Gail Prensky — Creator, Executive Producer, and Director
As creator and director of The Jüdische Kulturbund Project, Gail brings to this project a deep and first-hand understanding of the Kulturbund’s spirit and recognizes that their issues of living under oppression continue with artists around the world today. Her interviews with the Kulturbund survivors and current-day artists form the basis of her passion and vision for this project, which is rooted in the Kulturbund’s strong regard for music and the performing arts. In 2001 Gail started researching and gathering material about the Kulturbund. Several years later she has brought together select talent, partners, and like-minded supporters to make this project possible and then interviewed artists living under oppression in various countries. Her hope and dream is that the project will serve as a beacon of inspiration to all people.
Gail has written, produced, and directed a broad range of media projects in film, multimedia, books, and exhibitions for clients such as the Banner Health’s Alzheimer’s Registry, the New America Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trust, Discovery Communications, National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution, Time-Life Books, and Glaxo-Wellcome. Through her Meteopa Productions, Gail produces independent projects focusing on advocacy, art, human rights, international, and music themes. She is on the advisory board of the Breaking Barriers Institute to develop films about those who made an impact on civil rights in the United States. Between 2013 and 2016, Gail served on the board of The Welders, the DC-based playwrights’ collective and winner of the Helen Hayes-John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company (2016).
Gail is a recipient of the Mandela Washington Fellowship American Impact Award; an Awardee of the Reciprocal Exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (2019 and 2022); and U.S. State Department Arts Envoy Program Awardee (2019). She is also honored to be an ongoing participant in the Mandela Washington Reciprocal Exchange Alumni Ambassadors Initiative.
Mark brings organizational, financial, and administrative expertise to our project team, as well as film production, and a multitude of other things. He is an international trade economist with over 25 years of experience advising companies, foreign governments, and trade associations on issues relating to international trade and economic and business trends. Among other things, Mark served as senior executive for a number of companies, including as President and CEO of the International Business and Economic Research Corporation (IBERC).
Mark is an Awardee of the Reciprocal Exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (2022).
On occasion, he sails the ocean, strums guitars, and ukuleles, and performs stand-up comedy.
Kaitlyn Haney — Director of Still Photography and Facilitator
Kaitlyn is passionate about creating community and fostering connection through art and education. She believes anyone can be an artist. She spent six years working with elementary and middle school students in extracurricular programming, where she combined her love of the arts with a background in mental health to encourage self-expression and creative exploration. She has practiced photography since childhood and worked as a freelance photographer in the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area throughout her adult life. Kaitlyn serves as an arts ambassador for The Pad Project which works to end period poverty and menstrual stigma.
Noa is an awardee of the Reciprocal Exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (2022).
Noa Zimmerman, Music Director and Facilitator
Noa Zimmerman’s career has reflected her belief in the responsibility of artists to push society forward by using their platforms to raise awareness about injustices, and inspire others to take action to create positive change. As a musician and filmmaker, she strives to present herself and her art as authentically as possible and create human to human connections. In May of 2021 she graduated with a double degree from University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, studying Popular Music Performance with an emphasis on Songwriting, and Music Production. Upon admittance to USC, Noa was awarded a full-tuition Stamps Scholarship for her leadership, academic achievement, and community engagement. In March 2020, Noa co-founded and became Executive Director of the Artivist Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to amplifying the voices of activist artists, and connecting them with local and global communities to advance social, racial, environmental, and economic justice.
Noa is an Awardee of the Reciprocal Exchange component of the Mandela
Washington Fellowship (2022).
Saum Idd, Film Producer and Facilitator
Saum Idd lives in Kenya where she is a journalist, writer and social innovator who believes stories have the power to change the world. For over six years, she has worked with brands and clients including the Danish Refugee Council, Sabis International School and KARI to translate their visions through communication, strategy and development; production management; and digital content development. Saum is passionate about using storytelling as a tool for advocacy, working with the youth in the low-resourced communities, including Kibera, Nandi County and high schools where she runs film club programs. She is an Ashoka 2020 fellow, a 2021 Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders as well as an alumnus of the Akili Dada Fellowship and its Young Changemakers Program. Saum also volunteers as a mentor for Reaching Out with Compassion in Kibera (ROCK).
Saum is an alumnus of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (2021).