Successful partnerships create synergy through shared ideas, time, and most importantly, mutual objectives. But where does one start? Join panelists as they share their processes for identifying collaborative partners across cultures, and working through, and with, difference.

This series is in line with the UAE’s commitment to the International year of Creative Economies for Sustainable Development.


Karishma Bhagani

Karishma Bhagani, from Mombasa, Kenya, is pursuing a PhD in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University. She graduated from New York University (NYU) with a B.F.A in Theatre and a B.A. in History. In her capacities as a director, producer and scholar of the performing arts, Karishma is keen on contributing to the development of a sustainable creative economy within East Africa. Karishma currently serves as the Associate Artistic Director for the Tebere Arts Foundation in Uganda and Associate Producing Director for the Nairobi Musical Theatre Initiative in Kenya. She is also a fellow at the Georgetown Lab for Global Performance and Politics. While at NYU, Karishma was the recipient of the Richard Hull Fellowship, the Bevya Rosten Memorial Award, the CTED Development Impact Fellowship and the Presidents’ Service Award. She was also the Tisch bachelor’s representative at NYU’s All-University Commencement ceremony.

Abhishek Majumdar

Abhishek Majumdar, is a playwright, theater director, and Scenographer. Currently he is the Artistic Director of Nalanda Arts Studio , Bangalore and a Professor of Theater at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Mahnaz Fancy

Raised in Karachi, Paris, Abu Dhabi and New York, Mahnaz is a Dubai-based cultural critic with over 15 years of experience in leading nonprofit institutions. After pursuing a PhD concentrating on colonialism and aesthetics at the Comparative Literature Department at the University of Chicago, she has launched several initiatives for supporting contemporary arts communities in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Working closely with local, regional, and international stakeholders from philanthropic, academic, and creative sectors, she has organized exhibitions, festivals, conferences, professional workshops, and public educational programs. She continues to write and speak on regional arts and their social impact in an interconnected world. Mahnaz is currently the Communications & External Relations Manager of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial.

Meklit Hadero

Meklit is an Ethio-American vocalist, songwriter and composer known for her electric stage presence and innovative, deeply personal Ethio-Jazz songs. Her performances have taken her around the world, from Addis Ababa where she is a full blown star – to San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, Nairobi, Cairo, Montreal, London, Zurich, Rome, Helsinki and many more. Meklit’s latest album “When the People Move, the Music Moves Too” was named amongst the best records of the year by Bandcamp and The Sunday Times UK, climbing to the top of the iTunes, NACC, and European World Charts.
Meklit is Chief of Program at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. She is a National Geographic Explorer, a TED Senior Fellow, and a former Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University. She has collaborated with the likes of Kronos Quartet, Andrew Bird, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and musical legend Pee Wee Ellis.