GHADA AMER is an Egyptian artist who lives and works in New York City. She was trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nice, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques in Paris. Ms. Amer’s works include embroidered canvases, textile installations, and sculptures, and frequently incorporate imagery and texts – reflecting on childhood, dreams, daily life, beauty, popular culture, and sexuality – sewn directly onto the surface. Her work is a synthesis of both Western and Eastern traditions, and questions the role of women in contemporary societies. Through her works, Ms. Amer questions gender-based stereotypes, dispels preconceived ideas, redefines the distinction between high and low forms of art, and art and handicraft, East and West, male and female. Ms Amer’s work has been presented in numerous solo shows and group exhibitions at museums and galleries throughout the United States, Europe, and the Muslim world.
HANIF KARA is a London-based structural engineer originally from Uganda. Co-founder of the firm Adams Kara Taylor – a progressive, design-led structural and civil engineering consultancy in London – Mr. Kara is particularly interested in innovative form, the use of new materials, prefabrication, sustainable construction, and complex form finding and analysis methods. He has collaborated on numerous important and award-winning projects, such as Stirling Award winner Peckham Library, with leading architects and designers throughout the world, including Alsop Architects, Foreign Office Architects, Foster and Partners, Rafael Viñoly, and Zaha Hadid Architects. Mr. Kara is a co-tutor for a design unit at the Architectural Association in London, and has been visiting tutor at universities in Vienna and Stockholm; he is also an examiner for the Institution of Structural Engineers, and a member of the Design Review Panel at the Commission for Architecture in the Built Environment that monitors the quality of design throughout the United Kingdom.
RAHUL MEHROTRA is an Indian architect and urban designer trained at the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad, and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He has been in private practice since 1990, and works on architecture, urban design and conservation projects. He has built extensively in India, and besides several single family houses, his projects include the Laxmi Machine Works Corporate Office in Coimbatore, an Extension to the Prince of Wales Museum in Bombay, an Institute for Rural Development in Tulzapur, and the Restoration of the Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad; he is currently developing (with the Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative) the Master Plan for the Taj Mahal and its surroundings. Professor Mehrotra is Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute, which promotes awareness and research on the city of Bombay. He has also written several books on Bombay, including “Bombay, the Cities Within” and has lectured extensively on urban design, conservation and architecture in India. His most recent book is “The Architecture of the 20th Century in the South Asian Region”. He also serves on several government committees that are responsible for historic preservation and the conservation as well as creation of public spaces in Bombay. Rahul Mehrotra teaches at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he is an associate professor.
FARSHID MOUSSAVI is an architect of Iranian origin, trained at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, University College London, the Bartlett School of Architecture, and Dundee University. She worked with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Genoa and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam prior to establishing Foreign Office Architects (with Alejandro Zaera Polo) in London in 1992. Professor Moussavi has been teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna since 2002; previously, she taught at the Architectural Association School of Architecture (1993-2000), and has been visiting professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, Columbia University in New York, Princeton University, the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam, and the Hoger Architecture Institute in Belgium. The built projects of Foreign Office Architects (FOA) include a new Ferry Terminal with landscaped public areas and cruise liner facilities in Yokohama, Japan, the Bluemoon Hotel in Groningen, Germany, and a Police Headquarters in La Villajoyosa, Spain. FOA has a number of important commissions under construction in Spain, including a new park with outdoor auditoriums in Barcelona, and an auditorium building in Torrevieja. The practice is also working on a number of recent major commissions, including large-scale office developments in Spain and the Netherlands, a Publishing Headquarters in Korea, a Technology Transfer Centre and Social Housing in Spain, the Master Plan design for the Lower Lee Valley and the London Olympics, and a new Music Centre for the BBC in London. FOA was one of the architectural practices to be short-listed for the design of the new World Trade Center in New York, and has recently been short-listed for the design of a new Pompidou Centre in France. Foreign Office Architects represented Britain at the 8th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2002. FOA’s work is widely exhibited and published in numerous monographs and catalogues, and a retrospective show on their work was mounted during 2003 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London.
MODJTABA SADRIA is an Iranian-born philosopher, professor at the graduate school and faculty of policy issues at Chuo University in Tokyo. Professor Sadria holds doctorate degrees in philosophy from the University of Paris and in international relations from the University of Quebec at Montreal, and master’s degrees in literature, in history, and in philosophy from the University of Paris. Professor Sadria is a specialist in cross-cultural relations and East Asian studies. He lectures widely, including recent presentations on "A Complex World and Many Understandings", "The Possibility of Dialogue After 9.11", "A Perspective of Iranian Foreign Policy: Triangle Relations between Khatami, Nation and Society", "Building Bridges between the United States and Iran", and “Preserving Cultural Integrity and Promoting Dialogue among Civilizations". Professor Sadria is a member of the board of directors of the Institute of Policy and Culture, Tokyo, and from 1999 to 2001, he served as the deputy director for research at the International Center for Dialogue Among Civilizations in Tehran. Professor Sadria has published over 50 books and articles, including “Global Civil Society and Ethics: Finding Common Ground” (Tokyo, 2003), “People Who Live on the Edge of the World” (Tokyo, 2002), “Realism: Trap of International Relations” (1994, in Japanese) and “Prayer for Lost Objects: A Non-Weberian Approach to the Birth of Modern Society” (2003, in Persian).
REINHARD SCHULZE is a German linguist and historian, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Berne, Switzerland, and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. He studied Islam, Latin languages, Arabic, and linguistics at the University of Bonn, and went on to teach at the Universities of Bochum, Bonn, and Bamburg before joining the University of Berne in 1995. Professor Schulze is interested in both the historical development and spread of Islam, and in its contemporary understanding and practice. His most important and recent work is “A Modern History of the Islamic World” (NYU Press, 2000), and he has published widely on the topics of social, economic, and political studies of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, including “The Birth of Tradition and Modernity in 18th and 19th Century Islamic Culture”, “International Islamic Organizations and the Muslims in Europe”, “Mass Culture and Islamic Culture Production in the 19th Century Middle East”, “The Forgotten Honor of Islam: The Muslim World in 1989”, and “Is there an Islamic Modernity?”.
ELÍAS TORRES TUR is a Spanish architect and partner in the firm Martínez Lapeña-Torres Arquitectos, S.L. Trained in architecture at the Escola Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona (ETSAB), Mr. Torres opened his private office with José Antonio Martínez Lapeña in Barcelona during 1968. Among their best-known projects are the Vila Olímpica Housing Complex (Barcelona), the La Granja Escalator (Toledo), the Restoration of the Ronda Promenade in the City Walls (Palma de Mallorca), the Restoration of Gaudi´s Park Güell (Barcelona), and the Forum 2004 Esplanade and Photovoltaic Power Plant (Barcelona), as well as several works in Japan including the Kumamoto Museum Annex. The projects and completed works of “Martínez Lapeña-Torres Arquitectos” are widely exhibited and published in numerous monographs and catalogues. Mr. Torres has been a visiting professor at Harvard University and is currently a doctorate professor at the ETSAB.
BILLIE TSIEN is an American architect and artist trained in fine arts at Yale University (BFA, 1971) and in architecture at the University of California at Los Angeles (M.Arch., 1977). She has worked with Tod Williams since 1977 and they have been in partnership since 1986. She has taught at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Parsons School of Design, Yale University, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and the University of Texas at Austin. Completed works by Tod Williams Billie Tsien & Associates include the Museum of Folk Art in New York City, the Student Arts Centre at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the Spiegel Pool House, Feinberg Hall at Princeton University, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Downtown Branch in New York City, the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, a 525-person dormitory and dining facility at the University of Virginia, a major addition to the Phoenix Art Museum, a science building and aquatic centre for the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, the Natatorium at the Cranbrook School, and the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California. Ms. Tsien has a particular interest in work that bridges art and architecture. She is an advisor for the Wexner Prize, and serves on the boards of the Public Art Fund, the Architectural League, and the American Academy of Rome. With Tod Williams, she is the recipient of the Brunner Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Medal of Honour from the New York City branch of the American Institute of Architects, and the Chrysler Award for Design Innovation.
JAFAR TUKAN is a Jordanian architect trained at the American University of Beirut. He worked for the Jordanian Ministry of Public Works as a design architect, and then joined the firm Dar Al-Handasah Consulting Engineers at their headquarter offices in Beirut. In 1968, he established a private practice in Beirut, and in 1973, formed the partnership Rais and Tukan Architects, which was later changed to Jafar Tukan and Partners Architects and Engineers and relocated to Amman. Mr. Tukan’s work has extended to nearly all aspects of architecture and planning, and amongst his most notable projects are the new City Hall for Amman (1997), prototype kindergarten schools in Dubai (1980), the Jubilee High School in Amman (1999), and the SOS Children’s Village (1991) in Aqaba, Jordan, which was presented with an Aga Khan Award for Architecture during 2001. Mr. Tukan is active in professional organisations for architecture, engineering, protection of the historic built environment, and the fine arts in Jordan and Lebanon.
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