Our Staff

Background Image - Ben Rotman: "The Spark"

USA Staff

Iris Reff Ronen

Chief Executive Director, AICF USA and AICF Israel

After successfully leading AICF Israel for the last 2 years, Iris Reff Ronen began her new appointment as Chief Executive Director on November 1,  2019.

Iris Reff-Ronen is an entrepreneur and executive with vast experience in both corporate and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining AICF Israel, Iris led the Israeli Choreographers Association, an umbrella organization for contemporary dance artists in Israel. She also served for 15 years as CEO of Unistream, a unique NGO fostering social and business leadership in over 1,600 young adults from Israel’s periphery through education, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Iris was acting CFO of the Shilav Group, CFO of a high-tech company and worked in the WZO while living in the US. She is an enthusiastic promoter of arts education in Israel and an advocate for building educational support in the periphery.  She is passionate about building positive change in the Israeli cultural sector and accumulation of her skills is being applied further her personal goals of realizing the potential of young Israeli artists and harnessing their remarkable talent. 

Iris holds advanced degrees in business, finance and marketing. She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband Micha and her children. 


Julie Pareles

Chief Development Officer

Julie Pareles is a fundraiser and arts advocate with a passion for promoting Israel’s great contributions and inspiring the next generation through the arts. As the former director of Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts for 8 years, she facilitated free performing arts programs for 50,000 inner-city students. At the LI Children’s Museum, she led a development team and provided interactive educational programs for 20,000 under-served students each year.  Most recently, for 8 years, she raised $14.3M for breakthrough research at Hadassah Hospital.

As an arts advocate, Julie served as a panelist for the NYS Council on the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. She has a BA in psychology from Cornell University and an MA in communications from Indiana University. She lives in Long Island and has two sons studying at Cornell.

Galia Barkol

Director, Israeli Artist Network

Award-winning actor and filmmaker Galia Barkol wrote, directed and starred in the dramedy feature DON’T LET THE NIGHT END (Sundance Screenwriters’ Labs semifinalist) – on Amazon Prime and other major VOD platforms. Galia recently completed a lead role in the psychological thriller THE TASTE OF YOU (feature), and she has appeared on screen at the Tribeca Film Festival, SoHo Fest, Queens World Fest (InkTip Award), ITVFest, the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, and more. Her near-future comedy series DEEP YEARNING won the NYC TV Fest’s Best Comedy award for screenplays, and was a semi-finalist at SFIndie Fest’s screenplay competition. Originally from Israel, Galia earned her Bachelor’s degree in Film & The Performing Arts from Paris-Diderot University in Paris, France, and she completed HB Studio’s two-year Acting program, placed at the top level of professional studio practice. Galia is a recipient of the Tangerine fellowship at Stowe Story Labs, as well as the Franco-American MICEFA grant. Galia also enjoys playing classical piano, and she lives in Brooklyn, NY. GaliaBarkol.com

Jessica Hadler

Director of Programs & Grants

Jessica Hadler is a longtime advocate of the arts and a supporter of young artists. She was Director of Artistic Programs for Concert Artists Guild, where she worked for more than 10 years. In this role she oversaw the organization’s New York concert series, an annual international competition, record label, and commissioning program, and mentored a roster of talented musicians. She taught Art of Engagement at Mannes School of Music at the New School, a course designed to inspire students to discover and express their unique artistic points of view. Jessica served as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Look & Listen Festival, a new music festival held each Spring in NYC, and was a Board Member of AlpenKammerMusik, a chamber music festival in Austria. Jessica studied music at Indiana University, earning her BM and MM degrees in saxophone performance. She made Aliya to Israel in 2017.