Mike van Graan is the President of the African Cultural Policy Network and an award-winning playwright with thirty-two plays under his belt. He is currently an artist-in-residence at the University of Pretoria where he was conferred with an honorary doctorate in 2018 in recognition of his cultural activism and creative work.
After South Africa’s first democratic elections, he was appointed as a Special Adviser to the minister responsible for arts and culture, where he played an influential role in shaping post-apartheid cultural policies. He has served in leadership roles in anti-apartheid and post-apartheid cultural formations, as well as in Pan-African organizations like Arterial Network, promoting the creative sector and its contribution to human rights, democracy and development. He currently also serves as the interim secretariat for the nascent Global South Arts and Culture Initiative (GLOSACI).
Van Graan’s recent work in the international arena includes facilitating the Academy for Young Festival Managers (a project of the European Festival Association), producing the Toolkit on Fairer International Cultural Collaboration with IETM, Dutch Culture and On-The-Move and collaborating with the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture on a cultural entrepreneurship programme in Beirut.
He is the 2018 recipient of the Sweden-based Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award in recognition of his contribution to the fight against apartheid, to building a post-apartheid society and to the interface of peace and culture both in South Africa and across the African continent.