Fishbowl NY: Fern Mallis and One Criminally Dressed Designer | Dishing With a Global Ambassador

Fishbowl NY Article by Diane Clehane

Today I was joined by fashion industry insider Mickey Ateyeh, fresh off her vacation in Italy, who, it must be said, knows everyone who is anyone. Mickey put together today’s lunch to introduce me to her longtime pal, PR maven Judith Agisim, who, in turn, brought along her client Bisila Bokoko. I’d seen Judith in this very room many times but never had the occasion to meet her. And, as you already know, in certain circles, all roads lead to Michael’s.

When I arrived a little before noon Bisila was already in the lounge, so I took the opportunity to chat with her about her position as global ambassador to The Liceu Barcelona Opera House, where, while based in New York City, she is charged with promoting the historic house in the States and around the world. With two master’s degrees in international relations and business and a law degree from Universidad CEU San Pablo, Bisila told me she has always worked with global companies and her dream has always been to “be a catalyst for change.” In her current role with Barcelona’s Opera House, she is charged with enticing American opera fans and the culturally curious to visit Barcelona. “Eight million Americans visit Spain every year – there are so many reasons that the Opera House should be a stop on their tour.” Of course, said Bisila, the architecture alone is reason enough to visit the building, which was constructed in the 19th century. But it has a storied history as well. The Opera House (which seats 4,000!) has hosted many legendary performers, including Plácido Domingo and is unique within the opera world, she explained, because unlike the rest of the houses in Europe built for royalty, the Barcelona Opera House was “built by the bourgeois” and has always been enjoyed by all. “So in my role, it’s important to keep the spirit alive that everyone is welcome. It’s not just the blue bloods who enjoy the music.”

But the city’s social swans are most definitely on Bisila’s radar and, with Judith’s help, she’s been meeting them all since the women began working together in February of this year. “She has cleverly set up lunches with many of the most important people in fashion, business and society, which has been very helpful,” said Bisila (We’re so very flattered!). “It is very important to connect with the people in the city who have a great interest in opera and the arts.” Last month, 120 of Manhattan’s top influencers were invited to a cocktail party at The Queen Sofia Spanish Institute on Park Avenue. The Opera House got a royal boost from none other than the Queen herself, who was on hand to greet the A-listers (including Sharon Bush and Annette de la Renta) and the opera aficionados who attended. “She was so warm and inviting and everyone wanted to meet her,” said Bisila. “The goal was to make a very good impression.” Mission accomplished.

Clever Bisila also knows that at the heart of every great culture is its food, so she’s also put together fabulous dinners at the Opera House, held during the intermissions in the stunning Mirror Room. Patrons get a taste of the local cuisine during the season, which runs from September to May. “The gastronomy of Spain is another reason that draws people to Barcelona, so it makes perfect sense,” she said. And Bisila knows a little something about food. When she first came to New York in 2000, she worked her way up to the position of executive director to the Spanish-U.S. Chamber of Commerce and arranged tours for the editors of magazines such as Saveur, Wine Spectator and Food & Wine. She’s been the brand ambassador to Foodie Channel, Spain’s online Lifestyle Channel. “I love anything having to do with food!”

Having lived in Spain for most of her life Bisila’s roster of friends reads like the TOC in Hello magazine. She counts many members of several royal families of Europe as friends. When I told her I’d written a book  on Princess Diana several years ago, she shared a lot of interesting information about the people she knew in the late princess’s inner circle. Sorry, but it’s OTR.

Like so many of the fashionable folks I’ve come to meet at Michael’s, Bisila’s personal story is a fascinating one. Besides her work as a cultural ambassador, she is a tireless humanitarian with her own charitable organization, The Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project, which promotes literacy and libraries in Africa. Her African parents emigrated from Equatorial Guinea to Madrid to escape violence and a “complicated political situation” in the 70s. In adjusting to their new lives in Spain, Bisila’s mother studied to be a nurse, while her father became a lawyer and raised Bisila and her three brothers. In reminiscing about her childhood, Bisila recalls how unique it was at the time for a black man to be seen in the country wheeling a toddler around in a stroller. “A lot of black people in the country that is mostly white feel self-conscious, but we never really felt different. Even when I’m with Americans and we will go someplace and they will say, ‘There isn’t going to be a lot of black people there,’ I will say, ‘Who cares?’ I don’t see colors, I see people.’”

Source: http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/fern-mallis-and-one-criminally-dressed-designer-dishing-with-a-global-ambassador_b219187

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Happy Birthday to Bisila!!

Bisila turns 40 and have been blessed with the love of family and friends. In celebration of her birthday, BBES will be hosting a birthday bash in her name and proceeds will go to BBALP.

On Thursday, July 10th, BBALP and BBES are hosting the celebration of Bisila Bokoko’s 40th birthday at rooftop lounge, Above Allen in New York City.

Celebrate the 40th birthday of Bisila Bokoko! A woman with a heart the size of Africa, she is dedicated to providing books and educational opportunities all over Africa. Revel in African Opulence and honor the rich culture of Africa at the hottest party of the summer at the posh Above Allen rooftop.

All proceeds will go towards the Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project to help build two beautiful libraries in Uganda and Zimbabwe.

BBALP’s mission is to promote literacy among the African people building well-equipped, modern and sustainable efficient libraries in with the aim to share the gift of ideas and education in Africa.

Our goal is to build 5 libraries by the end of 2015. We assist the rural poor of Africa by helping create village libraries that are energy and technologically efficient.

“With a book you will never feel alone!” Founder Bisila Bokoko is a person who travels often for work, and she always carry a book with her. Whether she is waiting in an airport, sitting on an airplane, alone in her hotel room, or eating by herself in a restaurant, she is always in good company with a good book.

Press Articles

Modern Ghana
http://www.modernghana.com/lifestyle/6238/16/bisilas-birthday-bash-for-african-libraries.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

Bunmio Dunowa Daily
http://bunmiodunowo.com/bisilas-birthday-bash-african-libraries/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Bunmiodunowocom+%28bunmiodunowo.com%29

Xclusive Africa Blog
http://xclusiveafrica.blogspot.com/2014/06/bisila-bokoko-birthday-bash-for-african.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WelcomeToXclusiveAfrica+%28Welcome+to+Xclusive+Africa%29

Zen Magazine
http://zenmagazineafrica.com/events/bisila-bokoko-birthday-bash-african-libraries-humanitarian-work-africa-bbalp/

Afrimpact Magazine
http://afrimpactmagazine.com/aim-english/multimedia/bisila%E2%80%99s-birthday-bash-for-african-libraries/

Bisila Bokoko at the Liceu Barcelona Opera House US Formal Presentation of the Foundation to Major Personalities of American Society

From Zen Magazine
http://zenmagazineafrica.com/lifestyle/bisila-bokoko-liceu-barcelona-opera-house-us-foundation-nancy-kissinger-annette-de-la-renta-valentin-fuster-sharon-bush/

The Liceu Barcelona Opera House US Foundation, a nonprofit cultural entity, is the cultural bridge between the Barcelona Opera House Gran Teatre del Liceu and its American friends and patrons. Under the Honorary Presidency of H.M. The Queen Sofia of Spain, the Foundation was held June 3rd at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute of New York. It was the formal presentation of the Foundation to major personalities of American Society. Some of those in attendance were Nancy Kissinger, Annette de la Renta, Valentin Fuster, Sharon Bush, and many other renowned guests sensitive to Culture and Philanthropy, including Beatrice Santo Domingo, Elisabeth de Cuevas, and Peter Lyden, who have publicly shown their support to the Foundation. Bisila Bokoko, Global Ambassador and Spokesperson for LBOHUSF, has introduced the LBOHUSF to some of NYC’s most important socialites. It is her mission to create brand recognition of the Liceu around the world. Bisila Bokoko had the pleasure of introducing the Liceu US Foundation’s heads, Mr. Francisco Gaudier and Mr. Antonio Renom, during the event on Tuesday evening. Francisco Gaudier, President of the Foundation, explained in his presentation that the LBOHUSF aims to set long term links between American society and the Liceu Opera House. Furthermore, Antonio Renom, LBOHUSF Vice President and Co-Founder, has not only highlighted the current milestones of the Foundation, but also presented the different activities the foundation puts forward to its patrons and donors. He has specifically noted the exclusive trips to Barcelona, and the boost of collaborations and exchanges with US Universities and cultural institutions.

About The Liceu Barcelona Opera House US Foundation: La Liceu Barcelona Opera House US Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded after the initiative of the Barcelona Opera House, Liceu, and the investment group Levante Capital Partners. The Foundation, which is legally based in New York since 2013, aims to strengthen the Liceu’s brand awareness as a major Spanish Cultural institution and to promote the fundraising among US individuals. The foundation also counts on the participation of Baker & McKenzie, who altruistically contributes with legal services and advice. The LBOHUSF relies on the artistic patronage of the following acclaimed figures of the Opera: Plácido Domingo, Montserrat Caballé, Josep Carreras, Jaume Aragall, Roberto Alagna, Fiorenza Cossotto, Mirella Freni, Marilyn Horne, Renata Scotto, Joan Pons, Dolora Zajick, Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, Bejun Menta, Sondra Radvanovsky y Rolando Villazón.

For more details on The Liceu Barcelona Opera House US Foundation, visit: www.liceubarcelona.cat

Tropics Visionaries : Bisila Bokoko’s Journey

Bisila Bokoko is the Founder and Chairperson of ‘’The Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project’’ (www.bbalp.com), a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote literacy among the African people. She has been the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce US-Spain in New York for almost seven-years, which is dedicated to fostering trade, investment and institutional relations between Spain and the United States. Prior to join this organization, she had six-years tenure with IVEX New York. Nowadays, with expertise in business development; Bisila Bokoko helps companies to successfully enter international markets in Europe, U.S. and Africa. Considered one of the ten most influential Spanish women in the business world of America for its ability to develop and cultivate relationships with foreign Heads of State, Ministers of Commerce / Economics and International business leaders.

Pioneering business woman and humanitarian Bisila Bokoko, has a true passion for fashion and creatively harnessing the cooperation and power of the business community to support sustainable change.

Paving the way for success the 39-year-old founded the Bisila Bokoko Embassy International, a boutique consultant firm that provide services to companies looking to enter African and US markets. Its sole focus is lifestyle companies; fashion, culture, food, arts and such like. Connecting and promoting people, it takes companies to the next level through its core business, which is to glamourize, create awareness, brand recognition, and open doors to them in other countries.

One of her recent news is her appointment as the The Liceu Barcelona Opera House US Foundation newest Global Ambassador. This appointment on the part of the US Foundation coincides with the acceptance on the part of Queen Sophia of the honorary presidency of the Board of Trustees. This will be particularly evident next June, at a gala to be held in New York City. At which, the Queen’s, along with the members of the Board of Trustees, potential patrons, and Spanish entrepreneurs settled in New York, will be in attendance.

To all this, it is necessary to add an important incorporation to the artistic patronage of the US Foundation with Plácido Domingo there are already 16 artists – including Josep Carreras, Montserrat Caballé, Juan Diego Flórez, Joyce DiDonato, and Rolando Villazón- who lend their support to the Liceu cause in order to fund raise on the other side of the pond.

Liceu’s Project in the United States will be strengthened with a figure such as Bisila Bokoko, who stands out as an “expert in consulting European and African companies, facilitating access to new markets, especially in the United States.” She is an executive that was raised in Valencia, who in addition to her consultation firm, drives her own social project for children in Africa, the Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project (BBALP).

Time and time again, Bisila Bokoko has proved that being a woman can never be a disadvantage to fulfilling one’s dreams but rather an opportunity to prove that anything is possible. We congratulate her on all her achievements and we’re proud to grant her with the “Tropics Visionary” title.

Follow Bisila Bokoko online and never miss any update:
Website: http://bbalp.org/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/bisilabokoko
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BisilaBokoko
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BisilaBokoko

By Tropics Magazine

Bisila in Fuera de Serie Magazine

MY PERFECT WEEKEND
BISILA BOKOKO*

When she isn’t traveling in Europe or Africa, the Spanish-Guyanese entrepreneur enjoys her days off, New Yorker style: an opera at the Met, pancakes, and trips among family in Central Park and Soho.

It is a norm, in my office, for everyone to leave by 3PM on Friday, including myself, that way I can begin my weekend early. I like taking advantage and I go that same evening to an opera at the Metropolitan or if not, the movie theater where I regularly watch a children’s movie with my kids (she has two – a girl of 11 years and a boy of 8 years). The latest opera I watched at the Met was The Enchanted Island, with Placido Domingo in the role of Neptune. It is incredible. His presence is still very powerful.

On Saturdays and Sundays we get up early, at seven or seven thirty, and we go out for breakfast. Always. It is something sacred. Sometimes for pancakes at IHOP, other times we go to Pastis, or to Crosby Hotel. Afterwards, we ride bikes in Central Park or we travel by foot from neighborhood to neighborhood. It is not rare for us to end in Harlem, although Sundays tend to be days for Soho and the Meatpacking District. We also try to visit museums, overall if the time allows. The children aren’t very enthused about it, but I believe that it is not bad for them to get accustomed to it. The MoMA, the Metropolitan, or the Frick Collection are marvelous places. On Sundays, additionally, I take the opportunity to eat dinner outside, sometimes with the children, sometimes without.

Here in New York, almost nobody has a car, but some weekends we rent one and make trips in the surrounding areas: Boston, Washington, Connecticut… We set course and stay at the first hotel we find.

All of that is when I am not traveling, because practically two weekends a month I am away, sometimes in Europe and other times in Africa. I go to Madrid a lot, and when I do, although it is for motives such as ARCO or Madrid Fashion Week, I take out time to see my friends that I attended CEU San Pablo with. Paris, Amsterdam, and London are other capitals which I regularly visit. In Africa, the countries I visit frequently are Ghana, Rwanda, and Kenya. In each one of these cities I have found my favorite places. One of them, Ngerende Resort, a super tranquil place on the Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya in full nature. The hippopotamuses come to give you a good morning.

With so much traveling, airports have finished turning into one of my favorite places to go shopping. When I am in New York, I tend to go to Bloomingdale’s because it is close to home, but I say this seriously: one of the places I buy the most clothes is the airport in Barajas.

Transcribed by Victor Rodriguez
Photograph by Victor Cucart

* Bisila Bokoko (Valencia, 1974) is founder and consultant of BBES International and promoter of the Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project.

Published in Fuera de Serie Magazine

22

The Liceu Barcelona Opera House US Foundation appoints Bisila Bokoko as “Global Ambassador” in NYC!

The Liceu Barcelona Opera House US Foundation, the entity with headquarters in New York, has appointed Bisila Bokoko as “Global Ambassador”. This appointment on the part of the US Foundation coincides with the acceptance on the part of Queen Sophia of the honorary presidency of the Board of Trustees. This will be particularly evident next June, at a gala to be held in New York City. At which, the Queen’s, along with the members of the Board of Trustees, potential patrons, and Spanish entrepreneurs settled in New York, will be in attendance.

To all this, it is necessary to add an important incorporation to the artistic patronage of the US Foundation with Plácido Domingo there are already 16 artists – including Josep Carreras, Montserrat Caballé, Juan Diego Flórez, Joyce DiDonato, and Rolando Villazón- who lend their support to the Liceu cause in order to fund raise on the other side of the pond.

Liceu’s Project in the United States will be strengthened with a figure such as Bisila Bokoko, who stands out as an “expert in consulting European and African companies, facilitating access to new markets, especially in the United States.” She is an executive that was raised in Valencia, who in addition to her consultation firm, drives her own social project for children in Africa, the Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project (BBALP).

By tropicstravel (Tropics Magazine)
Credits: La Vanguardia – Maricel Chavarria1614361_717561541608588_862367813_o

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