Who's who in IOV?


Read the profiles of our IOV core members below.


IOV Executive Committee


 Ali Abdullah Khalifa - President


A Bahraini writer, poet, researcher and cultural enthusiast, Ali Abdullah Khalifa has been the Chair of the Bahrain office of the International Organization of Folk Art (IOV) since 1988. He is also the Director of Cultural Research at the Royal Court since 2001 and the Regional Executive Secretary of the IOV- Middle East and North Africa region from 2007 to 2012. In May 2012, he was elected IOV Vice-President for Publications. In November 2016, he was elected IOV President .

Among his many published works are Gulf of Songs, Folklore Inspiration in Creative Works, and Folk Arts – Nations in Unison, in addition to a diverse array of poetry collections and operettas. His works have been translated to English and French, and have earned him wide repute.  He has won a number of international awards, including the Cultural Competence Medal from the late President Bourguiba, of Tunisia in 1973, the International Grand Prize for Arts in 2006 in Romania and the Competency First Class Medal of HM King of Bahrain. In addition to his official position as the Secretary-General of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity, Ali Abdulla serves on its board.


  Hans J. Holz  - Vice-President



Hans Holz has chaired IOV Austria since 1995 and was the IOV secretary-general from October 2005 until June 2011. Besides his IOV activities, he was vice-mayor of the town of Andorf, Austria, where he was born, from 2003 to 2009, president of the Upper Austrian Choir Association from1999 to 2015, vice-president of the Austrian Choir Association from 2000 to 2004, and before youth chairman of the same association from 1991 to 2001.

He taught English, music and sports at Andorf high school since 1971. Beside his work as teacher and his many freetime-activities in sports, culture and poiltics he studied at the University of Passau, Germany.1n 1989 Hans received a master’s degree in pedagogical studies there.

He was the founder of the Music High School in Andorf. From 1999 to 2010 Hans was the headmaster of Andorf Music-Highschool. Beside this main job he taught as professor at the Teacher’s College in Linz for many years.

In his freetime he was an activist in choir music and folk culture. He founded the 3 Andorf Choirs, a male-, a mixed- and a youth choir. Between 1982 and 2003 he went on many concert tours with them around the world to present choir music from old Austrian and European masters, international folksongs, Austrian folk music and folk dances. Through all these years he successfully performed with his Andorf Choirs in more than 60 of the biggest cities on all continents and hosted about 30 international choirs from all the world in Andorf.

Since 1993 Hans has been a member of IOV and already in 1995 he became chairman of IOV-Austria, the biggest national section of IOV, which he is still leading. At the GA in 2006 in Korea he was elected to be Secretary General of IOV, following Alexander Veigl, the founder of IOV. Until 2011 he voluntarily worked very hard as Sec Gen. to change the structure of IOV with decentralisation and close cooperation with IOV-officers in many countries and in the newly formed different regions of all continents.

Another main achievement of Hans was the foundation of IOV-Youth. Because of his experience as Youth Chairman of the Austrian Choir Association it was his precious idea in 2007 to start IOV-Youth work to secure the future of IOV for the next generations. Together with IOV-USA he organised the 1st IOV-World Youth-Congress in the USA in 2008 and fully supported the 2nd in 2010 in China as Secretary General.
After all his hard work for IOV, national and worldwide, for more than 20 years he was elected at the General Assembly of IOV in Italy in 2016 to be Vice-President of IOV now.

For all his life-achievements in culture and folk culture he was thankfully honored by his hometown Andorf, by the federal government of Upper Austria and most of all by the president of Austria with the title, “Professor” in 2014.


 Emma Chen Hoefler  - Vice-President


  • Vice-president of the International Organization of Folk Art (IOV); Chair of IOV China

  • Advisory expert to the Intergovernmental Committee on the Safeguarding of ICH, UNESCO

  • President of China-Germany Promotion Association of Cultural Development
  • Expert of Germany Committee, the International Committee on Monuments and Sites, UNESCO
  • Guest Professor, Doctoral Tutor of the Fine Art College, Shanghai University
  • President of the International Folk Art Research Institute, Guizhou University
  • Guest Professor of Southwest University for Nationalities


 Fabrizio Cattaneo  - General Secretary


Fabrizio Cattaneo began his musical studies at age of six, attending classes taught by many well-known teachers. In 1979, at age 12, he became a member of the folk group “Gioppini of Bergamo”, playing accordion.  He is currently the group’s president.

He is a highly qualified instructor of folk dances and is a master Accordionist. Fabrizio Cattaneo was elected the Acting Secretary General.

Fabrizio is Vice President in the Italian Folk Art Federation (FITP) .

Fabrizio Cattaneo is a member of  Jure Pleno in the  Ducato of Piazza Pontida and  member of the board of the Crown. He is an entrepreneur, craftsman, electronics- technician computer, and owner of a company that provides technical assistance in audio, video, and computers.

Secretary - Vacancy


 Henk Huijser  - Treasurer


Henk Huijser was born and raised in the Netherlands.

After primary school and secondary school, he studied law at the Erasmus university in Rotterdam and followed many financial trainings.

He started his career as an accountant and then he worked for  the Dutch government. First as a customs officer and then as a tax-officer. The last 10 years of his working-career he worked as a team leader for the Dutch FIOD (IRS).

He is a member of IOV Netherlands since 1993. He was an active dancer with the West Frisian Folklore in the Netherlands and he was involved in organizing the Folklore Festival in Schagen as a treasurer and impresario. Since 2006 he is the director of the World Dance Festival Schagen. In this position, he has contacts throughout the world.

Henk has been the treasurer of IOV Netherlands since 2013 and since September 2015 he is also the treasurer of IOV World and he gives his full support to this wonderful global organization.                       


  Geert Nijhof  - Festivals & Practices Commission Chair


Since 1985 Geert has been active in the International Folkloristic Dance festival SIVO in the Netherlands.
In the period between 1990 and 2005 he was the President of the SIVO festival and he has learned to collaborate with many folklore organizations in the whole world.
Since 2005 Geert was working as a freelance (voluntary worker) impresario for the SIVO-festival and in this task he tried to arrange a lot of Cultural exchanges between countries. He was active for many other festivals too.
It’s his goal to keep alive the traditional heritage of all nations and to improve the well understanding between nations by organizing festivals and other activities.
Therefore it’s necessary to work on a well-organized network of people with the same feelings and interest in cultural traditional exchanges.

From the beginning of the section IOV-Netherlands (1993) Geert is registered as an individual member of  IOV.

In March of the year 2012 he has been elected as the President of  IOV-section Netherlands and he is proud on the collaboration of the collected IOV-organizations in the Netherlands.
Geert tries to contribute the IOV-organization world-wide and he wants to be helpful in improving and keeping a healthy and active IOV-world.
In the new Festival and Practices commission of IOV-world he hopes to collaborate with a lot of new people who can contribute with him in order to improve our worldwide Festival coordination.

Latvia IOV  section chair

  Dr. hist. Aija Jansone

  • Senior Researcher at the Institute of Latvian History at the University of Latvia
  • A head of the Ethnographic Department at the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia

The Institute of Latvian History at the University of Latvia:

Kalpaka bulvāris 4, Rīga LV-1050, LATVIA
Phone: +371 67034868

The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia:

Bonaventuras street 10, LV-1024, Riga, Latvia
Phone: +371 67994238
Private phone: +371 6176577
Private E-mail: Jansone.A@gmail.com


  • Dr. hist. (history), University of Latvia, 1995.
  • Latvia State University, Department of History, 1984.


  • A head of the Ethnographic Department at the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia, 2017.
  • A head of the Ethnology department at the Institute of Latvian History at the University of Latvia, 2007- 2016.
  • Leader (senior) Researcher at the University of Latvia, Institute of History of Latvia, 2007.

Interests: Latvian traditional material culture, history of clothes. The history of textiles in the folk art of Middle, North and Eastern Europe (embroidering and folk costumes being the main subjects of the research).

Scientific publications:

  • Monographers                           12
  • Articles in scientific journals     37
  • Theses                                        25
  • Other scientific publications     54

Recent/Representative Publications: Monographers (2011-2017):

  1. Jansone.A. The Clothing of Rucava – Riga, Zinatne, 2017, 271 P. (In Latvian).
  2. Jansone A. The development of costume in the historical region of Zemgale in the 19th century - Riga, 2016., 183 P. (In Latvian).
  3. Jansone A. Patterned mittens of Eastern Vidzeme – Riga, Zinatne, 2014., 215 P. (In Latvian and English).
  4. Jansone A. Kupče D. Piebalga is, was and will be. Dressing culture in Piebalga during the 19th century.//Aušanas darbnīca Vēverīšas, 2014., 183 P. (In Latvian).
  5. Jansone. A. Back Home Again. Aleksandra Dzērvīte and the Development of Latvian Crafts in Exile – Riga, Zinatne, 2013., 167 P. (In Latvian and English).
  6. Jansone. A. Krustpils-type villaines. A cultural Historical Research on Embroidered Krustpils-type Villaines in Eastern Latvia. (Late 18th – first half of the19th century).] - Riga, Zinatne, 2012., 263 P. (in Latvian).
  7. Jansone. A  Heritage of Rucava’s Patterned Knitted Articles. – Riga, Zinatne, 2011., 200 P. (In Latvian and English).

Professional Activities and Memberships:

  • A member of the Board of the intangible cultural heritage at the Ministry of Culture  (2017).
  • Latvia Institute of History Scientific Council, deputy head (2016).
  • A head of Jury of Traditional Folk Costume During XXV Song festival (2013).
  • Expert in Traditional Culture at the State Culture Capital Foundation (SCCF) (2007-2009), (2012-2014).
  • Chairman on council of the traditional cultural folk decorative arts at the State Agency of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2012).  
  • Expert in the field of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) (in the UNESCO database). The announcement was made at the General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage at its third session from 22 to 24 June 2010.
  • Latvia University, Faculty of History doctoral board member (2010-2012).
  • Expert of Latvia History (Ethnology) at the Latvia Academy, Latvian Council of Science (2010- 2017).
    • Member of ICOM on Costume Committee (2006).
  • Member of International Organization of Folk Art (IOV), 1998.

IOV-Armenia Section Chair


73 Gorky St.
Apartment 5
Gyumri 3102
phone (+374) 77 323843

Mkrtich Hovhannisyan was born in Gyumri, Armenia. In 2006 he graduated from the State Institute of Theatre and Movie, Department of Stage Directing. Afterwards, he did post-graduate studies at the Department of Theatre Study, where he is a candidate for a PhD.

Since 2006, Mkrtich has been teaching history of Russian, Armenian and foreign dramatic art and art criticism at the Institute of Theatre in Gyumri. At the same time, he is head of the Department of Arts History and Science at the same Institute.

Since 1998, he has been a dancer in an Armenian folk dance group. Mkrtich has produced several dramas at the Drama Theatre of Gyumri. He has also written several movie scene scripts. Mkrtich has participated in many festivals and cultural events all around the world. He describes himself as “a person of the arts,” and says he is devoted to the arts.

Spain IOV National Section Chair

 Javier Rodrigo Ilarri

Tfno: +34 963877610
Fax:  +34 963877618

Departamento de Ingeniería Hidráulica y Medio Ambiente
ETSI Caminos canales y Puertos
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia
Camino de Vera s/n 46022
Valencia (Spain)

Javier Rodrigo Ilarri was born in Valencia. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and works as full-time professor at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. He is an active member of IOV since 2009. Between 1984-1991 he studied music and piano at the Conservatory of Music of Valencia. Since then his cultural activities have been mainly related to choral music through the organization of many events and cooperations between groups from different countries. On 1990-1998 he was a member of the Sant-Yago University Choir of Valencia, being its President between 1992-1998. During this period he organized concerts in many countries around the world (Argentina and Brazil (1990) - Russia (1991) - Canada (1992) - United Kingdom (1993) - China (1994) - South Africa (1995) - Australia and New Zealand ( 1996) - Brazil (1997) - Austria (1998)) these activities being always sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of Spain and the cultural authorities of the Valencian Community. He also organized visits to Spain of the corresponding groups (choirs and folk groups) of all these countries. Between 1995-2002 he was a member of the National Youth Choir of the Spanish National Choir Confederation (COACE) with whom he represented Spain at the EuropaCantat Festival held in Nevers (France) in 2002. In 2000, together with other members of the National Youth Choir founded the vocal group MATERSAULE. In 2001 he founded the Choir of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, being its President between 2004-2008. With this university choir he has organized exchanges with choirs from Spain (Madrid and Salamanca (2002), Italy (2004-2005), Austria (2005- 2006) and Poland (2007). He was co-organizer of the International Music Festival "Millenium Pace" that took place in Valencia in 2003. In 2004-2005 he was director of the Museums and Donations Area of the Vice-Rectorate of Culture of the Polytechnic University of Valencia. In 2008-2009 he was a member of CAMERATA VOCALIS, chamber choir of the KarlEberhards Universität Tübingen with whom he participated in the International Choir Festival of Cork (Ireland) in April 2009. In 2003, he founded NEOVOCALIS, a chamber choir devoted to the study of contemporary vocal music. He has been active singer in this group since 2015.

Portugal IOV National Section Chair


Presidente da Direção da Associação
"Cantas e Cramóis" - Cinfães - Portugal
Mobile +351 917524042
email fernando.monteiro.cinf@gmail.com
e-mail secaoportugal.iovworld@gmail.com

J. FERNANDO S. MONTEIRO was born in Cinfães, Portugal at June 29th, 1955. From November 1973 to September 2014 was in office of administrative functions at Cinfães’ city council, being in charge of the Human Resources department and the Administrative and Finance department later on.
From 1980 to 2015, he was the director of Associação de Cultura e Desporto and of the Coral Etnográfico de Cinfães, two recreational and cultural associations. Founder and head of the Cinfães’ Hunting and Fishing Club, he is the president of both Associação Cantas e Cramóis de Cinfães and the Grupo Folclórico de Cantas e Cramóis de Pias. The late two associations are folk groups that recreate the traditional clothing, dancing and chanting from this specific region located in the north of Portugal.
Regular coordinator of many national and international folk festivals, he is currently the president of Folk Cinfães (an annual international folk festival organized by Grupo Folclórico de Cantas e Cramóis de Pias, that takes place in Cinfães).
Fernando Monteiro is Technical Adviser to the Portuguese Folklore Federation, representative of the Tras os Montes, Alto Douro and Southern Douro regions.
Being an assiduous presence at many national folk congresses, he presented a lecture about Cinfães’ folk dances and its origins at the National Folklore Congress, an initiative promoted by the Portuguese Folklore Federation.