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Mesut Özgen

Guitarist and composer, Mesut Özgen, who graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in guitar performance, was recognized as one of the Knight Arts Challenge award winners at the Knight Foundation's ninth annual celebration at the New World Center in Miami Beach on November 28, 2016. Özgen founded the Miami International GuitART Festival at the Florida International University School of Music, where he is the director of guitar studies, in February 2016.

After the success of MIGF in its first year, Özgen will be awarded a $55,000 grant from Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, to honor Miami's Cuban heritage by dedicating the Miami International GuitART Festival to Cuban music and creating cultural exchanges between Havana and Miami guitar orchestras. In addition to the Knight Arts Challenge, Özgen and the MIGF have also been awarded an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.