Director Earthsavers, UNESCO Dreamcentre, Manila
Ambassador of Ecuador to Six Arab countries, former President of Andean Parliament
Former Minister of Culture, Former Minister of Public Sector Forum, Jordan and former Assistant Secretary General at the League of Arab States for Social Sector.
Ms. Hedva Ser
UNESCO Artist for Peace
Hedva Ser’s body of internationally recognized work includes tapestries, watercolors, and jewelry, but she is best known for her powerful sculptures. Hedva’s monumental bronzes have become symbols of peace, symbols of tolerance, and symbols of intercultural outreach around the world. Hedva Ser is one of Europe’s pioneers using art in the goal of creating social progress. Over the years, her work has provided focus and physical connection to her efforts to build peace through art.
The French government honored Hedva Ser for her work with the prestigious Legion d’Honneur and the Officier des Arts et des Lettres. In 2011, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, similarly honored Hedva Ser, naming her a UNESCO Artist for Peace.
As a part of her work with UNESCO, Hedva leads the Organization’s annual “Art Camp,” which brings together artists from regions in conflict, to devote themselves to a common project, developing personal relationships, and building the foundations for peace.
Hedva Ser’s iconic sculpture, the “Tree of Peace,” has been installed in several universities around the world, most recently at Harvard University in Massachusetts, as well as at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Al Quds University in Ramallah, and at other schools in Europe and the U.S. A "Tree of Peace" was recently "planted" at the Presidential Sculpture gardens in Valletta, Malta, commemorating Malta's role as host of the summit ending the Cold War.
The “Tree of Peace” has been informally adopted as UNESCO’s new symbol of peace, and has been given to His Holiness Pope Francis, Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, China’s President and First Lady, jazz great and UNESCO Ambassador for Peace, Herbie Hancock, and many others.
Hedva’s sculptural group, “Destruction and Rebirth,” on the theme of the Holocaust, was recently exhibited at Krakow’s Galicia Jewish Museum in Poland, and will soon be installed permanently in the city. The powerful and compelling quartet of monumental works calls for viewers to touch the bronzes, physically transmitting the stories of Hedva’s own family and Eastern Europe’s Jewish communities during the Holocaust. She is currently developing a program to use the sculptures to help teach about the Holocaust in connection with UNESCO’s worldwide mandate to educate about Holocaust Remembrance.
Hedva speaks through her art with an eloquence that has placed her among the rare artists that has successfully brought people together to reflect and discuss some of the most difficult issues of our times, and continues to use her art to transmit the message of peace and tolerance to new generations.
Director General, Foundation for New Ibero American Journalism
Director General, International Film festival, Cartagena de Indias
Lina Rodriguez is the Director General of the international Film festival of Cartagena de Indias (FICCI):
She graduated in the department of Government and International Relations at the Universidad Externado de Colombia, with ample experience in management and business management.
She has acted as the Director General of FICCI since 2007. She has led such initiatives of great relevance to the festival as democratization of the event and free access to FICCI, acknowledgement and declaration of the Cinema Festival as a Cultural Patrimony of Colombia, specialization of workforce and technicians of the festival, and formulation and implementation of a model of cultural management based on public private partnership with emphasis on community interests. She is an active player in cultural processes which take place in Cartagena and the country as a whole, with a view to consolidating cultural industries as an engine for economic and social development.
Director, Eurasia Department, Institute of International Relations, La Plata National University President - Argentinean - Kazakh Chamber of Commerce
South African artist for peace
BIODATA OF MRS RUWEIDA SONI
Mrs. Ruweida Soni's purpose in life is to make life simple. She is an ardent activist promoting universal inner peace. Ruweida promotes the Calendar and Programs of the United Nations.
Mrs. Ruweida Soni is a renowned story teller based on her own unique experiences in her struggles and victories in pursuit of freedom, peace, democracy, security, sustainable development, prosperity and inner wellbeing which comforts people who have lost life, loved ones and limbs in their commitment towards building the camp of good.
She unites cultures, celebrates diversity, and contributes towards building a one world family with African Dancing, Dressing and Drumming (DDD). She produces her own music and recordings in various languages to demonstrate unity in diversity.
To promote quality education, Ruweida choreographs and leads FLASH MOBS around the word to Celebrate United Nations Day's, United Nations Academic Impact, Model UN and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in universities and places of higher education
Ruweida designs ranges of clothing and accessories and exhibits them in fashion shows to promote the inner wellbeing of ordinary youth, men and women by projecting equality, innovation and opportunities for decent work and economic growth.
Mrs. Ruweida Soni is a Senior Member of the Art of Living Faculty and facilitates courses of the Art of Living, which includes teaching yoga and meditation to reduce stress levels, and to spread health and happiness globally.
Ruweida promotes interfaith dialogue and secular based societies to reduce faith based conflicts and building international relations and cooperation. View https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=czCvXmTwCGY
Ruweida promotes gender equality by supporting women entrepreneurs and coordinating women's conferences and seminars internationally.
She studied clothing designing, quality auditing and marketing. Ruweida worked as a house model for a fashion design company, professional dancer/artist and clothing designer. She owned and managed various business enterprises in manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing clothing. She is now an investor in property development.
Ruweida was awarded the Designer of the Year at Reiner Academy. She broke boundaries and became the first black clothing designer to exhibit her range in the Durban Designer Collection. For her service to humanity she received an Award and various certificates from the Art of Living Foundation.
Mrs. Ruweida Soni was born on 10 June 1954 (62 yrs old). Her father Mr. Abduragmaan Abrahams comes from a bloodline of slaves brought to Cape Town, South Africa, from Malaysia. Her mother, Salama (Susan) Kruger is from a bloodline related to Stephanus Jonannes Paulus Kruger. She is one of 16 siblings. This commits her to eradicate poverty and extreme hunger.
Ruweida married Ambassador Shirish Manaklal Soni and has two children, Mr. Carl Soni and Mrs. Jasneem Sheethal. She has two grandsons, Yorke and Siyaan.
Professor Andy Knight
Professor of International Relations, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Rafael studied philosophy, theology, and psychology at the Major Seminary of Bogota and at the Javeriana University in Bogota.
His visual arts training took place in Bogota, Paris, and Milan, where he was particularly interested in drawing, a technique that constitutes the common thread running through his artwork. The main subjects of his work are the human condition, the human body, sensuality, and in the past few years he has begun to explore topics related to the history of Latin America and of Colombia in particular. He has produced works on the history of the Spanish conquest and colonization, and is especially sensitive to social issues such as collective processes of injustice and expropriation of lands, as well as the abuse of power, including by the Catholic Church.
He has taught drawing and art history in Cartagena de Indias, Bogota, Paris, and Milan.
Rafael is currently living in Bogota, where he is interested in exploring subjects related to the peace process, internal displacement and post-conflict in Colombia, among others.
Exhibitions with a strong social and historical perspective
2015 Presencias y ausencias. Claustro Museo San Pedro Claver, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
(A contemporary perspective of the trauma of slavery in Cartagena de Indias during the Spanish occupation)
2012 Naufragios y despojos. Alonso Arte Galería. Bogota, Colombia
(An examination of the process of Spanish conquest and colonization in Colombia)
2010 Hairesis. Historic Museum of Cartagena de Indias, former Palace of the Inquisition, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
(A dialogue with the history of the Spanish inquisition in Cartagena de Indias and the Caribbean)
Principal individual exhibitions
2015 San Pedro Claver Cloister Museum, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
2014 El Attico gallery, Guatemala City, Guatemala
2013 Historic Museum of Cartagena, Cartagena, Colombia
2013 Santa Clara Church Museum, Bogota, Colombia
2012 Alonso Art Gallery, Bogota, Colombia
2010 El Attico Gallery, Guatemala-Guatemala
2010 Historic Museum of Cartagena, Cartagena, Colombia
2008 ABC Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
2008 Nuitdencre Gallery, Paris, France
2007 Bozzetti Museum, Pietrasanta, Italy
2006 Spanish Cooperation Center, Santo Domingo Cloister, Cartagena
2006 Alonso Art Gallery, Bogotá, Colombia
2005 Bocca Gallery, Milan, Italy
2004 Alonso Art Gallery, Bogota, Colombia
2003 Palacio de Parte Guelfa, Florence, Italy
2002 Belvedere Palace, San Leucio de Caserta, Italy
2000 Museum of Modern Art, Cartagena, Colombia
1998 Festival of the Arts, Naval Museum of the Caribbean, Cartagena , Colombia
1997 Alzate Avendaño Foundation, Bogota, Colombia
1990 Casa Negret Gallery, Bogota, Colombia
Major group exhibitions
2015 Museum of Fine Arts, Magdalena University,
Mundos Paralelos, and Expoerotica. Santa Marta,
2014 Tribute to Rafael Puyana, Alonso Art Gallery, Bogota, Colombia
2013 Juannio – Museum of Modern Art of Guatemala, Guatemala
2012 Juannio – Museum of Modern Art of Guatemala, Guatemala
2012 Tribute to the classics of eroticism, Alonso Art Gallery
2011 Juannio – Museum of Modern Art of Guatemala, Guatemala
2011 Lanceros, Naval Museum of the Caribbean, Cartagena, Colombia
2010 Artbo, Art Fair, Alonso Art Gallery, Bogota, Colombia
2009 ABC Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
2009 La Pared Gallery, Bogota, Colombia
2008 Juannio – Museum of Modern Art of Guatemala, Guatemala
2006 Il Tempo Ritrovato-Studio B2, Genoa, Italy
2005 Paolo Nanni Gallery, Bolonia, Italy
2005 Padiglione Italia- San Gallo Chapple, Venice, Italy
2005 Polymorf perverse_ Nike Wagner Kunstfest, Weimar, Germany
2004 Salon of artists, Floral Park, Paris, France
2003 Arte-mira Gallery, Miami, Florida, USA
2002 Museum of Eroticism, Paris, Francia
Curator or the Programme on Art and Peace
Programme Manager & Co-Founder, Ba Futuru (For the Future), Timor Leste
Sierra James, originally from the United States, has lived and worked in Timor-Leste for more than eleven years. Sierra co-founded and developed the non-profit organization Ba Futuru (meaning for the future) that works to prevent violence across the small post-conflict nation of Timor-Leste. Sierra began her career in the United States and has worked in think tanks and non-profit organizations in Seattle, Washington D.C., New York, and Melbourne, Australia prior to attending graduate school and then settling in Timor-Leste.
From 2000 to 2002 Sierra was the Asia Pacific Coordinator for Earth Day Network. She liaised with NGO and government representatives from the over one thousand network members across the Asia Pacific region. She ran a small grants program and represented the Earth Day Network at a large forums in Johannesburg, South Africa; Bogota, Colombia; and Seoul, South Korea where she spoke to tens of thousands of people at an event to mark Earth Day 2002.
Sierra finished a Masters of Arts degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in 2005. Her research interests there included international law, human rights, conflict resolution, and education in post-conflict reconstruction, which took her to Timor-Leste in 2004. Ms. James went to undergraduate school at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies (with a concentration in peace and security studies) at the University of Washington.
Passionate about oil painting and violence prevention, and confronted by children experiencing violence in Timor-Leste, Sierra founded of the local non profit organization Ba Futuru in Timor-Leste in 2004. Through this organization that she built with local colleagues from the ground up, she has helped to secure and oversee more than 5 million dollars in project funding, and won several international awards. Ba Futuru utilizes innovative and artistic approaches to reduce violence, protect children, empower women and inspire young learners.
Sierra was honored with the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016 for her important work
utilizing artistic and experiential methods to transform trauma and prevent violence.
Maria Lourdes Jacob
Playwright and the Commissioner for Culture of the Philippine Commission for Women
Artistic/Chief Executive Director, Janakaraliya (Theatre Of the People), Sri Lanka
Website – www.janakaraliya.org
Areas of Specialization - Drama & Theatre Arts, Cinema, Television and Photography
Drama & Theatre Arts - I was a pioneer member and the organiser of the first ever street drama group in 1974. I Formed the OPEN ART CIRCLE in 1980 in order to continue the work done by the Street Theatre Group in a broader manner. The vision of a mobile theatre capable of reaching the underprivileged in rural areas initiated in my mind during this period. Produced number of award winning dramas at the state drama festivals including the Best Direction and Best Script.
Cinema – Scripted and Directed number of short and feature films winning national level awards for scripting and directions
Television – Scripted and directed number of short tele-dramas (tele-films) and series tele-dramas winning national and international awards including Best Script, Best Direction, Best contribution for the TV media and most popular tele-drama of the year
Special interests –
Environmental protection and preservation applying all forms of arts and culture for social integration and promoting ethnic harmony
Environmental preservation – (TV Films) Produced/Directed MANUKAKA PURA (City of Human Craws) in 1994 (Direction), MIHIMADALA GINIWADIE (Earth Ablaze) – 2000 Serialized Tele-drama Based on research on de-forestation and environment pollution around the ancient “Minneriya Reservoir” and its catchments area, GIRI DERANA (Hilly Earth) - 2001 - (Direction) For the Upper Watershed Management Project on Soil Erosion issue of the upper catchment areas in the hill country
Applying all forms arts and culture for social integration and promoting ethnic harmony - In 2005 Janakaraliya Multi Ethnic Theatre Group was formed with the view to promote ethnic harmony and inclusiveness in Sri Lankan society through cultural application. The group has successfully brought the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim drama and theatre fans to the same performing space by producing all Janakaraliya dramas in both national languages.
Special Recognitions Locally and Internationally
> Kala Shoori Presidential Award - 2006
> National Literary Award – 2010
> INTERNATIONAL HONARARY CITIZEN AWARD USA - 1990
> SPECIAL JURY PRIZE from the Golden Chest International TV Festival and Competition of Sofia, Bulgaria in 1985
> TRANSTEL PRIZE - Prix Futura International TV Festival and Competition of BERLIN in 1986
> SILVER PRIZE from the 26th Competition of Cine and Videos on Japan in 1995
> Drama Group "Janakaraliya" selected among the 10 best Cultural Groups in Asia-Pacific Region by the "Freedom To Create international" competition held in 2010
> Best Director Awards from 6 State Drama Festivals
> Best Director Awards from Vijaya Rupvahini, Unda and Sumathi Tele Awards
> Life time Achievement Awards from Raigam Tele awards 2014
Professor Akbota Zholdasbekova
President, Eurasian International Studies Association, Professor, UNESCO Chair for Ethnic and Religious Tolerance, Astana, Kazakhstan
Musical producer , author, composer and performer
Productor musical, autor, compositor e intérprete colombiano nacido en Cali, actual director artístico del Grupo -Gaia Viva- que prepara el lanzamiento de 10 temas enfocados en la naturaleza, el amor y la paz.
Su nombre de pila es Andrés Aponte Agudelo, quien desde los 7 años de edad inició sus estudios de piano con formadores particulares dadas las condiciones y preferencias que mostraba por la música; fundamentó sus talento en las instituciones de enseñanzas primaria y secundaria, logrando en su trayectoria llegar a formar parte de la Escuela más reconocida de la región en el ramo, que es el Instituto Popular de Cultura desde donde dio su salto para perfeccionar su aptitudes en la Universidad del Valle.
Giponti ha logrado a través de su carrera, grandes reconocimientos en el gremio artístico colombiano que ha sabido integrar en medio de apoyos con arreglos musicales, inclusión de su voz y asesorías. Asimismo Giponti se ha destacado paralelo a su actividad de Productor, como realizador de música para cine y televisión, participando también en diferentes campañas publicitarias para radio, canales televisivos y medios virtuales nacionales e internacionales. Igualmente producciones corporativas para medios de comunicación de importante renombre.
A finales de 2015 fue invitado especial de la FIM –Federación Internacional de Músicos, y de la UNO-A –Unión Nacional de Organizaciones Artísticas, al Taller “Organización laboral e igualdad de género”; de igual manera ha atendido invitaciones especiales a México y se apresta en atender compromisos en Europa y otros países.
Su proyecto actual va de la mano con la producción autoral y ejecutiva del periodista medio ambientalista Carlos Alberto Ramírez, con la creación de canciones con mensajes educativos, al medio ambiente y a la integridad humana.