Past Program

Oct 27 - Nov 01, 2012

Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders


The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders brought together forty-seven dynamic young cultural leaders from thirty-seven countries around the globe for an intensive leadership development program at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria. The Salzburg Global Seminar and National Arts Strategies partnered on this session in November 2012 to provide a unique learning opportunity for “next generation” cultural leaders from Argentina to Zambia and to strengthen the cultural sector worldwide.

The session in Salzburg included a series of plenary sessions, facilitated break-out groups, and praxis-oriented training sessions in critical leadership skills, as well as informal networking time.  The plenary sessions focused on the following themes: The Role of Arts Organizations in Society and their Place in the Community; The Creation and the Communication of Value; and “Glocal” - What is Global and What is Local in Today’s World?  The training sessions provided skill development in these critical areas: Change Management; Innovation, and Team Building and Communication.

The participants included a theater festival director from Chile, a creative producer from Australia, a dance company director from Ireland, a cultural heritage specialist from Mozambique, a music manager from Hong Kong, and forty-two other young cultural change-makers from around the world.  Responding to questions in a post-session survey, 100% of the participants rated their overall seminar experience as outstanding (81%) or good (19%); 82% stated they had acquired valuable new skills as a result of their participation in the program, and 92% felt that the networking opportunities had been good to outstanding.

Post-session survey responses to the program were extremely enthusiastic, describing the Salzburg experience as “a genuinely global conversation and a rare opportunity,”  “exceeding every one of my expectations,” “transformational,” “not competitive, but collaborative,” providing  ”short and long-term takeaways,” and, in a word,  “thrilling.” 

The Session Report, interviews with participants, and resources from the session can be found below.

The Salzburg Global Seminar is grateful to the Edward T. Cone Foundation for its generous support of Session 498.

Additional Support was provided by- Fondation Adelman pour l’Education - Japan Foundation - United States Embassy to the Slovak Republic

The Salzburg Global Seminar would like to thank the National Arts Strategies staff, the session co-chairs and panelists for donating their time and expertise to this collaborative project. The Seminar gratefully acknowledges the assistance of all participants, whose diverse experience and ideas informed the session and the report.

For More Information Contact:
Salzburg Global Seminar
Susanna Seidl-Fox
Program Director, Culture and the Arts


Horst Abraham
Faculty Partner, Center for Executive Development, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Serhan Ada
Arts and Cultural Management Professor, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
Gail Crider
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, National Arts Strategies, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
J. Mikel Ellcessor
General Manager, WDET Public Radio, Detroit, Michigan, United States
Fielding Grasty
Yudhishthir Raj Isar
Professor of Cultural Policy Studies, The American University of Paris, France; Eminent Research Visitor, Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney, Syndey, NSW, Australia
Patrick McIntyre
Executive Director, Sydney Theatre Company, Sydney, Australia
Tisa Ho
Executive Director, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China
Deirdre Prins-Solani
Heritage & Education Consultant, South Africa; former Director, Center for Heritage Development in Africa, Mombasa, Kenya
Diane Ragsdale
Doctoral Candidate, Erasmus University, USA
Theresa Remick
Communications Manager, National Arts Strategies, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Surry Scheerer
Smart Leadership Consultant, Coach, and Trainer; Executive Coach, University of Michigan Ross School of Business Executive Education; Lecturer, University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Dallas Shelby
Director of Communications, National Arts Strategies, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Gary Vikan
former Director, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Eduardo Vilaro
Artistic Director, Ballet Hispanico, New York, New York, United States
Sunny Widmann
Program Manager, National Arts Strategies, Alexandria, Virginia, United States


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Session Report

Click here to download the print version (pdf)

Click here to view the online version

Session Summary

Click here to download the session summary

List of Participants

Click here for the complete list of participants

Session Document
Holding Up the ArtsDiane Ragsdale, Lecturer and Ph.D. student, Faculty of History and Arts, Erasmus University, Netherlands

Related Internet URLs

Field Notes
Observations & Insights from National Arts Strategies


“I will use the knowledge gained to nurture the capabilities of my institution to better respond to the challenges in terms of the training of future professionals in the field of archaeology and cultural heritage in Mozambique. I would also like to use what I learnt to make my work more relevant to society by contributing in cultural development in Mozambique. The network developed out of my participation in this session will be important in establishing collaborative initiatives to address some of the common challenges in the cultural sector.”
Albino Jopela, Lecturer, Archeology Program, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique

“The 2012 Salzburg Global Seminar Young Cultural Leaders session was a transformative experience for me — a before and after. I am shaken, still unsure of what will settle from the new thoughts, perspectives and peers I've discovered.  It is difficult to know what all I'll bring back to my workplace and life as a result of this experience, but it isn't difficult to say that it has altered me to my core. This experience has pushed me to imagine my future and impact in a broader, more global sense.  To listen so that I do not miss out.  To trust. To be more daring and thoughtful and provocative.  To find grit.  To grow from it. Salzburg Global Seminar was the most satisfying educative experience I've ever had. It has raised the bar for all others I will experience.“
Beck Tench, Director for Innovation, Museum of Life and Science, Durham,  North Carolina, United States

“The week I spent in Salzburg for the Young Cultural Leader Forum is definitely a lifetime experience. I am especially thankful for having the chance to listen to panelists from different areas sharing their experiences and views, which indeed enriched my understanding of the cultural sector in an international sense. Meeting with all the brilliant fellows is so precious not only because of the exchange of ideas and experiences, but also the friendship and passion we shared during this time. It will become a source of energy to keep up my work for arts and culture, and I am going to share the skills as well as the energy with my colleagues in my workplace and local cultural circle.“
Yolanda Ngai Chi Yin, Assistant Manager, Chinese Opera Festival, Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China

“The possibility of engaging with such a diverse group of highly committed young cultural managers and mentors provided a unique environment that fostered some of the most meaningful insights I have had in the professional realm. The Seminar provided a priceless opportunity to reflect on the different value systems that we are engaging with when creating public policy or arts programming for a given community, and on how to provide a flexible environment for all the stakeholders in it to be able to engage in—and benefit from—the  production of value. The lectures allowed me to reflect on the complexity of our work, while the small group work provided invaluable feedback to develop the practical skills required to deliver results both in global and local scales. I can sincerely say that being a participant at the Young Cultural Leaders forum was a life-changing experience.”
Jimena Lara Estrada, Program Coordinator, Mexican Cultural Institute, New York, New York, United States


“The session clarified many aspects I needed to engage in my organization as well as other personal skills that I can invest while being a young cultural leader. Though my organization is still young, the session enlightened various thoughts and ways forward for managing and self‐assessing while progressing hence avoiding unexpected and undesired obstacles.”
Maram Na’es, Vice President, International Institute of Conservation, Zarga, Jordan 

“I expect that in ten years time I will reflect back on my time at SGS and see it as an important milestone or perhaps even a turning point, in making me and my institution more effective and focused on real, not imagined, social impact.”
Sebastian Chan, Director of Digital Media, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York, United States


“The SGS managed to bring together an amazing group of people from all over the world and this made the environment ripe for creativity and enacting change. I think the impact of those five intensive days spent in Salzburg will ripple for a generation of young cultural leaders.”
Claire Power, Head of Institution, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin, Ireland

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