Elva MargaritiMinister of Culture, Albania
Mrs. Elva Margariti is the Minister of Culture for Albania, appointed in January 2019. Along with her staff, she has carried out important projects at a time when the cultural sector was severely affected by the earthquake of November 26th, 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Previously, she was entrusted with the task of Territory Advisor and National Coordinator for the Integrated Rural Development Program (100 Villages Program) by the Prime Minister of Albania.
From 2015-2018, Mrs. Margariti was the coordinator for the MSc Architecture and Bachelor in Civil Engineering and Environment programs at the Catholic University “Lady of Good Counsel”, which works closely with the University of Florence.
Mrs. Margariti is a qualified architect and has experience as a freelance professional in various fields of architecture and urban development planning, and as a collaborator with design studios in both Italy and Albania. She studied architecture at the University of Florence, Italy, and completed further studies at Tampere University, Finland, and Tongji University in Shanghai, China.
Martin MataCo-CEO, AADF
Martin Mata has thirty years of combined management experience in the public and private sector, strategic planning, advanced investment, economic and market analysis, extensive political analysis, and human resources development. He began working for the Albanian–American Enterprise Fund (AAEF) in 2000 and became a Co-CEO in 2010.
His former work experience includes working as General Manager of Mercedes-Benz for Albania, part-time political adviser to the Albanian Prime Minister, political adviser at the American Embassy in Tirana, and PR Manager at the National Agency for Privatization. He holds a B.A. in English History & Language, and an MBA from a joint program between the University of Nebraska and the Faculty of Economics, University of Tirana.
He has been a Co-CEO at the Albanian-American Development Foundation (the AAEF’s legacy organization) since 2013. Mr. Mata received in 2015 from the President of the Republic the “Award of Distinguished Civil Merits”.
Aleksandër SarapuliCo-CEO, AADF
Aleksandër Sarapuli has thirty years of combined management and consulting experience in private equity, project finance, project management, economic and financial feasibility analyses, technology and commodity procurement, and marketing. He joined the Albanian-American Enterprise Fund in 1996 and has been Co-CEO since 2010.
His former work experience includes co-founding and managing partner of the Business Advisory Unit (BAU), business adviser for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Albania, and marketing and procurement manager at a private company. He holds a B.A. in Economics from the Faculty of Economics in Tirana. Mr. Sarapuli has participated in many intensive training programs on private equity, finance, management and more.
He has been a Co-CEO at the Albanian-American Development Foundation (the AAEF’s legacy organization) since 2013. Mr. Sarapuli received in 2015 from the President of the Republic the “Award of Distinguished Civil Merits”.
Róisín HeneghanCo-Founder and Director, Heneghan Peng Architects
Róisín Heneghan is the Co-Founder and Director of Heneghan Peng Architects, an architectural, landscape, and urban planning practice based in Dublin and Berlin. Her projects include the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre (shortlisted for the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize), the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit (winner of the 2019 Aga Khan Award in Architecture), the National Gallery of Ireland Historic Wings Refurbishment, and the soon-to-open Grand Egyptian Museum.
Róisín’s work at Heneghan Peng Architects has been widely exhibited and celebrated. The practice has won international design competitions for the Grand Egyptian Museum (an open competition that attracted over 1,500 entries) and Storm King Art Centre, among others. Heneghan Peng’s work has been nominated and shortlisted for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture and the RIBA Stirling Prize; individually, Róisín was shortlisted for the AJ Woman Architect of the Year 2014.
Róisín has extensive experience as a jury member for international architecture competitions, and was on the jury for the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from University College Dublin and a Masters in Architecture from Harvard University and has taught at both institutions – alongside teaching at Yale University, Cornell University, and MIT.
Mónica LuengoFounder, ATP Architecture, Territory and Landscape
Mónica Luengo is a landscape architect and art historian with expertise in the theory and practice of cultural landscapes, and the research, restoration, conservation and management of historic landscapes and gardens. She currently serves as the Vice President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Spain.
Alongside her Madrid-based landscape architecture practice ATP, Mónica is an Honorary Member and Former President of the International Scientific Committee of Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL), a partnership between ICOMOS and the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA).
As an academic, she has been the course director for the MA Cultural and National Heritage programme at Andalucía International University. Mónica brings 15 years’ experience organising seminars and exhibitions, and lecturing internationally on cultural landscapes.
Mónica works regularly with UNESCO World Heritage as an expert and consultant. Her publications include works on the restoration and management of historic gardens.
Suzanne OggeDirector of Heritage and International Projects, studioMilou
Suzanne is the Director of Heritage and International Projects at studioMilou, an architectural firm based in Singapore, Vietnam and Paris. Her studies include a Post Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from Deakin University, an Honors degree in Social Anthropology and Art History from the University of Melbourne, and a Masters of Ethnology from the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris.
Prior to joining studioMilou, Suzanne worked for over a decade with UNESCO’s Culture Sector in Paris, specializing on the conception, development and management of projects worldwide, with a focus on museums, built and intangible cultural heritage. She continues to carry out work for UNESCO in the field of intangible heritage, including training and advising on a range of heritage issues.
Her organizational memberships include the Australian Chamber of Commerce's Built Environment Industry Group in Singapore, the Advisory Committee for UNESCO’s International Training Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (CRIHAP), and the Editorial Committee for the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP).
Matilda PandoPresident, Association of Architects of Albania; Founder and Director, MATT ARCHITECT&ASSOCIATES
Matilda Pando is the President of the Albanian Association of Architects (AAA), previously serving on the board of directors for five years. AAA is part of the International Union of Architects, the only UNESCO-recognized international architectural organization. AAA is also an active member of the Inter-Balkan Architectural Union, where Albania currently holds the vice-presidency. A non-governmental organization, AAA has been operating for 32 years.
Matilda is also the Founder and Director of MATT ARCHITECT & ASSOCIATIES, a Tirana-based studio focused on architecture, planning, and interior design. Her work focuses on contextualization, sustainability, and contemporary architecture. Previously, she co-founded the firm ARCHISTUDIO, whose ‘Vila Mira’ project was nominated for both the Mies Van der Rohe and Aga Khan awards in 2022.
A practicing architect since 2001, Matilda studied at the Polytechnic University of Tirana’s Department of Architecture from 1996. Her work includes an engagement with design and public administration.
Thomas Vonier FAIA RIBA CPPSenior Partner, Chesapeake Strategies Ltd, Paris + Washington DC
Architect Thomas Vonier works to improve facilities and operations for municipalities, public organizations, and private corporations. He brings to his work strong experience with urban design, adaptive reuse of historic properties, and security planning for tourism sites, resort properties, academic campuses, and industrial plants.
Thomas was president of the International Union of Architects (UIA), the organization representing the world’s 3.2 million architects, and national president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He has received multiple professional and industry awards and is board-certified in security planning and design.
Thomas co-hosted the Baku International Forum on Mass Tourism in Historic Cities and joined the president of the Architects’ Council of Europe and the UNESCO Director-General to inaugurate the International Conference on Design Competitions. With colleagues in the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, he helped to create the UNESCO/UIA World Capital of Architecture programme.
Malcolm ReadingAdministrative Chair
Chairman, Malcolm Reading Consultants
The competition is being managed by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC). Malcolm, an architect by training, founded the company after six years as Director of Design and Architecture at the British Council. He has worked with many of the world’s leading cultural institutions including the V&A; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; the Royal College of Art; Mumbai City Museum; the British Library; and the Natural History Museum. Recent MRC competitions include those for MK:U; the Illuminated River; the UK Holocaust Memorial; Edinburgh’s Ross Pavilion; the M.K. Čiurlionis Concert Centre in Kaunas, Lithuania; and the National Gallery, UK.
Malcolm was on the Board of Historic Royal Palaces from 2005-2014 and was a Trustee of English Heritage from 2015-2019. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He joined the Sovereign Grant Audit Committee in June 2015.
Photo: Vibeke Dahl