Director, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, The Netherlands
Defne Ayas is a curator, producer, and publisher in the field of contemporary visual art and its institutions. Ayas is currently the director of the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, where she oversees an exhibition and publication program devoted the question of crisis, be it aesthetic, geographic, economic, communal, ecological, and even spiritual, and how artists and art world can be active co-creators of politics, institutions and representations, if at all.
President, International Bateson Institute; Independent researcher, filmmaker and educator; Board Member, Tällberg Foundation
Nora Bateson, is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and educator, as well as President of the International Bateson Institute based in Sweden. Her work asks the question “How we can improve our perception of the complexity we live within, so we may improve our interaction with the world?”. An international lecturer, researcher and writer, Nora wrote, directed and produced the award-winning documentary, An Ecology of Mind, a portrait of her father, Gregory Bateson. Her work brings the fields of biology, cognition, art, anthropology, psychology, and information technology together into a study of the patterns in ecology of living systems.
Founder, Leading Ventures and Board Member, Tällberg Foundation
Tom Cummings has served as global head of Learning and Organisation Effectiveness for Unilever and ABN Amro Bank; project leader/adviser on planning and learning in companies such as Shell, Compass Group, Fortis, Marakon, BUPA and others. Tom has created and co-designed business transformation and learning vehicles such as Cambridge Energy Research Associates, Center for Strategy Research, Leading Ventures and Common Purpose Netherlands.
Tom has also led the Tällberg Leader Program since 2006 and has recently become a Board Member of the Tällberg Foundation. He is also senior advisor to the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV).
Tom’s work has involved him as a designer and catalyst in hundreds of projects and board retreats across many cultures. He works with people who wish to engage with complexity and want to learn how to move between and across different perspectives. The approach helps to integrate experience and anticipate challenges. His work encourages leaders to be present and mindful of their personal impact while sustaining a perspective on their legacy in the wider world.
Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and Senior Research Scholar at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University and Senior Advisor for Global Programs to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Dr. Vishakha N. Desai is Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and Senior Research Scholar at its School of International and Public Affairs. She also serves as Senior Advisor for Global Programs to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. From 2004 through 2012, Dr. Desai served as President and CEO of the Asia Society, a global organization dedicated to strengthening partnerships between Asia and the U.S.
In 2012, in recognition of Dr. Desai’s leadership in the museum field, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. She is an Advisory Trustee of the Brookings Institution, and a Trustee of the Bertelsmann Foundation, AFS Intercultural Programs. She serves as a member of the Advisory Council of the Center for American Progress and the International Advisory Committee for the Auroville Foundation, India, as well as on the Corporate Board of Mahindra & Mahindra, one of India’s largest global corporations.
In addition to several featured articles, Dr. Desai’s publications include: Asian Art History in the 21st century (March 2008), Gods Guardians and Lovers: Temple Sculpture of North India (November 1993), and Life at Court: Art for India’s Rulers (June 1985).
Dr. Desai holds a B.A. in Political Science from Bombay University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Art History from the University of Michigan, in addition to honorary degrees from Williams College, MA 2014, Centre College, 2008; Pace University, 2008; The College of Staten Island, NY 2006; and Susquehanna University, PA, 1996.
Senior Commentator, NHK World TV
Ms. Aiko Doden is NHK Senior Commentator on International Affairs, and Senior Producer for “NEWSROOM Tokyo” on NHK World TV. She has expertise in reporting on a wide range of global issues from hard security to human security. As commentator she covers SE Asia with a focus on Myanmar and Thailand, US Japan relations and Japan’s Foreign Policy. Ms Doden comments on developmental affairs with a focus on sustainable growth, gender equality and education. She has anchored key news program as “NHK News at 9 PM” “NHK World Network” and “NHK Asian Voices”. She was a correspondent in based in Thailand covering ASEAN countries extensively.
Her interviewees include the Nobel Laureates Malala Yousafzai, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Prof. Amartyr Sen, World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, Myanmar President Thein Sein, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and Thai Interim Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Mr. Ratan Tata, India and Mr. Bill Gates, USA. Ms Doden reported from Rajasthan, India to cover the “Resurgent Rajasthan” event in November 2015, and has interviewed the Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ms Vasundhara Raje.
In her previous capacity as “Asian Voices” presenter and chief editor, she regularly brought the programme outside Japan, to the venues of the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue and the World Bank Conferences. “Asian Voices” was aired from the venue of the World Economic Conference in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar 2013 with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi taking part as a panelist.
She holds an MA in international affairs from Columbia University, New York, USA, and a BA in foreign studies from Sophia University, Japan. She has spent her childhood in London, UK.
Muni Figueres has recently completed her tour of duty as ambassador from Costa Rica to the United States. During her tenure, President Barack Obama attended a summit of presidents from Central America and the Dominican Republic held in Costa Rica in June of 2012 to reinforce cooperation in economic and social develpment and in regional security.
She has served on for-profit (IDT – telecommunications) and not-for-profit boards, the latter dealing with SME’s (IESC – International Services Executive Corps in Washington, DC), education (chairing the board of LASPAU-Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., and member of the board of Zamorano Agriculture College in Honduras), and support to underprivileged public schoools (Fundacion Desarrollo Guanacaste, Costa Rica), as well as social work (International Social Services, in Baltimore, Md.).
Muni ran the External Relations Department of the Inter American Development Bank in Washington, dealing with the change initiated by all the multilateral institutions during the 1990’s towards greater transparency and public accountability with respect to policies and loan operations.
As Special Presidential Trade Representative for her country in Washington during the 1980’s, she became familiar with the US political system and the workings of Congress and the Executive Branch as well as the organized private sector.
Before running for Vice President of Costa Rica in 1990, she was Minister of Foreign Trade and as such designed and implemented the institutional and policy matrix underpinning the transition from a debt ridden, commodity exporter to the high-tech, high-value added international investment and export player that Costa Rica is today.
Muni holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, and a BA in Comparative Literature from City College of New York, and lives between Washington DC and Costa Rica.
CEO, Core Strategy Group
After graduating from Washington & Lee University, and a five-minute shot at the AFL, Scott Miller worked in advertising as Creative Director of McCann-Erickson, then founded Sawyer/Miller Group with David Sawyer. This strategic consulting group developed communications strategy for many political campaigns, corporations and institutions. Among Sawyer/Miller Group’s clients: Corazon Aquino, Vaclav Havel, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Miller Brewing, Boris Yeltsin, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Kim Dae Jung, Goldman-Sachs, Apple Computer, Virgilio Barco, USA for Africa/Hands Across America, Lech Walesa and The Better World Foundation. Sawyer/Miller also advised over 40 U.S. candidates for Governor or Senator and several Presidential campaigns.
In 2012 Scott founded RealLeader.com with Pat Caddell and Bob Perkins, and in 2013 with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Partnership for a Healthier America” initiative. During the 2014 elections, he founded “WeNeedSmith.com” and “A Promise to America” with Pat Caddell and Bob Perkins.
He wrote Building Brandwidth with Sergio Zyman, The Underdog Advantage with David Morey and One More Customer with Fran Tarkenton. Former Editor of the Times of London James Harding’s book Alpha Dogs is based on Miller’s work in politics. Scott is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Alan Stoga is a strategist and entrepreneur with extensive experience in communications and public relations, corporate consulting, digital media, geopolitics, banking and government. Currently, he serves as Senior Adviser at Kissinger Associates, the international consulting firm chaired by Dr. Henry Kissinger, as well as president of Zemi Communications, L.L.C., a New York based firm that provides communication counsel.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Stoga founded a private equity firm; was managing director of Kissinger Associates; served as chief economist for the Bipartisan National Commission on Central America, created by President Reagan; established and managed the country risk management activities for the First National Bank of Chicago; and served as an international economist in the U.S. Treasury (1975-77).
Mr. Stoga is Chairman of the board of the Tällberg Foundation (based in Sweden), Vice Chairman of the boards of the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas, and Secretary of the board of the Tinker Foundation. He also serves as Secretary of the multimedia awards jury for World Press Photo, based in Amsterdam. Mr. Stoga is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has economics and international relations degrees from Michigan State and Yale University, respectively.
Director, Programs and Operations, Smart Freight Centre, The Netherlands and Board Member, Tällberg Foundation
Maarten Koets is a concerned optimist who recently joined the Smart Freight Centre, an NGO aiming to make the global freight sector more environmentally sustainable and efficient, as Director of Programs and Operations. Previously he was Deputy Managing Director at the World Press Photo Foundation, an organization seeking to inspire understanding of the world through the highest quality photojournalism. Maarten was responsible for the strategic development of the World Press Photo contest and supported numerous juries in reaching their final decisions. He was also closely involved in the development of the World Press Photo Academy, a program aimed at creating learning and other opportunities for talented young photographers worldwide. Maarten holds an MA in Political Geography.