Ai Xiaoming, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, Guangzhou. Apart from teaching at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China, Ai is Director of the Sex/Gender Education Forum founded in 2003, Deputy Director of the Women's Study Center, and a translator, director and filmmaker. In her documentary films, she explores human rights and the legal system in China. "Paradise Garden" (2003), "Tai Shi Village" (2006) and "Care and Love" (2007) are among her best known documentaries.
Natasha Amiri, Author and Critic, Tehran. Born in 1970, Amiri began writing her first short stories in 1995, after meeting the author Ghazaleh Alizadeh. She has received numerous awards in Iran, including first prize from the literary magazine Asr-e-Panjshanbeh and the Iranian People's Prize for her debut novel “House of Stories”. Her novels and short stories have not yet been published in German.
Nevím Çil, Migration Researcher, Berlin, researches, teaches and publishes on migration and kinship relations. Her dissertation, "Topography of an Outsider: Turkish Generations and the German-German Reunification Process” was published in 2007. She is co-editor of “Insider-Outsider: Images, Ethnic Spaces and Participation in the Migration Process" (2005). Up to 2008, Çil was a research fellow at the Institute of European Ethnology at the Humboldt-University in Berlin. Her current project focuses on Turkish migrants in the European imaginary.
Faheem Dashty, Journalist, Kabul, studied political science at Kabul University, Kabul/Afghanistan. Because of his close ties to the leader of the Northern Alliance, Ahmad Shah Massoud, he fled from Afghanistan in 1989 stopping in Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, France and Pakistan. In 2001 he was near the commander, who fell victim in an attack. Dashty survived with serious injuries. After treatment abroad, he took over the trilingual newspaper Kabul Weekly in 2002, which had been originally founded by Massoud. The newspaper for which he now works as chief editor, is regarded as the first independent newspaper in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban.
Manthia Diawara, Professor of Comparative Literature and Film, New York, and director of Afro-American Affairs at New York University. He has written pioneering works on Black Cultural Studies such as, "African Cinema: Politics and Culture" (1985/1992), "Black American Cinema" (1993) and "In Search of Africa" (1998). Diawara founded the bilingual magazine Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, for which he still works as an editor. He has directed numerous films, including the documentary film "Ousmane Sembene: The Making of African Cinema" (1993) on which he collaborated with Ngugi wa Thiong'o. His film "Conakry Kas” (2003) won the Grand Prix for Documentary at FESPACO in 2005 as well as the Golden Dhow of the Zanzibar International Film Festival in 2005.
Andreas Eckert, Professor of Asian and African Studies, Berlin, studied history, French and journalism in Hamburg, Yaoundé/Cameroon, Aix-en-Provence from 1985 to 1990; in 1995, he earned his PhD from the University of Hamburg. He has been professor of African History at Humboldt University in Berlin since 2007, since 2008 he has been Managing Director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies. Eckert teaches and researches on the history of Africa in the 19th and 20th century and on issues of colonialism, and historiography of labor and globalization. He is author and editor of numerous books. His most recent publication is "From Imperialism to Empire - Non-Western Perspectives on Globalization" (ed. with Shalini Randeria, 2009).
Silvia Fehrmann, Cultural Scholar and Journalist, Berlin. Born in Buenos Aires, then worked at the Goethe Institute as Coordinator for press and sponsoring, and wrote for daily and weekly newspapers on cultural and political topics. After a stint as correspondent for Argentine media in New York, she was head of publicity from 2004 to 2007 at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin. Today Fehrmann is head of the communications department at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
Caroline Fetscher, Journalist and Publicist, Berlin, studied psychology and German literature in Freiburg and Hamburg, and was editor-in-chief of Greenpeace Magazine in Hamburg. As a free-lance writer, she has published articles in Der Spiegel, GEO, Frankfurter Rundschau, Süddeutsche Zeitung and the tageszeitung. Since 1997, she is on staff at the Tagesspiegel. Fetscher focuses on topics such as South East Europe, human rights and transatlantic relations. In 1997, she published "The Tropics as Text"; in 2002 "Srebrenica. A Trial" together with Yulia Bogoeva.
Bert Fragner, Professor of Iranian Studies, Vienna, studied Islamic, Turkish, Arabic and Iranian studies, as well as ethnology, science and Slavic studies at the University of Vienna. In 1965, he received a scholarship at the University of Tehran; in 1970 his doctorate at the University of Vienna. From 2000 to 2002, he was President of the German Oriental Society (DMG). Since April 2003, he has been Managing Director of the Institute of Iranian Studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of History, Oxford. Director of the European Studies Center at the University of Oxford, he is currently the Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow. Ash has received numerous awards, including the David Watt Memorial Prize, the Premio Napoli, the George Orwell Award, the Imre Nagy Memorial Plaque, the Hoffmann von Fallersleben Prize, the German Federal Cross of Merit, the merit crosses of Poland and the Czech Republic as well as the British CMG. In 2005, he was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. His works include: “The Magic Lantern" (1990), "In Europe’s Name" (1993) and "Free World" (2004).
Ejaz Haider, Journalist, Lahore, is editor of the independent Pakistani newspaper Daily Times. In 2003, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institute, where he worked within the Foreign Policy Studies Program on US-Pakistani relations. In addition to his editorial work, he was also a guest lecturer at numerous institutions, including the University of Illinois, USA, and the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) in Lahore, Pakistan. From 1999 to 2002, Haider was project coordinator for the Asia-Europe dialogue at the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Haider also writes for other publications in Asia, including the Times of India. His subjects range from Afghanistan and political Islam, to the relations between India and Pakistan.
Thomas Heise, Professor of Film / Media Art, Karlsruhe. After completing a printing apprenticeship, Heise worked as a director assistant at the DEFA Studio for Feature Films. He studied at the School for Film and Television in Potsdam until 1982. From 1987-90, Heise was a master class student at the Academy of Arts in the GDR. Only after reunification, he became well-known for films such as: "Stau - Jetzt geht's los" (1992). In 2005, his film "My Brother. We Will Meet Again," was screened at the Berlinale. Since 2007, Heise teaches at the Karlsruhe University for Arts and Design (HfG).
Dieter Ingenschay, Professor of Romance Studies, Berlin. PhD 1979. In 1987, Ingenschay continued his post-doctoral work at the University of Bochum. From 1990 to 1995 he was Professor of Romance Philology at the University of Munich. In 1995, he moved to the Humboldt University in Berlin and became Chair of the Romance Literature Department. His work focuses on post-modern cultural theory and contemporary romance literature. He is the general director of the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation with Germany ("Pro Spain). His most recent publications include: "Europ America" (ed. with O. Ette, G. Maihold, 2008), Argentina’s (post-) crisis: Symbols and Myths "( KultuRRevolution Nr. 51, 2006)," Hemispheric constructions of the Americas (ed. with P. Birle, M. Braig, O. Ette, 2006).
Navid Kermani, Journalist and Islamic scholar, Cologne. The habilitated Orientalist with a German and Iranian passport was a Long-Term Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin until 2003. He now lives in Cologne as a freelance author. He has received numerous awards for his academic and literary work, and most recently was a resident fellow at the Villa Massimo in Rome. He is a member of the German Academy for Language and Literature and the German Islam Conference. In 2008, he was made a Permanent Fellow at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. His forthcoming book "Who is We? Germany and its Muslims" (t.) will be published by C. H. Beck.
Margarita López Maya, Professorin für Development Studies, Caracas. Forscht und lehrt seit 25 Jahren zur politischen Zeitgeschichte Venezuelas. Sie war unter anderem Notre Dame Visiting Fellow des Helen Kellogg Institute, Indiana/USA, Andrés Bello Fellow an der University of Oxford, Oxford, sowie Tinker Foundation Fellow an der Columbia University, New York. Derzeit ist sie Fellow am Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. und arbeitet dort an dem Forschungsprojekt „Participatory Innovations in Bolivarian Caracas”. López Maya ist Honorarprofessorin am Center for Development Studies (CENDES) der Central University of Venezuela, Caracas.
Mueni wa Muiu, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Winston-Salem, studied Political Science and African Studies at Howard University, Washington, DC, and is now professor of political science at the Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina/USA. Her articles have been published in African & Asian Studies, the African Studies Review and the Journal of Third World Studies. She is the author of "The Pitfalls of Liberal Democracy” and “Late Nationalism in South Africa" (2008). Together with Guy Martin, she published in January 2009 "A New Paradigm of the African State: Fundi wa Africa."
Christina Nord, Film Critic, Berlin, studied Literature and Latin American Studies at the Free University of Berlin and in San José, Costa Rica. Since 2002, she has been head of the Film department at the tageszeitung. In addition to her editorial work, she is a lecturer in film criticism at the Free University of Berlin. In 2004, she was a jury member at the Northern Festival de Cine Independiente Buenos Aires and in 2005 president of the jury at the La Habana Film Festival.
Verónica Valdivia Ortiz, Professor of History, Santiago, studied Visual Arts at the Universidad de Santiago de Chile, where she received a doctorate in American Studies. Currently, she is a lecturer at the Universidad de Santiago de Chile and Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago/Chile. Her research focuses on the Chilean military dictatorship. Her publications include: "Terrorism and Political Violence During the Pinochet Years: Chile, 1973-1989" (in: Radical History Review 85), and "Chile: The Coup after the Coup" (in: World Trends 49).
Shahrnush Parsipur, Writer, Richmond, USA, born in 1946, was a producer for the Iranian state television since 1967. In 1973, she began studying sociology at the University of Tehran. In 1974, she published her first novel; the same year she resigned in protest of the torture and subsequent execution of two artists by the Shah’s regime. Imprisoned for a year, she fled to France where she wrote her second novel. After the Iranian revolution in 1979, Parsipur returned to Iran. Without a formal indictment, she was tried again and sentenced to four years and seven months. Her novel “Touba and the Meaning of Night" (1989), which she wrote in prison, was a national bestseller. After further arrests and the banning of her books in Iran, Parsipur went into exile to America in 1994. In 2003, she was awarded the first International Writers Project Fellowship from Brown University, Providence/Rhode Island. She has published eleven books, including her latest work "Men from Various Civilizations" (2007).
Damani Partridge, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Michigan, is professor of anthropology at the Center for Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Michigan, USA. In 1995, he traveled to Berlin on a Fulbright Scholarship and from 1999 to 2000 he was a German Chancellor Fellow. His studies on German identity after the fall of the Wall were published in several essays including "Becoming Non-Citizens: Technologies of Exclusion Exclusionary Incorporation and after the Berlin Wall" (2003) and "We Were Dancing in the Club, Not on the Berlin Wall" (2008).
Beatriz Sarló, Professor of Argentine Literature, Buenos Aires, studied literature at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Buenos Aires/Argentina. She focuses on the history of media, film and pop, as well as on urban culture. During the military dictatorship in 1978, she founded the magazine Punto de Vista. Sarló has taught in Columbia, Maryland and Berkeley and was Simon Bolivar Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge. She received scholarships from the Wilson Center, Washington/USA, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. She has published numerous books, including "Una modernidad periférica: Buenos Aires 1920 y 1930" (1988), "Borges. A Writer on the Edge "(1993) and "Literatura/Sociedad "(with Carlos Altamirano, 1997).
Saskia Sassen, Professor of Sociology, Chicago, teaches at the University of Chicago and at the London School of Economics. Born in the Netherlands, her Dutch father Willem Sassen created propaganda for the Nazis. Sassen was raised in Buenos Aires. She studied philosophy and political science at the University of Poitiers, France, the Università di Roma and the Universidad de Buenos Aires. From 1969 she studied sociology and economics at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana/USA. Sassen researches globalization processes and migration of labor and capital, as well as modern means of communication, specifically the phenomenon of the "Global City". "The Paradox of the National" was published 2008 in German.
Vladimir Sorokin, Writer, Moscow, was born 1955 in Bykowo. The Russian writer and playwright is considered one of the leaders of Russian Conceptualism. He studied at Moscow's Gubkin Institute of Gas and Oil Industry and at the Institute for Chemistry. Sorokin worked in book design, painting and conceptual art and has participated in numerous exhibitions. He has designed and illustrated circa 50 books. In his works, he parodies Socialist Realism. His most recent publications include, "The Ice" (2002), "Bro" (2004) and "Oprichnik’s Day" (2006).
Wole Soyinka, Writer, Las Vegas, was born in 1934 in Abeokuta/Nigeria. He studied literature at the University of Ibadan/Nigeria, from 1952-54, and from 1954-57 at the University of Leeds/UK. After his studies, Soyinka worked as a dramaturge and actor at the Royal Court Theater in London. He was arrested for his efforts at being a mediator in the Nigerian civil war in 1967, and only under international pressure was released after 22 months of solitary confinement. In 1975, Soyinka received a professorship at Ife in comparative literature, but after the takeover of Sani Abacha in 1993, he fled to the USA, where he was a visiting professor. After further stops in Nigeria and the United States, Soyinka is currently the Elias Ghanem Professor at the University of Nevada (UNLV), Las Vegas/USA. In 1986, Soyinka was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and since 1994, he is the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. In 2006, he received the Weilheimer Literature Award.
Jeanette Spassova, Actress, Berlin, was born in Plovdiv/Bulgaria. She studied at the Theater School in Sofia and has lived in Berlin since 1989. Since 1993, she has been involved with the Berlin Volksbühne, playing mainly in productions directed by Frank Castorf, including Zuckmayer’s "The Devil’s General" as well as in Dostoyevsky's "Demons" and "Humiliated and Insulted" at the Vienna Festival in 2001 and the Berlin Theatertreffen 2002 . She played Elisabeth in Horváth's "Faith Hope and Charity” in Basle; and acted in "Macbeth" directed by Calixto Bieito at both the Munich Kammerspiele and Salzburger Festspiele 2001.
Tilman Spengler, Author, Berlin, studied Sinology, Political Science and Modern History in Heidelberg, Munich and Taipei. After his doctorate, he was a research associate at the Max Plank Institute for Social Sciences in Starnberg. From the early 1980s, his research and teaching took him to the Academy of Sciences in Beijing and Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. During this time, he became co-editor of the Kursbuch. Aside from his academic activities, he writes for Die Zeit, Der Spiegel, GEO and Die Woche. He is also a screenwriter and documentary filmmaker ("Bitter Balkans", 1999) and an author. His works include, "Lenin's Brain" (1991), "The Painter of Beijing" (1996), "Forehead, Eyes, Mouth" (1996) and "My Society" (2001). In 2003, he received the Ernst Hoferichter Award for his work.
Susanne Stemmler, Romance Studies, Literary Scholar and Cultural Theorist, Berlin, got her PhD with a thesis on Orientalism in French literature. From 1997 to 2004 she was a lecturer at the University of Düsseldorf in Romance and Media Studies; from 2005 to 2007 she was Fellow of the German Research Foundation (DFG) at the Center for Metropolitan Studies in Berlin/New York. She was a visiting fellow at Columbia University, amongst others. Since 2008 she is head of the department for literature and humanities at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. Her publications include “Hip-Hop und Rap in romanischen Sprachwelten”, “Stationen einer globalen Musikkultur” (2007), “New York – Berlin. Kulturen in der Stadt” (2008), and author of numerous essays on migration, transcultural processes, colonialism/postcolonialism and urban cultures.
Jihan El-Tahri, Author and Film Director, France, was born in 1963 in Beirut/ Lebanon. From 1984 to 1990 she worked as a correspondent on politics in the Middle East. Since 1990, she has made documentaries on political and social issues for ARTE, BBC and many others. El-Tahri has directed over a dozen films, including in the Emmy-nominated film "The House of Saud." Her film "The Price of Aid" won the 2004 European Media Prize, "Cuba: An African Odyssey" won awards in France, Canada, Angola and Venezuela. For her work she won the British Television Award. El-Tahri also published a biography of Yasser Arafat ("The Nine Lives of Yasser Arafat, 1997) and a book on the Israel-Palestine conflict ("Israel and the Arabs", 1998).
Michael Mark Terkessidis, Journalist, Berlin, has a PhD in psychology and works as a journalist and author on pop culture, migration and racism. From 1992 to 1994 he was editor of the magazine Spex. He is co-founder of the Institute for Studies in Visual Culture in Cologne and is a member of Kanak Attak. His most recently published book is "Centrifugal Force: Society on the Move – Migrants and Tourists" (2006).
Phan Huy Thao, Migration Consultant, Berlin, was born in Vietnam and in 1989 moved to Berlin, where he worked as a language facilitator for a group of Vietnamese contract workers of the VEB " VEB „Herrenbekleidung Fortschritt." From 1993 to 2003, while a student at the Catholic University of Berlin, he worked for Caritas Brandenburg as a social worker for Vietnamese immigrants. From 2003 to 2005, he worked as a family consultant. Since 2006, Phan Huy Thao is a migration consultant at Reistrommel e.V., Berlin.
Laura Maori Tonke, Actress, Berlin, studied theater until 1996 in Berlin. At age 17, she debuted in Michael Klier’s feature film "Ostkreuz.” Numerous roles followed in feature films and television as well as model contracts. In 2000, Tonke won a Golden Camera for “Best Young Actress”. She was nominated for a German Film Award for her role as Gudrun Ensslin in the film "Baader" in 2003.
Bastian Trost, Actor, Berlin, studied at the Westphalian Drama School in Bochum. By the age of 16, he acted in plays such as "Medea" and "King Lear" at the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus. He also acted in "Romeo and Juliet" (1991, Kolb Hall Cologne); "The Good Thief" (1998, Deutsches Theater Baracke); and "The Beach" (2001, Volksbühne Berlin). Since 2002, he has been a member of the artist group Gob Squad.
Jorge Volpi, Author, Mexico, studied law and literature at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico. Volpi received his doctorate in Spanish Philology at the Universidad de Salamanca, Spain. From 1992-94 he was secretary to the Mexican Secretary General Diego Valadés. Since that time, he has been mainly working as a freelance author. From 2001 to 2004 he was cultural attaché at the Mexican Embassy in Paris; and from 2007, has been director of the cultural channel of the UNAM, Canal 22. Volpi is a founding member of "crack", a literary circle of authors, advocating a departure from magical realism. Currently, he teaches literature at the Universidad de las Américas (UDLA) in Puebla/Mexico. His literary works include, "The Exterminating Angel" (1996) and "In Search of Klingsor" (1999). For "In Search of Klingsor," he has won the Spanish literary prize Premio Biblioteca Breve, the Italian Cervantes Prize, and the French Deux-Océans-Grinzane-Cavour-Prize.
Wang Dan, Civil Rights Activist, USA, studied East Asian history and in 1989, organized the student protests at Beijing University. As one of the leaders of the bloody demonstrations on the Tianan’men Square in 1989, he was arrested and accused of “counter-revolutionary political agitation," and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. In 1993, he was again taken into police custody and was sentenced in 1996 to eleven years in prison for "conspiracy to overthrow the government.” In April 1998, two months prior to U.S. President Bill Clinton’s official visit, the Chinese government deported the dissident, who became seriously ill due to prison-related circumstances, to the USA, where he resumed his studies. He is currently Chairman of the Chinese Constitutional Reform Association.
Yang Lian, Poet, London, was born 1955 in Bern/Switzerland, as the child of Chinese diplomats and raised in Beijing. From 1977, he was a program director and producer for the Beijing State Radio. From 1978 to 1983, Lian Yang traveled extensively in search of Chinese history. During this period, he created his first poetic works, including the poem "Nuorilang”, which was sharply criticized by the Chinese government in 1983 as part of the campaign against “spiritual pollution.” After his protests against the massacre in the Tianan’men Square in 1989, his work in China was forbidden and his citizenship revoked. In 1997, Yang Lian participated in the documenta X; and in 1999, he was awarded the Flaiano International Prize for Poetry. His publications include: "Where the Sea Stands Still" (1995), "Note of a Blissful Ghost" (2002), “Unreal City” (2006). A new collection of poems will be published by the German Suhrkamp Verlag in 2009.