We are a group of six women from three generations united by A DESIRE TO LEARN, feel, see, and experience MORE ABOUT OUR WORLD AND OUR FELLOW CITIZENS. WE CREATED THIS GRASSROOTS FESTIVAL TO carve out space in our lives to dive deeply into global issues that affect us all as a global community. We cannot afford to be bystanders today. THE FESTIVAL, LIKE A ROADMAP, WILL TAKE US ON A JOURNEY THROUGH DIFFERENT MEDIUMS AND EXPRESSIONS TO GROW OUR MINDS AND OUR HEARTS.

 
 
 
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TANYA BANNISTER

CO-FOUNDER

Tanya was born in Hong Kong to a Japanese mother and English/Danish father. She is a concert pianist and co-founder and Artistic Director of Alpenkammermusik chamber music festival held annually in Austria. Tanya has a passion for connecting humanitarian crisis with her talents and has helped raise $100,000 for classical music in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and after Japan's devastating tsunami collaborating with Paul Cox to create fundraising concerts and a live recital CD with all proceeds for given to Oshima.

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XHENI RROJI

CO-FOUNDER

Xheni is a classical pianist and producer born in Tirana, Albania. She studied music both in her native country and in France. She is the co-founder of the Ossia Symphony Orchestra, and Music in the Heights. Xheni has always maintained an interest in producing events of an artistic and humanitarian nature. She strongly believes in the transformative power of artistic expressions, providing a mean for the human understanding.

 
 
 
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ALEXIA SHEINMAN

CO-FOUNDER

Alexia is the Director of Branding and Communication at Pembrooke & Ives, the founder of her own interior design firm, Alexia Valentina, and the cofounder of a Baltimore-based real estate development company, Hough Development. Alexia believes that complex problems are best solved through a creative, design-thinking, collaborative lens.

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ISABEL SHEINMAN

CO-FOUNDER

Isabel is the Director and Co-Creator of Nabu.org, a digital reading innovation and publishing network addressing the lack of linguistically and culturally diverse reading books globally. Isabel serves on the Advisory Committee of No Longer Empty, which activates public engagement with contemporary art through curated, community-responsive exhibitions and education programs in unique spaces.

 
 
 
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HELEN TSANOS SHEINMAN

CO-FOUNDER

Helen began her career in London in the luxury travel business. She later moved to NYC and taught as a Montessori teacher for over a decade. Helen has authored an internationally celebrated memoir and Greek-Cypriot cookbook called Love Laughter and Lunch. She has held Board positions at Library For All and Girls Learn International and currently serves on the Board of the Concert Artists Guild and BYkids. Helen earned a BA in Greek Literature and Philosophy from Kings College London

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YONG KWOK

CO-FOUNDER

Yong has been involved in the fields of international development, medicines policy and the humanitarian sector in both Australia and in New York City. For the last 12 years, she has been an Overseer of the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid organization specializing in refugee issues. She has visited IRC programs in refugee settings in Asia and Africa and IRC resettlement programs helping refugees start their new lives in the US.

 
 
 
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GEORGE BATAH

2019 FESTIVAL CO-CHAIR

George Batah is a consultant and Syrian activist based in New York. He has recently been named a Schwarzman Scholar, a Global Shaper and representative to 2017 UN Social and Economic Council Youth Forum. He actively advocates and fundraises for causes like Education, Humanitarian Relief and Youth Empowerment in the Middle East. George is the co-founder of “Syrian Youth Empowerment” an initiative to empower and help Syrian high school students in Syria and neighboring countries.