild Award, the James Tait Black Prize, the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature, Author of the Year Prizes in both Britain and Germany, and the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étrange.
He holds honorary doctorates and fellowships at six European and six American universities, is an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T, and Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University. He has received the Freedom of the City in Mexico City, Strasbourg and El Paso, and the Edgerton Prize of the American Civil Liberties Union. He holds the rank of Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters – France's highest artistic honour.
Between 2004 and 2006 he served as President of PEN American Center, and continues to work as President of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, which he helped to create. In June 2007 he received a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours. In 2008 he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named a Library Lion of the New York Public Library.
Professor Lourdes Arizpe
Professor Lourdes Arizpe is former Assistant Director General for Culture at UNESCO, and is presently professor and researcher at its Regional Center for Multidisciplinary Research with the National Autonomous University of Mexico. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, she directed the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares. While Secretary of the Mexican Science Academy, she was also director of the Institute of Anthropological Research at the National University of Mexico.
She is the author of twelve books, which include Antropología breve de México (1993) and The Cultural Dimensions of Global Change: An Anthropological Approach (1995) and the member of Editorial Boards of seven professional journals based in Mexico, Colombia, England, and USA. She has directed several books on culture, including the World Culture Report of UNESCO.
A founding member of the Mexican Academy of Human Rights, she also served as President of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, member of the Joint Latin American Committee of the Social Science Research Council and the Executive Committee of the Latin American Studies Association, member of the Advisory Committee of the U.N. Human Development Report and World Bank Project on Culture and Public Action. Her honors also include Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships, the medal for distinguished activities in the field of culture of the Ministry of Culture in Pakistan, and honorary membership of the Royal Anthropology Institute in England. Furthermore, she is a member of the Academic Faculty of the Global Economic Forum in Davos.
Mikhail Baryshnikov a native of Riga, Latvia, began studying ballet at age nine; as a teenager, he entered the school of the Kirov Ballet, graduating from student to principal dancer in 1969. In 1974, he left Russia to pursue a career with ballet and modern companies around the world, settling in NYC in 1979 as a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre and from 1979 to 1980, with New York City Ballet. In 1980 he returned to ABT as artistic director. From 1990 to 2002, Mr. Baryshnikov was director and dancer with the White Oak Dance Project, which he co-founded with choreographer Mark Morris.
Mr. Baryshnikov is currently devoting his time and energy to the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Among his awards are the Kennedy Center Honors, The National Medal of Honor, the Commonwealth Award, The Chubb Fellowship, and the Jerome Robbins Award. Most recently he was awarded the rank of Officer of the French Legion of Honor.
Mira Nair is an award winning film director and producer. Her debut feature film, Salaam Bombay! won the Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival and also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. She used the proceeds of the film to establish the Salaam Baalak Trust, an organization for street children in India. She has won a number of awards, including a National Film Award, and has been honoured at various international film festivals. She was also awarded the India Abroad Person of the Year in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, she was honoured with the Pride of India award at the 9th Bollywood Film Awards for her contributions to the film industry.
Ms Nair's latest project is Maisha, a film lab to help East Africans and South Asians learn to make films. Maisha is headquartered in Nair's adopted home of Kampala, Uganda.
Photograph © Brigitte Lacombe
Sarah Lewis, writer and curator, received her B.A. from Harvard University, an M.Phil from Oxford University, and is nearing completion on her doctoral dissertation in Yale University. Co-Curator of the acclaimed 2010 SITE Santa Fe Biennial, and having held curatorial positions at The Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern, she was selected as a member of President Obama's Arts Policy Committee and is on the boards of The Brearley School and The Warhol Foundation.
Her writing has been published widely and her most recent book RISE: The Power of Failure in Pursuit of Success, draws on her work in the visual arts and expanding into sports, business, psychology, sociology, and science to explore the importance of so called failure in human endeavor and creative pursuits.
Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources. In 1998, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim in 1999. He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. He was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for its strategy to become the creative hub of South East Asia.
For twelve years, he was Professor of Education at the University of Warwick in the UK and is now Professor Emeritus. He has received honorary degrees from the Open University and the Central School of Speech and Drama; Birmingham City University, Rhode Island School of Design, Ringling College of Art and Design and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. He has been honoured with the Athena Award of the Rhode Island School of Design for services to the arts and education; the Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for outstanding contributions to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and the United States.
In 2005 he was named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN's Principal Voices. In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts.