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Meet the Lebanese representatives in this year’s Cultural Leadership International (CLI) programme


47 emerging cultural leaders from 18 countries have now been selected to take part in this year’s Cultural Leadership International (CLI) programme. CLI is a British Council programme sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations and HIVOS.

Participants come from the Middle East, South Africa, Central Asia and Europe, and their backgrounds span the whole cultural and creative sector – from the visual and performing arts, to fashion design, film production, festival management, education and policy development.
Elie Michel Harfouche and Tania El-Khoury were selected to represent Lebanon in this year’s programme.
They will meet for the first time at a special workshop in Istanbul from 23-27 October to explore key issues in cultural leadership, in terms of both individual and collective responsibility. The event will take place during the 11th International Istanbul Biennale, one of the most comprehensive and prestigious visual arts events in the world and will be hosted at the amazing new SALT Galata Forum, the cultural NGO’s new space for exhibitions and conferences housed in the former 19th century Imperial Ottoman Bank’s headquarters. Participants will examine their personal leadership development through common challenges related to cultural policy, social justice and technological innovation. The programme will bring renowned international specialists like Dr Salwa Mikdadi (Head of the Emirates Foundation’s Arts and Culture Programme), Ulrich Hardt (Theater Expedition Metropolis), Tony Butler (Director, Museum of East Anglian Life), Dr Salma Mobarak (Cairo University), Orwa Nyrabia (Director, Dox Box Documentary Film Festival, Syria), Josephine Burns (BOP Consulting) and Zumray Kutlu (Anadolu Kultur) to inspire and contribute to the participants’ discussions. During the afternoons and evenings, the group will learn more about culture’s wider social and political role in Istanbul by visiting innovative local initiatives, taking part in tours that trace Istanbul’s recent urban growth and its impact on the city’s different cultural communities, and by attending special talks, exhibitions and events as part of the Biennale’s programme.
Participants will all receive a small grant to implement a professional development plan in 2012.
Elie Michel Harfouche is a practising architect, heading Elie Michel Harfouche Architects, and works also as an Assistant Professor at the Lebanese American University in Byblos and as the Editor-in-chief of Archileb, the Lebanese architecture online portal.
He obtained a Diplôme d’Études Supérieures Spécialisées in Architecture from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts and a KRSF/British Council funded MSc in Architectural History from the Bartlett at University College London.
He has practised and taught in both Lebanon and the UK.
Tania El-Khoury creates immersive and challenging performances in which the audience is an active collaborator. She sees art as a political and relational practice so her audience is often an intimate group. She performs in real sites, ranging from the great hall at the British Museum to an old church in Beirut once used as a military base during the Lebanese civil war.
She recently won the Total Theatre Award for Innovation and the Arches Brick Award on her work as a solo artist.
She is also the co-founder of Dictaphone Group, an initiative that uses live art as a means to comment on urban landscapes. The group was established in London during the summer of 2009 and since then has been working on researching specific urban spaces in Lebanon. It is based on a collaboration with Abir Saksouk-Sasso, an urban researcher and architect. They have recently been joined by the performer and producer Petra Serhal and the production designer Petra Abousleiman.

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  1. Suzanne Maguire

    Congratulations Elie and Tania - well done!

  2. dr.hourany

    BRAVO ELIE!!! and TANIA!