Executive Committee 2012-2014

Vice Presidents

Hasmig Chahinian (Paris, France) was elected to the EC at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK and serves as Vice President 2012-2014. She previously served on the EC 2010-2012.

Born in Lebanon, Hasmig holds a PhD in children's literature from the University Paris 13 and is currently in charge of the Arab World at the International Division of the French National Centre for Children’s literature - La Joie par les livres, a service of the French national library. This Centre is also the French section of IBBY. She collaborates with La Joie par les livres' various publications and works on promoting reading and children's literature in France and abroad. She also organizes and holds training sessions for professionals in various parts of the world. In a very different field of expertise, Hasmig is also in charge of the information system of the Centre. She is fluent in Arabic, Armenian, English and French.



Linda M. Pavonetti (Detroit, Michigan, USA) was elected to the EC at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK. She previously served as a member of the IBBY EC from 2010-2012 acting as Vice President.

Linda is a professor and Chair of the Department of Reading and Language Arts at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan. She teaches children’s literature, young adult literature, and qualitative research methodology to undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students. Each year, she brings as many as 12 authors and illustrators to her campus for an intensive children’s literature class: The Authors and Illustrators’ Art and Craft. She has been involved in education since she was asked to tutor struggling readers – as a middle school student. Altogether, she has taught for over 25 years. Linda has published and presented papers at conferences in the US, IBBY World Congresses and other international meetings. She spent three months at the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany, researching the artistic styles in award-winning international picture books. She served as a board member of the United States National Section of IBBY (USBBY), then as president-elect, president, and past president. During her term as USBBY president, she travelled to Nami Island, Korea and Santiago, Chile to address the need for books for all children, a cause she whole-heartedly supports. 




Marilar Aleixandre (Santiago de Compostela, Spain) was elected at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK to serve on the 2012-2014 EC. She previously served as a member of the 2010-2012 EC.

Although born in Madrid (1947), she has been living in Galicia for many years and adopted Galician as her literary language.  She graduated in Biology and is currently science education professor in the University of Santiago de Compostela, and the author of papers and books on argumentation and critical thinking.

Marilar writes fiction for children and adults, as well as poetry, having being recipient of a variety of awards, particularly for her poetry and novels for young readers.  She believes that true adventure is tied to misadventure, and her novels address conflicts such as the violence in the Basque Country or the social abuse following physical rape. Two of her books have been selected for the White Ravens' list. She has also translated children's literature into Galician, and her translation of Lewis Carroll was included in the IBBY honour list in 1998.  She contributes regularly to literary journals and magazines, including Bookbird, and has also served in a number of literary juries.

She is active in the IBBY Galician section, having served as vice-president for two terms. She was also part of the executive committee organizing the IBBY 2010 conference in Santiago.



Gülçin Alpöge, (Istanbul, Turkey)  was elected at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK to serve on the 2012-2014 EC. She previously served as a member of the 2010-2012 EC.

Gülçin received her BA degree from the American College in Turkey in 1955, a certificate of Pedagogy from University of Istanbul and her MA degree in Education from New York University in 1959. She then worked with pre-school children for 13 years in two different countries. She worked as a teacher and later as a director and in the foundation of two nursery schools. Gülçin received her PhD in Psycholinguistics from the University of Istanbul in 1983 and became Professor in 2002. She is currently working part time at the Boğaziçi University in the Faculty of Education where she teaches “Children’s Literature”.  Gülçin has written many articles, academic books, and designed curriculum programmes. She also writes for children, rewriting folk and fairytales for young children.  She has been a member of IBBY since 1990 and is currently the president of the executive committee of IBBY Turkey.



Nadia El Kholy (Cairo, Egypt) was elected at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK to serve on the 2012-2014 EC. She previously served as a member of the 2010-2012 EC.

Nadia is Professor and Chair of the Department of English Language and Literature at Cairo University, as well as the Undersecretary of the Supreme Council for Culture.   Her research interests include writing and translation for children, Comparative and Postcolonial Literature, and Gender Studies.  She has also published a number of articles on the modern Arabic and English novel.  She was a member of the Hans Christian Andersen Award jury for the 2008 and 2010 awards.  She has also contributed to the Oxford Encyclopaedia of Children's Literature (2005).  In 1999 Nadia won the Suzanne Mubarak Award for Children's Literature.




Azucena Galindo Ortega (Mexico City, Mexico) was elected at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK to serve on the 2012-2014 EC.

Born in Mexico City, Azucena graduated in Business Management from the Intercontinental University.  A few years later she earned a Diploma on Reading Promotion at IBBY Mexico.  Since 2004, she has been formally involved in reading promotion activities. In November of that year, she accepted the position of managing director of IBBY Mexico/A leer.  Before taking this responsibility, she had been involved in Market Research and other Marketing activities.  Today, she combines ongoing studies of children’s literature and reading promotion with her previous professional experience in order to expand the target and widen the impact of IBBY Mexico’s programmes and projects.  The Mexican section of IBBY now has more than 50 employees, approximately 6,000 volunteer readers and reaches, through its different programmes, over 225,000 young readers.

Azucena has been guest speaker at several national and international forums, including in Paris, Havana and Rio de Janeiro.  She has also served on juries for literary prizes and reading promotion projects.  Azucena will serve on the 2012-14 IBBY EC as regional liaison for the Latin American Region and is on the organizing

committee for the 34 IBBY International Congress in Mexico City in 2014.



Angela Lebedeva (Moscow, Russia) was elected at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK to serve on the 2012-2014 EC.

Angela began her professional education in Librarian and Children’s Literature Sciences in 1985 at Moscow State University of Culture and Arts (MSUCA) graduating as a specialist in Children’s Literature and Librarian – Bibliographer.  Five years later she completed her master's degree and the work for her PhD.  Between 1997 and 2009 she worked as Senior Lecturer at MSUCA in the Department of Children’s Literature and Library working with children and youth and then at the Moscow State Open Pedagogical Institute Named After M. Sholohov (MGOPU) in the Faculty of Journalism. Angela is the author of an original educational course under the title International Cooperation in the Field of Children’s Literature, which was added to the MSUCA and MGOPU curriculum.

Angela is a member of International Research Society on Children’s Literature (IRSCL) and joined Russian IBBY in 1995, where she has served as Executive Director since 2002.  She served on the Hans Christian Andersen Jury for the 2004 and 2006 Awards, is the Bookbird Correspondent for Russia and has participated in all IBBY Congresses since 1998.   Since 1998 she has co-organized the annual Days of Russian Children’s Books Abroad events, which have taken place in the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Germany and elsewhere. She has more than 50 professional publications in Russia and abroad.



Kiyoko Matsuoka (Tokyo, Japan) was elected at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK to serve on the 2012-2014 EC. She previously served as a member of the 2010-2012 EC.

Kiyoko was born in 1961 in Tokyo.  She graduated from the Joshibi University of Art and Design, majoring Art History and Iconology of Christian Art and later with a Masters Degree from Chiba University on the History of Art Education in Japan.  Since 1986 she has been a curator at the Itabashi Art Museum.  In 1989 she became responsible for the Bologna Illustrators Exhibition in Japan and since then she has collaborated with the Bologna Book Fair in organizing the world tour of the exhibition.

Kiyoko has organized several series of exhibitions of picture book artists, such as Leo Lionni, Yasuo Segawa, Tomi Ungerer, Dick Bruna, Bruno Munari and Dusan Kállay.  She has also organized workshops on the creation of books for children for young artists, as well as various events and courses for adults and school children interested in picture books.  She is also a university lecturer on Art Production.  In 2005 she was a jury member for the BIB.

From 2002 to 2006 and since 2009, she is a board member of JBBY, the Japanese section of IBBY.



Akoss Ofori-Mensah (Ghana) was elected at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK to serve on the 2012-2014 EC.

Akoss received her BA Honours Degree in English from the University of Ghana.  She taught English at Aburi Girls Secondary School for two years and then went to Nottingham University in the UK for a Post Graduate Diploma in English, before returning to Aburi to teach.  In 1974, she received an internship at the United Nations Fund For Population Activities in New York for six months and went on to study for a Master’s Degree in Population Education at the University of Chicago, IL.  She returned to Ghana in 1976 and worked with Afram Publications as Managing Editor.  She left Afram in 1978 and joined the Halko Group of Companies, where she rose to become the Managing Director of the Group.  In 1993 Akoss started her own publishing house – Sub-Saharan Publishers for children’s books.  Akoss has served on the Ghana Book Publishers Association as Honorary Secretary and Vice President. She was elected President of the Association from 2003-2005. 



Timotea Vrablova (Slovakia) was elected at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK to serve on the 2012-2014 EC.

Since 1991Timotea has been a research worker at the Institute of Slovak Literature of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, working on the literary culture of the 17th and 18th centuries and children’s literature. She gives lectures and seminars on Children’s Literature, Psychology of Children's Observation, Creative Writing.  Between 1992 and 1998 she co-created a project to establish a bilingual primary school (Slovak/English) in Bratislava, and created the curriculum as well as the teaching-resource materials.  In 1999 she created the project The Path to a Book, which was launched in children’s clubs that had been introduced all over the Slovakia.  The aim of the project was not only to encourage reading and develop reading skills, but also connect 'words' with acquisition of life skills.  Since 2007 she has been working for the Book Revue magazine and BIBIANA, the professional journal of arts for children and young adults of the Slovak Section of IBBY.  Since 2008 she has been working for Slovak Radio, and currently has a programme aimed at creative reading for children called Little School Year.  Since May 2010 she has been the President of the Slovak Section of IBBY.



President of the Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury

María Jesús Gil (Spain) was elected to be the Hans Christian Andersen Jury President 2014. She previously served as Hans Christian Andersen Jury President 2012.  

After her Bachelor’s Degree in Arts in the University of Valladolid (1976-1981), she travelled to United Kingdom to study Language and Literature in the Universities of Exeter, Manchester and Dundee.  She worked at Ediciones SM for twenty years, starting as Foreign Rights Manager, and then as the Editorial Manager of the Department of Children and Young Adults for fifteen years. She also was Editorial Manager of Alfaguara Infantil y Juvenil and Altea (Santillana).  After a time as a professional consultant for publishing firms, today is the coordinator of Reading Programmes for Spain and Latinamerica in the Foundation SM.  She was an elected member of the IBBY Executive Committee (1996-2000); served as President of the Spanish Section of IBBY (2009- ); and as Member of the Jury for the Hans Christian Andersen Award for the 2008 and 2010 awards.  María Jesús was the Chair of the 32nd IBBY Congress in Santiago de Compostela in 2010.




Ellis Vance (Fresno, USA) was re-confirmed as IBBY Treasurer at the 33rd IBBY General Assembly in London, UK. He has served as IBBY Treasurer since 2008.

After receiving a Master's Degree in Education, Ellis worked as a teacher and school administrator for 40 years in the Fresno area in California.  He supervised library services to children in 38 school districts in the country for a number of years before retiring. He has also taught reading methods, library services and children's literature courses at three universities in the Fresno area. From 2004-2007 he was Project Director for the California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) reviewing resources for educators to use with children. CLRN's website is used throughout the US and in 80 countries.

After 42 years in education, he is currently an education consultant and devotes most of his time to USBBY and IBBY.  He has received numerous awards in the fields of education and reading and been an active member of USBBY for many years.  He is the current Bookbird Inc. Treasurer, and also served as the USBBY Treasurer until 2008.  He is currently the Executive Secretary of USBBY and organizer of the 9th IBBY Regional Conference in Fresno, CA in October 2011.

Ellis served as Vice President of IBBY 2006-2008 having been elected at the 30th IBBY General Assembly in Macau, China.