Board Members

 

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 Haney — Producer and Associate Project Director
Mark brings organizational, financial, and administrative expertise to our project’s team, as well as film production.  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).

In the course of his work and life, Mark developed a strong interest in global issues focused on human economic rights, art, and music. Among other endeavors, he created a vision for, and served as the executive director of the Cheick Hamala Foundation, which is dedicated to building an institute for performing arts in Mali and strengthening cultural ties between Mali and the Western world through education, interaction, and art. Mark is an Awardee of the Reciprocal Exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (2022).

 

K-12 STUDENT AMBASSADORS

Phoebe B.
Wilson High School
Washington, DC

Beatrice B.
Stoddert Elementary
Washington, DC

 

PRODUCTIONS

 

James Egan — Producer, ARTIVISTS
Prof. James Egan founded the Immersive Technology and New Media Lab at the Academy Art University where he did extensive research on this exponentially expanding new medium that is changing entertainment, gaming, medicine, education, and museum exhibitions to name just a few of the fields that will be completely disrupted.As Executive Director he produced VR content with Advanced VR makers starting with VR Ideation, to Immersive Visualization, production and post production. As a New Me- dia consultant, Prof. Egan has extensive relationships with VR/AR professionals and experts in this emerging industry as new technological breakthroughs are occurring daily in hardware and software that are redefining the production and post production workflow. He has also produced and sponsored three VR/AR Summits with industry professionals that have helped explore many of the creative challenges that this new medium has presented. Working with the International Documentary Association, he sponsored the first VR conference in LA focused on VR documentary filmmaking. Prof. Egan was chosen as one of the first International Judges for the first global VR Art Competition sponsored by Red Bull where 45 artists were chosen from around the world to compete using Google Quill. As CEO of Wild of Heart Films he has produced award winning documentaries and films that have focused on social issues. He is the producer of the critically acclaimed documentary RAISE HELL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS (2019).

Kaitlyn Haney — Director of Still Photography, KENYA GIRLS SHARE DIGITAL STORIES and Education Facilitator, KULTUR STORIES
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. She is an awardee of the Reciprocal Exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (2022).

Dominic Dau Deng Mathiang (DD Dawoody) — Project Coordinator in South Sudan for BULLETS TO BOOKS and Education Facilitator, KULTUR STORIES
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.

Learn more about DD on You Tube and Facebook.

Stephanie Mercedes — Artist, BULLETS TO BOOKS
Mercedes is a DC-based artist who melts down weapons to cast musical installations, instruments and public works of art. She also excavates invisible missing histories. Her work fluctuates between sculpture, installation art and large scale performances. Mercedes has been funded by George Soros, Light Works, NALAC, The Foundation for Contemporary Art, DC Commission for the Arts and WPA. She has exhibited and performed at the Bronx Museum, the Queens Museum, the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center. She has been a fellow at Halcyon Art Labs, VisArts, Montgomery College and Christopher University.  In August 2020, Mercedes started a 3-year fellowship at University of Maryland, College of Arts & Humanities in College Park, MD.

Examples of Mercedes's art are presented on www.stephaniemercedes.com.

Jared Mezzochhi — Multimedia Playwright, Projection Designer, and Director, HANNAH'S DANCE
Jared is a multimedia playwright, director, and designer for theater. Jared is one of five American Theatre Wing’s 2017 Henry Hewes Design Awards recipients for his work on VIETGONE, produced at Manhattan Theatre Club in NYC.  Jared was also awarded an Obie Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Project Design, also for his work on VIETGONE.  During the summer of 2017, Jared was granted the prestigious Macdowell Colony residency fellowship for a 4-week residency to work on his multimedia script for The Jüdische Kulturbund Project.  He has received a Princess Grace Award in 2013 for his multimedia work at the HERE Arts Center’s YOU ARE DEAD. YOU ARE HERE. His multimedia script POPPA GOD BLESS was workshopped in the Process Series at UNC Chapel Hill. It is premiering at 3-Legged Dog in NYC in 2015. For the last nine summers he has directed original work at Andy’s Summer Playhouse, an innovative children’s theater in Wilton, NH, creating original work with award winning artists from across the United Stated, performed by children ages 8-18 and intended for audiences of all ages. In 2011, Jared won Best Original Playwright at the New Hampshire Theater Awards his adaptation of THE LOST WORLD. It was produced in February 2015 University of Maryland’s Clarice Center for the Future of the Arts. In 2015, Jared became the Producing Artistic Director and continues to be every summer.

Jared has designed productions in New York City with 3-Legged Dog DOWN LOOP, SPYGARBO), Baryshnikov Arts Center (Robert Wilson’s ON THE BEACH), HERE Arts Center’s (YOU ARE DEAD. YOU ARE HERE., TRADE PRACTICES), Builders Association (JET LAG 2011), Rob Roth (SCREEN TEST) and has toured nationally and internationally with Big Art Group (SOS, SLEEP, THE PEOPLE). He has designed for Center Stage in Baltimore (STONES IN HIS POCKETS), Cleveland Playhouse (BREATH AND IMAGINATION), Milwaukee Rep (HISTORY OF INVULNERABILITY, THE MOUNTAINTOP), The Wilma Theater (BODY OF AN AMERICAN) and CompanyONE (ASTROBOY and THE GOD OF COMICS). In DC, he’s designed for Woolly Mammoth (TOTALITARIANS, ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY), Synetic Theater (A TRIP TO THE MOON), Theater J (INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL’S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES, YELLOWFACE), and Studio (ASTROBYOY AND GOD OF COMICS).

Currently, Jared is building a Projection Design MFA and BA program within the University of Maryland’s Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies Program in College Park, MD.

Mawa Moses — Architect, BULLETS TO BOOKS
Architect Mawa Moses was born on October 10, 1987 in Yei, what was then southern Sudan. He grew up in Uganda where his family took refuge at the peak of the political insurgency of the early 90’s. For 14 years, Moses lived in the Ugandan refugee camps for over 14 years where he only saw grass thatched houses and architecture of the time, which was seen as evidence of poverty and temporarily. He dreamed of becoming a doctor, influenced by his late dad who was a medical assistant. He also dreamed of becoming an engineer as he used to draw things about houses, trees, and people, especially soldiers. His friends and he also built sand houses and houses using bricks made by old match boxes, molded furniture, and radios from termite mount clay. Moses thinks that was the foundation for his interest in architecture. He never knew anything in regard to architectural design until he started applying to university.

Moses completed high school in Uganda and returned to his South Sudan in 2008 where he attended the University of Juba, graduating with a bachelors with honors degree in architecture. After graduating, he attended a two-years design fellowship program at the African Design Centre in Kigali, Rwanda. The fellowship program trains young graduates to understand design-related issues within the continent and beyond. While studying design and living in a war torn country, Moses is challenged to think of an equitable and inclusive approach for designs in health, education, and housing while incorporating creativity/fabrication. His focus is on environment responsive and impactful research-driven design. He practices both social and commercial architecture that is purely made locally by locals but inspiring globally. While currently working with the Urban South Group Ltd., Moses teaches at the University of Juba in the department of architecture. As a teacher, he aims to achieve balance between the existing curriculum needs and transformation of societies.

Evelyn Summer — Educator and Daughter of Hannah Kroner, HANNAH'S DANCE
Evelyn Summer is the daughter of Hannah Kroner Segal.  As a graduate student of the Hannah Kroner School of Dance that her mother founded in 1947, she saw the expansion of this school from a basement in Astoria, Queens, through the years to its present home 72 years later in Albertson, Long Island.

She listened to the stories her mother told about her experiences growing up in Germany during the Holocaust, her career in America as a dancer, and saw how as a dance teacher, she impacted thousands.  When Hannah passed away at the age of 95, Evelyn decided to tell those stories.  She collected many of them for a book she published, “No Matter What, we Keep Dancing:  Hannah Kroner’s Legacy.”

Through the education she received from her mother, Evelyn began her own career as a dance teacher in this growing school during the 1960s; created new programs for children with special needs, gave students opportunities to assist and become teachers themselves, began the first classes for pregnant women, taught ballroom, and exercise classes for adults from 20 to 90 years.

In addition to her work in the dancing school, she taught children in public elementary schools on Long Island for over 25 years, conducted workshops at Teachers College at Columbia University, and created language arts curriculums in several school districts as a staff developer.

Evelyn graduated from New York University and earned her Master of Arts from Hofstra University.

Graham Townsley — Screenwriter, SINGER
Over the last 15 years, Graham has established himself in Washington DC as one of the country’s foremost makers of high-end documentaries. His films have been shown on PBS, National Geographic TV, the BBC, Channel 4, ARTE and the Discovery Channel. He has also written screenplays for a number of historical dramas. He is twice Emmy-nominated.

In 2016, his multiple award-winning feature documentary, LANDFILL HARMONIC, about kids from a slum in Paraguay who made an orchestra out of trash, was released in theaters across the USA. Also in 2016, his PBS film about famed biologist E.O Wilson, “Of Ants and Men”, garnered awards and critical acclaim at festivals across the country.

His 2015 film for National Geographic and NOVA PBS, DAWN OF HUMANITY, about the discovery of new fossil human ancestors in South Africa, was named by the New York Times as one of the ten best documentaries of 2015 and nominated for an Emmy award.

With a Ph.D in Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, Graham started his career working on ethnographic films for the BBC. Films like THE SHAMAN AND HIS APPRENTICE based on his own fieldwork with a tribe of the Peruvian Amazon and FROM THE HEART OF THE WORLD, about the Kogi Indians of the Sierra Nevada, Colombia, established him in the documentary world. He went on to make films both about other living indigenous peoples and ancient cultures such as the Inca, Maya, Aztecs, and ancient Rome.

In the early 2000’s he was series producer of THE GLORY THAT WAS ROME for the Discovery Channel and “Treasure Seekers”, a 13-part series about explorers of the ancient world, for National Geographic.

Graham has produced, written, and directed films such as BECOMING HUMAN, a 3-part series on human evolution for NOVA PBS, DAWN OF THE MAYA for National Geographic TV, THE GREAT INCA REBELLION, KING SOLOMON'S MINES, MAGIC MOUNTAIN, MAYA APOCALYPSE, and many more.  In 2008, he established his own company, SHINING RED PRODUCTIONS.

Graham speaks four languages and has made a number of Spanish-language films.  He is currently developing a number of drama series: one about the Easter Uprising in Ireland and another about the Mexican Revolution.

Harry Winer — Executive Producer, SINGER
Harry is a director, producer,and writer with over 30 years of experience in film and television. He directed the motion pictures SPACECAMP, RIOT and DAMAGED CARE. In addition he has directed, produced, and/or written over 25 films, miniseries and television pilots and created over 60 hours of series television. He has worked with some of the leading talents in motion picture industry such as Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Joaquin Phoenix, Jamie Lee Curtis, Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Williams, Jim Carrey, and Laura Dern.

One of Harry’s goals as a producer is to help groom emerging talent. In 2013 he signed on to head the Masters of Fine Arts Directing Program at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where he mentored directing candidates for the MFA program in motion pictures and television. He designed a directing program for their online Motion Picture and Television department that became the template for their onsite curriculum.

In addition, Harry created a scholarship fund to honor his parents at his alma mater, the University of Michigan Screen Arts and Culture Department, to provide opportunities for aspiring filmmakers.

In the Fall of 2015 Harry came to New York University as an Arts Professor in the Undergraduate Film and Television Department where he intended to continue his goal of paying it forward —sharing his experience with the next generation of storytellers and filmmakers.

Harry is President of SMASH MEDIA, INC., which produces motion pictures and films for television. In 2013 Harry’s company produced the international co-production THE EXPATRIATE (aka ERASED), starring Aaron Eckhart and Olga Kurylenko. In 2015 Harry produced through Smash Media the television film, PERFECT MATCH for Hallmark. In 2017 Winer is producing the motion picture THE DOORMAN to be directed by renowned Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura as well as a movie for television based on the novel A BRAMBLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS. In addition to several theatrical and television films in development, Harry is directing and producing THE RECKONING — a feature length documentary on climate change and climate justice.

Harry’s work has garnered Emmy Awards, Golden Globes and a Christopher Award.  His films have premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and Shanghai International Film Festival. He is affiliated with DGA and WGA, was a national delegate to DGA conventions and served on the DGA Creative Rights committee. He is on the Executive Board of the Student Voice Project, the Liberty Hill Foundation, Justice Action Mobilization Network, and NOJO (New Orleans Jazz Orchestra).

Harry received his MFA at the University of Southern California School of Cinema and an AFI Director’s Internship Scholarship. He is married to Shelley Hack. Their daughter, Devon Rose Winer, is a recent graduate of Columbia University in the field of sustainable development. She works for the Clinton Global Initiative.

Noa Zimmerman — Co-Director, ARTIVISTS; Music Director, KENYA GIRLS SHARE DIGITAL STORIES; and Education Facilitator, KULTUR STORIES
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).

Asya Zlatina — Dancer and Choreographer, HANNAH'S DANCE
Asya Zlatina was born in Moscow and grew up in the DC/Baltimore area. She trained in ballet and jazz at the Kirov Academy, Dance Explosion and the Washington Ballet School. She received her BA in dance and psychology from Goucher College, where she also trained in modern dance. She joined Philadelphia's Koresh Dance Company in 2008, extensively touring, per

forming, teaching and running outreach. She received her MS in Non-Profits Administration from Drexel University in 2013 and works as a Logistics/Program Coordinator for a local non-profit. Additionally, she served as dance adjunct at Stockton University, and produces her own dance shows. Her 2016 Fringe Festival Show, "BARRY: Mamaloshen in Dance!", recently won BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE from the World Heritage Cultural Center, and has toured to the Kennedy Center's Millennium, Battery Park Dance Festival, Booking Dance at Jazz at Lincoln Center and European Festivals.

 

EDUCATION AND MUSIC PROGRAMS 

Johan Fält — Education Facilitator, KULTUR STORIES
Johan Fält is a director, actor, playwright and musician living in Karlstad, Sweden.

He has studied drama, film, art and art history in Malmö and Karlstad and has a Bachelor of Art in cultural studies from the University of Karlstad.

Through the years Johan has appeared in plays varying from Shakespeare to Ionesco and Pinter as well as directing in several different genres from childrens plays to drama and musicals. He has also composed original music for theatre and film.

Johan is a part of the Kunskapsteatern, a theatre company with an aim to illustrate facts and knowledge through drama and entertainment.

For the past 15 years he has also worked as a drama teacher at the communal school of art in Karlstad, Sweden.

Cindy Oxberry — Music Education Coordinator; Intern Manager and Education Facilitator, KULTUR STORIES
Cindy went to Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and began her post as a resident assistant director for Marta Domingo and her production of LA RONDINE and for David Edwards’ production of FEDORA starring Mirella Freni and Placido Domingo. For 20 years she has returned to work on such productions as DON CARLO, MAGIC FLUTE, RIGOLETTO, IL TROVATORE, IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, TURANDOT, THE TALES OF HOFFMANN, UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, HANSEL & GRETEL, PIQUE DAME (starring Placido Domingo), LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, VANESSA, MANON LESCAUT, AIDA, NORMA, SAMSON & DELILAH, L’ITALIANA D’ALGERI, LA CENERENTOLA, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, MADAMA BUTTERFLY, JENUFA, LA BOHEME, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, PEARL FISHERS, PETER GRIMES, DON PASQUALE and LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. She has also worked for Los Angeles Opera as an assistant director on LA RONDINE, LA TRAVIATA, THE TALES OF HOFFMANN, LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR and LUISA FERNANDA, starring Placido Domingo.

In the summer of 2000, Cindy was invited to serve as the stage director for OPERA INSTITUTE where she still is only now as the Program Director in addition to her classroom teaching. She has also served as the stage director for CAMP FOR KIDS – both programs offered by the Education Department of Washington National Opera.

Cindy’s directorial career has also flourished. She has directed several productions of THE MERRY WIDOW, around the country. Her MIKADO has been remounted in several American cities as well as several wonderful musicals, THE MUSIC MAN, CAROUSEL, CAMELOT and CANDIDE. She is honored to also be a director as major universities and colleges in the US as well. She has recently begun working in the genre of cabaret and loves it!

She was most proud to be invited by Mr. Domingo to Mexico City to celebrate his 40th anniversary as an international artist. She had the honor of working with Mr. Domingo on the production of FEDORA for the International Opera Company of Mexico at the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Cindy is an Awardee of the Reciprocal Exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (2019) and U.S. State Department Arts Envoy Program Awardee (2019).

Wyatt Oroke — Education Facilitator, KULTUR STORIES
Wyatt Oroke is a nationally recognized educator for his work around social justice and literacy. Mr. Oroke graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Johns Hopkins University School of Education in 2015 with a Master of Science in Education. Mr. Oroke currently teaches 7th and 8th grade English and Honors English at City Springs Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City. For his school Mr. Oroke serves as the middle school team leader, coaches girls’ volleyball and boys’ basketball, and has a host of other leadership positions including a professional development facilitator in race and equity, scholar academic growth, and culturally responsive curriculum. For the district Mr. Oroke serves on the CEO’s Teacher Advisory Council, works as a writing instruction expert for the Literacy Improvement Fellowship, serves as a curriculum writer for the Wholeness Writers Fellowship, and is a professional development facilitator in Courageous Conversations around race and identity. Mr. Oroke has received recognition for his teaching including awards from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Baltimore School of Law, the Maryland State Senate, the Baltimore Orioles, and was awarded the “Superhero Award” by Ellen DeGeneres, where he appeared twice on her show. Mr. Oroke was named the 2020 Baltimore City Teacher of the Year and the 2021 Maryland Teacher of the Year.

Patrick O'Donnell — Education and Music Collaborator
Patrick earned his BA from Yale University, his MM in Piano Performance from the University of Maryland, and his DMA in Chamber Music and Vocal Accompaniment with Martin Katz and Eckart Sellheim at the University of Michigan. Concert appearances in the Washington, DC area include the White House, the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater and Millennium Stage, the Library of Congress, and the Embassies of France, Italy, Monaco, Columbia, and Brazil. As a lecturer on art song, he helped design and teach a course entitled, Arts Songs, a Guided Tour — Lecture and Live Performances sponsored by the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences at the National Institutes of Health. For opera, he has presented pre-concert lectures for the Washington Concert Opera, and has given presentations on opera, music theater, and cabaret for the Smithsonian's Resident Artist Program. He enjoys collaborating on fund-raising concerts for the Washington Concert opera, a highlight of which was a performance in March 2011 with acclaimed mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade. Patrick has appeared as a master coach and featured guest artist at the Fairbanks (Alaska) Summer Arts Festival, and serves as head vocal coach of the Washington National Opera's Institute for Young Singers, where he also teaches opera history. He is currently on the faculties of both Levine Music and the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, and also teaches at George Washington University, where he has served as music director for the university's productions of ANYONE CAN WHISTLE, HAIR, SWEEENEY TODD, URINETOWN, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, and THE CRADLE WILL ROCK where he appeared on-stage in the role of the composer, Marc Blitzstein.

Jok Abraham Thon — Education Collaborator
Jok is the founder and director of Promised Land Secondary School and the Youth for Peace Through Education initiative. He is also the deputy chairman of Jonglei Youth Peace League, a group that works on reconciliation and youth empowerment. His school educates 673 students who are internally displaced within South Sudan. The school has received recognition from the government. His Youth for Peace Through Education initiative currently provides support for 67 girls who were victims of early marriage and 83 orphans. In addition, he promotes peace and education through radio and television shows and articles in newspapers. Jok was educated in Uganda when he was a refugee but returned to South Sudan for higher education. He studied Social and Economic Studies at the University of Juba and holds a diploma from the N2N Christian University of the USA in Juba. Jok is committed to changing the mindset of youth, encouraging them to become self-reliant and productive citizens who will contribute to national building, not tribal conflict.  The Jüdische Kulturbund Project's BULLETS TO BOOKS initiative is based on and inspired by Jok's life and mission for "changing minds from bullets to books."

 

CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE

Ibero and South America

Daniel E. Arias — Program Director
Daniel is Argentine and resides in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. He is the General Director of Daniel Arias Producciones, specializing in music, theater, graphics, and television productions. Daniel also manages national and international musicians, touring with them around the world. He is a member of the Civil Association of Managers of Argentine Musicians.

Trained in health sciences, Daniel obtained a degree in medical sciences from the National University of Rosario. Working on health issues, he specialized in the promotion and prevention of different pathologies through public health programs with funding from international organizations. He participated for more than a decade as a public relations leader linked to professional football and its institutions.

Carlos Uriona —Artistic Advisor
Carlos is lead actor, creator and puppeteer and grassroots organizer originally from Argentina. He is a bridge builder who has, since 1996, co-created and appeared in all of Double Edge Theatre’s performances, including as Alejandro in Leonora & Alejandro: La Maga y el Maestro, which premiered in March 2018 at Peak Performances at Montclair State University.

Carlos also co-created ONCE IN A BLUE MOOM (CADA LUNA AZUL), based on Latin American story, music and dance, as well as Uriona’s history of resistance during the Argentine military dictatorship. This performance was originally created as a Farm Spectacle, and then proceeded to tour to urban centers, and include parades and youth performers in Boston and Springfield.  Carlos was also a co-creator of THE GRAND PARADE, a kaleidoscopic spectacle of history which premiered at Arena Stage (Washington, DC) in February 2013, and played in the US, Moscow, and Norway. He co-created and was a lead actor in all four performances of the GARDEN CYCLE, including Maarten Soetendrop in the DISAPPEARANCE and DON QUIXOTE  in the UnPOSSESSED. In 2002, Carlos and Artistic Director Stacy Klein conceived Double Edge's annual summer series of Indoor/Outdoor Traveling Spectacle performances.  Closely connected to this work is Carlos's role as the leader of Double Edge's grassroots campaigns and audience development initiatives. For this he has drawn from his previous work in Argentina, particularly the PLAZA performance project, which brought together thousands of young participants and spectators in squares throughout Buenos Aires. He received an Arts International Inroads Grant, a Lila Wallace APAP award, and was a recipient of the Doris Duke/Andrew Mellon/TCG New Generations Mentorship Award.

Before coming to Double Edge, Carlos founded the award-winning puppet theatre DIABLOMUNDO, named one of the “Top Ten Most Important Argentine Theatres of the 20th Century” by the Association of Argentinean Critics. He co-created and performed in more than 15 performances with DIABLOMUNDO, both original works and adaptations, which toured internationally. In 1992, DIABLOMUNDO was invited to the First International Puppet Festival produced by the Henson Foundation, as one of the 16 international participant companies. In addition to his work with DIABLOMUNDO, Carlos organized groups of self-managed actors and artist cooperatives as part of the national cultural resistance during the Argentine fight for freedom against the military dictatorship that lasted from 1976 to 1982 and beyond. These groups included the Agrupacion para el Teatro Rioplatense (1978), Teatro del Ateneo (1978), and Nucleo de Artistas del Sur (1982). In 1985, he was one of the the founding members of the Movimiento de Teatro Popular (MOTEPO) a movement of theatres that worked to decentralize and collaborate with high quality art forms in nonconventional theatre places such as streets, factories, neighborhoods.

Sweden

Leif Persson — Program Director and Education Facilitator, KULTUR STORIES
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 Monirah Hashemi, are such performances.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply