Plenary Speakers

The International Conference on the Inclusive Museum will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Nurhan Atasoy Alissandra Cummins
George Jacob Margaret Anderson
Omarakhan Massoudi Amareswar Galla
Murat Suslu Deniz Ünsal

Garden Conversations Sessions

Plenary Speakers will make formal 30-minute presentations. They will also participate in 60-minute Garden Conversations - unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet the speakers and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.

The Speakers

Nurhan Atasoy
Apart from teaching Art History, Prof. Dr. Nurhan Atasoy was the head of many departments and the Dean of the Faculty of Letters of Istanbul University. She has organized, attended and lectured at many international congresses and symposia on Turkish and Islamic art throughout the World. She was also the curator of several national and international exhibitions. She has received many awards, such as: a medal of Pro Merito by the Council of Europe, Strasbourg 1984; TURSAB (Union of Turkish Tourism Agencies), 1989; Memphis Municipality (U.S.A.) Honorary Citizenship, 1989; a medallion of ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization award for the year 1992 in recognition of outstanding performance in the field of Fine Arts); the award for the outstanding performance in the Turkish Museum Studies and Archaeology, Ministry of Culture of Republic of Turkey, 1993; German Archaeological Institute “Institutum Archaeologicum Germanicum Award”, 1994; Ataturk Kultur Merkezi (Ataturk Cultural Centre) Honorary membership, 1999; the “Doctor Honoris Causa in Humane Letters” by Bilkent University, 2004; and the State Award for Superior Achievement, 2006. In addition to these honors, she has also published over 100 articles and 21 books.

George Jacob
A Canadian Commonwealth Fellow, George Jacob is an internationally sought museum professional. In his career spanning over two decades he has been the founding Director of three museums. He has served on professional boards and has been an adjunct faculty for Museum Studies and Business Administration at various universities. With a successful track record of over $200 million in completed projects, he is also the founder and publisher of MUSEUM DESIGN (estd.2004)~ the only global professional magazine dedicated to museum exhibit design, production and architecture. Known for his seminal books titled Museum Design: The Future and its sequel Exhibit Design: The Future, his writings explore the future of the museum movement, both at institutional and industrial levels. Thinker, artist, sculptor, museum planner, creative designer and entrepreneur, George Jacob was honored to be the Project Director for the production of the Star Spangled Banner permanent exhibit- Smithsonian’s most treasured national icon. He is, at present, the founding Director of the 100 acre, 650,000 sq.ft. Khalsa Heritage Centre- India’s largest contemporary heritage complex designed by the renowned architect Moshe Safdie.

Omarakhan Massoudi
Omarakhan Massoudi is the Director of the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul since 2002. He graduated from the Kabul University in 1973 and trained as a conservator at the National Research Laboratories for Conservation in Lucknow, India, in 1991-1992. He has worked hard to re-establish the Kabul Museum. He has been responsible for the ICOM Red List of Afghanistan Antiquities at Risk, a project that is resulting in several stolen artifacts being returned to the National Museum in Kabul. A strong advocate for museums and intercultural dialogue, he was awarded the Prince Claus Fellowship in 2004.

Murat Suslu
Mr. Murat Suslu is the Director General of Cultural Assets and Museums for the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and he is also the new president of the ICOM Turkish National Committee.

Alissandra Cummins
Alissandra Cummins is Director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours in the History of Art from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and a Masters of Arts in Museum Studies from Leicester University,UK. A recognized authority on Caribbean heritage, museum development and art, she was elected a Fellow of the Museums Association (U.K), a first for the Caribbean. She is a lecturer in Heritage Studies with the University of the West Indies. She currently serves on the editorial committee of the International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship.Ms. Cummins was instrumental in the establishment of the Museums Association of the Caribbean (MAC), becoming its Founding President in 1989, and was equally active as first Board member and then as President of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology ( IACA). Miss Cummins served between 1998-2004 as Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of ICOM (International Council of Museums), following which she was elected as its President in 2004 and 2007. She is still serving in this capacity having been re-elected In August 2007. She has also served as Chairperson of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP) from 2003-2005, and more recently (2007) was appointed as President of the International Advisory Committee of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme. Ms. Cummins was recently selected to head Barbados’ delegation to the World Heritage Committee.

In 1999 Ms. Cummins was appointed Special Envoy for Cultural Heritage by the Government of Barbados, in which capacity she advises on both technical issues and policy development, and represents the nation at the regional and international levels. In 2005, Alissandra Cummins was awarded Barbados’ Gold Crown of Merit in recognition of her services to heritage and museum development. In 2006, she was recognized by UNESCO as one of “sixty eminent women who, in different parts of the world, in different positions and in different moments across the history of the Organization have made, and in many ways are still making, significant contributions to the ideals and action of the Organization, be it in education, culture, science or communication”.

Margaret Anderson
Margaret Anderson is the Director of the History Trust of South Australia, a position she has held since December 2000. She has worked in museums in Western Australia and South Australia, where she was inaugural director of the Migration Museum. She also lectured in history and Australian studies at Monash University, where she introduced a course in material culture studies. While at Monash she completed a three volume study of collections in Australian museums, the recommendations of which informed the work programs of the various predecessor bodies of the Collections Council of Australia.  She was a member of the Heritage Collections Working Group, the Heritage Collections Committee and deputy chair of the Heritage Collections Council. She is a former President of the Museums Association of Australia and was secretary of both the Council of Australian Museum Associations and Museums Australia. With others she founded both the Historians’ and the Women’s Special Interest Groups of Museums Australia. Her research interests include the history of women and the family in Australia, women’s work, national allegory and the practice of public history. She has published on all of the above. Margaret is the current chair of the Council of Australasian Museum Directors.

Amareswar Galla
Born and educated in both south and north India, including Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, Professor Galla provides strategic cultural leadership in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region as the Professor of Museum Studies at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. ( Until recently he was the Professor and Director of Sustainable Heritage Development, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, the Australian National University in Canberra. He was also a regular visitor at the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, working on the implementation of Museums and Cultural Diversity Promotion in the Netherlands; Guest Curator of International Projects with the Vietnam National Department of Cultural Heritage; and Founding Convener of the Pacific Asia Observatory for Cultural Diversity in Sustainable Heritage Development in partnership with several bodies including UNESCO. ( He is the first Australian elected as the President of the Asia Pacific Executive Board (1998-2004) - Chairperson of the Cross Cultural Task Force (2005-2011) - and until recently Vice President of the International Executive Council (2004-2007) - of the International Council of Museums, Paris. He is a Trustee of the Pacific Islands Museums Association.

Deniz Ünsal
Deniz Ünsal is an assistant professor at İstanbul Bilgi University, Department of Art Management. Graduated from Middle East Technical University, Department of Political Science and Public Administration in Ankara, she received her MA in European Studies, 1995 and in Social and Cultural Anthropology, 1996 both from Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. She earned her PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University, New York in 2004. Between 2001 and 2005 she worked  as assistant curator and exhibition coordinator respectively in Royal Tropical Institute, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam and  Istanbul Modern. She edited and co-edited books including  Art, City and Politics in an expanded World (İKSV, 2005) for the 9th International Istanbul Biennial and Emerging Cultural Capital, a publication that maps the cultural sector in the Caucasus and Middle East. Ünsal teaches courses on museums and cultural polices at undergraduate and master’s levels. Her research areas include museums, cultural policies, citizenship and cultural participation. She has recently published “Museum Establishments and Cultural Policies in Turkey” in Introduction to Cultural Policy in Turkey, Serhan Ada and H. Ayça İnce(eds). İstanbul Bilgi University Press: 2009