World Design Capital


Selection committee

Every term, a dedicated panel consisting of five international representatives of varied expertise is appointed to the WDC Selection Committee.

The 2016 committee comprises (in alphabetical order):

Prof. Soon-in LeeProf. Soon-in Lee
2011-2013 Icsid President

Since attending the 1989 Congress in Nagoya, Prof. Lee has worked closely with Icsid to promote better design in Korea and around the globe. He has been a Professor of industrial design and art at Hongik University since 2004, and is also currently the President of the Seoul Design Center where he was in charge of numerous World Design Capital® Seoul 2010 projects. For the past two years Prof. Lee has been the Chief researcher for the 50 Design Culture Scholars and Historian Group, where his research efforts have gone into identifying and preserving the local culture and design identity of Seoul’s design heritage.

Soon-in Lee graduated from Hong-ik University in Seoul with a BA in industrial design and a Master of Interior Design and has completed studies at the Pratt-Institute in New York and the Domus Academy in Milan.

Ayse BirselAyse Birsel
Co-founder and Creative Director, Birsel + Seck

Ayse Birsel is an award-winning product designer, Deconstruction: Reconstruction thinker and Fulbright scholar. As co-founder of Birsel + Seck, a humanistic design and innovation studio in New York City, she collaborates with industry leading brands and Fortune 500 companies including Target, Herman Miller, Hewlett Packard, Johnson & Johnson, and TOTO, as well as consulting to GE, Hasbro and the Drucker Institute, among others.

Simplicity, empathy, and sustainability are central to her work. So is designing systems in which a few good pieces can form incredibly rich and adaptable solutions.

Applying principles learned as a product designer, Ayse developed Deconstruction: Reconstruction, a creative process that breaks preconceptions to solve problems in an intuitive, logical and elegant way. Her acclaimed workshops, Design the Life You Love, apply design thinking to life— is what she considers her most important project.

Patricia de LillePatricia de Lille
Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town

Patricia de Lille has been involved in politics for the past 34 years fighting injustice. She is known for her role as a trade unionist in the struggle and as the initial whistle-blower on the infamous Arms Deal corruption, in 1999. In 1988, at the height of the struggle, Ms De Lille was elected Vice-President of the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU) and served as the Regional Secretary of the Chemical Workers Union, the first woman to do so.

She became a Member of Parliament in 1994 after leading the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) delegation to the constitutional negotiations in Kempton Park and went on to Chair the Parliamentary Committee on Transport until 1999. On 26 March 2003 she formed the Independent Democrats (ID), which won national, provincial and local Government seats in the 2004 elections, becoming the first woman in a democratic South Africa to do so.

She went on to serve on the Judicial Services Commission and has sat on numerous Parliamentary Portfolio Committees such as Communication, Rural Development and Ethics, amongst many others. De Lille is also a member of the International Parliamentarians Against Corruption organisation.

She has been awarded the HIV/AIDS Activist Award from a Canadian organisation, became one of the Top 5 Women in Government and Government Agencies and won the Rapport City Press Woman of the Year Award in 2006. She has been sponsoring an HIV-positive child, also named Patricia, for 13 years. She is a former Chancellor of the Durban Institute of Technology, an Honorary Colonel in the SANDF and serves on the Boards of the African Monitor and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. She recently retired from the board of the Helen Suzman Foundation.

Dr. Beatriz GarciaDr. Beatriz Garcia
Head of Research in Cultural Policy & Impact, Institute of Cultural Capital and Senior Research Fellow in Sociology, University of Liverpool

Dr. Beatriz Garcia is an internationally recognised researcher and author in the arena where city and culture intersect. From 2005 to 2010, Dr Garcia was the Director of Impacts 08 – European Capital of Culture Research Programme, a five-year collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University that produced the most comprehensive model to interrogate the multiple impacts of large scale cultural interventions. Phase II of this programme is in preparation for 2013 and onwards.

Dr. Garcia is at the forefront of research on the legacy of cultural programming within major events such as the European Capital of Culture (Glasgow 1990, Liverpool 2008, Marseille Provence 2013), the Olympic Games (summer and winter editions from Barcelona 1992 onwards) and the Commonwealth Games (Manchester 2002). She has been funded by the European Commission, Research Councils UK, British Academy, English Heritage, Universities China Committee, London 2012 Organising Committee, International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Olympic Academy to conduct her research across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia. She collaborated with Palmer/Rae to evaluate the impact of the European City of Culture programme (1995-2004), has been the academic advisor to London 2012’s Culture & Education team since 2004 and is a member of the IOC Postgraduate Research Grant Selection Committee. In 2011, she was appointed by the London 2012 Games Organising Committee to assess the legacy of its Cultural Olympiad. Dr. Garcia publishes within academic, policy and practitioner circles and is the author of ‘The Olympic Games and Cultural Policy’ and ‘The Olympics: The Basics’ (both published by Routledge, 2012).

Jens Martin SkibstedJens Martin Skibsted
Creative Director and Founder, KiBiSi / Skibsted Ideation

Jens Martin Skibsted is a design philosopher and serial entrepreneur, who rose to celebrity status with his Biomega bikes, which stood for an entirely new sort of urban mobility. For more than a decade, he has helped Fortune 1000 companies build products that redefine marketplaces. He is the founding partner of Biomega, the designer bicycle pioneer, and KiBiSi, the leading Scandinavian product design group. His bicycle designs live in the permanent collections at the MoMA, Le Cnap and SFMoMA amongst others. Skibsted is a Young Global Leader who spoke at DLD, Design Indaba, Davos and numerous World Economic Forum annual meetings. He is an advisory board member of the INDEX Award, vice-chair of World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Design and Innovation, and board member of the Danish Design Council. He is a published author and an ad hoc expert commentator for Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Washington Post and more. Jens Martin graduated from ESEC in Paris, UC Berkeley and Copenhagen University.