Martin Roth Symposium

What can culture do?


Portrait of Suay Aksoy

Suay Aksoy is President of ICOM. She initiated her academic career in the field of Political Science at the Istanbul University. Later she has taught courses in Museum Management and Cultural Heritage at Istanbul's Fine Arts University and Bogazici University. Aksoy headed museum projects and curatorial activities at the History Foundation of Turkey where she later functioned as Board member and Vice-President for consecutive terms. Aksoy also worked as a Director of Cultural Heritage and Museums at the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency.

Portrait of Lazare Eloundou Assomo

Lazare Eloundou Assomo is the current Deputy Director of the Division for Heritage at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. He is trained as an architect conservator and town-planner specialized in earthen architecture and cultural heritage. Before October 2016, he was UNESCO Head of Office and Representative in Mali and main responsible for coordinating UNESCO’s actions to rehabilitate Mali’s cultural heritage and ancient manuscripts damaged by the armed conflict in 2012. Lazare Eloundou Assomo was also one of the key players for the establishment of the African World Heritage Fund, now a UNESCO Category 2 Centre. He is the author of the book "African World Heritage, a remarkable diversity"published by UNESCO in 2012.

Kurt Hübner is professor in the Political Science Department at the University of British Columbia and holds the Jean Monnet Chair for European Integration and Global Political Economy. He received his PhD in Economics and Political Science from the Free University Berlin. His expertise is in the field of European integration in the context of the global political economy. In the last couple of years, his work also focused on trade policy issues. Kurt Hübner was visiting research professor at University of Birmingham, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, National University in Singapore, Science Po in Grenoble, LUISS in Rome and at Waseda University in Tokyo, among others.

Sunil Khilnani is Avantha Professor and Director, India Institute, King's College London. He was formerly Starr Foundation Professor at the John Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington D.C. Sunil Khilnani has been a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge; the Woodrow Wilson Center; the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin and the American Academy in Berlin. Khilnani's publications include "Arguing Revolution - The Intellectual Left in Postwar France" (1993) and "The Idea of India" (20th anniversary edn. 2017). His most recent book is "Incarnations - A History of India in Fifty Lives" (2016), which accompanies his 50-part BBC Radio series.

Portrait of Mateo Kries

Mateo Kries is director of the Vitra Design Museum since 2011. After starting his career at the Museum of Berber Art in Marrakech, he started working at the Vitra Design Museum in 1995. Kries has been responsible for many exhibitions and publications about major protagonists of modern and contemporary design. He was co-founder of the Berlin-based festival "Designmai" and has been a member of Jurys for the Design of the Year Award of the Designmuseum London, the Architizer Award and the Frame Award. In 2010 he published "Total Design – Die Inflation moderner Gestaltung". In 2017 Kries has been appointed as Honorary Professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe.

Portrait of Jonathan Ledgard

J.M. (Jonathan) Ledgard is considered a leading proponent of planetary writing and an influential thinker on technology, risk, and nature. He holds a master degree in history from the University of St. Andrews. Ledgard was a foreign political and war correspondent for The Economist from 1995 to 2012. From 2012 to 2017 he was director at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, heading a cross-disciplinary futurist lab. He has pioneered projects in the field of robotics and blockchain and lectured widely including at ETH, Imperial College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Institute of Advanced Studies. Ledgard invented the cargo drone and droneport concept for Africa together with Norman Foster as design lead, and presented the concept at the 2016 Venice Biennale. He is presently working on advanced technology and natural capital projects and is a visiting professor in artificial intelligence at the Czech Technical University in Prague.

Portrait of Tim Reeve

Tim Reeve is Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A, since 2013. He is a graduate in Ancient History from Royal Holloway, University of London and studied at the Institute of Archaeology (UCL) and INSEAD on its International Executive Programme. Reeve led the V&A’s support of China Merchant’s Group in the creation of the V&A Galleries within a new design museum in Shenzhen. He is closely involved in establishing V&A East, a dynamic new museum in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. Before joining the V&A, Reeve was Director of Historic Properties at English Heritage. He is a Trustee of the Canal & River Trust and Paintings in Hospitals.

Portrait of Christoph Thun-Hohenstein

Christoph Thun-Hohenstein assumed direction of the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/ Contemporary Art (MAK) in 2011. While working for the Austrian Foreign Ministry he held posts in Abidjan, Geneva, and Bonn. He was Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York from 1999 to 2007. Later he served as Managing Director of "departure", the Creative Agency of the City of Vienna, until August 2011. Thun-Hohenstein is furthermore Head of the Vienna Biennale, which he initiated in 2015. He has also curated exhibitions of contemporary art, and he regularly serves on selection juries.

Portrait of Pepe Serra Villalba

Pepe Serra Villalba is director of the "Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya", Barcelona since 2012. He holds a B.A. in Art History from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Among others, he has been Director of the Museum Picasso Barcelona (2006 to 2011) and Deputy Director of Museums and Cultural Heritage at the Department of Culture of the Government of Catalonia (2005 to 20006). Serra Villalba is also involved in several academic and educational programs regarding Museums and Cultural Management such as Co-director and professor of Museum Studies Graduate at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona and Co-director of the two editions of the Museum Management Seminar organized by Johns Hopkins University in Barcelona.

Portrait of Ma Yansong

Ma Yansong is currently a professor in Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, as well as an adjunct professor in University of Southern California, and Tsinghua University. He is a Beijing-born architect and founder and principal partner of MAD Architects. Many of Ma Yansong’s designs follow his "Shanshui City" philosophy – the vision to create a new balance among society, the city and the environment through architecture. Exploring this idea through an international practice he has created a series of imaginative works, including the Absolute Towers, Chaoyang Park Plaza, Harbin Opera House, and Ordos Museum. In 2014, Ma Yansong was selected as the principal designer for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.