• ADÈLE EISENSTEIN

    Curator│Writer│Translator

    Adèle is an independent curator, writer, editor, translator with a background in psychology and film studies, especially focused on social issues and human rights. Originally from NY, Adèle emigrated to Budapest in 1990. She studied at the University of Rochester, University of Paris – Sorbonne, New School – Parsons School of Design, and School of Visual Arts.

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  • Alexander Farrow

    Lecturer in Cinema Studies

    A Bay Area native, Alexander Farrow received both his BA and MA from San Francisco State University in Cinema Studies where he has been teaching and assistant teaching film theory-related classes for the past 5 years. Additionally, Alexander has served as a programmer for San Francisco's Arab Film Festival for 5 consecutive fests and seeks with urgency to bring his knowledge of film curation to WVN.

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  • Amina Ahmed

    Artist│Activist

    Amina Ahmed was born in East Africa and is a Kutchi Turk Indian. She grew up in England and has lived in Iran and the USA. Ahmed is a graduate of Chelsea School of Art, Winchester School of Art, where she earned a BA. She received her MFA from the Royal College of Art (1991), where she specialized in Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts and was awarded the Barakat Trust prize for excellence. A visual artist, educator and activist, Ahmed is a board member for the Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development.

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  • Antonella Notari Vischer

    Non-Profit Director

    After working for over 18 years with the International Committee of the Red Cross as a field-based Delegate in different armed conflicts, and as the main Spokesperson and Head of Public Communication, Antonella Notari Vischer entered the microfinance sector as Director of Corporate Communication at BlueOrchard in Geneva from early 2008 until November 2009. As of January 2010, she is heading The Womanity Foundation.

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  • Atif Sheikh

    Gallery Co-FounderCurator

    Atif Sheikh is co-founder of 12G (Twelve Gates Arts) and resident curator. Sheikh orchestrated the first 12G experimental video art festival in 2015. He is working towards an MA in Liberal Arts with focus on Museum Studies, Art History, and Non-Profit Administration from the University of Pennsylvania (2016). He earned his BA from the University of Rochester (1996).

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  • Carol Downer

    Feminist LawyerAuthor

    Carol Downer (b. 1933) has focused her career on abortion rights and women's health around the world. She participated in the civil rights movement in Los Angeles during the 1960s and joined the women's liberation movement in 1969. Carol is currently promoting women's liberation, giving speaking presentations and also working on her next book about women's collective efforts to achieve their sexual and reproductive liberation as a fundamental strategy for social change. She is on the board of directors of the Feminist Women's Health Centers of California, which operates eight Women's Heath Specialist Clinics.

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  • Christy Roberts Berkowitz

    ArtistMusicianAcademic

    Artist, musician, academic, organizer, and agitator, Christy Roberts Berkowitz, composes experiences, images, and objects that attempt to reconcile revolution and escapism. A native of Southern California, Roberts holds Bachelor Degrees in Philosophy and Religion, a BFA in Studio Art, and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University, earned in 2011. Roberts is an Associate Professor at Moreno Valley College, Riverside City College, Norco College, and University of La Verne.

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  • Deana Nassar

    Artistic Director

    Deana Nassar is the Artistic Director for the Arab Film Festival (San Francisco), which is celebrating its 20th year as the largest international film festival to program Arab film outside of the Middle East. Deana was born and raised in Los Angeles where she received her undergraduate degree in Sociology and International Relations from the University of Southern California. She later went on to receive her J.D. from Howard University School of law in Washington D.C.

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  • Diana Dercyz-Kessler

    PresidentCEO

    Diana Derycz-Kessler is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Los Angeles Film School and The Los Recording School. These higher education schools bridge the gap between dreams and the reality of a career in media arts, teaching hands-on programs using the latest technologies. In addition to her educational activities, Diana serves as manager and general counsel to various investment companies that are co-owned with her husband Paul Kessler, a financier. She and Paul invest in a variety of sectors in addition to education.

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  • Farah Bullara

    WriterActivist

    Farah Jahan Siddiqui Bullara is a writer, activist, community organizer and president of the Board of Trustees for Golden Thread Productions, a San Francisco-based theater company dedicated to staging plays from and about the Middle East.

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  • Gretchen Steidle

    FounderPresident

    Gretchen Steidle is the Founder and President of Global Grassroots, an international organization working at the intersection of personal and societal transformation to catalyze the ideas of grassroots change agents working for women’s rights and well-being post-conflict. In 2005, she launched Global Grassroots’ work in the Darfur refugee camps of eastern Chad, and in 2006 expanded to Rwanda. Gretchen is a producer of the documentary film The Devil Came on Horseback, which was nominated for three Emmy Awards in 2009.

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  • Isabelle Lutterodt

    ArtistCuratorEducator

    Through a combination of daydreaming, researching and impromptu interviews I explore the relationship between the erasure of memory and history in the landscape.

    MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies from the University of Leicester, UK

    MFA in Photography from California Institute for the Arts, CA

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  • Joobin Bekhrad

    Writer│FounderEditor

    An award-winning writer, Joobin Bekhrad (BBA, MSc.) is the founder and Editor of REORIENT, a publication celebrating contemporary Middle Eastern arts and culture. He has contributed to such publications as the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Christie’s, Encyclopaedia Iranica, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia, Aesthetica, Canvas, and Songlines, seen his articles translated into Persian, Arabic, Italian, Russian, and Chinese, among other languages, and interviewed personalities including Parviz Tanavoli, Ziad Doueiri, Mohammad Rasoulof, Joana Hadjithomas, and Khalil Joreige.

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  • Roopashree Jeevaji

    ActressPhilanthropist

    Roopashree Jeevaji was born in India and raised in Mumbai. At a young age, she trained in Bharata Natyam, a classical Indian dance form where her interest for acting developed right after. As a teenager, Jeevaji became the face of Bru Coffee, India’s largest coffee brand. She is an actress, mentor, and philanthropist.

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  • Salwa Sheibany

    Language & Arab Cinema Instructor

    Salwa Sheibany grew up in Libya, Egypt, and Europe. Currently she teaches at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, where she gives classes in Arabic and French, and developed an Arab Cinema/Le Cinema du Monde Arabe course. She is currently working on a book proposal exploring Arab Cinema, and researching women’s roles in Libya before and after the revolution. Salwa completed several years of adjunct work at Randolph Macon College, University of Richmond, and taught at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.

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  • Uzma Rizvi

    Associate Professor

    Uzma Z. Rizvi is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design, Brooklyn and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of International Studies at the American University of Sharjah. Recent publications include Crafting Resonance: Empathy and Belonging in Ancient Rajasthan (2015), Decolonizing Archaeology: On the Global Heritage of Epistemic Laziness (2015) and the World Archaeological Congress Research Handbook on Postcolonial Archaeology (2010).

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