Blog | 28 February 2023

Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation appoints five new Trustees including its new Chair, Shonaig Macpherson CBE

The Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation, the independent charity which devises and produces the Edinburgh International Culture Summit has appointed 5 new trustees.

The Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation (EICSF), the independent charity which devises and produces the biennial Edinburgh International Culture Summit has appointed five new Trustees.

Operating, on behalf of its founding Strategic Partnership – Edinburgh International Festival, British Council, Scottish Parliament and the Scottish and UK Governments, the Foundation produces and promotes the international summit focused on the impact of culture positioning Scotland internationally as a place of enlightened exchange and cultural leadership.

Joining in the role of Chair is Shonaig Macpherson CBE, an experienced Chair and non-executive director used to working at the most senior levels of government, private, public and third sectors. Her practice as a solicitor saw her specialise in advising companies whose core asset is intellectual property. She worked for Sir Terence Conran, established the in-house legal department of Harrods and advised on the establishment of Aldi in the UK.

Shonaig was appointed as the first ever non-executive appointee to the Management and Strategic Boards of Scottish Government where she became the first lay person to chair its Audit Committee. From 2015 until 2020 she was Lead Non-Executive Member of the Management Board of the Office of Secretary of State for Scotland and the Office of the Advocate General. She was a member of the UK Government and Scottish Parliament’s Commission on Scottish Devolution, the Scottish Executive’s Culture Commission and its Knowledge Economy Task Force.

Shonaig Macpherson, Chair of Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation said: “I am delighted to be joining the board of Edinburgh International Cultural Summit Foundation as it embarks on a strategic review with its partners to build on its first decade of success. Recent times have underscored the vital importance of culture to our individual and collective wellbeing. The Foundation’s role in stimulating and inspiring debate across nations is more relevant and important than ever.”

The four further Trustees appointed to the board are:

Stephen Gethins is Professor of International Affairs at the University of St Andrews and prior to that MP for North East Fife, the SNP International affairs spokesperson and was twice selected to sit on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. Stephen was also previously a Special Adviser to Scotland’s First Minister on EU and International Affairs as well as Energy and Climate Change and is one of the founders of The Scottish Council on Global Affairs.

Professor Gayle McPherson is Professor of Events and Cultural Policy and Director of the Centre for Culture, Sport and Events at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). She is also a member of the European Cultural Parliament. Professor McPherson’s work with The British Council and partners in Africa, the Middle East and South America has focused on cultural diplomacy and peace building in post-conflict societies and she has also worked with partners in Canada and Japan on mega-sport events as agents for societal change, human rights and disability rights.

Dan Mulhall is a retired Irish diplomat, academic and published author.  He is the current Parnell Fellow at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge and is a consultant with the global law firm DLA Piper. During his diplomatic career, Mulhall served as Ireland’s Ambassador in Washington (2017-22), London (2013-17), Berlin (2009-13) and Kuala Lumpur (2001-05).  He also had diplomatic assignments in New Delhi, Vienna, Brussels (EU) and Edinburgh where he was Ireland’s first Consul General (1998-2001).

Mona Siddiqui is Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies and Assistant Principal for Religion and Society at the University of Edinburgh.  She is known internationally as a public intellectual and is a regular commentator in the media, known for her appearances on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland’s Thought for the Day and The Moral Maze.

Andrew Wilson who has been filling the role of Interim Chair of the Summit Foundation commented: “After ten years establishing the Summit and building its success and profile around the world, we need to consider how we maximise its impact for the next decade. The vision and brilliance of the late Sir Angus Grossart and Sir Jonathan Mills as founder chair and Director now must be built upon. There has never been a more important time for the Summit and the dialogue between nations on culture and its importance.

“I am delighted that five outstanding individuals will join our board bringing a wealth and breadth of ability and experience. And to attract a chair of the quality and standing of Shonaig Macpherson is fitting given the importance of the summit and our mission. She will lead the Board’s input in centring the creative vision for the Summit in discussion with our strategic partners.”

The Edinburgh International Culture Summit was established in 2012 through the Edinburgh International Festival, working alongside other core partners the British Council, the Scottish Parliament, and the Scottish and UK Governments. Taking place immediately following the London Olympic Games, the Summit is thought to have been the first of its kind.

Bringing together Culture Ministers, prominent artists, thinkers, and others responsible for formulating and implementing cultural policy, the initiative is a successful model for peer learning, the forging of connections, and a formal exploration of how the arts can enrich the lives of people around the world and contribute to the wellbeing of nations.

The Strategic Review in 2023 will assess the achievements and impact of the Summit in the ten years since its inception and propose a renewed vision, objectives, governance and operating model for this world class international gathering of cultural leaders and government ministers in Edinburgh.

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