Ruth Priscilla Kirstein, MD, PhD
Founder & Executive Director
From prestigious venues to impromptu performances, Dr. Ruth Priscilla Kirstein, “Petrouchka,” has moved, informed and connected audiences in America, Europe and the Middle East as an expert, host, actor-fencer-dancer, director and visual artist. She holds a Medical Doctor (MD) and a PhD in Medical History and Ethics from the University of Freiburg (est.1457). Her doctoral dissertation investigates the making of the controversial German neuropsychiatrist Alfred Erich Hoche (1865-1943).
Her work has been supported by, among others, The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), The Peter J. Sharp Foundation, The Peter Norton Family Foundation, The Harnisch Foundation, United Technologies, and Baskin Robbins.
Media appearances include Screen International, French Morning, Free Speech TV, Tohu Magazine, Daily Sabah, The New York Times, France 24, KPFK Pacifica Radio, Aligre FM and 24heures.
She conceived, directed, created designs for and performed in the opera-ballet A MORE PERFECT UNION about the 1787 American Constitutional Convention and its impact on today’s situation. A MORE PERFECT UNION premiered at New York City Opera’s VOX and Friends and at the International Diaghilev Festival in Perm, Russia.
MINIATURE ESPAGNOLE, signature piece of her Mediterranean fencing-dance theater work about the sublimation of violence, premiered at Salle Gaveau in Paris in collaboration with Christina Pluhar’s L’Arpeggiata musical ensemble.
Once more with l’Arpeggiata, she staged Jacopo Peri’s EURIDICE, the first extant opera, at the Poissy Theatre near Paris, and performed in it as well.
She is the Founder and Executive Director of the New York City-based Middle East Film Initiative (MEFI), the first U.S. organization advocating for media and entertainment professionals who are of Middle Eastern descent or are working on topics of importance to U.S. Middle Eastern communities. She served on the screenwriting jury of the Socially Relevant Film Festival.
For Boston Ballet, she designed and launched the TAKING STEPS outreach program, now a major staple of Boston Ballet’s educational programs, reaching nearly 200 inner-city middle school girls each year. As a fencing coach, she not only laid the groundwork for successful competitive pursuits, but also used sword fighting techniques to teach academics and address neurological as well as developmental challenges.
At the German Mission to the United Nations, she moderated the medical symposium RETHINKING TRAUMA AS A GLOBAL CHALLENGE.
Her medical designs and fine art were featured in solo exhibitions at the Franco-German TV network Arte and the European Parliament in Brussels.
When Ruth is not breaking new ground by merging science, entertainment and athletics, you can find her working in organic fields or milking goats.
© 2021 The Middle East Film Initiative