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Based in New York since 1987, Ms. Balaman owned and ran multiple successful businesses including the interdisciplinary design companies Design Division and Program 11 and the multiple award-winning Balaman Gallery until 2002. Her directorial role in projects ranged from management, communications to production coordination and curating exhibitions. In 2002, Ms. Balaman decided to concentrate her work in the non-profit area as a result of her growing interest in traditional arts and cultural preservation. Since then, she has been travelling mostly in the Central Asian region leading audio-visual documentation teams and projects including an extensive documentation of Mugat lifestyle and language, an ongoing multi-stage project, reviving the art of Ebru in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, organizing a Bukharan style miniature painting exhibition at Yildiz Palace, Istanbul, Turkey and organizing of Central Asian photographers to be represented at Shanghai International Photo Festival among others. Her engagements in multiple projects eventually led her to establish Balbal Corporation in New York City as a platform to fund, organize and systematically realize cultural preservation projects.

Ms. Balaman's projects has received prestigious international grants and support from local partners as well as press coverage in several countries. She received a BSc in Library and Information Science from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey in 1982.



Mr. Dryer is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a former U.S. Marine Corps Platoon Commander. After World War II, he obtained an MBA from Columbia Business School and moved to Cuba where as President of north Atlantic Kenaf Corporation for 10 years. He became a leading developer of a new fiber designed to make Cuba self-sufficient in sugar and coffee sacking. Mr. Dryer initiated projects in Guatemala, Haiti, Colombia, Peru, Nigeria, Ghana and the French Ivory Coast where he introduced Kenaf, a cash producing fiber crop rotated with food crops, all beneficial to the local economies. Political instability forced him to change careers and eventually becoming a Senior Vice President of Shearson American Express and a member of Sandy Weil’s Chairman Executive Council. He was also Vice Chairman and co-founder of an international hotel group with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Heineken, building hotels in Amsterdam and Indonesia. Mr. Dryer is currently involved in helping to finance new companies, is a mentor to Columbia’s School of Business Administration, is on the Board of Directors of the American Foreign Policy Council and works closely with the President of Institute of World Politics, both organizations are based in Washington, D.C.

CRISTIAN L. EDWARDS – Executive Vice President, El Mercurio S.A.P.

Cristian L. Edwards was named Executive Vice President of El Mercurio S.A.P. on July 1, 2009. El Mercurio S.A.P. is a media company based in Santiago, Chile. Prior to joining El Mercurio, Mr. Edwards was president of The New York Times News Services Division since 2005.  Previously he had served as president of the News Service and Syndicate since 2002 after having served as executive vice president since 2001. As News Services president, Mr. Edwards was responsible for the development and marketing of services that extend The New York Times's reach locally, nationally and internationally through distribution channels outside The Times’s newspaper. The division includes Syndication Sales, The New York Times News Service, Times Agency, Photo Archives, Book Development (including Times Books), Large Type Weekly, Times Digest, Upfront Magazine, and Licensing.  The division also houses New York Times Radio, which includes WQXR, the radio station of The New York Times. Prior to joining the News Service, he was group vice president, business-to-business for New York Times Digital since 2000, and group vice president and publisher of NYTimes.com since 1999.  He joined the unit in 1998 as director of business development and planning.  Before, he served as a project director in the strategic planning department of The New York Times newspaper since 1996. Mr. Edwards received a B.A. degree in American History from Amherst College in 1979 and an M.B.A. in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1985.


Don Croner was born in the Alleghany Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. He attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where he acquired a B.A. Degree in History. After graduation he worked for several years as a journalist in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. In 1976 he moved to Anchorage Alaska, where he started a publishing and pre-press company. He also continued to write for local newspapers and magazines. After the melting of the Ice Curtain between Alaska and Russia, circa 1989, he was a member of one of the first groups to fly from Alaska across the Bering Strait to the Chukotka Peninsula, the easternmost part of Russia. He subsequently published and edited a magazine called Russian far East, which dealt with the emerging eastern territories  of Russia. While publishing the magazine, he traveled throughout the Russian Far East and Eastern Siberia. In 1995 he moved to Irkutsk, in East Siberia, and continued his publishing endeavors there. In 2000 he moved to Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, where he now manages Polar Star Books, an American-Mongolian joint venture.  He is the author of two books about Mongolia, “Travels in Northern Mongolia” and “Guide to Locales Connected with Zanabazar, the First Bogd Gegeen of Mongolia” and also publishes a yearly journal entitled Mongolia Adventure. He is currently a full- time resident of Ulaan Baatar.



Mr. Bensard was born in Paris, France. He studied Philosophy and Literature at the Sorbonne and started his professional career in 1966 by writing articles on movies in Les Cahiers du Cinéma. Mr. Bensard has worked as photographers assistant to Marc Riboud, Ian Berry, Leonard Freed and René Burry of MAGNUM agency before taking a position as press photographer at the French agency UIP. Mr. Bensard has been the artistic councellor of the Dance Festival at Chateauvallon in the South of France between 1979-1987. In 1982, he has been asked to create the Cinémathèque de la Danse as a department of Cinémathèque Française by the Ministry of Culture, Igor Eisner, General Inspector of Dance, and Costa Gavras, President of the Cinémathèque Française at that time. Mr. Bensard has been the director for 30 years of the Cinémathèque de la Danse producing more than 3,500 events in France and abroad, 50 dance films presented at the Garnier Paris Opera and the Châtelet Theater. In 2002, he became the Executive Director of the Cinémathèque Française (French Film Archives). Mr. Bensard acted as President for a symposium about Flamenco represented by the dancer Israël Galvan, organized by Hermès Paris. Patrick Bensard has written and directed a film fiction Le Parc Monceau and two documentaries on dancers Jean Babilée and Lucinda Childs. He has been named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 1996 and Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the Minister of Culture Mr Frédéric Mitterand in 2012.


Mr. Boltabaev is the Regional Coordinator for UNESCO in Uzbekistan with responsibilties ranging from communication, negotiation, networking to fund raising and resource mobilization. Additional to his extensive knowledge of national and local specificities of Central Asian countries, he has works academically on the issues of the area. Before, Mr. Boltabaev was the head of the International and External Relations Department at the National Association of NGOs of Uzbekistan from 2006 to 2007 where he initiated a special training programs on laws, democracy, human rights and health issues for leaders of Makhallas, local communities in cooperation with local NGOs and Makhalla Foundation and took the additional responsibilities for monitoring and evaluation of ongoing projects in the sphere of ecology, culture and social welfare. Mr. Boltabaev has been serving as the Chairman of at the Uzbekistan National ICOM (International Council of Museums) Committee since 2005 facilitating initiatives and dialogues among the museums, eco-museums and reserves on key issues of conservation, preservation and promotion of heritage of Uzbekistan. Between 2002 - 2005 he was the regional Director of the Regional Office of Heritage Central Asia in Uzbekistan where he led a team which provided the primary research, facilitation and logistical support in Central Asia for a major exhibition of Central Asian national treasures, Bright Flowers: Textiles and Ceramics of Central Asia, at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia (16 September 2004-20 February 2005). Mr. Boltabaev was also the Education Specialist at the Uzbekistan National Commission for Unesco from 1997 to 2002. He was elected as a Vise President of UNESCO International Youth Forum during the 30th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO, 1999, Paris, France and awarded by UNESCO’s Director General as an Outstanding National ASPnet Coordinator of Year 2000 among the Member States.

Mr. Boltabaev holds a Bachelor of Political Sciences, International Relations, from Tashkent University Of World Economy And Diplomacy, Uzbekistan, 1998. In 2002 he received a masters degree on Islamic Studies from Tashkent State University Of Oriental Studies, Uzbekistan. Currently he is a PhD Researcher at the  Scientific Department Of The State Museum Of Timurid History, Under The Uzbekistan Academy Of Sciences.


Mr. Cunanan has an M.A. in Economics from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines and is a recipient of Southeast Asian Economic Development Forum Fellowship (1976) from the University of Bandung, Indonesia. He is a tax specialist at Stoops & Co. LLC in New York since 1993. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor of Development Economics at Aquinas University Legazpi City, Philippines (1990) and an Assistant Professor & Concurrent Acting Dean at the College of Business Administration Bicol College, Legazpi City, Philippines (1988). Prior to that he has provided economic consultancy and research services to several institutions in the Philippines such as the Philippine Center for Economic Development in Manila, as well as holding Third Secretary and Vice-Consul positions at several Philippines embassies in the region.

He is a Board Member of New York-Manila Lions Club (New York District) 2000 and was the Club President: Lion Year 2004


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