More than 30 young festival makers from Asia and Europe had a unique opportunity to learn from international experts thanks to a generous gift from Japanese philanthropist Dr Haruhisa Handa.

The gift to the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) from Dr Handa, who is chairman of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC), went towards supporting the first Asian edition of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers. The Atelier is an intensive one-week training programme for young festival professionals. It took place in Singapore alongside the Singapore Arts Festival from 14 to 21 May 2011 and was organised by the European Festivals Association (EFA) – the initiator of the event – ASEF and LASALLE College of the Arts.

Throughout the programme, participants from all over the world discussed the state of festivals in today’s society. They consistently observed that they were grateful for the opportunity to meet practitioners who were working in similar, sometimes difficult, environments and they were confident this will become a lasting network of festival managers. The gift helped to support 17 of the participants from Asian and European countries.

ASEF Executive Director Ambassador Dominique Girard said, “Festivals are an increasingly important artistic and cultural platform which fosters exchanges between individuals and communities from all over the world. In choosing to support the Atelier, Dr Handa has helped to develop the next generation of festival leaders by enabling them to connect with their contemporaries in a supportive learning environment.”

Dr Handa, who is also a practising artist, founded IFAC in 1996 with a view to contributing to the development of arts and culture on a global scale, promoting goodwill across national boundaries, regardless of differences in languages and religions, and assisting the training of artists and musicians. Its main activities include organising charitable public performances of the Japanese arts of Noh plays and calligraphic works, as well as the western arts of opera and classical ballet.

For more information on making a gift to ASEF, please contact Leonie Nagarajan at +65 6874 9736 or email

Find out more about IFAC.

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