Contest Judges

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Laura Reed


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Bearta Alchacar

Bearta Alchacar is an entrepreneur in property acquisition and development, business owner, dance instructor, UNHCR and UNICEF Ambassador She brings years of expertise in large event planning, marketing and public relations to the festival. Bearta is a Lebanese immigrant; she has made Raleigh her home for over 20 years and is a graduate of NCSU. Bearta loves to travel and is fluent in French, Arabic, and English. Bearta is a cultural diversity expert with several years of experience working with multinational groups and has taught dance for over 15 years. Bearta has received the Presidential Volunteer Award in 2010 and Special Citation Award from Raleigh Parks and Recreation.

She has her own event planning company, NC Vibes, and has directed the International Festival which encourages cross cultural exchange and respect. Raleigh's International Food Festival on Fayetteville St. drew more than 17,000 people with different backgrounds to downtown. She loves to bring people together to celebrate what unites us: art, food and history. Bearta owns a flower shop, Petale, downtown Raleigh and has enjoyed getting to know the community. She will also be launching her own podcast starting Feb 2019 called Voice of Raleigh.

Above all, she supports the international community and celebrating diversity and multiculturalism.


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Annie Velez

Annie Velez is the co-owner of Aura Studio and Triangle Dancers in the RTP NC area. Her greatest passion is to teach Salsa styling and partnering techniques catered towards social dancing. Originally from California of Mexican-Puerto Rican descent, Annie has taught street style Latin dance for over 20 years. Performing and competing since she was in high school she continues to teach and travel to be able to share her passion for dance with as many people as possible. For more information about classes, private bookings, performances, events, and studio availability please visit Aura Studio on Facebook (Annie Velez) or Instagram (annievelez15)


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Clodagh Bastian

Clodagh Bastian was raised in Dublin and Berlin before moving to the US in early adulthood. She holds a BA in Sociology and Psychology and an MS in Communication from North Carolina State University. Clodagh has worked extensively in foreign language acquisition and cross-cultural communication in Europe and the US. Her experience across for- and non-profit sectors has equipped her to negotiate multicultural settings in a variety of community, diplomatic, and culturally related environments. Clodagh currently serves as the Executive Director for International Focus, which hosts global diplomatic, professional, and youth exchanges and produces the annual International Festival of Raleigh.


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HeeSun Lee


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Alex Reid