Global & Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee (GCAAC)
Formed in 2020, this advisory committee is an all-volunteer group, formed to give advice and support to the director of the Global and Cultural Affairs program. The group meets monthly to provide strategic direction, guide programming efforts, assess program effectiveness, and offer recommendations. This page is intended to inform the public and acknowledge the GCAAC and its valuable members.
Jake Kreilick, Committee Chair
Jake Kreilick co-owns Lake Missoula Tea Company with his wife Heather and has lived in Missoula since 1985. I came here to attend the Univ. of Montana’s Environmental Studies Program and received an M.S. in 1990. I worked professionally in the environmental movement for over twenty years on forest and wildlands protection and remain active on these issues. In 2007, I went back to UM for a teaching degree and worked in Missoula County Public Schools for a number of years before going full-time at the tea company. These educational and work experiences exposed me to many facets of Missoula’s artistic and cultural communities and inspired me to join the Arts Missoula Board in 2017.
As a long-time member of the Missoula All-Maggots Rugby Football Club, he has traveled overseas extensively with the Maggots, for environmental activism, and for our tea company. I am a firm believer in learning about other cultures and the power and magic that comes from experiencing them first hand. This is why I am so passionate about the Global & Cultural Affairs Program/Committee at Arts Missoula and our mission to bring the world closer by creating more global awareness and cooperation.
Kim Yaged, Committee Member
Kim Yaged is an award-winning script, short story, and children’s book writer. She is passionate about the arts and storytelling, especially as a tool for social justice. Kim’s work has been seen across the globe, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Brazil, and Taiwan, among others. She has been published by Random House, Applause, and Ballantine Books, to name a few. Kim is also an alumni of the US Department of State and United Nations. Kim is proud to be a member of the inaugural Global and Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee. Visit www.kimyaged.com to learn more about her work.
Wolfgang Ametsbichler, Committee Member
Wolfgang Ametsbichler was born and raised in Munich, Germany. A one-year stint in Missoula as a foreign exchange student at Hellgate High School had him catch the Montana lifestyle bug: hiking, fishing, camping. Wolf emigrated from Germany in 1980 but had to postpone Montana for the next 10 years to work in a wide variety of financial management positions throughout the U.S. and Central Europe yet spending every free minute in Western Montana. After 10 years in the corporate world, Wolf decided to relocate to Missoula where he served as Missoula Job Service manager. Wolf recently retired to celebrate more time in the beautiful Montana backcountry. Wolf greatly enjoys cooking, backpacking, as well as extensive traveling.
Mia Hanak, Committee Member
Mia Hanak thrives on designing immersive art installations, groundbreaking exhibitions, interactive visitor experiences, and informative communication campaigns by creating universal storytelling platforms that weave together art, culture, education, environment, science, and technology. With a career spanning two decades, Ms. Hanak has served as an executive director and chief curator for cause-related organizations with a lens focused on combatting climate change, starting with the Natural World Museum of Environmental Art in San Francisco in 2001, merging efforts with the United Nations in 2005, and presently running Millennium ART. Ms. Hanak has degrees in Art History and Cultural Anthropology from UC Santa Barbara and a master’s in Museum Studies from Tufts University in Boston. Mia holds dual citizenship with the Czech Republic along with her two sons, who attend public schools in Missoula.
John Engen, Committee Member
John Engen, Missoula’s 50th and longest-serving mayor, is accountable for the day-to-day operations of the city while providing leadership and vision for a community where quality of life is a core value for citizens. Engen’s accomplishments range from comprehensive planning efforts to ensure that Missoula is a compact, sustainable city to restoring the city’s once-private water system to public ownership. He’s been a champion of conservation efforts, a partner in battling hunger and homelessness and a proponent of thoughtful business development. Today, the mayor’s team is concentrating efforts on housing affordability in a thriving community, collaborating with the University of Montana and the business community in growing our innovation ecosystem and ensuring that no one is left out as the city grows and prospers. Born in Missoula in 1964, Engen is a product of Willard Grade School, Hellgate High School and the University of Montana. He enjoyed a career in print journalism, was a partner in two small businesses and served a term as a Missoula City Council member before being elected mayor for the first time in 2005.
Tom Bensen, Committee Member
Tom Bensen has lived in Missoula since 1986 and has been the executive director of Arts Missoula since June 2004. Before then he spent seven and a half years as director of First Night Missoula. After joining Arts Missoula, the two organizations merged. Before life in the nonprofit world, Tom taught high school history and was an owner of Freddy’s Feed & Read, one of Missoula’s legendary institutions. He has served on several local nonprofit boards and has also served on the advisory committee for First Night USA. He has been a singer with the Missoula Symphony Chorale, Dolce Canto, and the Ed Norton Big Band. He enjoys being outdoors, whether hiking, biking, skiing, walking the dogs, or mowing the lawn. His wife Susan works for Montana Public Radio, and their son Pete lives in Portland and attends Portland State University.
Udo Fluck, Director, Global and Cultural Affairs Program
Dr. Udo Fluck brings two decades of experience in international program development, as well as intercultural and global education to his position. He is an intercultural researcher, curriculum developer, instructor, keynote speaker, author, and podcaster. He has developed and directed intercultural and global-competence-building programs at the University of Montana between 2004 and 2016. Since 2014, Udo has designed and taught cultural and global-competence seminars for elementary, middle, and high schools in the Missoula school district and across the State of Montana. Udo was also the senior curriculum developer for the National Science Foundation’s Resilience through Intercultural Skill Enhancement (RISE), housed at the Salish Kootenai College campus on the Flathead Reservation. Born and raised in Wiesbaden, Germany, Udo came to Missoula in 1989 for his undergraduate and graduate education.