Using culture as a driving force for sustainable development

Participants of the Culture and the SDGs Programme

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Meet the participants

Magdalena Ayerra I Argentina

Policymaker specializing in social urbanism. She is engaged in the design, implementation, and evaluation of projects that improve the economic development of local communities, with a focus on art and culture as a tool for social transformation. She is currently working for the MIT Center for Constructive Communication developing a platform for people’s experiences to shape decision-making processes, and potentially, to activate community members to advocate for changes in their communities. She was the Director of the Arts District of Buenos Aires and the Coordinator of Creative Neighborhood in Buenos Aires City Government.

Sneha Bhattacharyya I India

I have completed M.Phil. in Social Sciences and is currently working as a Manager, Project and Research at Contact Base (trading style: banglanatak dot com, Working in the domain of inclusive growth and sustainable development following the pathway of culture, at Contact Base I work towards ensuring women empowerment and upliftment of indigenous communities. My work is dedicated to use culture as a vehicle for development addressing SDGs - poverty alleviation, gender, wellbeing, inclusive development, global cooperation etc.

Shatha El Shreif I Egypt

Shatha El-Sherif is a Ph.D holder with 13 years of work experience in monitoring and evaluation, strategic planning, research, and managing data. She has worked in different governmental organizations including Egyptian Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Egyptian Ministry of Housing and Urban Communities, and INGOs including UNHABITAT, Aga Khan and CRS. Now, El-Sherif is working at UNICEF at the Social Policy section capacity as Data and Monitoring consultant mainly to support the data for children unit, develop household and individual surveys, and linking this all with the SDGs indicators.

Matic Gajšek I Slovenia

Matic Gajšek is a international cultural manager and researcher, with a focus on development of strategic projects intertwining culture, innovation and cultural diplomacy. His wide range of experience includes working with international orchestras, talent agencies and artists. From 2018 until 2021, Matic has been the director of Hestia Art, arts studio managing projects of Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing. In 2021, Matic joined the Brussels’s based Europe – Asia Center as Deputy Director. He is lecturing at Breda University of Applied Sciences (NL) and as a doctoral researcher at Tilburg University (NL) researches the topic of “rural creative placemaking”. He is also the founding director of Hisa Podlog, a pioneering cultural residency space in rural Slovenia.

Liyuan Gao I China

I am a technology consultant for metaverse (AR/VR) projects with tourism industry specialisation. Through Culture and SDGs Training and Residency Programme, I would like to explore the model of using accessible technology to create cultural and sustainability educational experiences to promote cross-cultural understanding, trust, and eventually motivation for global collaboration in addressing sustainability issues.

Mmeli Hlanze I Eswatini

Mmeli Hlanze is a young African leader whose strong passion for entrepreneurship and love for music propelled him into the in the creative cultural industries as a music executive and cultural project manager. His journey in the music business began in 2012 when he co-founded Antidote Music, a digital record label and artist management agency which, at the time, became the first label from Eswatini to release music online and, to-date, has the largest digital music catalogue in Eswatini. Through his work at Antidote Music and the Antidote Culture Foundation, Mmeli supports artistic development, helps artists monetize their talent and create sustainable music careers

Nadia Jmal  I Tunisia

Nadia Jmal is multilingual Gender and peace-building advocate and was previously a program officer at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). She has experience working in Gender justice, informal education, participatory art, and memorialization through partnerships with the European Union’s institutions, United Nations agencies, and other local and strategic partners in Tunisia. Across all of her work, she has been focusing on how to engage citizens, particularly women and youth, in transitional justice processes that serve to catalyze broader public debate and ongoing civic activism.

Johnmary Kavuma Uganda

Johnmary Kavuma is an Award-winning social entrepreneur from Uganda, the co-founder of Upcycle Africa, Gewuza Foundation, Sisal Grower Uganda, and Upcycle Impact Tours. As a speaker he has been on different platforms including the One young world, Global Landscapes Forum, Seedbed Conference, Global Advancement Summit among other. His work has been featured on different media platforms Using plastic waste to contribute towards affordable housing in the most marginalized communities including refugee camps. Johnmary is also a mentor and has been able to inspire and transfer his knowledge to many young people from different parts of Africa.

Alejandra Linares Figueruelo I Spain

My name is Alejandra Linares Figueruelo, I am a PhD student at the University of Barcelona. I was born and raised in Madrid but I have been living in Barcelona for almost eight years for my studies. My lines of research focus on social anthropology and museology, especially on the changes experienced by museums throughout the 20th and 21st century and their role in the framework of diplomatic relations based on culture and to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Aya Miyazaki I Japan

Aya Miyazaki is a cultural heritage specialist with a specific focus on issues of sustainable cultural heritage conservation against development threats, with an approach that incorporates "heritage communities" and local/national/international authorities in the international system to enable long-term conservation and usage of historic buildings. Having worked and collaborated in cultural diplomacy and heritage institutions at the national (Japan and Mexico) and international (UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM) levels, she is looking into culture as a means of long-term sustainability of the society, environment and economy. She has a PhD from the University of Tokyo in Human Security Studies and MAs in International Relations and in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings

Odongo Solomon I Uganda

Odongo Solomon is a seasoned leader, entrepreneur, and innovator with experience working with International NGOs, government and start-ups. He is currently the CEO of the Tumaini African Knowledge Center, a Pan-African Company committed to ensuring that pan African values inform solutions to the economic, peace and social challenges so as to improve the quality of life of African communities. He has served as AIESEC in Uganda Country Director and CEO of Diacente Group. Odongo is also a global Shaper at the World economic Forum and a Youth Advisor with JA worldwide.

Nadia Pérez I Mexico

Nadia Pérez has more than ten years of experience working in communication, design and cultural management, with special emphasis on the development of comprehensive educational strategies to engage audiences in issues related to art, culture, environment and social issues. She has developed and been part of important projects related to curatorial practice, in Mexico and internationally. In 2018 she assumed the Head of the Department of Literature and Editorial Promotion of the Secretariat of Art and Culture of the Government of Yucatan. She currently serves as Chief of Office of the Secretariat of Art and Culture of Yucatán.

Razcel Jan Salvarita I Philippines

Razcel Jan Salvarita works in the intersection of arts, culture, and environmental conservation in the international field and hails from the Philippines. He is a cross-disciplinary creative artist, a socially-engaged community arts organizer, and staunch advocate for sustainable development. He identifies his role as an “activator, facilitator, and educator” and serves as an independent cultural bearer. Raz is a recipient of numerous international fellowships; he is a TEDx speaker on “Effecting Environmental Consciousness through Arts”. He believes in the transformative power of the arts as a centering place for healing, recovery, and renewal of courage.

Virginia Sanfelice I Italy

Virginia is an environmental lawyer, with experience in both public and private sectors. Having working with legal-policy and management skills, since 2005, she started her professional journey at 3M. After that, Virginia worked as a legal advisor and chief legal counsel for a variety of municipal and government authorities and since 2014 she has developed her international and environmental experience on academic and consultancy field developing SDGs. Most recently she was engaged with environmental compliance project for tech and maritime industry. Currently she works for Diageo on environmental compliance and strategy.

Sifiso Skenjana I South Africa

Sifiso Skenjana is the founder and managing director of ESG Analytics - a sustainability research and advisory business. He is also currently the business show host of PowerBusiness on Power987. Sifiso a development economist, policy advisor, radio broadcaster and strategist having also previously held position as the Chief Economist and Executive Head of Research and Strategic Advisory at IQbusiness, with broad experience in management consulting, asset and investment management and research and economic advisory experience across various sectors and sub-industries having also worked at Monitor Deloitte, Nedbank and Stanlib. He has 13 years' industry experience and is an international and frequent speaker at various seminars and conferences as a subject matter expert/thought leader on the micro and macro economy and broader economic development topics. He has also recently served on the Ministerial Task Team for a Post-COVID economic recovery stream for the Department of Telecommunications and Digital Technologies. He is a columnist for various business and economic publications and is also a regular commentator various TV and Radio platforms.

Marta Szadowiak I Poland

Associated with culture, and above all with music since the moment of conception - her parents are artists-musicians. On a daily basis at Goyki 3 Art Inkubator in Sopot she is responsible for networking, sustainable development and public relations. Originator and organizer of cultural events. Doctoral student at the Centre for Research on Creative Economy at SWPS University in Warsaw. Privately, a collector of impressions and experiences, a lover of big and small journeys, cold water diving, an amateur of good music and meetings with loved ones.

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