Director, ACTIVATE Nonprofit Arts Organization
Advisory Board Member, Future Earth MENA Regional Center
Originally from the island of Cyprus, Melina Nicolaides, an environmentally-engaged curator, artist and writer, was born in Washington, D.C. and spent her childhood years in Asia, followed by secondary education in Geneva, and completion of her studies at the British School of Rome. She holds a BA in History from Princeton University, obtained with the thesis “A Problem of Authenticity and Representation in a 19th century Vision of the Orient”, as considered through Verdi’s opera ‘Aida’. Following an extended training-period at the E.U. in the sectors of communication, information and cultural heritage, she went on to earn a multi-disciplinary MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, which she attended as an A.G. Leventis Foundation Scholar, and where she received the Institution’s Graduate Award. Over the years as a visual artist, her work has been shown in solo and over fifty exhibitions internationally, and she has received multiple governmental grants, art fellowships and awards in the USA and in Europe.
As Director of ACTIVATE Nonprofit Arts Organization, her focus is on developing cross-disciplinary projects that address climate change-related challenges of the Eastern Mediterranean & MENA area. These research-based initiatives bring together people from across this region and diverse fields of knowledge to build creative and solution-oriented collaborations related to water, food and energy security. In addressing these topics, the primary objectives include encouraging awareness on the increasing ‘connected points’ between the challenges faced by the countries of this region. In addition, to highlight the environmental, social, and cultural overlaps and commonalities shared between the peoples living across the MENA region. The underlying principle is to show that working as a regional community – and acknowledging and integrating these factors – will ultimately benefit the crafting of appropriate strategies and applicable environmental policies for this region.
Ms. Nicolaides is Permaculture Design certified, serves on the Steering Committee for the E.U. Interreg MED Program ‘Aristoil’ and on the Advisory Board of the Future Earth MENA Regional Center. Her latest ACTIVATE project, a film entitled “Everyone Here Is Connected”, currently showing at the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo, reveals a network of individuals across the Eastern Mediterranean and MENA region who are working on the ground, within academia and scientific institutions, whose knowledge and experience can be the source of innovative nature-based solutions, green energy ideas, and regenerative land practices – all of which have the potential to take this region ‘beyond sustainability’ towards a more resilient future.