Night of Ideas

People

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Ajoyo

Brooklyn Based Jazz Collective

Ajoyo

Brooklyn based collective AJOYO performs a spellbinding brew of Jazz , Soul and African traditions promoting justice and challenging xenophobia.

Yacine Boulares saxophones
Sarah Elizabeth Charles vocals
Jesse Fischer Keyboards and piano
Michael Valeanu guitar
Desmond White bass
Patrick Simard drums

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Julien Alamo

Director of PICTO New York

Julien Alamo has a background as a graphic designer and digital solution expert with a proven trajectory at the intersection between art and entrepreneurship. In 2010, he joined PICTO and in 2015 he was put in charge of the opening of PICTO’s New York branch. This has been an outstanding success, making PICTO a staple in the vibrant New York City art scene. With a strong artist network and a solid Fine Art experience, Alamo is now working on an ambitious NFT project.

© Dayana Gomez
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Marine Assaiante

Actress and Producer

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Marine Assaiante is a French actress, writer and producer based in New York City. After a successful festival run with over 80 Film Festival selections and 22 Awards won, the first season of her web series CHECK, PLEASE! is now available on YouTube (I hear an accent production channel)

(c) Coco Jourdana
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Justin Beal

Artist, Writer, and Educator

Minoru Yamasaki, World Trade Center and Brooklyn Public Library

Justin Beal is an artist and writer based in New York. He currently teaches at Hunter College. His first book, Sandfuture, will be published by the MIT Press in September.
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Ibrahim Bechrouri

Artist, Scholar, and Activist

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey
Laugh, Create and Keep an Eye Open: Three Ways to Resist What's to Come 

Ibrahim Bechrouri is an artist, scholar, and activist of Moroccan origin. After publishing a Ph.D. on the NYPD reaction to 9/11 and its impacts on Muslim communities, Bechrouri hopes to dedicate time to writing fiction. His ethnographic fieldwork and experience as a Muslim and activist greatly influence his poetry. He has worked with Um’Artist in Paris and with Performing Arts Mosaic in New York City and has served as a judge for a number of poetry, comedy, and public speaking competitions. Bechrouri has performed poetry on the French television program Flash Talk, at the Muslim Writers Collective, and for Usbek & Rica’s Le Tribunal pour les Générations Futures (Tribunal for Future Generations).

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Koa Beck

Author and Journalist

White Feminism: The History & the Ideology

Author of White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind . Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of Jezebel, the executive editor of Vogue.com, and the senior features editor at MarieClaire.com.

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Kathryn Sophia Belle

Scholar and Writer

True Philosophers: The Pleasures (and Pains) of Being a Black Woman Lover of Wisdom

Kathryn Sophia Belle, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Philosophy and affiliate faculty in AFAM and WGSS at Penn State. She is currently Director of the Africana Research Center and Interim Head of African American Studies (2021-2022). Her most recent book manuscript is titled Beauvoir and Belle: A Black Feminist Critique of The Second Sex (forthcoming with Oxford University Press).

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Ali Benmakhlouf

Philosopher

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Professor emeritus at the University of Paris Est, Créteil, visiting Professor at NYU, Ali Benmakhlouf is a Moroccan-French philosopher. For the past twenty years, he regularly read Michel de Montaigne ans it is, inspired by Montaigne, that he undertook two types of study: one on personal and cultural identities in “L’identité, une fable philosophique”, the other on conversation as a way of life in “La conversation comme manière de vivre“. These literary forays were carried out at the same time as those made in the field of Arab-Muslim culture as developed in Baghdad and Cordoba. Benmakhlouf has translated and devoted studies to Al Fârâbî and Averroès (Averroes,  Al Fârâbî, Philosopher in Baghdad in the 10th century, Pourquoi lire les philosophes arabes). In the field of bioethics, he wrote reports in collaboration with physicians and then pharmacists on issues such as organ donation, psychostimulants (smart pills), vaccination and the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging. All these issues question our relationship with laws and with norms (a field that includes both law and ethics).

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Rachel Boué-Widawsky

Psychoanalyst and Associate Clinical Professor of NYU Medical School

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Rachel Boué-Widawsky (PhD) is a psychoanalyst (IPTAR, IPA) and Associate Clinical Professor of NYU Medical School. She is the Editor of the Foreign Books Reviews of JAPA (Journal of American Psychoanalytic Association). She has written numerous articles on French psychoanalysis and is the author of several books in French on literary criticism.

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Sonja Bozic

Sonja Bozic is a multi-award-winning filmmaker and professor. Serbian native and NYCBaltimore based, she has edited, directed, and produced a wide range of video forms that have been screened at the festivals internationally, including the Cannes Film Festival, and she participated in the 2013 Tribeca Hackathon as part of the Frontline/ProPublica team. Sonja is currently working as Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Goucher College. She also served as a mentor and speaker internationally, giving talks at conferences such as SIGGRAPH and VR/AR Global Summit. Sonja is currently working on her VR project, “Chocolate Milk,” an immersive exploration of a mind of a person with autism.

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Costica Bradatan

Professor of Humanities

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey
The Philosopher of Failure

Costica Bradatan is a Professor of Humanities at Texas Tech University. He is the author, most recently, of Dying for Ideas (Bloomsbury, 2018) and In Praise of Failure (Harvard University Press, 2022). He writes regularly for such venues as New York Times, Washington Post, TLS, Literary Review, Commonweal, and Aeon. His In Praise of Failure can be pre-ordered from Harvard University press here.

(c) Robert Danieluk
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Lydia Cacho

Journalist and Women's Right Activist

Human Rights Journalism and Mexico’s Fight Against the Truth

Lydia Cacho is a Mexican journalist, feminist, and human rights activist.

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Ajay Singh Chaudhary

Scholar and writer

Against Resilience: Exhaustion, Ecology and Emancipation

Ajay Singh Chaudhary is the executive director of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research and a core faculty member specializing in social and political theory. He has written for the The GuardianThe Nation, The Baffler, n+1, Los Angeles Review of Books, QuartzSocial Text, Dialectical Anthropology, The Hedgehog Review, Filmmaker Magazine, and 3quarksdaily, among other venues.

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Chromic Duo

Musicians

Chromic Duo

Chromic Duo blends classical music, toy piano, and electronics into genre fluid performances and installations. Inspired by the small wonders of the everyday, they compose soundworlds inspired by the multitudes as Third-Culture-Kids discovering their voice within the vast Asian American diaspora.

ChromicDuo
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Laurent Clavel

Cultural attaché

Trained as an engineer, Laurent Clavel chose to immerse himself in his true passion, the arts. He obtained a postgraduate degree in the management of cultural institutions at Paris IX-Dauphine before settling in La Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean, in 1994. He became managing director at Théâtre Talipot, a company that welcomed artists from the Indian Ocean, organized the Festival d’Art Métis, and opened a performing arts center in the former Pierrefonds sugar factory. He then joined the French cultural network abroad, first as head of the Franco-Nigerian Cultural Center in Niamey and then of the French Institute of South Africa in Johannesburg. He continued as General Commissioner of Saisons France-Afrique du Sud in 2012 and 2013. Most recently he was named Cultural Counselor and Director of the French Institute of Sweden in Stockholm, before becoming Cultural Attaché in New York.

(c) B. Sheehan
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Yann Coatanlem

Entrepreneur

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey
Facing the Next Crisis, Any Type of Crisis

Yann Coatanlem is both an entrepreneur and a thinker, President of the Club Praxis, a French-American think tank that promotes open government and civic technology. Foreign trade adviser to the French Prime Minister, he sits on the board of Paris School of Economics. Yann Coatanlem is the author of Le Capitalisme contre les Inégalités (2022) and of Le Gouvernement des Citoyens (2017).

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Fatima Daas

Author

Born in 1995 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. Fatima Daas’s parents came from Algeria and soon settled in Clichy-sous-Bois. She grew up in the small town of Seine-Saint-Denis, in a large family. In high school, she rebelled, claimed the right to express her ideas and wrote her first texts. She defines herself as an intersectional feminist. The Last one is her first novel.

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Lydia Darly

Cofounder of the Nova Frontier Film Festival and Lab, Actress, and Filmmaker.

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Lydia Darly is the cofounder of the Nova Frontier Film Festival and Lab, and an Award Winner actress and filmmaker. She is passionate to support and highlight filmmakers and films from marginalized communities and regions. She is also works to support emerging indie filmmakers and women in film. She received the Queens World Film Festival Community Award in 2014.
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Nicolas Delalande

Professor of European History at Sciences Po

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey
What Do We Owe Each Other?

Nicolas Delalande is a Professor of European History at Sciences Po, currently Alliance Visiting Professor at Columbia’s History Department. His research and publications focus on the history of social inequality, political economy, and solidarity actions. His next book, Struggle and Mutual Aid, will be published by Other Press in early 2023.

(c) Nicolas Delalande
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Antoinette DeLuca

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Dr. Antoinette DeLuca, Psy.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychology. She has taught on both the undergraduate and graduate level, including specialized courses in Program Development and Evaluation and Assessment for Children and Adolescents. Sheis the Chair of the Community Advisory Board for The WNET Group stations PBS Channel Thirteen, WLIW, and WLIW FM.

(c) Charity De meer
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Geoff Dembicki

Reporter

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey
Who Should We Blame For Climate Change: A Brief 60-Year History

Geoff Dembicki is an investigative climate reporter based in New York. He is a regular contributor to VICE News and author of the forthcoming book The Petroleum Papers: Inside The Far-Right Conspiracy To Cover Up Climate Change.

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Chayma Drira

Freelance Journalist

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Chayma Drira is a freelance journalist and doctoral student at NYU. Her research focuses on discriminations and urban inequality from a Franco-American comparative perspective. She will be in June 2022 one of the Villa Albertine’s residents in Chicago.

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Ambassador Philippe Etienne

Ambassador of France to the United States

Philippe Etienne is the Ambassador of France to the United States.

He previously held numerous posts within the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, notably including Ambassador of France to Romania (2002-2005), Director of the Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs (2007-2009), Permanent Representative of France to the European Union (2009-2014), Ambassador of France to Germany (2014-2017) and most recently, Diplomatic Adviser to the President (2017-2019).

Philippe Etienne is an expert on the European Union and continental Europe. He has held posts in Moscow, Belgrade, Bucharest, Bonn, Berlin and Brussels. He has also served as an adviser in the Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on several occasions. A graduate of the École Normale Supérieure and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (“Voltaire” Class, 1980), Philippe Etienne also holds the Agrégation (teaching diploma) in Mathematics, has a degree in Economics, and is a graduate of the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (Serbo-Croatian).

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Nathalie Etoke

Associate Professor of Francophone and Africana Studies

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Nathalie Etoke is Associate Professor of Francophone and Africana Studies at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of Melancholia Africana the Indispensable Overcoming of The Black Condition which won the Frantz Fanon Prize from the Caribbean Philosophical Association. Her latest book Shades of Black was published in April 2021.

(c) Tony Delerme
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Evan Francis

Musician

Evan Francis (flute/saxophone) has been named a “Rising Star” in the Flute category of the Downbeat Magazine Critic’s poll. He has performed/recorded/toured around the world with notables like Stevie Wonder, Michael Buble, Taylor Eigsti, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Helen Sung, Meshell Ndegeocello, The Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Lyrics Born, Talib Kweli, Art Davis and many more. He is a member of The Dream Unfinished Orchestra.

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Billy Gerard Frank

Multi-Disciplinary Artist

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Billy Gerard Frank is a Multi-Disciplinary Artist and autodidact who works at the intersection of visual art, filmmaking, design, education, and activism. He was recently selected to represent Grenada at 58th La Biennale di Venezia 2019 and is also one of the artists in the collective representing the island at 59th La Biennale di Venezia 2020. Frank’s practices mine personal, political, and social histories and challenge dominant and normative discourses around them. His research-based work addresses issues of migration, race, and global politics, relating to gender, minority status, and post-colonial subjects. His collected, altered, and own mixed media artworks and films have been exhibited in groups and solo shows in galleries and Institutions like The Brooklyn Museum (2020) and is in several private collections and institutions like the National Academy Museum of Fine Arts and Design. Frank is also the founder of Nova Frontier Film Festival & LAB that showcases films and arts from and about the African Diaspora, the Middle East, and Latin America.

(c) @BGF (2021)
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Dorian Gaudin

Artist

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Dorian Gaudin reminds us of how the fetishisms of objects and technology governs our relationship with the world. His installations often include masterfully engineered machines that lack any explicit purpose, yet move spontaneously, animated from within. These autonomous and unpredictable works of art allow us to question the nature of objects and whether we engage with machines as active users or passive viewers.

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Donald Grinde

Scholar and Writer

The Iroquois and the Development of U.S. Government

​Don Grinde’s research and teaching focuses on Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) history, U.S. Indian policy since 1871, Native American thought, and environmental history. He has authored several books including the Encyclopedia of Native American Biography (Da Capo), Apocalypse of Chiokoyhikoy, Chief of the Iroquois (Presses de l’Universite Laval), and The Iroquois and the Founding of the American Nation (Indian Historian Press).

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Milène Guermont

Artist and Engineer

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Milène Guermont is an artist & engineer. Weighing a few grams to several tons, her creations in Polysensual Concrete react according to your magnetic field when touched. Her 30m-high artwork, PHARES, exposed in central Paris dialogued with the Eiffel Tower. Her latest project, a habitable total artwork, MAISON GUERMONT, combines ancestral know-how & hi-tech.

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Fabiola Hanna

Assistant Professor at the School of Media Studies at The New School

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Fabiola Hanna’s art practice and research joins memory work, digital archives, and software studies. She is currently working on both a multimedia narrative intelligence project on the contested history of Lebanon and a book on historical justice in digital environments. She is Assistant Professor at the School of Media Studies at The New School.

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Joseph Henry

PhD Candidate and Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Joseph Henry is a PhD Candidate in the art history program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), where his research focuses on the movement known as German Expressionism. He is also a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art and writes frequently on contemporary art. Starting this fall, he will be an inaugural Diamonstein-Spielvogel Fellow in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

https://josephhenry.net/

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Cal Hunt

Dancer

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Calvin Hunt was born in Brooklyn NY. He began dancing at age 5 and have been in his current style (FlexN) for 14 years. Following his debut at the Park Avenue Armory in the FLEXN show, he began touring with “THE D.R.E.A.M. (Dance Rules Everything Around Me) Ring” in Manchester-England, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Italy, and other countries. After recently dancing at the Paris Opera (Opera National de Paris) in an opera called “Les Indes Galantes,” he aims to show the world more of my life through dance. Dance is special to him because he believes it expresses what we sometimes find hard to communicate with words, it’s a language that brings us together.
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Hana Janečková

Researcher, Writer and Curator

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Hana Janečková is a researcher, writer and curator based in FAMU, Academy of Performing Arts, Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently Fulbright Scholar 2021-22 based at Rutgers University researching ecology, feminism, technologies and the politics of care in contemporary art.

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Fabrice Jaumont

Scholar-Practitioner, Author, and Education Advisor

Fabrice Jaumont is a scholar-practitioner, award-winning author, and education advisor based in New York. He currently serves as Education Attaché for the Embassy of France to the United States, a Research Fellow at Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris, and an adjunct professor at City University New York. He has published seven books on bilingualism, education, and philanthropy, including The Bilingual Revolution: The Future of Education is in Two Languages. Jaumont holds a Ph.D. in Comparative and International Education from New York University.

(c) J Cuenin
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Charlotta Janssen

Restauranteur

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Charlotta Jenssen was born in Maine to German parents living in America under the Marshall plan. In 1973, her family moved to Iran and fled during the revolution in 1979. Back in Germany, she studied painting at the University of Arts in Berlin from 1986-1989. In 1995, she moved to New York and opened a restaurant to showcase her work in Brooklyn. http://charlottajanssen.com/

(c) Shannon Greer
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Sylvie Kandé

Poet, literary critic and historian

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Author of three collections of poetry published by Gallimard, Sylvie Kandé is trained as both a literary critic and a historian. She is also known for her work on the complex conversations that have taken place between Africa and Europe and Africa and its diasporas. Her areas of specialization include métissage/hybridity and post-racial utopias. She additionally teaches at SUNY Old Westbury.

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Emmanuel Kattan

Director of the Alliance Program and Author

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Emmanuel Kattan is Director of the Alliance Program. He was previously Director of the British Council in New York, where he oversaw academic collaboration programs. He created partnerships with the Henry Luce Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation to launch initiatives connecting higher education institutions across the Atlantic. Before joining the British Council, Emmanuel was Senior Adviser at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, where he managed strategic communications and engagement with academic communities. He also held senior positions at the Commonwealth Secretariat and at the Quebec Delegation in London.He is the author of five books: an essay on the politics of memory and four novels.

(c) Editions du Boréal
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Kathryn Kolbert

Attorney and journalist

The End of Roe: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom

A public-interest attorney, journalist, and entrepreneurial  leader, Kolbert has been recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” In 1992, Kolbert made her second appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  This landmark case has been widely credited with saving Roe v. Wade with what has called “one of the most audacious litigation strategies in Supreme Court history.”

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Anne Le Strat

Policymaker, Environmental Advocate and Former Deputy Mayor of Paris and Chair of Eau de Paris

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey
To Prosper Happily

Anne Le Strat is a French policymaker, environmental advocate, former Deputy Mayor of Paris and Chair of Eau de Paris, the Parisian water operator (2001-2014), and co-founder and Chair of Aqua Publica Europea (European publicly-owned water and sanitation operators network). Le Strat holds a Ph.D. in Geopolitics and she is currently a Research Fellow at NYU and Senior Consultant for UN-Habitat. She authored or co-authored several books and papers about water management and water policy.

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Maud Leclair

Art Historian and Visual Artist

Maud Leclair is an art historian who specializes in Buddhist art from South and Southeast Asia. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and she currently teaches Buddhist art history at New York University.  Leclair is also a visual artist working on paper, murals, and ceramics.

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Yann LeCun

AI Scientist

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey
AI in Defense of Liberal Democracy

Yann LeCun is VP & Chief AI Scientist at Meta and Silver Professor at NYU affiliated with the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences & the Center for Data Science. He was the founding Director of FAIR and of the NYU Center for Data Science. He received an Engineering Diploma from ESIEE (Paris) and a PhD from Sorbonne Université. After a postdoc in Toronto he joined AT&T Bell Labs in 1988, and AT&T Labs in 1996 as Head of Image Processing Research. He joined NYU as a professor in 2003 and Meta/Facebook in 2013. His interests include AI machine learning, computer perception, robotics and computational neuroscience. He is the recipient of the 2018 ACM Turing Award (with Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio) for “conceptual and engineering breakthroughs that have made deep neural networks a critical component of computing”, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the French Académie des Sciences. http://yann.lecun.com

 

(c) Kimberly M. Wang | eardog.com
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Jordan Lee

Musician

Jordan Lee (violin) earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University, double majoring in computer science and history. She is a member of The Dream Unfinished Orchestra, where she also serves as a board member.

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Sanaë Lemoine

Author and Editor

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Sanaë Lemoime was born in Paris to a Japanese mother and French father. She is the author of The Margot Affair and a 2022 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow. Lemoine received an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, where she taught essay writing and was a writing consultant at the Writing Center. Since then, she’s worked as a recipe writer and editor, and most recently, as a cookbook editor at Phaidon Press and Martha Stewart Books.

(c) Gieves Anderson
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David Lescot

Author, Stage Director and Musician

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Author, stage director and musician, David Lescot is an associate artist of Théâtre de la Ville, Paris. His writing, like his stage work seeks to mix theatre with non-dramatic forms, in particular music. His work has been rewarded with several prizes. We’ll create « Dough » at the New Ohio Theater in May 22.

Lescot
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Daniel Levy

Writer

Manhattan Phoenix: The Great Fire of 1835 and the Emergence of Modern New York

Author of recent history, The Manhattan Phoenix: The Great Fire of 1835 and the Emergence of Modern New York. He writes for Life, Time, Time-Life Books, and National Geographic Books. Prior to that he was a senior reporter at Time magazine where he covered architecture and classical music, and a reporter at People magazine, where he wrote about social issues and crime.

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Daniel Magaziner

Scholar and Writer

Race, Politics and the Future: Lessons from South Africa

Daniel Magaziner teaches South African and nineteenth- and twentieth-century African history at Yale University. He is the author of The Law and the Prophets: Black Consciousness in South Africa, 1968–1977.

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Vasyl Makhno

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Vasyl Makhno is a Ukrainian poet, essayist, and translator. He is the author of nine collections of poetry, including Winter Letters and Other Poems, translated by Orest Popovych (Spuyten Duyvil, 2011) and, most recently, I want to be Jazz and Rock’n’Roll (Ternopil, Krok, 2013). He has also published two books of essays, The Gertrude Stein Memorial Cultural and Recreation Park (2006) and Horn of Plenty (2011). Makhno has translated Zbigniew Herbert’s and Janusz Szuber’s poetry from Polish into Ukrainian. His poems and essays have been translated into 25 languages, and he is the 2013 recipient of Serbia’s Povele Morave Prize in Poetry. Makhno currently lives in New York City.

(c) Volodymyr Tkachenko
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Zenon Marko

Musician, producer, and philosopher

Zenon Marko is a composer, producer, electronic musician, DJ, drummer, and philosopher residing in New York City. Marko produces, composes, and performs in genres ranging from  ambient, electronic, neoclassical, downtempo, rock, progressive, techno, house, “world”, dub, and improvisational, working under his own name as well as under various project names, including  Metasonica (with Boris Berlin), Sense Time (with Alex Haas), and Sensualism. Marko owns Disreality, a music production company, studio, and label in Tribeca in downtown NYC.  In addition to his music work, Marko is currently completing a Ph.D. in philosophy at The New School, on the themes of universal skepticism, metaphilosophy, the problem of beginning, and the possibility of knowledge.  In 2019, he released his debut solo album, the symmetrical ambient/electronic concept album “Symmetry.”  In 2021, Marko released his second solo album, “Morning Star”, a set of ambient piano works created in memory of his late mother.

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Florent Masse

Senior Lecturer at Princeton University

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Florent Masse is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of French and Italian, and Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University where he directs L’Avant-Scène, the French Theater Workshop, and Seuls en Scène, Princeton French Theater Festival. Next fall, he will co-curate the 15th edition of FIAF’s Crossing the Line.

(c) Jamie Saxon
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Elzbieta Matynia

Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies

Democracy’s Endgame?

Elzbieta Matynia is Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies, and founding director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS). Her research in political and cultural sociology focuses on democratic transformations, gender and democracy, the borderlands of a shared Europe, and more recently on the challenges faced by democracies emerging with a legacy of violence. Her book Performative Democracy (2009, Paradigm) examines a potential in political life that easily escapes theorists: the indigenously inspired enacting of democracy by citizens, and identifies the conditions for performativity in public life. Her most recent book, An Uncanny Era (2013, Yale University Press) is a discussion on the precariousness of democracy, and early signs of its recent retreat in Central Europe). She is working on a new book, Democracy After Violence.

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Akash Mehta

Reporter

Who Runs New York?

Akash Mehta is the editor in chief of New York Focus. Akash’s reporting on New York politics has appeared in The Intercept, The Nation, THE CITY, Jacobin, City & State and Gothamist.

NY_Akash Mehta
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Mohamad Amer Meziane

Philosopher

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey
Empires of the Anthropocene: Towards an Eco-Racial History of Our Time

Mohamad Amer Meziane is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Religion Culture and Public and the Institute of African studies at Columbia Unversity. His first book, Des empires sous la terre (Empires under earth) has been published in 2021. Focusing on French colonialism in nineteenth century Algeria, it deploys a new critique of Orientalism by examining two of its intertwined effects: the Hegelian idea of Christianity’s secularization in the modern world and the colonization of North Africa and the Arab world. His work is at the intersection of Continental and African philosophy.

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Anežka Minaříková

Graphic designer

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

The focus of Anežka Minaříková‘s work are projects that cross the boundaries of graphic design. She emphasizes the interconnection of the digital and physical worlds, professional research and communication with the general public. She is interested in the active involvement of technology in the creative process. Minaříková was nominated several times for the Czech Grand Design (Sleep, Photographer festival) for her work, and, last year, she won 2nd place in the Graphic Design category. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (Graphic Design and New Media) and an MFA degree from Yale University School of  Art. In addition to her practice in the Czech Republic and the US, she teaches graphic design in a correctional facility within the Yale Prison Education Initiative and at the Parson School of Design.

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Mame-Fatou Niang

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey
Postcolonial Workshop: Updating Universalism for the 21st Century

Mame-Fatou Niang is Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Carnegie Mellon University. She is the author of Identités Françaises (2019), and the co-author with Julien Suaudeau of Universalisme (2022). Her recent research examines universalism “à la française”, as well as the development of Afro-French identities. Dr. Niang is also a photographer and the author of a photo series on Black French Islam. In 2015, she co-directed “Mariannes Noires: Mosaïques Afropéennes”, a film in which seven Afro-French women investigate the pieces of their mosaic identities, and unravel what it means to be Black and French, Black in France. Dr. Niang is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled Mosaica Nigra: Blackness in 21st-century France.

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Bojana Novakovic

Actor, Writer, Documentary Filmmaker and Organizer

Bojana Novakovic is an actor, writer, documentary filmmaker and organizer. She is currently on Hulu’s Love Me and her previous show Instinct is on Netflix. Credits include I Tonya, Birds of Prey, Shameless, Westworld, among others. Novakovic in the currently editing her first documentary The Forbidden Aunt and is also the coordinator of Mars sa Drine, a national campaign against lithium and borate mining in Serbia. She lives in Astoria NY.

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Sarah Overton

Musician

Sarah Overton (cello) is the principal cellist for the award-winning ensemble Classern Quartet and the co-principal cellist of the Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s of Music with an outside field in Business Administration from Stetson University and an M.A. in Performing Arts Administration from New York University. She is a member of The Dream Unfinished Orchestra.

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Nicole Peyrafitte

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Nicole Peyrafitte is a pluridisciplinary artist born in the French Pyrenees who lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn & has been in the USA since 1987.  Her quest is an artistic & sustainable journey based on a practice that combines performance, painting, film, poetry & cooking. More info

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Alissa Quart

Writer and Educator

The Future of the American Dream

Alissa Quart is the executive director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She is the author of seven books including Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America and Republic of Outsiders and the poetry collection Thoughts and Prayers. Her latest non-fiction book Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream (Ecco) will be out in early 2023. Her journalism has appeared in a wide range of publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post and The New York Review of Books and her poetry in Granta and elsewhere. She has also produced documentary films and audio, most recently the award-winning podcast “Going for Broke”.

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Michel Risse

Composer, Multi-instrumentalist, Electro-acoustician and Artistic Director

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Michel Risse considers the city as a stage and an inspiration for inventing new music. With his company Décor Sonore, he has produced numerous pieces since 1986, ranging from very intimate forms to spectacular performances that speak to everyone. More and more involved in sound ecology, he considers himself as a kind of “acoustic gardener of the soundscape”.

(c) Gilles Hirgorom
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Jérémie Robert

Consul général

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Consul général

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Nicolas Robine

Computational Biologist

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Nicolas Robine is Director, Computational Biologist at the New York Genome Center. He joined NYGC in 2012 and before that trained at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in NYC and at the Institut Curie in Paris. He analyzed whole-genome data to study cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, with the goal of contributing to the treatment of these diseases.

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Ola Rondiak

Artist, Designer, Sculptor

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The Role of Art in the Face of Oppression

Ola Rondiak is a painter, designer and sculptor. Her paintings stem from her family’s experiences living in Ukraine during the historical events of WWII, Stalin’s Iron Curtain, the Orange Revolution and the Revolution of Dignity. These events deeply shaped Rondiak’s world view and emotional experiences surface in her artworks as her own history intertwines with Ukrainian history and tradition. Rondiak earned her BA degree from Hunter College and a M.Ed in Clinical Psychology, from Cleveland State University. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions internationally, most recently at the John William Gallery in Wilmington, Delaware and the Vozianov Studio in Kyiv, Ukraine.

(c) Ola Rondiak
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Ian Rosenberg

Lawyer and Writer

Why You Can Cry Fire in a Theater: A Short Lesson from *The Fight for Free Speech*

Ian Rosenberg has over twenty years of experience as a media lawyer, and has worked as legal counsel for ABC News since 2003. A graduate of Cornell Law School, he is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker, and teaches media law at Brooklyn College. He is the author of The Fight for Free Speech: Ten Cases That Define Our First Amendment Freedoms (NYU Press 2021) and Free Speech Handbook (Macmillan 2021.

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Claire Sagan

Assistant professor

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Time for Revolution

Claire Sagan is assistant professor of Political Theory at Vassar College, NY. Her work focuses on temporality, end-times discourses, utopia/dystopia, and Nietzsche’s eternal return, from an ecosophical feminist perspective. She is currently working on her book, Beyond Uchronia. Sagan‘s work draws inspiration from contemporary dance and circus, graffiti, film, literature.

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Sophie Sandberg

Gender Justice Activist and Street Artist

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Sophie Sandberg is a gender justice activist and street artist. She created the popular initiative, Catcalls of NYC, which raises awareness about street harassment using colorful chalk art. She co-leads Chalk Back, a global youth-led movement against street harassment. She has a Bachelors of Arts from New York University in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

(c) Alex Brook-Lynn
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Suzanne Schneider

Scholar and Writer

Security Hoarding: Moving Beyond the Culture of Constant Vigilance

Suzanne Schneider is Deputy Director and Core Faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, specializing in political theory and history of the modern Middle East. She is the author of Mandatory Separation: Religion, Education, and Mass Politics in Palestine and The Apocalypse and the End of History: Modern Jihad and the Crisis of Liberalism. Her writing about politics, religious movements, and violence has appeared in Mother Jones, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The Forward, Religion Dispatches, n+1, Jerusalem Quarterly, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other outlets.

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Marion Schoevaert

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Marion Schoevaert has been developing her own style of physical theater for 25 years in New York, Seoul and France. She has directed, produced and choreographed more than twenty theater shows, operas and shadow plays, blending dance-theater, rhythmic text and live music.  She works with artists from all disciplines and genres to create visceral and raw emotional response from both actors and audiences. Schoevaert has done 33 shows for the Young People’s Concert with the New York Philharmonic. She has produced the successful Koltès New York Festival (7 plays) in New York to present new translations of Koltès’s work to the American audience. She has also translated and directed French playwrights such as Michel Vinaver, Jean-Luc Lagarce, Olivier Cadiot and Violaine SchwartzIn Korea, she has directed a North Korean mass dance propaganda play with 2 orchestras and 100 actors. She is the Artistic Director of In Parentheses company in NYC. www.inparentheses.org

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Violaine Schwartz

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is a comedian since 1990, she is a graduate from the National Theatre School of Strasbourg (TNS). She has written three radio plays, three novels published by P.O.L, La tete en arriere (2010), Le vent dans la bouche (2013, Eugene Dabit Price) and Une foret dans la tete (2021). Violaine Schwartz has published three theatre plays : IO 467 ( Les Solitaires Intempestifs, 2013), Comment on freine ? (P.O.L, 2015) and J’empeche, peur du chat, que mon moineau ne sorte (P.O.L, 2017). She is also the author of a collection of stories: Papiers (P.O.L 2019), translated in english by Christine Gutman, and published by Fern, en 2022.

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Fatemeh Shirpour

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Fatemeh Shirpour is an Iranian Architect, currently residing and practicing in New York City. Through my architecture education in Iran, I spent a lot of time measuring and documenting the old and the abandoned. Fascinated by the non-place and non-architecture, I’ve been trying to engage with dead buildings and ruins.

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Elena Siyanko

Artistic & Executive Director of PS21

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Elena Siyanko is Artistic & Executive Director of PS21, Performance Spaces for the 21st Century, a new state-of-the-art green-energy black-box and open-air pavilion theaters that sit above nineteenth century apple orchards at the apex of over 100 acres of beautiful Hudson Valley land, two hours north of New York City. In her two inaugural seasons as PS21’s first director, despite the cancellations necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, PS21 was able to present an ambitious program of live and livestreamed music, movement, international contemporary circus, multimedia, film, visual art, and panel discussions in the center’s open-air pavilion theater and in the adjacent wooded meadows and trails. While fostering creativity through residencies and encouraging collaborations between performers working across disciplines and genres, PS21 also serves the community via free and low-cost workshops, performances, and other programming.

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Leïla Slimani

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Dreaming On

Leila Slimani is the bestselling author of The Perfect Nanny, one of The New York Times Book Review‘s 10 Best Books of 2018, for which she became the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt. Her first novel,  Adèle, about a sex-addicted woman in Paris, won the La Mamounia Prize for the best book by a Moroccan author written in French and gave rise to her nonfiction book Sex and Lies: True Stories of Women’s Intimate Lives in the Arab World. A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, Slimani spearheaded a campaign–for which she won the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom–to help Moroccan women speak out, as self-declared outlaws, against their country’s “unfair and obsolete laws.” She is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture and was ranked #2 on Vanity Fair France’s annual list of the Fifty Most Influential French People in the World. Born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1981, she now lives in Lisbon with her French husband and their two young children. Her most recent novel is In The Country Of Others, the first installment of a planned trilogy fictionalizing the author’s family history.

(c) Francesca Mantovani
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Patti Smith

Musician, author, poet

Words and Music

Patti Smith is a musician, author, and poet. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Her seminal album Horses, bearing Robert Mapplethorpe’s renowned photograph, has been hailed as one of the top one hundred albums of all time. Her books include M TrainWittBabelWoolgatheringThe Coral Seaand Auguries of Innocence.

Courtesy of the Artist
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Guy Sorman

Economist and Philosopher

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Guy Sorman is an economist and philosopher, with dual citizenship, French and US. He is the author of some thirty books dealing with development issues in India, Africa and China. He has taught at Paris Sciences Po, Moscow and Beijing University. He has been the founder and President of Action Against Hunger. Sorman defines himself as a classic liberal.

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Joanne Spataro

Writer

The Beauty and Necessity of Chosen Family

Joanne Spataro is a writer, ghostwriter and writing teacher living in New York City. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, Vice and The Huffington Post. Her memoir, Preconceptions, is available on Audible.

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Nadja Spiegelman

Editor in chief of Astra Magazine

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Nadja Spiegelman is the editor in chief of Astra Magazine, a new international magazine of literature. She is the author of the memoir I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This, as well as three children’s books, including Lost in NYC. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of BooksNewyorker.com and more.

(c) Bek Andersen
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Marie-Monique Steckel

Former President of the French Institute Alliance Française

Marie-Monique Steckel was the President of the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) from 2004 to 2022, and has led the non-profit organization through an expansive revitalization throughout her impressive 17-year tenure. Among her other accomplishments, she founded the French Industrial Development Agency (now Invest in France) in the United States, went on to found and become the President of France Telecom North America and finally served as Ronald S. Lauder’s (son of Estée Lauder) senior advisor before joining FIAF. On the other side of the Atlantic, she worked with Jacques Chirac as the National Director of Communication at the creation of the RPR.In each experience she saw the potential to strengthen Franco-American ties and was awarded the title of Officier de l’ordre National du Mérite, Officier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, and Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

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Julien Suaudeau

Coordinator of the Non-Intensive Language sequence in French and Director of Film Studies at Bryn Mawr College

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Postcolonial Workshop: Updating Universalism for the 21st Century

Julien Suaudeau teaches at Bryn Mawr College. He is a filmmaker and the author of four novels, including Dawa (2014) and Le Sang noir des hommes (2019). His book with Yann Dedet, Le Spectateur zéro (2020), is a conversation (2020) on film editing. In Universalisme (2022), Suaudeau and Mame-Fatou Niang rethink universalism as a postcolonial language.

 

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Richard Taittinger

Gallery Owner

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Born in Paris in 1980 / based in New York since 2007, Richard Frerejean Taittinger is a Curator, Art Dealer, and Champagne maker. He is the Founder of RICHARD TAITTINGER GALLERY in New York and Co-founder of CHAMPAGNE FREREJEAN FRERES. A pioneer of NYC’s Lower East Side, RTG advocates for price transparency and democratization of the art world, showing artists from outside the traditional art world system together with established talents. In July 2019, RTG launched a print program and, in June 2021 launched its NFT program offering affordable works to encourage collecting.

(c) Benjamin Lozovsky
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Craig Taylor

Writer

Unsung New York

Craig Taylor is the author of the bestselling Londoners. His other books, Return to Akenfield and One Million Tiny Plays About Britain, have both been adapted for the stage. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Globe & Mail and Granta.

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Jyoti Thottam

Writer and Editor

The World Was Changing, and She Was Changing With It

Jyoti Thottam is a member of the editorial board of The New York Times and the author of Sisters of Mokama: The Pioneering Women Who Brought Hope and Healing to India. She is veteran reporter, editor and foreign correspondent and from 2008 to 2012, she was Time’s South Asia Bureau Chief in New Delhi, where she wrote numerous cover stories, including award-winning stories about the Ganges River and the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

07/28/21 - (EDT) - RANDALL, NY - Jyoti Thottam photographed in Randall, New York Photographed August 3, 2021. # 30258430A ( Photo by Damon Winter/ The New York Times )
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Katherine Todrys

Human rights lawyer and writer

The Cost of American Oil: The Dakota Access Pipeline, Tribal Sovereignty, and Environmental Justice

Katherine Todrys is a human rights lawyer and writer. Her first book, Black Snake: Standing Rock, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Environmental Justice, was published in June 2021. She currently serves as a member of the policy and New York executive committees of Human Rights Watch and as a pro bono attorney representing children seeking asylum. Previously, Kate worked as a researcher with the Health and Human Rights division of Human Rights Watch. She holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and an A.B. from Harvard College.

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Terje Toomistu

Anthropologist and Documentary Filmmaker

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The Hippie Quest For Freedom: Lessons from the Soviet Hippie Movement

Terje Toomistu is an anthropologist and a documentary filmmaker from Estonia. She has been a Fulbright Fellow at the University of California Berkeley and a visiting researcher at the University of Amsterdam. She has also lived and studied in France, Russia, and Indonesia. Her research-driven documentaries combine the anthropological depth of inquiry with playful experimentation. Her multi-award-winning documentary Soviet Hippies has been featured widely in the international press. She has curated exhibitions in U.K., Germany, Canada, and Sweden, and given lectures at universities internationally.

(c) Ruudu Rahumaru
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Antoine Vigne

Author

Where Are We Going? A Bus Journey

Antoine Vigne is a French author. Born in Paris and living between the United States and France, he has published fiction and non-fiction, including books on art and architecture and some children books and tales. He is also consultant in the cultural field and currently serves on the board of the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France.
Antoine Vigne

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