Circus Ambassadors

The Federation is pleased to recognise the following individuals for their contributions to the promotion and preservation of circus arts and culture:


H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco (2014)

In 2014, H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco was named “Extraordinary Ambassador” for her unending commitment to circus and work in rescuing former circus elephants Baby and Nepal from euthanasia.



Maxim Nikulin (2017)

Maxim Nikulin was born on 15 November,1956 in Moscow, in a family of the circus artists. He graduated from the Faculty of Journalism at the Moscow State University. Maxim Nikulin worked for the radio and newspapers, and later for the Russian TV channel ORT. Maxim started his career in the circus in 1995, next to his father, the USSR famous clown and cinema actor, director of the circus at that time.

In 1997 Maxim Nikulin took over and became the General Director of Nikulin Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard.

He cares a lot, and challenges the possibilities for the development of circus arts in Russia.

He protects the animals in the circus and remains true to the classical programs and the traditional circus. He is often invited as a jury member to the most prestigious international circus festivals. And he is the founder of the International Youth Circus Festival at Nikulin Circus.

Maxim Nikulin founded a TV studio in the circus, called "Tsvetnoi - 13", which produces and records programs, dedicated to Russian and foreign circus productions. Those programs were broadcasted in the Russian TV "Culture" channel too.

Maxim Nikulin is the President of the Circus and Charity fund, which helps the retired circus artists and the disabled circus artists in Russia.

Maxim Nikulin was awarded by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, with the Order of Friendship in 2006 and with the Order of Honor in 2016.



Mr. Zhigang Su (2016)

Mr. Zhigang Su became the second Chinese national to be named Ambassador of Circus by the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque and was honored at the annual Circus Directors’ Luncheon at the Hotel Hermitage in Monaco on 17 January 2016.

Mr. Su is the Chairman of the Guangdong Chime-Long Group, which owns and operates the Chime-Long theme parks, including the Chime-Long International Circus which is one of the star attractions in the Chime-long Empire. It is situated in a large open amphitheater with seating for 7,000, and has established itself as the world’s largest non-traveling circus.



Tadashi Kinoshita (2015)

Mr. Tadashi Kinoshita became the 6th “Ambassadeur du Cirque” to be named by the Federation for his outstanding contribution to Circus arts and culture. Mr. Kinoshita was honored at a Federation reception held on 17 January 2015 by President Urs Pliz who complimented Mr. Kinoshita on his excellent work in continuing the circus family tradition in Japan.

Kinoshita Circus was founded by Tadasuke Kinoshita in 1882. Mr. Tadashi Kinoshita joined the circus in 1974 as a flyer and became the 4th president of Kinoshita Circus Company in 1991. Mr. Kinoshita also serves as president of the Japanese Circus & Entertainment Association (JCEA), founded in 1950, which today has 41 members.

The recipient of many awards and prizes, Mr. Kinoshita is known for his philanthropic initiatives and contributions. Direct financial donations and fundraising events by the circus have contributed to reconstruction efforts related to the Kobe earthquake in 1997 and the Great East Japan earthquake of 2011. In 2013, more than 40,000 children who were victims of the 2011 disaster were invited to the circus. Under Mr. Kinoshita’s leadership, funding also was provided to construct an elephant hospital at the Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre in Thailand. Mr. Kinoshita is a frequent lecturer at the invitation of community based clubs and business chambers.



Kenneth Feld (2013)

Kenneth Feld is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Feld Entertainment, Inc., the world’s largest live entertainment company. Founded in 1967, family owned and operated, Feld Entertainment produces some of the best known family entertainment brands, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Disney On Ice, Disney Live and Feld Motor Sports. Feld Entertainment productions have appeared in 74 countries and entertain over 30 million fans a year. Kenneth and his family have long supported conservation programs to preserve the endangered Asian elephant, including the establishment of the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 1995. In addition to elephant conservation, Kenneth is a trustee of Boston University and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the School of Management, serves on the board of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC and through the Feld Family Foundation has been involved in numerous arts, children’s health and education organizations. Kenneth and his wife Bonnie are the proud parents of three daughters, Nicole, Alana and Juliette, who also work in the family’s business.



Mrs. Sembach-Krone (2012)

Mrs. Christel Sembach-Krone, granddaughter of Carl Krone, the founder of Circus Krone in 1905, has been a circus performer all her life. In 1995 she became responsible for running Circus Krone. Every five years Mrs. Sembach-Krone surprises her audiences with an all new tour production, the biggest of its kind in Europe. Each wintertime from Christmas to the end of March, she presents three different shows in Circus Krone’s permanent building in Munich, the only circus building in Germany. Christel Sembach-Krone has been a horse trainer since she was 12 years old. She was the first woman to perform a high school act with horses without any bridle or saddle. She also has a love for elephants, the trademark of the classical circus. Among her many awards, the most prestigious is the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit) given to Mrs. Sembach-Krone by the Federal Republic of Germany for achievements in animal welfare.

Mrs. Sembach-Krone passed away in June 2017.



Madame Xia Juhua, Chinese Acrobatics Association (2011)

Madame Xia Juhua is one of China’s most acclaimed contortion and balancing artists, known as the “Empress of Acrobatics.” She became the symbol of Chinese acrobatics due to her outstanding and innovative balancing routines with Pagoda bowls. The act of balancing bowls while performing a single-handed stand existed as early as the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD). However, it was Madama Xia in the 1950’s who created the novel act of fluidly moving bowls between feet and head while maintaining a handstand. Since its creation, the “Bowl Balancing” act has won five top international prizes. In 1981, Madame Xia helped establish the Chinese Acrobatics Association, a national association for acrobats. Under her leadership, the CAA has played a pivotal role in advancing the art of Chinese acrobatics and gaining worldwide recognition of the highly talented Chinese acrobats. H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco bestowed the honorary title of Circus Ambassador on Madame Xia on the occasion of Monaco Day at the 2010 World’s Fair in Shanghai, China. Ambassador Xia accepted the award at a gala dinner featuring circus performances hosted by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and attended by Chinese dignitaries on 7 October 2010.



Mr. Franz Czeisler, Circus Tihany Spectacular (2010)

A stowaway to America at just 13 years of age, Mr. Franz Czeisler faced an uncertain future in which the world of circus must have seemed as far away as his birthplace in Tihany, Hungary. Remembering the magic acts his father performed during his early childhood, however, Mr. Czeisler worked his way from one job to another until he created his own magic act at the age of 16. Back in Europe and through the difficult times of the war years, Mr. Czeisler used his skills to entertain US troops. After the war he toured throughout Europe but always recalled his childhood dream of a grand spectacle in the Americas. He moved to Brazil where in 1954 he purchased his first circus tent, touring nearly every country in Central and South America. Through the Circus Tihany Spectacular, he proceeded for the next thirty years to “spread magic, circus and happiness to millions of people.” Known everywhere today as “Señor Tihany,” Franz Czeisler’s perseverance and belief that the show must go on provides a shining example for all who follow him. Mr. Czeisler was named Circus Ambassador of the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque on the occasion of the celebration of his 93rd birthday.

Señor Tihany died in March 2016, few months before the big celebrations of his 100 birthday.



M. Alexander Alexandrovitch Volkov President, Republic of Udmurtia (2009)

A great lover of circus, the President of Udmurtia, Mr. Alexander Alexandrovitch Volkov, combines top-level leadership and personal commitment to concretely supports circus arts. It is to his credit alone that, notwithstanding a difficult financial situation in the Republic and country, a modern new circus building was constructed in 2003 to secure the future of circus arts and culture in Udmurtia. The creation of this building, along with the implementation of other socially important projects, is helping Udmurtia to develop dynamically and its capital, Izhevsk, to be the cultural centre of Volga region. For example, again due to the initiative of Mr. Volkov, in 2008, Izehevsk welcomed the opening of a zoo, recognized by experts as the best in the Russian Federation. While construction is ongoing, thousands of people already have visited the zoo. These initiatives and the resulting growth of Izhevsk help to provide the political and economic stability necessary for arts, including circus, to thrive. Finally, following the conclusion of the Second International Festival of Circus Art in Izhevsk, Mr. Volkov has proposed that the government consider supporting and promoting the Third Festival.

Mr Volkov passed away in May 2017.