The Foundation Board is the decision-making body of ALIPH. It legislates the strategic orientations of the institution, its initiatives and partnerships, and selects the projects to be financed. The Chair of the Board is Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, a US entrepreneur and philanthropist, whilst the vice-president position is rotated between H.E. Mohamed Al Mubarak, President of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi and representative of the United Arab Emirates, and Ms. Bariza Khiari, adviser to the President of the French Republic and representative of France. Other members of the Board with voting rights are representatives of contributing states and foundations, philanthropists and qualified personalities.
ALIPH is an “alliance” between several states, private partners and experts, guaranteeing a pluralistic vision. The following states, institutions and individuals have decided to come together to fund this initiative. France, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Luxembourg and China have provided financial support. ALIPH also benefits from the support of Switzerland and received contributions from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and philanthropists Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan and Mr. Jean-Claude Gandur.
The Scientific Committee’s mission is to enlighten the Foundation Board on the scientific aspects relating to designing a strategy, the choice of projects and setting up scientific evaluation panels. Its ad interim Chair is Dr. Mounir Bouchenaki, with the rest of the committee made up of international experts in the protection of cultural heritage.
The Finance and Development Committee supports the Foundation Board with respect to the investment policy and development of ALIPH’s activities.
The Audit Committee oversees the adherence to accounting and financial standards, supervises all audit work and ensures that the Secretariat is correctly managed. Its Chair is Mr. Jeffrey D. Plunkett J.D., with Mr. Abderrazak Zouari and representatives of the Secretariat.
The Ethics, Governance and Remuneration Committee ensures that the Foundation adheres to accepted standards of ethics. Its chair is Mr. Jean-Claude Gandur, with Professors Markus Hilgert and Marc-André Renold as members of the committee.
The Secretariat is the operational body of ALIPH and is charged with the day-to-day management and implementation of the strategy and decisions of the Foundation Board. In particular, it organises calls for projects, negotiates and concludes financial support agreements, carries out the monitoring of projects, prepares the meetings and decisions of the Foundation Board, supports the various specialist committees and contributes to awareness raising, promotion, and fundraising.
The Secretariat is organised as a start-up and is run by Executive Director Mr. Valéry Freland.
Chair, Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan (private donor)
Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan is an American business and community leader, philanthropist, environmentalist, and art collector. In addition to serving as Chairman of ALIPH, he also is the Chairman of the investment and asset management firm The Electrum Group LLC; past President and Chairman of the 92nd Street Y, Manhattan’s premier cultural and community center; Founder and Chairman of Panthera, the global leader in big cat conservation; and, Founder of The Leiden Collection, the world’s largest private collection of Rembrandt and Dutch Golden Age art.
Dr. Kaplan is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Council of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Among other distinctions, he was appointed Chevalier in France’s National Order of the Legion of Honor, Commandeur in France’s Order of Arts and Letters, and Officier in the Netherlands’ Order of Orange-Nassau. Dr. Kaplan earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s and DPhil degrees in modern history from the University of Oxford. He is married to Daphne Recanati Kaplan. They have three children and reside in New York City.
Vice-Chair, H. E. Mohamed Al Mubarak (UAE)
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak presently serves as Chair of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, which oversees the conservation and promotion of Abu Dhabi’s heritage and culture.
In 2016, H.E. Al Mubarak was appointed Chair of the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), master developer of major tourism, cultural and residential destinations in Abu Dhabi. He also serves as Chair of Miral Asset Management, an organization responsible for creating and managing destinations in Abu Dhabi, and Chair of Aldar Properties. In addition, he is Chair of Aldar Academies, and Chair of Image Nation Abu Dhabi – a content creation company for film and television in the Middle East.
H.E. Al Mubarak is a graduate of Northeastern University (United States of America), with a double major in economics and political science.
Vice-Chair, Ms. Bariza Khiari (France)
Bariza Khiari is the personal representative of the President of the French Republic on the ALIPH Foundation Board as well as its Vice Chair. She is the current President of the Institut des Cultures d’Islam, a cultural establishment in Paris.
Ms. Khiari has been a French politician since the 1970s. She was a Senator from 2004 to 2017 and the first Vice President of the French Senate from 2011 to 2014. She was also a Judge at the Court of Justice of the French Republic.
Throughout her political career, Ms. Khiari has defended equality and religious minorities in the Middle East. She contributed to the creation of a Senate study group on these issues, advocating interfaith cooperation.
Ms. Khiari was appointed Chevalier in both France’s National Order of the Legion of Honor and National Order of Merit. Originally from Algeria, Ms. Khiari is binational.
She holds a Master’s degree in business management from the Institute of Business Administration of the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
HH Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Alsaud is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s first Minister of Culture, the Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla, and a member of the Kingdom’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs. Prince Badr also provides thought leadership and strategic guidance to several entities as Chairman of the Board, including the Diplomatic Quarter Authority, the Misk Art Institute, and the Saudi Society for the Preservation of Industrial Heritage, amongst others. Previously, His Highness was Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), the largest publishing company in the Middle East, and Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Heritage Preservation Society. He is a law graduate of King Saud University.
H.E. Hussah Al-Sabah (Kuwait)
Sheikha Hussa Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah is co-founder of the cultural organization Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah (DAI), along with her husband, H.E. Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah.
As the Director General of the DAI and the co-owner of the al-Sabah collection, she has lectured on topics related to Islamic art and culture at universities and cultural institutions in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.
H.E. Sheikha Hussa al-Sabah is actively involved in architectural preservation, working to ensure that traditional buildings in Bahrain, Syria (Aleppo and Damascus) and Egypt are protected and restored. She has also been involved in archaeological excavations in the region, both as a field worker and patron.
H.E. Nadia Ernzer (Luxembourg)
H.E. Mrs Nadia Ernzer is a career diplomat who has carried out different missions within the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MFEA) and the European institutions.
At national level, she worked on sub-Saharian Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Balkans and Turkey, notably in the context of the Luxemburg presidencies of the Council of the European Union in 2005 and 2015. From 2016 to 2020, she was Deputy Secretary General of the MFEA.
At international level, she was based in Vienna early in her career and covered inter alia UN files. She spent seven years within the European institutions, at the General Secretariat of the Council and at the European External Action Service, mainly dealing with Russia. She was also Ambassador to Albania. In summer 2022, Mrs. Ernzer has been nominated Luxembourg Ambassador to OECD and UNESCO.
Mr. Wen Dayan (China)
Wen Dayan is the current Deputy Director General of Foreign Affairs at China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration.
From 2009-2013, he was Deputy Director of European Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, and Protocol Officer from 2005-2008. During his work at the Ministry of Culture, he served as the Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo between 2001-2005.
Mr. Wen earned his Bachelor’s degree at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, before attending the École Nationale d'Administration (ENA) in France, where he graduated with honors. He went on to pursue a Master’s degree in public administration at the ENA, followed by a Master’s in law from the Renmin University of China.
Mr. Mehdi Qotbi (Morocco)
Mehdi Qotbi has been President of the Fondation Nationale des Musées du Maroc since 2011.
An internationally renowned artist, he works to promote intercultural understanding through the Cercle d'amitié franco-marocain, of which he is founder. He is also founder and editor of Trait d'Union Maroc-Europe and a former member of the Advisory Council on Human Rights of Morocco.
Mr. Qotbi has received several honors and distinctions, including Commandeur of the Legion of Honor, Commandeur of the Order of Arts and Letters, Officier of the National Order of Merit, Chevalier of the Order of Academic Palms (France), Commandeur of the National Order of Merit (Hungary) and Commandeur of the Order of Civil Merit (Spain).
Mr. Qotbi is a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Rabat (Morocco) and the École des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse (France).
Mr. Jean Claude Gandur (private donor)
Art collector, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Jean Claude Gandur co-founded the Addax & Oryx Group in 1987, active in the energy sector, which he currently chairs.
In addition, Mr. Gandur chairs the Addax & Oryx Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1996, focused on funding projects that target the root causes of poverty in Africa and the Middle East. In 2010, he founded the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art to ensure the preservation and public accessibility of his internationally recognized art collections, and in 2011, he created the Fondation Gandur pour la Jeunesse dedicated to the development and social integration of disadvantaged youth. Mr. Gandur is Chair of both Foundations.
Mr. Gandur was appointed Officier in France’s National Legion of Honor in 2017.
He studied law and political science at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), and ancient history at the University Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris (France).
Dr. Mariët Westermann (qualified personality)
Mariët Westermann was appointed Vice Chancellor of New York University Abu Dhabi in the summer of 2019.
From 2010 to 2019, she was Executive Vice President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Prior to 2010, she was appointed as the first Provost and Chief Academic Officer of New York University Abu Dhabi, where she had formerly served as Director and Paulette Goddard Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts. Dr. Westermann also held positions as Associate Director of Research at the Clark Art Institute and as Assistant and Associate Professor at Rutgers University.
Dr. Westermann earned her Bachelor’s degree at Williams College (United States of America), and her Master and PhD in the history of art at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts. She has received fellowships and grants from the American Philosophical Society, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Clark Art Institute and National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a trustee of MASS MoCA, the Little Red School House and Elizabeth Irwin High School and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Scholar Rescue Fund.
Dr. Richard Kurin (qualified personality)
Richard Kurin is the Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large. He serves as the Smithsonian liaison to the President of the United States of America’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities and the White House Historical Association and is a member of the U.S. Department of State Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee.
Prior to his current role, Dr. Kurin served as Acting Provost and Under Secretary for Museums and Research from 2015, and from 2007, as Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture. Moreover, he served on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and helped draft an international treaty to safeguard living cultural heritage. He has published scores of scholarly articles on cultural representation, intangible cultural heritage, and the sociology and arts of India and Pakistan.
Dr. Kurin has been honored by Harvard University’s Peabody Museum, the International Council of Museums, the American Anthropological Association, the American Folklore Society and the Cosmos Club. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences.
With a PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago, Dr. Kurin has held Fulbright and Social Science Research Council fellowships and has taught at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
Prof. Dr. Markus Hilgert (qualified personality)
Markus Hilgert is the Secretary General and CEO of the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States. A specialist in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, he has served as Director of the Ancient Near East Museum at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin from 2014 until 2018. From 2007 until 2014, he was Professor for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (Assyriology) at Heidelberg University.
From 2015 until 2018, Prof. Dr. Hilgert was the Coordinator of the national trans-disciplinary research alliance ILLICID focusing on the illicit traffic with cultural property in Germany (funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research). He was the founding Director of the Heidelberg Center for Cultural Heritage at Heidelberg University and the Center for Digital Cultural Heritage in Museums (ZEDICUM) at the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. From 2017 until 2018, Prof. Dr. Hilgert was the Coordinator of the national program “museum4punkt0 – Digital Strategies for the Museum of the Future” under the auspices of the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media.
Prof. Dr. Hilgert has received several awards for his academic achievements and holds honorary professorships at Heidelberg University, Marburg University, and Berlin University (Freie Universität).
Dr. Mounir Bouchenaki (Chair of the Scientific Committee, ad interim)
Prof. Marc-André Renold (Switzerland)
Marc-André Renold, Dr. iur., LL.M. (Yale), is Professor of art and cultural heritage law at the University of Geneva. He is the Director of the Art-Law Center and the holder of the University of Geneva's UNESCO Chair on “The International Law of the Protection of Cultural Heritage”.
Prof. Renold is attorney-at-law, member of the Geneva Bar and of counsel for the firm Wenger Plattner. His areas of practice are, among others, art and cultural heritage law, intellectual property and public and private international law.
He is the author or co-author of many publications in the field of international and comparative art and cultural heritage law.
Mr. Ernesto Ottone Ramirez (UNESCO)
Ernesto Ottone Ramírez is the Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO. He served as Chile’s first Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage from 2015 to 2018, where he created the Department of First Peoples, a Migrants Unit and strengthened copyright laws and heritage protections. During this time, he also chaired the Regional Centre for the Promotion of Books in Latin America and the Caribbean (2016-2017).
From 2011 to 2015, Mr. Ottone Ramírez served as Director-General of the Artistic and Cultural Extension Center of the University of Chile, which manages the National Symphony Orchestra of Chile, the Chilean National Ballet (BANCH), the Chile Symphony Choir and the Vocal Camerata. From 2001 to 2010, he held the position of Executive Director at the Matucana 100 Cultural Center in Santiago.
Mr. Ottone Ramírez holds a Master’s degree in management of cultural institutions and policies from the University of Paris IX Dauphine and a Bachelor of Arts in theater from the University of Chile.
Mr. Valéry Freland (Executive Director)
Valéry Freland, a French career diplomat, has been the Executive Director of ALIPH since September 2018, where he is responsible for the strategic implementation and management of the Foundation.
A graduate of law and a former student of Sciences Po (Paris) and the École Nationale d’Administration (ENA – class Léopold Sedar Senghor), he has held several positions in the central administration of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (European Affairs, Cultural Affairs) and abroad: Culture and Audiovisual Advisor at the Permanent Representation of France to the European Union (Brussels, 2007-2009), Advisor for Cooperation and Cultural Action at the French Embassy in Tunisia (2010-2013), Consul General of France in Boston (2015-2018). He has also served as the Diplomatic Advisor to the French Minister of Culture and Communication, Frédéric Mitterrand (2009-2010). He is Chevalier of the French Order of Arts and Letters.
Chair (ad interim), Dr. Mounir Bouchenaki (Algeria)
Ms. Amel Chabbi (United Arab Emirates)
Dr. Patrick Michel (Switzerland)
Prof. Claudio Parisi Presicce (Italy)
Prof. Eleanor Robson (United Kingdom)
Dr. Bahija Simou (Morocco)
Chair, Dr. Richard Kurin (United States)
HE Saood Al-Hosani (United Arab Emirates)
Ms. Irene Braam (United States)
Ms. Deborah Stolk (Netherlands)
Mr. Valéry Freland, Executive Director
Dr. Maja Kominko, Scientific and Programs Director
Dr. Sandra Bialystok, Communication and Partnerships Director
Dr. Andrea Balbo, Project Manager
Mr. Othman Boucetta, Chief of Staff
Mr. Adonis El Hussein, Project Manager
Ms. Alexandra Fiebig, Project Manager
Ms. Maria Gurova, Communication and Partnerships Officer
Ms. Solange Mackoubily, Administrative and Accounting Assistant
Ms. Najet Makhloufa, Finance Officer
Mr. Laurent Oster, Director of Finance and Operations
Ms. Agathe Salomon, Intern
Mr. David Sassine, Project Manager
Ms. Elsa Urtizverea, Project Manager