Egbert Alejandro Martina describes himself as being a cultural critic with an interest in representations of race and gender in media and pop culture. He is interested in documenting how Black masculinity is embodied in the Netherlands. He discusses critical social issues and with this, his goal is to encourage civic participation. He writes mostly about the otherside of the story that either is dismissed, or simply is not told. Martina’s intention is to PLUG the holes in the narrative. His search is for what it means to be “Black”, i.e. the otherside, within a Dutch context. The questions that sparked off this search are: Is there such a thing as a “Black consciousness”? And, if so, how is it expressed? Besides this, Martina also organizes workshops, and a monthly reading group PLUG as part of the cultural embassy in the Lloyd’s hotel in Amsterdam. Egbert is the co-founder of Mediacate, an organization which focuses on teaching media literacy to young adults, and students.
Margriet van Heesch listened for her PhD research, to the life stories of people who reached adulthood while living with an intersex condition in The Netherlands. With this research she aimed to situate the diversity of lived experiences with medical interventions in a gender critical and ethical perspective. How do people with intersex conditions evaluate their lives and incorporate the normative choices, made in the daily medical practices and discourse. Their stories raised hope and provided alternatives for past and current medical interventions. Subsequently their stories showed long-term and ‘patient’ centered insights that are conceivably relocated from the medical discourse towards a socio-cultural, epistemological and ethical discourse. Or, according to them: “The Life Worth Living”. Margriet van Heesch is currently teaching on topics such as Romantic Love, Sex, Gender and Sexuality.
Randy Berry is the US Consul General in the Netherlands since 2012. He was United States Consul General in Auckland, New Zealand from 2009 to 2012, and prior to that, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal from 2007 to 2009. Mr. Berry’s career with the State Department has also taken him to postings in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda (twice), and South Africa, as well as Washington DC. Mr. Berry holds a State Department Superior Honor Award, and is a nine-time Meritorious Honor Award recipient. He speaks Spanish and Arabic. He is a graduate of Bethany College of Lindsborg, Kansas, and was a Rotary Scholar at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. Before joining the Foreign Service in 1993, Berry worked as an international training manager for America West Airlines in Phoenix, Arizona.