Yesterday 18 members of the Executive Committee of UNIMA were elected and this morning votes will take place  for the distribution of the positions. We anticipate, however, that the President and the General Secretary will be handled by Dadi Pudumjee and Jacques Trudeau, respectively, as no further nominations for the two positions. And while yesterday it was clear that San Sebastián-Tolosa will be the venue for the new Congress of UNIMA 2016, it remains to resolve which city will be responsible for organizing the small Congress in 2014. The two nominations are Matanzas, Cuba, and Sofia, Bulgaria. The result of this fierce struggle will be known within hours.

List of the new members of the Executive Committee of Unima:

1 – Karen Smith,  U.S.A, 101 votes
2 – Manuel Morán. U.S.A, 94 votes
3 – Dadi Pudumjee, India, 85 votes
4 – Jacques Trudeau, Canada, 85 votes
5 – Knut Alfsen,  Norway,  84 votes
6 – Tito Lorefice, Argentina, 84 votes
7 – Lucile Bodson, France, 78 votes
8 – Simon Wong,  China, 74 votes
9 – Annette Dabs,  Germany, 67 votes
10- Pierre Alain Rolle, Switzerland, 65 votes
11- Angel Casado,  Spain, 64 votes
12- Ida Hledikova, Slovakia, 61 votes
13- Ronny Aelbrecht, Belgium, 60 votes
14- Nina Monova, Russia, 59 votes
15- Miguel Arreche, Spain, 56 votes
16- Tamiko Onagi, Japan, 56 votes
17- Greta Bruggeman, France, 51 votes
18- Susanita Freire, Brasil, 51 votes



From Puppetring, first of all we want to congratulate the representatives of the TOPIC and the application of Tolosa-San Sebastian, led by Idoya Otegui and Miguel Arretxe. Such was this complicity with the institutions which traveled to Chengdu and personally appeared on stage at the Unima Congress, the Mayor of Tolosa, Ibai Iriarte, the Minister of Culture of the Basque Government, Blanca Urgell, the director of the Basque Institute Etxepare for the Dissemination of Culture Basque and the Project Director of the European Capital of Culture Donostia 2016, Igor Otxoa. Something unusual that was key to the success of the city. It is also true that the directors of TOPIC knew very well how to organized their campaign, and the reason for winning is due to the trust placed in them by the institutions and counselors of UNIMA.

Ruben Darío

Rubén Darío and Pelusiín del Monte

We also want to especially congratulate Dadi Pudumjee and Jacques Trudeau, who from the beginning have been very sensitive towards Puppetring. They will continue in their posts. This means that they can fully develop the lines drawn by both to ensure the consolidation of Unima worldwide, in moments like these, of profound systemic changes everywhere.

From the point of view of Spanish speakers it can be said that the new Commission has been strengthened, as there is a good representation of them in it. Miguel Arretxe and Angel Casado remain in it, and Manuel Moran, representative of the United States, enters to the Executive Committee. Born in Puerto Rico, Moran is a young talent that has come stomping into the new commission. His positive attitude toward the candidacy of Cuba as a possible venue of the Congress of 2014 tells us the high regard he has for the Spanish speaking countries. Manuel Moran is the director of a puppet theatre in New York called SEA (Sociedad Educativa de las Artes). and lately has been the architect and presenter of a documentary about the Caribbean puppeteers, which in Chengdu we saw a few minutes of, very promising.

Manuel Moran

Manuel Morán

I was surprised the low presence of members from China (only Simon Wong, representative of Hong Kong) as well as Africa. In the case of China, I think the reason is the lack of communication channels to establish bonds of complicity with potential stakeholders, be they directors, puppeteers or researchers in the field. These days, for example, it is difficult to connect with Chinese and communicate with them. Language is a major barrier of course, but surmountable. I was also surprised that Japan, which has a staff of puppeteers active as exuberant and an incredible number of companies keen on puppets, have only one representative.

It notes the importance increasingly of the domain of new communication technology and the dominance of English as practically mandatory. Those who are not in this orbit, can hardly make their way in this type of global organizations. Although there are exceptions and the tenacity of some is the best example for all.


Presentation of Sofia

As we can see, “globalization” of communications and English prevails everywhere today and we should accustom ourselves to these demands of reality. Isolation is worthless, especially when the challenges are increasingly global. And the puppets do not escape this law. This forces the Spanish-speaking and non English speakers, to seek allies and counterweights able to balance these obstacles, which arise not because of the unwillingness of anyone but by the sheer weight of reality. In this sense, the personality of Jacques Trudeau, who speaks fluent English, Spanish and French. has had a valuable role as a bridge between different cultures. .

I Will deal with these issue in future articles, with views of some participants in the Congress.

All photos, by Jim Tobias