Panel Talks

2019-2020 Panel Talks

What Future for our National Heritage?

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  • March 9, 2020 | 6:30pm | Free

This event has been cancelled.
The controversial reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral, which suffered considerable damage last spring due to a fire, has sparked another question around national heritage and its adaptation to the present and future. Technological advances sometimes render obsolete construction that have been built centuries ago. Should we favor a newly built version which is adapted to current times or preserve the original as a way to remember the past? The debate will in part cover current discussions about Notre-Dame.

Panel talk moderated by Dr. Victoria Sanger, specialist in urban history.


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Bénédicte de Montlaur is Chief Executive Officer of World Monuments Fund (WMF), the world’s foremost private organization dedicated to saving extraordinary places while empowering the communities around them. She is responsible for defining WMF’s strategic vision, currently implementing that vision in more than 30 countries around the world and leading a team that spans the globe. Prior to joining WMF, Montlaur spent two decades working across three continents as a senior diplomat at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most recently, she served as Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States, leading France’s largest international cultural advocacy network and its two partner foundations, Albertine and FACE.
Pierre-Antoine Gatier is a French architect and Chief Architect and Inspector General for Historical monuments as well as a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts. He conceives many restoration and enhancement projects of great monuments including the Domaine de Chantilly, the Bourse de commerce (commodity exchange) for the Collection Pinault and the Opéra-Comique in Paris. He also focuses on the conservation of architecture from the 20th century and more recent architectural heritage.
Jorge Otero-Pailos is Director and Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He works at the intersection of art, architecture and preservation. He is also an artist and preservationist best known for making monumental casts of historically charged buildings. Drawing from his formal training in architecture and preservation, Otero-Pailos’ art practice deals with memory, culture, and transitions, and invites the viewer to consider buildings and functional objects as powerful agents of change. 
Michel Picaud is President of Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds to accelerate the restoration of the iconic Paris cathedral, a position he has held as a volunteer since its incorporation in October 2016. Prior to that Michel served as COO for International Markets of the Demos Group, one of the main European learning and development companies, and as President and CEO of HR Access Solutions, a leading Human Resources software provider part of Fidelity Investments. Michel was also SVP for Orange Business Services/Equant, CEO of Alcatel Réseaux d'Entreprise. He graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique Paris, Mines ParisTech and Telecom ParisTech.
Victoria Sanger specializes in urban history, military architecture, and cartography of the Early Modern period in Europe and the United States. She earned her Ph.D in art history at Columbia University with a thesis on Vauban as town planner and today she teaches MA students at the architecture school of Columbia (GSAPP) since 2009. She lived in France from 1995 to 2010 where she taught these subjects as well as the history of Paris and the Renaissance at the University of Tours and at Reid Hall (Columbia and SMU). She directed the department of education and outreach at the Musée des Plans-Reliefs and was curator, author and editor of the catalogue and exhibition Vauban : Bâtisseur de Roi-Soleil (Vauban: Builder to the Sun King), the first heritage exhibit at the Cité de l’architecture in 2007.

The Circular Economy

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  • October 21, 2019 | 6:30pm | Free

From Linear to Circular Economy

Is adopting sustainable practices and shifting to the Circular economy the best solutions to quickly reduce carbon emissions, and ocean and land pollution? Could it help save our natural resources and help us reach zero waste? 

Listen to our experts coming from government, city, business and a successful circular economy start-up talk about what efforts they're making towards this important transition. You'll also get some advice on what we can do as citizens, to help speed up the transition.

Moderated by Jean-Christian Agid, former journalist for French and American television and radio.


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Farah Albani, Policy Advisor on the Strategic Initiatives team at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.
In her role, she works with agencies to manage the City’s waste portfolio including circular economy development through the prevention, diversion, and reduction of waste; extended producer responsibility; and partnerships. She also works on experiential engagement initiatives and place-based planning. She has a degree in Systems Engineering and Engineering Management from George Washington University.
Meriem Hammoutene, US Brand Partnerships Lead, Loop at TerraCycle.
Meriem has more than 6 years experience working in the Consumer Goods Industry managing global & iconic brands such as Dove, Activia, Breyers working at Danone or Unilever. Embracing her growing passion for sustainability became an obvious career choice after she took a year off in 2018 to pursue personal projects. She joined TerraCycle in 2019 on the Loop initiative. Announced at the World Economic Forum at Davos early this year, Loop is a groundbreaking step towards the end of single-use disposable materials and the beginning of a circular economy for the consumer goods industry. launched in May 2019 in NYC area and expanded in other East Coast states since then.
Frédéric Glanois, Minister Counselor for Economic and Financial Affairs at the Permanent Mission of France to the UN. Prior to joining the Permanent mission, he was heading the office of Multilateral Affairs and Development Finance at the Treasury (2012-2015), then appointed in the French negotiation team for the UNFCCC Paris Climate Summit (2015), then appointed as Head of the Economics Department in the French representation in Taiwan (2016-2018) where he worked among other on circular economy cooperation.
Sam Loni, Partnerships Manager of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
Sam Loni is a young global leader working in sustainable development, youth empowerment, and human rights. He is based at the Secretariat of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a program launched by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize global expertise around the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2015, Sam founded SDSN Youth, a program which empowers youth globally to create sustainable development solutions. As its Global Coordinator, Sam has mobilized thousands of young people globally to engage with the SDGs. 
Dennis Wilson, Director of Sustainability, Environment, Health and Safety , Saint-Gobain North America (parent company of CertainTeed). Dennis joined CertainTeed/Saint-Gobain in 2007 and has since worked in a variety of operational EHS, product stewardship and sustainability roles.  Dennis’ team manages Saint-Gobain North America’s environmental, health and safety programs as well as process and product sustainability efforts including waste, water, energy, greenhouse gas reduction and product life cycle assessments.