Yoani Sánchez is a Cuban blogger who has achieved international recognition for her critical portrayal of life in Cuba under its current government. Sánchez is best known for her blog, Generación Y (Generation Y), which is translated into 17 languages, and she is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, El País, Foreign Policy Magazine and CNN en Español. In 2008, she received the Ortega y Gasset Prize for Journalism; she was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time Magazine; and one of the “10 Most Influential Latin American Intellectuals” by Foreign Policy Magazine. November 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama applauded her efforts to “empower fellow Cubans to express themselves through the use of technology,” and she received the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. In 2010, Sánchez was named a “World Press Freedom Hero” by the International Press Institute, and also received a Prince Claus Award from the Netherlands’ Prince Claus Fund.
Ricardo Figueredo Oliva graduated from the International School of Film and Television in San Antonio de los Baños. He has produced over 20 short films, as well as working as a producer for musical theater and the celebrated Danza Abierta group directed by Marielena Boan. In 2010 He founded Cooperativa Producciones, a lab for documentary production. Through that cooperative, he has directed Sexo, Historias y Cintas de Video (Sex, Stories and Videotapes), about prostitution in Cuba; Despertar (To Awaken), a polemical documentary that was censured at the 11th Festival of Young Directors in Havana in 2011, and a “mokumentary” entitled Operación Alfa (Operation Alfa, 2012).
Pablo Menendez was born in Oakland, CA, the son of blues and jazz singer Barbara Dane. Living in Cuba since 1966, he has been an indelible part of many Cuban music scenes over the past decades: Nueva Trova (including Grupo de Experimentación Sonora, with Sílvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanés, which was blacklisted by the Cuban government), Cuban jazz (including Sonido Contemporaneo, with Gonzalo Rubalcaba), the Afro-Rock group Síntesis, and many more. Pablo founded the group Mezcla in 1989, with whom he has recorded seven albums, including a critically acclaimed collaboration with renowned singer and akpwón Lazaro Rós, and toured extensively across Europe and North and South America. His musical work in Cuba has been deeply involved in efforts to bring marginalized musical genres such as Nueva Trova (which was itself a marginalized music in its origins), Cuban jazz, rock, and rap, and Afro-Cuban genres like rumba and Yoruba music into mainstream consciousness
Thomas Werner is an Assistant Professor at Parsons The New School for Design. His research is Russian based, focusing on the introduction of contemporary education methodologies and the development of creative cultures within the country. Over the last seven years he has spent just over one hundred days a year in Russia partnering with twenty nine cultural, educational and governmental organizations to develop a series of cross cultural and educational projects presented in twenty seven cities. Russian partners have included; The State Hermitage Museum, the National Center of Contemporary Art, Perm Regional Government, The Moscow Biennale for Young Art, National Centre of Photography for the Russian Federation, The Central State Archive of Film, Photographic and Phonographic Documents, and the United States Department of State, among others. Thomas has curated exhibitions in the United States and internationally, including four exhibitions with the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. In early 2012 he began a new collaboration with the United Nations focusing on Media and Literacy.
Chris Stover is an Assistant Professor at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, where he teaches Music Theory, Composition, and World Music and coordinates the Music Theory curriculum. He received his PhD in Music Theory and DMA in Trombone Performance from the University of Washington, and holds an MA in Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music. Chris has presented papers at the national conferences of the Society for Music Theory and American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference, the Third International Conference on Music and Minimalism, the Congress for Research on Dance, and numerous regional conferences. His work has been been published by Cambridge Scholars Press, Latin American Music Review, and Music Theory Online, and he has forthcoming publications in Music Theory Spectrum and Theory and Performance. Chris is an editor for Analytical Approaches to World Music, and formerly served as managing editor of Perspectives of New Music. He is also a highly active performer and composer, in New York City and internationally. Information on upcoming activities, recordings, and more can be found at www.morezero.com.
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo he began work as a free-lance writer, photographer and dissident blogger in 2000. In 2010, he founded the independent opinion and literary e-zine Voces, which is Cuba’s first digital magazine. The magazine is produced in PDF format and copies circulate in Cuba on CDs, flash drives, the domestic network known as the “intranet” and through photocopied paper editions. Pardo Lazo also produces the blog, Boring Home Utopics, which describes itself as “the Collective Memories from a Unique Man in the Brave New Zoociety”. He is the author of Boring Home, awarded the Czech literary award Novelas de Gaveta (“Romány ze šuplíku”, Franz Kafka prize). He currently works as a contributing columnist for Sampsonia Way magazine.
John Kelly is the founder and lead scientist of Morningside Analytics. His research blends social network analysis, content analysis, and statistics to solve the problem of making complex online networks visible and understandable. Kelly has directed studies of numerous domestic and international social media networks. He has a Ph.D. in Communications from Columbia University, and has also studied communications at Stanford and at Oxford’s Internet Institute. He is an Affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where he works with leading academics to design and implement empirical studies of the Internet’s role in politics and social action around the globe.