Resilient Societies: The Bay Area's Reinvention Through Culture and Innovation

Register Here

The San Francisco Bay Area has been a catalyst for change over the past decades and has a rich history of cultural innovation. From the birthplace of the hippie movement and LGBTQ activism to the advent of artificial intelligence, the Bay Area is the locale that drives transformation in institutions, norms, and values. Many of these transformations are international in scope and the innovative mindset from the Bay Area touches the lives of everyone around the world. 

The DWIH San Francisco focuses on “Resilient Societies” in 2023, and we’ll look at how the Bay Area keeps advancing and innovating in the face of regional and global challenges. A resilient society must, at its foundation, find a balance between social responsibility and innovation. We will also address how innovation and culture can thrive together and how the Bay Area mindset influences cultural development and activism. 

The Bay Area’s key strength is its ability to attract innovators from diverse backgrounds. Moreover, cultural venues are required to bring people together, spawn new ideas, and combine strengths. The Bay Area is no stranger to this phenomenon, but how can an international perspective strengthen its resilience spirit?  

We will address this question and more with panelists from the Tech Diplomacy Network, Goethe Institute, and Innovit. A reception will follow the event at 6:30 PM.

Register Here


4:30: Registration & Networking

5:00: Moderated Panel with Q&A

6:30: Reception


Zahar Barth-Manzoori is the Director of the German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) in San Francisco. After completing her doctorate in Islamic Studies at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel – supported by a scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation – she began working at the DAAD in Bonn in 2011 as head of the Events and Visitor Programs Department. In 2015, she took over the position as Head of Section Joint Scholarship Programs Middle East, North Africa, returning to her professional roots. From May 2020 until her departure for San Francisco, she played a leading role in setting up DWIH San Francisco as head of the DWIH management office at DAAD. As an experienced science manager and passionate networker, she is particularly looking forward to initiating international university collaborations, fostering knowledge transfer between research, business and society, and supporting research-based innovation in San Francisco.  
Zahar Barth-Manzoori
Martin Rauchbauer is a senior Austrian diplomat and a tech governance expert who currently is on a sabbatical in the San Francisco Bay Area after having served for two years as Austria’s first Tech Ambassador to Silicon Valley and more than five years as Head of Open Austria and Austrian Consul in San Francisco. Martin shaped the emerging field of tech diplomacy, engaged in transatlantic tech diplomacy and digital human rights. He also developed digital humanism as a strategic focus of Austrian foreign policy. In Silicon Valley Martin co-founded Open Austria’s Art + Tech Lab, and the European art + tech + policy initiative The Grid. At Berggruen, he looks at new and innovative ways to reorganize the relationship between governments and tech companies. Analyzing the growing trend of tech diplomacy in global tech hubs such as Silicon Valley, he will launch a new initiative on the global governance of new technologies supported by various stakeholders in the private and policy sector.
Martin Rauchbauer
Kirstin Chen is the New York Times best-selling author of three novels. Her latest, Counterfeit, is a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, a Roxane Gay book club pick, and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Translation rights have sold in seven languages and television rights have been optioned by Sony Pictures. Her previous two novels are Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners.
Kirstin Chen
Noémie Njangiru is the head of the Goethe Institute San Francisco. She recently initiated a new concept for an agile cultural institute and is currently working on its implementation together with her team. Areas of interest also include alternative memory cultures, new and inclusive art and tech collaborations and social justice issues. She currently serves as president of Berlin&Beyond as well as director of board to TheGrid (a EUNIC Cluster initiative). She is the former regional head of creative industry projects for the Goethe-Institut Sub-Sahara Africa, where she also served on the board of the Music in Africa Foundation. During her time in Johannesburg she founded several projects for the region still running and two new offices serving cultural dialogue and exchange in the field of culture and creative industries. Prior to her deployments abroad, Noemie served as film consultant for Goethe Institutes worldwide which she enjoyed a lot, as it meant touring all German film festivals, meeting interesting film makers and watching a lot of films as part of her official duty.
Noémie Njangiru
Alberto Acito is the Director of the Italian Innovation Hub (INNOVIT). He served as Head of Foreign Direct Investments Unit at ITA - Italian Trade Agency at SVG Ventures. Previously, Mr. Acito served as the Managing Partner at SVG Partners. Alberto is a senior executive with 20 years of experience in go-to-market and operations management in the high-tech and mobile industry. He began his career in the mid-'90s at an Internet Service Provider start-up in Prague (Czech Republic) and since then he has been covering key sales and marketing roles in Europe for leading mobile telcos and smartphones brands. He contributed to the set-up and launch of the first internet services for business markets at Wind Telecomunicazioni and to the first 3G mobile data services in Italy with H3G, a branch of Hutchison Telecommunications. In 2005 he moved into the early growing Smartphone industry working for global multinationals such as Palm, Acer, and BlackBerry, where he was VP and Managing Director for Southeast Europe and Turkey. Today Alberto is an angel investor and executive advisor for startups, corporates, and government institutions. He is also involved in impact investments bringing his strong sales and business development background to companies addressing social challenges, specifically in the AgTech industry to tackle one of the world's greatest challenges: food security and sustainable farming. Alberto holds an MSc in Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Milan
Alberto Acito
Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt is CEO of the Tech Diplomacy Network. She is also’s co-founder and CEO. She is an entrepreneur with more than 15 years’ experience building art marketplaces. Prior to Blockchain.Art (BCA), Christina co-founded the art fair ViennaContemporary in 2015, raising over $12 million and quickly securing the fair’s position on the global art circuit as a top 10 leading contemporary art event. Prior to ViennaContemporary, Steinbrecher-Pfandt was the artistic director of Art Moscow, and curated projects with institutions including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Palais de Tokyoin Paris, and the Moscow Biennial. Christina was named one of Apollo Magazine’s “40 Under 40 Europe 2018”; she currently sits on the boards of Armenia Art Foundation, Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Artbat Fest, and is an advisor to Ars Electronica.
Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt

Event Information

October 10, 2023, 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Exploratorium San Francisco, Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green St) San Francisco, CA 94111
Organizer(s): DWIH SF