Gail Prensky — Creator, Executive Producer, and Project 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.
For the last 25 years, 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 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.
Adam Shames — Education Director, KULTUR STORIES Adam is a creativity expert, organizational consultant, bridge-builder and former “Teacher of the Year” who has facilitated hundreds of groups to foster learning, connection and community. For seven years he was director of Poetry Pals, an interfaith non-profit program that brought Muslim, Jewish and Catholic students and their families together to learn about and from each other. As founder of the Kreativity Network, for more than 20 years he has designed and led leadership retreats, strategy sessions, creativity workshops and collaboration experiences for thousands of adults and youth. Adam is also a poet, musician, song leader and storyteller with a master’s degree in education from Stanford University.
Leif Persson — Program Director, Sweden
Leif Persson is a director, actor and regional coordinator of theatre at the national touring theatre Riksteatern in Sweden. Leif has a long experience of theatre and has been active in a large variety of Sweden’s independent theatres and institutions. Until the late 1990s he was the chairperson of the Center for Independent Theatres in Sweden.
In recent years he has been actively contributing to stage artists with other ethnicities, to make it possible for them to work in theatres in Sweden , and at the same time bring different experiences to Swedish audiences. SITARAHA and WHO LIT THE STARS, written and performed by Moniraha Hashemi, are such performances.
Dominic Dau Deng Mathiang (DD Dawoody) — Project Coordinator, South Sudan
DD is a singer, songwriter, activist, student and entrepreneur. He was born in Wau Western Bhar El Gazal, Sudan (now South Sudan). While growing up he was involved in church choir then began creating music, leading a music group in performances of African traditional music and dance. He incorporates these influences based on his personal experience rather than theoretically approaching the African music. He continues to perform with groups and as a solo artist; performance pieces are a major part of his life's work. He released his first hit in 2011 called SOUTH SUDAN IS MY HOME and also launched an album in 2012 called INTI WAHIT. In 2016, he released his third third album, I LOVE MY NATION.
Apart from working as a composer, performer, and solo musician, DD Dawoody is also a first member artist whose music videos trended on national TV (SSBC or SSTV) during independence of the Republic of South Sudan and contributed on live performance the same day.
DD Dawoody has been participating in Artist Initiatives for Peace and response to oppression, which includes AnaTaban Art Initiative, I AM PEACE, and The Jüdische Kulturbund Project.
DD Dawoody is currently member of The Jüdische Kulturbund Project's COVID-19: The Oppressor, an initiative that explores and collects artists’ response to Covid 19 from Africa, US, Asia and Europe.