Guila Clara Kessous

Ms Guila Clara Kessous, UNESCO Artist for Peace

Guila Clara Kessous is a specialist in Arts and Human Rights. She created the “Theatre and Human Rights” curriculum at Paris Institute of Political Studies (SciencesPo Paris) and teaches the program at the Carr Center of the Kennedy School at Harvard University. She conceives drama as a socially conscious reflection pervading multiple aspects of society and culture. Her approach to theater as a cultural marker is multifaceted. She has benefited from her American and European theatrical approaches as an artist, actress, researcher, and teacher by collaborating with other directors and film makers including John Malkovich, Jim Spruill, Labid Aziz, Michael Marmarinos, Patrick Jérôme, Daniel Mesguich, Laurent Laffargue and Jean Pierre Vincent among others. She has co-produced and directed over 20 shows, with a specific emphasis on costumes (meeting with Jean Paul Gaultier at the Festival d’Avignon in 2006).

She received a PhD in ethics and aesthetics under the mentorship of E. Wiesel, an MBA in cultural business, and a cross-disciplinary MA in comparative dramaturgy, cinema, and pedagogy. Author and translator, Dr. Kessous has had the opportunity to work with numerous artists and authors on theatrical works that primarily deal with humanitarian and social issues including Elie Wiesel, Marie NDiaye, Theodore Bikel, Marisa Berenson, James Taylor, Marie-Christine Barrault, Jean Claude Grumberg, Enzo Cormann, Jean Paul Wenzel to name just a few. Founder of the French Troupe at Harvard University in 2005, she was nominated “Fashion Ambassador”  (workshop on “Fashion and Ethics”) and received two awards for teaching excellence from the Harvard Derek Bok Center. She has pursued her teaching in Europe and overseas (Harvard University, Boston University, Oxford University, University of Geneva, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Sciences Po Paris, Alliances Françaises, Wiesel Institute in Paris, St Petersburg Conservatory, etc.). Transposing analysis techniques to the cinema, she made a series of short movies presented at the Cannes Festival (Official selection of the NY/Avignon Film Festival) entitled Private Conversation and Glassy reality working on the perspective of the object and the focalization of the world around from a handicapped point of view.

With regards to her theatrical and cinematographic research, Kessous is a member of the ARIAS laboratory (CNRS/Paris III/ENS) as an associate researcher and holds a Post-doctorate scholarship from the Foundation for Research and Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (FIIRD) at the University of Geneva. She has been nominated a Knight of Arts & Letters (Chevalier des Arts et Lettres) by the French Ministry of Culture for her work on the influence of French culture overseas. For her dedication in Arts and Human Rights, she was awarded the title of UNESCO Artist for Peace.

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