Rachel Cooper has been at the Asia Society since 1993 in several roles including Director of Global Performing Arts and Cultural Initiatives. She is widely recognized as a leader in the performing arts field, presenting traditional and contemporary works by Asian and Asian American artists within a strong cultural context. She co-organized and managed with the Festival of Indonesia In Performance 1990-91 and co-directed the New York city-wide Muslim Voices: Arts and Ideas Festival in 2009. She is a frequent participant at major conferences and commentator in the media (CNN, ABC, WNYC, and New York Times) addressing Asian performing arts, international arts exchange, and cultural diplomacy. She Ms. Cooper is the co-founder of Balinese music and dance company, Gamelan Sekar Jaya which has just celebrated its 41st anniversary.
Wayne Forrest is the President of the American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (AICC) and Chairman of the American Indonesian Cultural and Educational Foundation (AICEF). Forrest edits Outlook Indonesia, AICC’s newsletter, and contributes regularly to other publications such as The Economist and Architectural Record. In response to an increase in demand for manufactured products from Indonesia, he edited Sourcing Products in Indonesia: A Guide for Importers, the first publication of its kind. In a younger incarnation, Forrest was a student of Indonesian language, music, and culture; he continues to maintain an active interest in Indonesian music and is a member of several gamelan music study groups.
Susan Harris is the editorial director of the literary online journal, Words Without Borders (WWB), an online magazine of international literature founded in 2003. Since then the magazine has published more than 2,500 pieces by writers from 136 countries, translated from 116 languages. Under Susan’s guidance, the magazine’s work has not only been transformational in a literary sense, building bridges between authors, translators, and publishers, but also as a larger humanitarian enterprise. WWB seeks to bring wwalls down rather them build them up. She is also the co-editor with Ilya Kaminsky of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry.
Mary Sue Milliken is a James Beard and Julia Child Award-winning chef best known for her modern Mexican Border Grill restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas; BBQ Mexicana, a fast casual eatery in Las Vegas; and Socalo, an all-day California canteen and Mexican pub in Santa Monica all created with her business partner Susan Feniger. Mary Sue has co-authored five cookbooks, co-starred in Food Network’s Too Hot Tamales and successfully competed on Bravo's Top Chef Masters. Milliken is passionate about food policy and works with various nonprofits around the world to bring her expertise to help shape sustainable food systems.
(photo credit Anne Fishbein)
Larry Reed, Founder & Artistic Director of ShadowLight Productions in San Francisco, has pioneered contemporary shadow theater by integrating traditional shadow theater techniques with American theater and film styles. Reed is one of the few Westerners trained in Wayang Kulit, Balinese shadow puppetry, and has collaborated with artists from diverse backgrounds and traditions. Over the years, he has performed over 250 shows in this tradition around the world Fluent in five languages, his articles and translation have been published in Asian Theatre Journal and Shattentheater (Germany) among others.
Natasha Reichle is a curator of Southeast Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Her current exhibition Lost at Sea: Art Recovered from Shipwrecks explores issues of maritime archaeology, provenance, and ethics. Other exhibitions include Philippine Art: Collecting Art, Collecting Memories and China at the Center: Rare Ricci and Verbiest World Maps. She has organized exhibitions on a wide range of subjects, including Javanese puppets, batik textiles, and Southeast Asian jewelry, and she curated the first major U.S. exhibition on the arts of Bali, Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance. She is the author of Violence and Serenity: Late Buddhist Sculpture from Indonesia.
Margaret Scott is an adjunct associate professor at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, a journalist, and a co-founder of the New York Southeast Asia Network. She has written for The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, and The New York Times Magazine. Formerly, she was the cultural editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review, based in Hong Kong.
Tikka Sears is director and co-founder of Theater for Change at the University of Washington and Artistic Director of Memory War Theater. As a theater director, performer, and teaching artist, she creates devised works fusing physical theater, puppetry, and docudrama. Her theater work is dedicated to storytelling that amplifies marginalized voices. Tikka has worked with a variety of Indonesian theater and dance artists in the US and Indonesia, including as a cast member in US productions of Roar and Geez written and directed by Putu Wijaya and in a collaboration with Teater Payung Hitam while a Fulbright artist-in-residence in Indonesia. Tikka teaches workshops and residencies focused on embodied arts, Theatre of the Oppressed, arts for social justice, and Indonesian contemporary theater at conferences, universities, nonprofits, and K-12 schools
Meg Taylor is an editor for publishers, curators, and scholars in North America, Asia, and Europe, specializing in books and catalogues on art and architecture and Asian literature in translation. As managing editor of MONKEY New Writing from Japan, she works closely with Ted Goossen and Motoyuki Shibata to produce an annual anthology (www.monkeymagazine.org). She was the editor for the Lontar Anthology of Indonesian Short Stories (2 vols.), published in 2017 by Lontar and University of Hawai’i Press, and has enjoyed working with John McGlynn since the mid-1990s on a number of Lontar projects. She is the Academic Coordinator for the postgraduate Publishing Certificate program at Ryerson University in Toronto. She is now living in Pittsburgh after 30 years in Canada and works online.
Jafreen Uddin is Executive Director of the Asian American Writers' Workshop, which is devoted to publishing, incubating, and empowering Asian and Asian diasporic writers. She is the first woman to lead the organization since its founding in 1991. Jafreen regularly supports and volunteers her time with a number of arts and social change organizations. She is currently Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for Laal NYC, an organization that supports Bangladeshi women in the Bronx; a member of the Brooklyn Book Festival’s Literary Council; and Chair of the Adult Internship Grant Committee for We Need Diverse Books.
Andrew Weintraub is Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches courses in ethnomusicology and popular music and directs the University Gamelan program. He is the author of Power Plays (2004) and Dangdut Stories (2010), editor of Islam and Popular Culture in Indonesia and Malaysia (2011), and co-editor of Music and Cultural Rights (2008). Weintraub is the founder and lead singer of the Dangdut Cowboys, a Pittsburgh-based band that plays Indonesian popular music.
Astri Wright, who grew up on three continents, is Full Professor at the University of Victoria, in British Colombia, Canada. Her field is Southeast Asian Art History, with a focus on Indonesian art: Indigenous, Historical, Modern & Contemporary, and Global Conversations. Wright is also active as a Researcher, Curator, Culture Observer, Art Critic and Art Consultant. Wright specializes in modern and contemporary Indonesian art. Her book, Soul, Spirit and Mountain: Preoccupations of Contemporary Indonesian Painters (Oxford University Press, 1994) preceded numerous articles in English and Indonesian, discussing activist artists and women artists as well as the state of the field of Indonesian art history. On the side, she is an independent writer in genres ranging from creative non-fiction to fiction.