Co- Chair: Laura Finley (16-18)
Dr. Laura Finley (PhD) is Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Barry University in Miami, Florida. She is also author, co-author or editor of seventeen books and numerous book chapters and journal articles. In addition, Dr. Finley is actively involved in a number of peace, justice and human rights groups. She serves as Board Chair for No More Tears, a non-profit organization that serves victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, and is a board member of The Humanity Project and Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Prior to being elected co-chair, Dr. Finley was Publications Chair for PJSA. She also coordinates PJSA’s Speaker’s Bureau.
Co-Chair: Edmund Pries (15-17)
Dr. Edmund Pries (PhD) is Assistant Professor of Global Studies, Social Entrepreneurship, Religion and Culture, and Community Engagement at Wilfrid Laurier University where his teaching is centered in the area of Peace and Conflict Studies (including: Disarmament, International Humanitarian Law). His research focuses on religion and peace/conflict and on social contracts derived from citizenship oaths and military enlistment oaths. He also writes on pedagogy. Edmund is the recipient of two awards for teaching excellence: from Wilfrid Laurier University (2011) and from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (2014). He is the co-chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association (Canada & US) and on the founding board of the newly-formed Peace and Conflict Studies Association of Canada. In addition to various articles, he recently co-edited the book Peace Studies between Tradition and Innovation (2015). A personal goal he realized last year was to walk across northern Spain along the ancient pilgrimage route known as El Camino de Santiago de Compostela – a trek of 900 km.
Secretary: Kate Meehan (17-19)
An academic-activist-performer, Kate Meehan is about to begin her Ph.D. in American Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Graduating summa cum laude with a degree in Gender and Women's Studies from York University (Toronto, Canada), she recently completed a diploma with honours in Peace and Justice Studies at Selkirk College (British Columbia, Canada). She is the recipient of numerous awards, including York's School of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Graduating Book Prize for academic excellence, and both the 2016 and 2017 Excellence in Peace Studies award from Selkirk. As a theater creator, Kate is particularly interested in the role of political theater as a method of activism and awareness-building. Her Ph.D. research interests lie in feminist explorations of American civilian militarization post-Vietnam War to the early 1990s, and the impacts of these narratives on contemporary identities and anti-war resistance today.
Treasurer: Ellen Lindeen (15-17)
Ellen Lindeen, Professor of English and Peace Studies, begins her 21th year of teaching at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, IL, a suburb of Chicago, this fall in 2016. She holds a BS in English Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MA in Literature from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. She offered the first Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution course in 2009 at Waubonsee Community College, after she had completed two years of work on a Certificate in Peace Studies at UW-Milwaukee and institutional and curricular preparation. In 2013, she added the interdisciplinary course, Human Rights and Social Justice, also at Waubonsee, and currently, she is working on establishing a Certificate in Conflict Resolution for students at Waubonsee Community College. Lindeen serves on the board of the Peace & Justice Studies Association, the Executive Committee of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, and as a member of the Peace & Justice Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. She also enjoys writing op-eds for Peace Voice.
Ex-Officio - Executive Director: Michael Loadenthal
Dr. Michael Loadenthal is a Visiting Professor of Sociology and Social Justice at Miami University of Oxford, Ohio, and the Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Association. He completed his PhD in 2015 at George Mason University, and previously completed an MLitt at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews in 2010. Dr. Loadenthal has taught courses on political violence, terrorism and sociology at Georgetown University, George Mason University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Malta, and Jessup Correctional Institution. Michael has served as the Dean's Fellow for the George Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, a Practitioner-In-Residence for Georgetown's Center for Social Justice, and a Research Fellow at Hebrew Union College's Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems. His work has been published in a variety of venues including Critical Studies on Terrorism, Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Perspectives on Terrorism, Journal of Applied Security Research, Journal of Feminist Scholarship, Journal of Radical Criminology, Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies and other social movement and political theory journals and books.
Publications/Research Chair: Michael Minch (15-17)
Dr. Michael Minch is a professor of peace studies and political philosophy at Utah Valley University. He was the director of the Peace and Justice Studies program at UVU for 12 years, stepping aside in 2016. He is the founder and director of Summit: The Sustainable Mountain Development and Conflict Transformation Global Knowledge and Action Network. This NGO is building the world's largest database in respect to sustainable development and conflict transformation. It also develops innovative programs on the ground in West Africa, Haiti, the Balkans, and elsewhere. Minch is also on the Board of Directors of the Education for Global Peace Forum. He conducts research and fieldwork, teaches, and directs study abroad programs, in addition to the locations noted above, in Latin America, Russia, Central Asia, Northern Ireland, and Russia. He has published work on democratic theory, conflict transformation, reconciliation, theology, ethics, economic theory, political ecology, and more.
Conference Chair: Kevin Higgs (16-18)
Dr. Kevin Higgs is from North Alabama and grew up in the Birmingham area. As a child, he experienced the dynamic changes that took place in this city during the Civil Rights Movement, and has been greatly influenced by its history and politics. Because of this, Dr. Higgs has focused his study, activism, and academic interest on Alabama and its issues of human rights, civil rights, LGBT rights, and the theology and political thought that has come out of the American South. Dr. Higgs approaches these realities with a global, multi-cultural perspective informed by philosophies of nonviolence and theologies of liberation. He has spent significant time as an activist for the homeless community of Birmingham, and has worked diligently in areas of peace-building within the still-segregated racial/cultural divide that continues in Birmingham. Dr. Higgs is an active member of the NAACP in the State of Alabama, working with the “Moral Monday Movement” seeking to organize activism to confront issues of poverty, labor abuse, environmental abuse, voting rights, the Prison-Industrial-Complex, and the Military-Industrial-Complex in the State of Alabama.
Membership Chair: Jinelle Piereder (16-18)
Jinelle Piereder is a first year PhD student in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo. Supervised by Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon, Jinelle uses approaches and tools from complexity science to study how ideologies are constructed, contested and perpetuated. In the context of specific global challenges, she hopes to add to what is known about the role of ideological conflict – on psychological, social, and material levels – within public policy-making and social movements. While completing her Masters of Global Governance at the BSIA, Jinelle worked as a CIGI Graduate Fellow on Asia Pacific security and empathy-building in the East and South China Seas. As part of her degree, she also completed an internship with a leading civic rights network, CIVICUS, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Jinelle completed her undergraduate work at Wilfrid Laurier University, focusing on international humanitarian law and disarmament, and North and Sub-Saharan African conflicts. She was a researcher for Project Ploughshares' 2013 Armed Conflict Report and assisted in coordinating the PJSA 2013 Conference.
Awards and Board Nominations Chair: Randy Janzen (15-17)
Randy Janzen, PhD, is the Chair of the Mir Centre for Peace at Selkirk College, in British Columbia’s southern interior, where he also teaches in the Peace and Justice Studies and Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping programs. Randy’s recent work has involved a focus on community peace education, including mediation, conflict transformation and nonviolent action. Randy’s research focus is unarmed civilian peacekeeping and he is a founding member of the global Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping/Protection Research Network.
Student Awards: Emily Welty (16-18)
Dr. Emily Welty is the Director of Peace and Justice Studies at Pace University in New York City. She serves as the Main Representative of the International Peace Research Association to the United Nations and Vice Moderator of the World Council of Churches Commission on International Affairs. Her research concentrates on nonviolent protest, faith-based peacebuilding and ethical humanitarianism.
Ombudsman and List Serve Liaison: Elham Atashi (16-18)
Dr. Elham Atashi is the Associate Director of the Justice and Peace Studies Program at Georgetown University. She holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. She is a certified mediator and negotiator having received her training from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Dr. Atashi teaches and writes on issues relating to truth telling and the politics of memory, restorative justice, post-conflict transformation and the role of youth and civic organizations in peacebuilding. She serves on the editorial board of the African Peace and Conflict Journal and has been on a consultative body in assessing and developing mechanisms for dealing with the legacy of the past injustices in countries such as Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. Dr. Atashi also works extensively as a practitioner for several international organizations supporting transformative local community reconciliation, justice and peacebuilding initiatives. She is also a professional dialogue facilitator conducting workshops with a focus on youth as migrants and refugees.
Women and Gender Issues Chair: Sheherazade Jafari (16-18)
Sheherazade Jafari is the director of the Point of View International Research and Retreat Center at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. A scholar and practitioner, Sheherazade’s own research and applied background and interests include gender, religion and human rights in conflict and peacebuilding, as well as fostering a more diverse and inclusive conflict resolution field. Her PhD research examined how women’s rights activists in Muslim-majority societies are engaging religion and working across religious-secular divides in response to rising politicized religion and extremism. Sheherazade has worked in the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia with both large and small civil society organizations, and has taught and facilitated dialogues and trainings regarding gender, religion and conflict resolution. In 2016, she oversaw an interfaith youth peace initiative with the U.S. Institute of Peace and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Previously she led the Religion and Conflict Resolution Program at the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, where she worked with religious peacemakers from armed conflict zones around the world. She serves on the board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, where she chairs the gender & sexuality committee, and of Feminist.com
Grant Writing Chair: Michelle Collins-Sibley (16-18)
Michelle Collins-Sibley joined the faculty at the University of Mount Union – then Mount Union College -- in 1994; professor of English, she directs chairs the newly implemented Department of Interdisciplinary & Liberal Studies (home to the Africana Studies, Gender Studies, and Peacebuilding and Social Justice Programs). For nearly a decade she served as one of the lead faculty of the annual NEH Summer Seminar, ROOTS: African Dimensions of the History and Culture of the Americas through the Atlantic Slave Trade at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her teaching and research interests focus on Africana literatures, specifically women writers of the African diaspora, literary theory – womanist/feminist, post-colonial – contemplative and peace pedagogies, and comparative literature; recent publications include, “’Becoming the Bear’: A Meditation on Racial Battle Fatigue, Resistance & Grace in Academia,” and, “What Does It Mean to Tweet #BLACKLIVESMATTER: Reflections on Black History Month, 2015.” She is an active member of her local community, having served on the boards of the Alliance YWCA, Haines House: A National Underground Railroad Site, and, currently serving on the board of the Alliance Area Domestic Violence Shelter.
Fundraising Chair: Swasti Bhattacharyya (16-18)
Swasti Bhattacharyya (PhD, RN) is Professor of Philosophy & Religion at Buena Vista University. Along with her work in the academy, she worked for 10 years as a Registered Nurse in both neurosurgery intensive care and labor and delivery. This experience gives her thinking on bioethics/medical ethics a direct and practical, as well as deeply philosophical basis. As a comparative religious applied ethicist, her work examines ethical issues (bioethics, environmental ethics, and nonviolence, peace and justice) from different religious perspectives (Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim). Her book, Magical Progeny, Modern Technology (SUNY, 2006), provides an example of how she interweaves elements of bioethics and Hinduism. Swasti's current project is enabling her to combine familial connections, long-term commitments to nonviolence, peace and justice, teaching, and her love of photography. She has been exploring the living legacy of Vinoba Bhave (disciple, friend, confidant, and spiritual successor to Mahatma Gandhi). Through this ethnographic project, she has interviewed 3 generations of individuals living and working for sarvodaya (the holistic uplifting of all: all segments of our global humanity).
Diversity Chair: Elavie Ndura (15-17)
Dr. Elavie Ndura is George Mason University’s 2015-2016 Presidential Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion, and a tenured Professor of Education. She is an international education expert and practitioner with over 20 years of experience in developing, implementing and managing intercultural education, peace and nonviolence capacity building programs in the United States and Burundi. She is the founder and coordinator of the Shinnyo Fellowship for Peacebuilding through Service and Education at George Mason University. She has pioneered youth peacemaking leadership development through community engagement in Burundi. Her signature interdisciplinary research, scholarship, and practice that unite multicultural peace education, and conflict prevention and transformation have been featured in her six books, more than 30 book chapters and professional journal articles, and numerous invited presentations and keynotes highlighting the central role of formal and non-formal education in advancing inclusive excellence, social cohesion, and peacemaking leadership.
Social Media Chair: Fatima Ahmed (16-18)
Fatima Ahmed has studied towards a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Waterloo and is currently working towards a Masters in Adult Education at St. Francis Xavier University. During her career, she has been fortunate enough to work in places like the Canadian Arctic, Vanuatu and Botswana and has completed academic exchange in Sweden. Her community involvement has varied from volunteering and organizing at the grassroots level to serving as steering committee members for regional and national committees. For her self directed graduate program, Fatima is interested in looking at spiritual healing for those experiencing stress-induced mental distress.
Institutional Liaison: Cris Toffolo (16-18)
Cris Toffolo is Professor and Chair of the Justice Studies Department at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago. She is just finishing her third term as co-chair of the board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association. She is also a founding board member of the Educating for Global Peace (EGP), and The Truth Telling Project (TTP), and has served Amnesty International in various capacities for over 25 years. Currently she is conducting research on educational initiatives in post-genocide Rwanda. Cris has worked in many countries of the Global South, was awarded a NEH grant to work on ethnicity issues, and while on sabbatical in South Africa (2005-06) was a senior researcher for a human rights NGO for which she conducted research on anti-racism training programs. She has a Ph.D. from Notre Dame in political theory and comparative politics. Her publications include: The Arab League, Chelsea House, 2007, and Emancipating Cultural Pluralism, ed., SUNY Press, 2003.
PACS-Can Liaison: Tim Donais (15-17)
Timothy Donais is an associate professor in the Department of Global Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, where he teaches in the field of peace and conflict studies. His current research focuses on questions of ‘ownership’ and ‘inclusivity’ in the context of post-conflict peacebuilding, and he has conducted field research in Bosnia, Haiti, and Afghanistan. He is the author of Peacebuilding and Local Ownership: Post-Conflict Consensus-Building (Routledge, 2012), The Political Economy of Peacebuilding in Post-Dayton Bosnia (Routledge, 2005), and the editor of Local Ownership and Security Sector Reform (Lit Verlag, 2008); he is also the author of more than a dozen journal articles and book chapters. He currently serves as the interim coordinator of the newly-formed Peace and Conflict Studies Association of Canada (PACS-Can).
Liaison to K-12: Joy Meeker (16-18)
Joy Meeker leads the Peace and Justice Studies Specialization within Saybrook University’s Transformative Social Change Program (Oakland, CA). She has taught peace studies and conflict resolution for the past two decades at institutions including Syracuse University (NY), Colgate University (NY), and Northland College (WI). Interdisciplinary in training and practice, she has also taught within environmental studies, gender studies, psychology, and sociology departments. Joy has also been a conflict practitioner for two decades, including founding and coordinating several campus mediation centers and training hundreds of university and high school students in mediation, nonviolence, diversity, and sexual harassment prevention. She also serves as a nonviolence trainer for people who are incarcerated. All of her work aims at making a modest contribution to a more just world, a place where it is even more possible to love.
Liaison to International Peace Research Association: Nurana Rajabova (16-18)
Nurana Rajabova, born and raised in Azerbaijan, is currently based in NYC, USA. Rajabova has earned her MA degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace Studies, at the University of San Diego. She also holds certificates in the field of Peace, Conflict Resolution and Terrorism Studies from several institutes including the United States Institute of Peace Academy, Georgetown University, and Eastern Mennonite University. Rajabova recently finished her service program in NYC which was a year-long service corps for young adults committed to intentional living and social justice work in the city. As a part of her program, for the past year, she has been serving at the Social Justice department of The Riverside Church in the City of New York. Rajabova has also more than five years of work experience in the non-profit sector. Some of the organizations she has worked at include the U.S. Peace Corps, British Council, International Development Group/USAID, Center for Innovations in Education. Nurana Rajabova is pursuing her professional career in the peacebuilding field, with a focus on identity based conflicts and violent extremism.
Liaison to Activists: Timothy Seidel (16-18)
Timothy Seidel teaches courses on politics, development, and peacebuilding in the Department of Applied Social Sciences and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA. He previously taught at American University and Lancaster Theological Seminary. Seidel has worked in various development and peacebuilding contexts in North America and the Middle East, including serving for several years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), first as peace development worker in Palestine-Israel and then as director for Peace and Justice Ministries in the U.S. He is a doctoral candidate in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC.
Mini-Grant Program Coordinator: Daryn Cambridge (15-17)
Daryn Cambridge leads curriculum development and educational design for US Institute of Peace’s online courses. Daryn joins USIP after 4 years with the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, where he served as senior director for Learning & Digital Strategies and helped co-found Freedom Beat Recordings – a record label and website that explores the role of music in nonviolent resistance. Daryn is also a peace educator in residence and adjunct professor at American University in Washington, DC, where he teaches courses on education for international development, peace pedagogy, and nonviolent action. His research interests include peace education, nonviolent action, distance learning, and online pedagogy. He has several years experience designing and facilitating trainings and workshops for learners across the world of all ages. He has worked or consulted in this capacity with organizations such as Common Cause, The Close Up Foundation, The Democracy Matters Institute, The Student Conservation Association, Learn-Serve International, One World Education, and the Institute for Technology and Social Change. He serves on the boards of the Democracy Matters Institute and the Peace and Justice Studies Association. He has a M.A. in International Training and Education and a professional certificate in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, both from American University. He received his B.A. from Middlebury College.
Truth Telling Project Liaison: David Ragland (16-18)
David Ragland is Co-Founder and Co-director for the Truth Telling project of Ferguson and a Visiting Professor at United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. He researches and thinks about the moral dimensions of violence and trauma against vulnerable populations in the U.S as well as envisioning a world with reduced violence on all levels. As an activist, educator and scholar, his recent and past work is the ground level- in his home community near Ferguson, Mo. David's analysis is drawn from the radical teaching and scholarship of MLK, particularly in his description of the Triple evils of Militarism, Racism and Materials, as an ever present part of American life- calling us to a shift in values Dr. Ragland focuses specifically on how our society conceives justice as retributive and proposes a shift toward restorative justice to transform communities and criminal justice system and take the America's turbulent history and lives experiences into account for policies at all levels.