Our world continues to shrink while our collective creativity abounds. Washington DC, a hub for international activity and exchange, boasts some of the most influential diplomacy organizations and programs in the world. This discussion will center on how we, as a leading nation, link to other countries and cultures through artistic mediums. How can music, theater, dance, and the visual arts evolve our dialogue and bridge cultural gaps? Representatives from arts organizations making significant diplomatic contributions will fuel this discussion on how art crosses borders.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to register for EALS on Sunday, March 23.This panel will be during our first breakout session, from 11:45am – 1:00pm.

We are happy to announce our esteemed panelists and moderator:

curtis sandberg

Dr. Curtis Sandberg serves as Meridian International Center‘s Senior Vice President for Arts and Cultural Programs. He is responsible for developing and managing Meridian’s exhibitions and cultural programs in the United States, as well as organizing collaborations with institutional and governmental partners to strengthen international understanding worldwide. Since 2001, Sandberg has been at the forefront of Meridian’s cultural work with China, creating bilateral projects and exchanges. This resulted in Meridian’s Memorandum of Understanding for Culture with China, membership in the U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange network through the U.S. Department of State, and the creation of the American-Chinese Cultural Initiative. Dr. Sandberg holds a B.A. degree in classical archaeology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from Harvard University. He has been involved in archaeological projects in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. He has taught at Harvard University and at the John Burroughs School, Saint Louis, Missouri, and has lectured at conferences, as well as at museums, diplomatic missions, and cultural organizations in the United States and abroad. Sandberg was a Rotary International Fellow, a Fulbright-Hayes Fellow, a Harvard Sinclair-Kennedy Fellow, and a Whiting Fellow.

During her career with the U.S. Foreign Service, Lea Perez held public diplomacy positions in the Middle East, Europe and Washington.  Most recently, she was Director of Press and Public Diplomacy for Europe and Eurasia (2008-2010), Director of the Office of Citizen Exchanges in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (2003-2008),  and Cultural Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Paris (1999-2003).  In 2010-2011, Lea was posted to the Smithsonian to develop a strategic partnership between the two institutions. Since 2012, Lea has been a Senior Advisor to the Policy, Planning and Resources office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, on contract through her company, KLP Consulting LLC. She holds an MS in National Security Strategy from the National War College and an MA in Near Eastern Studies from U.C. Berkeley.  She speaks Spanish, French, Arabic and German.

Tara Compton

Tara Ashley Compton is the Managing Director and Co-Director of International Programming, as well as a performer and choreographer, with Company E, a contemporary dance company that travels as a Cultural Ambassador for the US Department of State. Company E’s Rooted in a deep interest for cultural diplomacy, both Tara and Company E have traveled the world curating and performing in cultural outreach programs for the US Department of State and US Missions, as well as foreign ministries in multiple countries including: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Algeria, Spain, Italy, Israel, and Palestine, among others. Tara also serves as a specialist and consultant for cultural projects and events for many embassies in the Washington, DC area. Additionally, Tara and Company E serve as lecturers at the Foreign Service Institute in Cultural and Public Diplomacy.

Markita Brooks is native Washingtonian and has worked for at the U.S. Department of State for the past 14 years. She is currently a Program Specialist in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs where she works on both performing and visual arts exchange programs.  Markita will earn her Masters Degree in Arts Management from American University in the Spring of 2014 and will continue to pursue a career in the arts through federal service.  She believes in the power of the arts to break down barriers and bring together people from all walks of life.

JoshuaJoshua Midgett  is currently a Master of Arts in Arts Management candidate as well as pursuing his Graduate Certificate in International Arts Management, both at American University. He’s only recently returned from an academic sojourn at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, where he studied Cultural Tourism. He holds two undergraduate degrees from Keene State College in Economics and Directing. Prior to studying at American, Joshua served in various managerial capacities with the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Glimmerglass Festival, Oasis Productions, and Foodplay, Inc. Since coming to D.C. he has had the pleasure of working with the DeVos Institute at the Kennedy Center, GALA Hispanic Theatre, and the Young Playwright’s Theater. He is an amalgam of organizational and creative passion and has an unrivaled love of cereal.

See you Sunday, March 23 for the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium!