President, Fondation Zinsou—Musée d'Ouidah
Marie-Cécile Zinsou oversees Benin's first private foundation, established in 2005 by the Zinsou family and dedicated to African culture and contemporary art. Through the Foundation's Musée d'Ouidah, Fondation Zinsou has organized more than twenty exhibitions and has formed a collection to preserve artistic heritage in Africa, acting as a springboard for the diffusion and recognition of contemporary African art. Its outreach programs include mini-libraries, cultural mediation workshops, and youth programming conducted on school buses traveling throughout Benin. The programs have exposed children in three hundred schools to contemporary art and cultural heritage. In 2014, Ms. Zinsou received the Japan Foundation's Premium Imperiale Prize and was named a Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres by the French government.
Marilyn Douala Bell is a development economist who specializes in grassroots organizations and urban studies. For most of her career, she has explored the relationship between local stakeholders, organizations, and urban development. In 1991, Mrs. Doaula Bell co-founded Doual'art with the art historian Didier Schaub. Housed in the former cinema of the Palace of Douala Kings, Doual'art is a research laboratory focused on contemporary culture and urban issues. With activities ranging from art exhibitions to symposia, it aims
to bring artistic creation out of traditional exhibition contexts. At Doual'art, Mrs. Douala-Bell oversees social and cultural mediation initiatives and coordinates Arts & Ubris, a think tank which manages the organization's intellectual output and production.
Director, Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology
Dr. Wang Weilin is Director of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology and the Founding Director of the Shaanxi Archaeology Museum, the first museum in China to focus exclusively on archaeology. Since its establishment in 1958, the Institute has collected 140,000 archaeological objects. Dr. Wang has overseen numerous excavations, including Dabaodang and Xinhua in Shenmu County, and at YangGuanzhai in Gaoling County. A renowned professor of archaeology and a research fellow of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Wang has published more than fifty reports and serves as a graduate supervisor at the Frontier Archaeology Research Center of Jilin University as well as the College of Cultural Heritage at Northwest University in Xi'an.
María Alicia Uribe
Director, Museo del Oro
An archaeologist and anthropologist, María Alicia Uribe is an expert on Precolumbian archaeology. She began her career in 1984 as a curator at the Museo del Oro, which is part of the cultural division of the Banco de la República, and encompasses six regional museums as well as twenty-eight cultural branches of Colombia's national bank. Ms. Uribe has overseen many exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. She was appointed Director of Museo del Oro in 2010. While supervising museum policy and operations, Ms. Uribe continues to conduct archaeological studies and curate. She has published and lectured widely and was a 2012 participant in the Getty Leadership Institute. Ms. Uribe holds a BA in Anthropology from the Universidad de los Andes, in Bogotá, and an MA in Artifact Studies from the Institute of Archaeology of University College London.
Sanaa Ahmed Aly
General Director, Museums of Upper Egypt
Supreme Council of Antiquities
As General Director of the Museums of Upper Egypt at Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, Sanaa Aly is responsible for the museums of Luxor, Aswan, Sohag, and Kharga. Previously, she held several senior positions at the Luxor Museum, including: General Director (2006–2011); Director (1999–2001); Deputy (1997–1998); and Curator and Head of Museum Education (1984–1997). Mrs. Aly's research focuses on the art and archaeology of the New Kingdom; she is currently completing her thesis on Ancient Egyptian art related to war and peace at Sohag University. Mrs. Aly has participated in international museum management programs including forums organized by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the British Council. She holds an MA in Egyptology.
Director General, National Museum of India
Venu Vasudevan serves as Director General of the National Museum of India in New Delhi and Vice Chancellor of India's National Museum Institute, under the Ministry of Culture. As a former Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Venu oversaw India's fine and performing arts, museums, and libraries. He played a key role in launching the Kochi Biennale, opened a new museum in Thiruvananthapuram, and started several professional development programs including: the Leadership Training Programme for Indian museum professionals, in association with the British Museum; the Vivekananda Memorial Programme for Museum Excellence, with the Art Institute of Chicago; and a fellowship program for conservators, with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Mellon Foundation. Mr. Vasudevan holds a MBBS degree in Medicine from Calicut Medical College.
Director, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Rhana Devenport is a museum director, curator, writer, editor, and producer. Since 2013, she has led the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand's foremost art museum, implementing an extensive mission and programming reorientation. Previously, Ms. Devenport was Director of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Zealand, where she oversaw the development of the new Len Lye Centre. She has worked with the 2006 Biennale of Sydney, Artspace Auckland, and the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery, and has overseen numerous exhibitions and commissions. She serves on advisory panels for The Walters Prize, The Hiroshima Art Prize, the International Public Art Award, and the forthcoming Nissan Art Award. A 2012 participant in the Getty Leadership Institute, Ms. Devenport holds degrees in education and teaching.
Yusuf Abdallah Usman
Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Government of Nigeria
As Director General of Nigeria's leading cultural commission, Yusuf Abdallah Usman oversees national collections, museums, and cultural heritage on behalf of the Nigerian government. Formerly, he served as Curator and Chief Researcher at the National Museum Gidan Makama in Kano and the National Museum Katsina, in charge of Kano, Katsina, and Jigawa states; Deputy Director and Head of the Ethnography Division at the National Museum in Kaduna; and Director of Monuments, Heritage and Sites. He was appointed Director General of the National Commission in 2009 and reappointed in 2013 for a second term. The recipient of many awards, Mr. Usman holds a M.Sc. in Political Science from Bayero University, in Kano, and has obtained diplomas and certificates from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, in Lagos, the Institute of Archaeology and Museum Studies, in Jos, and the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, in Jos.
Director, Museo de Arte de Lima
Since her appointment, in 2001, Natalia Majluf has overseen the renovation of the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), consolidated its collection, and developed a significant exhibition and publication program. An art historian by training, Ms. Majluf has served on the faculty of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and as Head Curator of MALI. She has produced exhibitions, lectured internationally, and published widely on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American art. Ms. Majluf has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Getty Curatorial Research Fellow, and has held fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC, and the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom. She holds a BA from Boston College, an MA from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.
Director, National Museum of the Philippines
Jeremy Barns joined the public sector in the Philippines after a career in finance. He consulted for the Office of the President of the Philippines in Manila before assuming the directorship of the Presidential Museum in 2004. In 2010, he was named Director of the National Museum, the premier repository of Filipino artistic and cultural heritage and natural history, established in 1901. He also serves as ex-officio trustee of the Museum, commissioner of the National Com-mission for Culture and the Arts and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, as well as trustee of various cultural foundations throughout the country. Since 2012, Mr. Barns has been Chairman of the Governing Board of the Regional Center for Archaeology and Fine Arts of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), headquartered in Bangkok.
Director, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
Pepe Serra is a longtime heritage and art museum manager who has overseen both public and private cultural institutions. In addition to his direction of Spanish museums, he has been involved in a number of academic and educational programs focusing on museum and cultural management. Prior to assuming directorship of the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) in 2012, Mr. Serra served as Director of the Museu Picasso, Barcelona; Deputy Director of Museums and Cultural Heritage, Department of Culture of the Government of Catalonia; and Head of Public Programs and Cultural Services at Foundation Caixa Catalunya—Antoni Gaudí's Casa Milà, Barcelona. A graduate of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Mr. Serra has curated numerous exhibitions and has taught courses on cultural management.
United Arab Emirates
Director General, Sharjah Museums Department
As Director General of the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD), Manal Ataya oversees sixteen museums in the emirate of Sharjah. The SMD, established in 2006, is responsible for the strategic development of museum projects in Sharjah, fostering international partnerships, and leading initiatives to develop best practices. Sharjah's museums hold collections of Islamic art, contemporary art, archaeological heritage, maritime history, and natural history. Ms. Ataya serves on numerous boards, including the College of Fine Arts, University of Sharjah; ICCROM-ATHAR; the Supreme Committee of the Sharjah Islamic Capital of Culture; and the Sharjah Tourism Advisory Committee. A graduate of the Clore Leadership Program in the United Kingdom, she holds an MA in Museum Studies from Harvard University.
Director, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford
Alexander Sturgis assumed the directorship of the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in 2014. Prior to joining the world's first university museum (established in 1683), Dr. Sturgis served as Director of the Holburne Museum in Bath, England, from 2005–2014, where he oversaw a widely acclaimed building renovation and expansion. Previously, he held various posts at the National Gallery in London, including Exhibitions and Progammes Curator, from 1999–2005. A widely published author, his books include Rebels and Martyrs: The Image of the Artist in the Nineteenth Century (2006) and Presence: Sculpture and the Portrait (2012). Dr. Sturgis holds a BA and an MA from University College, University of Oxford, and a PhD in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art.
Vo Van Thang
Director, Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture
Vo Van Thang was appointed Director of the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture (DMCS) in 2008. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Vo Van Thang served as Head of the Secretariat Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs within the Office of the Mayor of Da Nang. A specialist in Vietnamese literature and linguistics, he has worked for the Da Nang Department of Culture and Information as a researcher on the folkloric traditions of central Vietnam. He is the recipient of many research awards and holds an MA in Asian Studies from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he conducted postgraduate studies.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, United States
András Szántó is a widely published author and adviser to arts and cultural organizations. He has lectured on art business at the Sotheby's Institute of Art and has directed the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University. A former visiting critic at the American Academy in Rome, visiting senior fellow at the Center for Arts and Culture in Washington, and affiliate of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at Princeton University, he advises museums, foundations, and corporations on strategy and program development worldwide. A frequent moderator of the Art Basel Conversations series, he earned his PhD from Columbia University.