2023 World Monuments Summit

The World Monuments Summit brings together World Monuments Fund’s (WMF) global team of experts, supporters, partners, thought leaders, and guests for a series of discussions on heritage preservation at Rockefeller Center in New York City, home to WMF’s headquarters.

The 2023 Summit will explore ongoing work to rehabilitate historic water management systems in India; celebrate efforts to revive historic interiors; and go behind the scenes of a major project to document African heritage sites. 

Join us for this one-of-a-kind event with our international network of cultural heritage professionals and advocates to learn about the future of our work and support our efforts to preserve cultural heritage sites around the world.

Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Time: 12:30 pm - 6:30 pm (ET)
Location: Studio Gather, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, 27th Floor, New York, NY 10111

This event has already taken place. In case of any questions about the World Monuments Summit, please contact worldsummit@wmf.org

The World Monuments Summit was held in conjunction with the 2023 Hadrian Gala. The 2023 Hadrian Gala was made possible by the generosity of Kering, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), and Tata Sons. Additional support provided by Christie's.

Event Schedule*

12:30-1:45 pm ET | The Future of Sustainability in India: Tackling the Water Crisis with Heritage Preservation

Opening remarks by Brinda Somaya, founder and principal architect of SNK

Columbia Water Center Director Upmanu Lall, Senior Advisor at Tata Sons Surya Kant, and WMF India Executive Director Amita Baig explore the potential of historic water management systems to tackle the water crisis with environmental journalist Andrew Revkin.

– Coffee break –

2:15 to 3:30 pm ET | Reviving Historic Interiors: A Celebration of Decorative Artwork

Hadrian Gala Honorees Maryvonne Pinault and Jay Krehbiel and decorative arts specialist Charlotte Vignon share their insights into how to revive historic interiors with WMF President and CEO Bénédicte de Montlaur, from private philanthropy and supporting public institutions to commercialization of heritage towards its self-sustaining future. 

– Coffee break –

4:00 to 5:15 pm ET | A New Lens on African Heritage: An Inside Look at the Met x WMF Partnership

Ceil and Michael E. Pulitzer Curator in Charge of The Met’s Michael C. Rockefeller Wing Alisa LaGamma, visual artist Sosena Solomon, WHY Architecture Founder Kulapat Yantrasast, and WMF Principal Project Director Stephen Battle discuss ongoing work to reimagine The Met’s Arts of Africa Galleries for a new generation of visitors with WMF Vice President of Programs Jonathan S. Bell.

Cocktail reception to follow


*Schedule subject to change. 


About the Speakers


Surya Kant

Senior Advisor, Tata Sons and Former Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services North America

Surya (“Sury”) Kant currently serves as Senior Advisor to Tata Sons for various initiatives. In a career spanning 44 years, Sury made a significant contribution to the growth of the global software industry and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in addition to strengthening the economic relationships between India and the world. For over one hundred years, the Tatas have been involved in preserving and disseminating India's material culture, from excavations at the ancient capital of Pataliputra to support for the restoration of Emperor Humayun's tomb in Delhi to their recent partnership with WMF India on the historic water systems in the country. Other charitable works run the gamut from medicine to mathematics to the social sciences, all undertaken with the goal of uplifting the quality of life of the people of India. Tata Sons will receive WMF’s 2023 Hadrian Award for its support of heritage projects across India.


Jay Krehbiel

Executive Chairman, Hindman

2023 Hadrian Gala Honoree

Jay Krehbiel currently serves as Executive Chairman of Hindman, an internationally recognized fine art auction house. He will accept the Hadrian Award at WMF’s 2023 Hadrian Gala on behalf of his late father, Frederick Krehbiel, for his lifetime of work in the service of preserving Irish architecture. Mr. Krehbiel is most known in this regard for his contribution to the restoration of Ballyfin Demesne, a nineteenth-century neoclassical manor. His publishing house, Churchill House Press, is an invaluable resource for scholars of art and architectural history. Jay Krehbiel is a Trustee of the Irish Georgian Society Board and President of the American Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland.


Alisa LaGamma

Ceil and Michael E. Pulitzer Curator in Charge of The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Born in Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Alisa LaGamma spent her formative years in sub-Saharan Africa. Graduate studies in African art history at Columbia University led her to undertake research in southern Gabon on the living tradition of Punu masks that culminated in her 1995 dissertation “The Art of the Punu Mukudj Masquerade: Portrait of an Equatorial Society.” A curator at the Metropolitan since 1996, her exhibition projects devoted to topics ranging from authorship to portraiture have sought to anchor African art historically and conceptually. In 2010 she was a fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership and in 2012 the Bard Graduate Center recognized her work with the Iris Award for Outstanding Scholarship. Over the last decade, Alisa has assembled the curatorial team that proposed and is overseeing the re-envisioning of the Met’s Michael C. Rockefeller Wing scheduled to be completed in April 2025.


Dr. Upmanu Lall

Director of the Columbia Water Center and the Alan and Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering at Columbia University

Dr. Upmanu Lall is a world-renowned expert in statistical and numerical modeling of hydrologic and climatic systems and water resource systems planning and management. Founding Director of the Columbia Water Center, an internationally recognized center for water research, Dr. Lall has broad interests in hydrology, climate dynamics, applied statistics, water resource systems analysis, risk management and sustainability, and is motivated by challenging questions at the intersection of these fields, especially where they have relevance to societal outcomes or to the advancement of science towards innovative application. He has been engaged in high level public and scientific discussion through the media, the World Economic Forum, and with governments, foundations, development banks, and corporations interested in sustainability.


Maryvonne Pinault

Philanthropist and patron of the arts

2023 Hadrian Gala Honoree

Maryvonne Pinault is a major supporter of many cultural organizations in France, including the Musée du Louvre, the Château de Versailles, and the Association des Amateurs de Jardins. She and her family are currently supporting the restoration of the Saint Sulpice Church in Paris and were leaders in the effort to support the reconstruction of Notre-Dame in the wake of the devastating fire in 2019. A Board Member of WMF France, she was particularly involved in WMF’s restoration of the Chancellerie d’Orléans and has played an active role in the relaunching of WMF’s French affiliate. Ms. Pinault will receive the Hadrian Award at WMF’s 2023 Hadrian Gala for her tireless work advocating for French heritage in all its forms. 

Andrew Revkin

Science and Environmental Journalist

Andrew Revkin has spent 40 years reporting on environmental challenges and choices, mostly for The New York Times. He began covering global warming in 1988 and never stopped, filing award-winning stories from the North Pole, Amazon rain forest, White House and beyond. A 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship helped him launch his pioneering and award-winning Dot Earth blog at The Times. From 2010 through 2016, he served on the Anthropocene Working Group, the expert body commissioned to weigh evidence humans had become such a force for planetary change that we were creating a new geological epoch. He’s written five books, including “The Burning Season,” a prize-winning biography of slain rain forest defender Chico Mendes that was the basis for the 1994 HBO film of the same name. Revkin helped build programs or courses fostering communication impact at the National Academy of Sciences, Columbia and Pace University and the National Geographic Society. Revkin runs a webcast, Sustain What, that has reached several million viewers through 400 episodes. Subscribe to his related newsletter at revkin.substack.com. In spare moments he is a performing songwriter. He lives on the Maine coast with his wife and sometime co-author Lisa Mechaley.


Brinda Somaya

Founder and Principal Architect, SNK

Brinda Somaya is an architect and urban conservationist. Upon completion of her Bachelor of Architecture from Mumbai University and Master of Arts from Smith College in Northampton, MA, USA, she started her firm Somaya and Kalappa Consultants (SNK) in 1978 in Mumbai, India. She was conferred an Honorary Doctorate from her alma mater, Smith College and was awarded the Indian Institute of Architects – Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement. She was also chosen as one of the `75 Indian women in STEAM on India’s 75th Anniversary of Independence and is the A.D. White Professor-at-Large emerita, Cornell University, U.S.A. Over four decades she has merged architecture, conservation and social equity in projects ranging from institutional campuses, rehabilitation of an earthquake-torn village to restoration of an 18th century Cathedral, showing that progress and history need not be at odds. Her belief is that 'The Architect's role is that of guardian – hers is the conscience of the built and un-built environment’.


Charlotte Vignon, PhD

Former Director, Musée National de la Céramique at Sèvres

Charlotte Vignon, a specialist of European decorative arts, was the Director of the Musée National de la Céramique at Sèvres from 2021 to 2023. Previously, from 2009 to 2021, she was Curator of Decorative Arts at The Frick Collection, a prestigious New York art museum and reference library. During her tenure at the Frick, she organized a dozen acclaimed exhibitions. Ms. Vignon is the author of numerous books, articles, and essays on European decorative arts, including sixteenth- to nineteenth-century ceramics, tapestries, furniture, and architecture, as well as the history of the art market and collecting in the United States.

Sosena Solomon

Award-winning social documentary film and multimedia visual artist

Sosena Solomon is an Ethiopian American social documentary film and multimedia visual artist whose work explores cross-sections of various subcultures and communities in flux, carefully teasing out cultural nuances and capturing personal narratives through arresting visual storytelling. Solomon has worked for many years in the commercial and nonprofit sectors as a director and cinematographer on many short film projects, including Dreaming of Jerusalem, a Discovery-plus original documentary about the Ethiopian Jewish community in Gondar; and MERKATO, filmed on location in one of Africa’s largest open-air markets and exhibited internationally as an audio, visual, and sensory installation. She has exhibited work at the Sundance Film Festival, Cinema Africa, Tribeca, and DOC NYC. She earned her BA in Television Production from Temple University and her MFA in Social Documentary film at the School of Visual Arts. Solomon is currently working with The Met and WMF to create new digital and in-gallery content that will reframe the Museum’s African art galleries.

Kulapat Yantrasast, PhD

Founder and Creative Director, WHY

Kulapat Yantrasast is a thought-leader and practitioner in the fields of architecture, art, and sustainable design. Originally from Thailand and now based in Los Angeles and New York, he is the founding partner and Creative Director of WHY, a multidisciplinary design practice organized into dedicated workshops: Buildings, Landscape, Museums, Objects, and Ideas. In 2007, Yantrasast led the design for the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the first art museum building in the world to receive the LEED Gold certification for environmentally sustainable design. WHY, an AD100 Firm since 2019, has recently engaged in major museum renovation projects including the Rockefeller Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Northwest Coast Hall at the American Museum of Natural History. Yantrasast has served as trustee of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the Noguchi Museum in New York. Since 2005, he has been on the Artists’ Committee of the Americans for the Arts, the nation’s oldest organization for support of the arts in society. In 2009, he became the first architect to receive the Silpathorn Award from Thailand's Ministry of Culture.


Stephen Battle

Principal Project Director, WMF

Stephen Battle is an architect with 30 years of professional experience managing conservation projects in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He started on his professional path in Zanzibar working on projects in the historic Stone Town. From 1998 to 2008, he worked for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture based in Geneva, as project manager for conservation and urban rehabilitation projects in Syria, Tanzania, and Pakistan. He joined World Monuments Fund in 2009 as Program Director, responsible for managing WMF’s projects in Africa. He has led major multi-year conservation projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Mali, Ghana, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Maldives, and Uganda.


Amita Baig, WMF India Executive Director

Amita Baig

Executive Director, WMF India

Amita Baig has served as Executive Director for World Monuments Fund India for over two decades, stewarding conservation projects across the country, including several award-winning projects. She was a member of the Senate of the School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada and of the Advisory Board of the Architecture Foundation, India. She has over three decades of experience in managing historic sites in India and the Asia Region, working with the UNESCO Asia Pacific Office and as a consultant to the Gulbenkian Foundation. Amita has served as a member of the India’s Advisory Committee on World Heritage as well as a Council Member of the National Culture Fund. She has published two books, Forts and Palaces of India; and Taj Mahal: Multiple Narratives following an eight-year engagement at the site.


Jonathan S. Bell, PhD

Vice President of Programs, WMF

Dr. Bell came to World Monuments Fund from National Geographic Society, where he oversaw a large portfolio of projects that included archaeological research and cultural heritage. Over the course of his career, he worked with the Getty Conservation Institute on World Heritage Sites in China and Egypt, evaluated cultural site management from Kazakhstan to Colombia, and oversaw strategic planning for largescale flood infrastructure for the County of Los Angeles. Dr. Bell serves on multiple ICOMOS scientific committees as an expert member and sits on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Architectural Conservation. He holds a BA from Harvard University, a DEA from the Sorbonne, an MSc in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, and a PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA.


Bénédicte de Montlaur, WMF.

Bénédicte de Montlaur

President and CEO, WMF

Bénédicte de Montlaur is President and CEO of World Monuments Fund (WMF), the world’s foremost private organization dedicated to saving extraordinary places while empowering the communities around them. She is responsible for defining WMF’s strategic vision, currently implementing that vision in more than 30 countries around the world and leading a team that spans the globe. Her background mixes culture and the arts, politics, international diplomacy, and human rights. Prior to joining WMF, Montlaur spent two decades working across three continents as a senior diplomat at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The World Monuments Summit is held in conjunction with the 2023 Hadrian Gala. The 2023 Hadrian Gala is made possible by the generosity of Kering, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), and Tata Sons. Additional support provided by Christie's.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact worldsummit@wmf.org.