May 28-29, 2017
The Power of Women to Effect Social Change:
Stories of Diverse Approaches to Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution
Zama Coursen-Neff - Keynote Speaker
Zama Coursen-Neff is the executive director of the children's rights division of Human Rights Watch. She also co-chairs the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). Coursen-Neff has conducted fact-finding investigations and is the author of reports and articles on a range of issues affecting children, including access to education, police violence, refugee protection, the worst forms of child labor, and discrimination against women and girls. She has published on op-ed pages in major international and U.S. publications and speaks regularly to the media. During a sabbatical, she ran a protection monitoring team for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Sri Lanka. Before joining Human Rights Watch in 1999, Coursen-Neff clerked for a U.S. federal judge; advocated on behalf of immigrants and refugees in the U.S.; and worked with community development and women's organizations in Honduras. She is a graduate of Davidson College and New York University School of Law where she was a Root Tilden Snow Public Interest Scholar.
Emma Alpert is the public engagement manager for Just Vision, a nonprofit that highlights the power and reach of Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation and build a future of freedom, dignity, and equality. Before joining Just Vision, Alpert worked as an educational consultant in Cairo, Egypt, supporting Egyptian high school students working toward higher education. Previously she was a program manager at Students of the World, a nonprofit media company that equips young filmmakers with the tools to document social issues in their communities and around the globe, where she produced and co-edited a number of short documentaries. She holds an MA in Near Eastern studies from New York University and a BA from the University of Texas-Austin, with degrees in journalism and peace and conflict studies. She has spent time living, working, and studying Arabic in Jordan, Egypt, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Eylem Atakav, PhD
Eylem Atakav, PhD, is senior lecturer in film and television studies at the University of East Anglia where she teaches courses on women, Islam and media; and Middle Eastern media. She is the leader for the Intercultural Communication and Training Network of the Teaching, Learning and Scholarship Knowledge Community of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. She is the recipient of 2016 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Outstanding Contribution to Pedagogy Award, and has recently been selected as a HEA National Teaching Fellow. She is the author of Women and Turkish Cinema: Gender Politics, Cultural Identity and Representation (2012) and editor of Directory of World Cinema: Turkey (Intellect, 2013). She is the director of Growing Up Married – an internationally acclaimed documentary about forced marriage and child brides in Turkey. She is currently co-leading an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project entitles British [Muslim] Values.
Najla Ayoubi of Afghanistan is a firm believer that there can be no peace without justice. She first took the bench in the late 1980s in her native Parwan Province, before being forced out of her profession and public life during the rule of the Taliban. Unwilling to accept her fate, Ayoubi was soon organizing clandestine schools and sewing classes in bunkers, hidden from the Taliban’s religious police that forbade work for women or education for girls older than 8 years old. Ayoubi has two master's degrees: one in law and politics from the State University of Tajikistan and another on post-war recovery and development studies from the University of York in the United Kingdom. With the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Ayoubi returned to work as senior state attorney, but saw that more was needed in the tumultuous period of the United States-led international intervention of Afghanistan and the country’s transition. Ayoubi took increasing leadership roles promoting civic education, women’s empowerment, human rights, and transparency as the country sought to write a new constitution and hold its first elections after decades of conflict. She served as a legal adviser for the State Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs of Afghanistan, commissioner at the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan, and commissioner of the Joint Electoral Management Body. She sits on a number of boards, including as a founding and executive board member of Women’s Regional Network, and Board Member of Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society. She recently served as deputy country representative of The Asia Foundation’s Afghanistan office.
Andrew Blum, PhD
In July 2016, Andrew Blum joined the Kroc School of Peace Studies as the executive director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. Prior to coming to the University of San Diego, Blum served on the senior leadership team at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) as the vice-president for planning, learning, and evaluation. In this role, he was charged with transforming USIP into a true learning organization. Prior to joining USIP, Blum was assistant director of the University of Maryland's Center for International Development and Conflict Management, where he was the director of the Project on International Communication and Negotiations Simulations (ICONS) and oversaw the undergraduate minor in conflict management. In the field, he has conducted research and worked on peacebuilding programs in Iraq, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Guyana, and Turkey. He holds a PhD from the University of Southern California and a BA from the University of Virginia.
Meenakshi Chhabra is an associate professor in the Global Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She received her BA in political science from Delhi University, her master's degree in intercultural relations, and PhD in educational studies from Lesley University. She was a postdoctoral at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where her research focused on teaching and learning about historical events of mass violence, in conflict and post-conflict contexts. She has published her research in national and international journals and presented her work at several platforms and think tanks, including The Hague Institute for Global Justice. As a scholar and practitioner in the field of peace education and her long association with the Seeds of Peace Program, Chhabra has worked extensively with youth and educators in conflict zones in South Asia and the Middle East. She is a Fulbright Senior Scholar and has been recognized as a Fulbright Specialist in peace and conflict studies. Her most recent publication is a co-edited book titled, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Reflection: Promising Practices from the Cultural Literacy Curriculum Institute.
Sonia Durán is the vice president of international affairs at Universidad del Rosario. Her last position was national director of planning and development at Uniminuto, the largest university in Colombia, awarded by the World Bank as a worldwide model of a socially innovative and sustainable institution. She has been representative of the BOX Hill Institute of Australia in Colombia and she contributed to the creation of the current network of public technological education institutions. She holds a master's degree in administration from Universidad de los Andes, a diploma in international cooperation and development, from Universidad Externado, a bachelor's degree in political sciences with a minor in economics from the University of San Francisco, CA, and a law degree from Universidad de Los Andes. She has taught at Universidad de los Andes, Universidad Sergio Arboleda and Universidad de la Sabana, in Colombia.
Rangira Béa Gallimore, PhD
Rangira Béa Gallimore is professor emerita of French and Francophone studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her research and most of her graduate courses focus on women and violence. She has published books and articles on these topics in Francophone studies and on the genocide in Rwanda. She is the founder and former president of Step Up! American Association for Rwandan Women. She served as an expert consultant to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Development Program, the U.S. State Department, and other international organizations concerning the role of women in post-conflict recovery. She is also a trained trauma counselor and a member of the Step Up trauma training team.
Luis David Prieto Martínez, PhD
Luis David Prieto Martínez, PhD is the vice president for academic affairs at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, the first university in Colombia to be granted accredited status by the National Ministry of Education in recognition of its high-quality standards (2003). Martínez began his career working for Technip Engineering Group in Italy (1991-1995) and then went on to Tipiel S.A. as a project control engineer (1995-1996). Throughout his career, he has held many positions at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana including, director of the Electronics Engineering Program, leader of the Control Systems, Power Electronics and Technological Innovation Management Research Group, head of international affairs, and academic dean of the School of Engineering. He was also president of Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar (Cartagena, Colombia) before taking on his most recent position.
Beth Murphy is director of films and correspondent at The GroundTruth Project and the founder of Principle Pictures. Murphy is focused on stories of human rights and social justice and tells these powerful, award-winning narratives through feature and short documentaries, news packages, digital media and targeted impact and educational campaigns. Murphy has produced nearly 20 documentaries (for The History Channel, Discovery International, Discovery Health, Lifetime, PBS) including the features Beyond Belief (Tribeca, Sundance Channel), The List (Tribeca, PBS), and What Tomorrow Brings (Hot Docs, PBS/POV). Her work over the past decade has focused on the human consequences of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is a blogger for HuffPost, author of "Fighting For Our Future" (McGraw Hill), and has directed/produced two New York Times Op-Docs. She was recently recognized with Edward R. Murrow and Alfred I. duPont Awards for a short film series and podcast based on What Tomorrow Brings.
Margo Okazawa-Rey, PhD
Margo Okazawa-Rey is the Elihu Root Peace Fund Visiting Professor in Women’s Studies at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. She is also on the faculty of the School of Human and Organizational Development at the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California, and professor emerita at San Francisco State University. Okazawa-Rey’s primary areas of research and activism are gender, militarism, and feminist activist research. Her work focuses specifically on militarism, armed conflict, and violence against women. She is the author of numerous publications, including one of the first research articles that discussed the situation of mixed-race children abandoned by U.S. military fathers in South Korea. Okazawa-Rey sits on the international boards of the non-governmental organizations PeaceWomen Across the Globe, based in Bern, Switzerland, and Du Re Bang (My Sister’s Place) in Uijongbu, South Korea. She was a founding member of the Combahee River Collective, who articulated a theory of intersectionality in “A Black Feminist Statement” in the 1970s. Her lifetime of teaching, activism, and scholarship has been deeply shaped by the Combahee River Collective. She received her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1987.
Florian Max Schwandner, PhD
Florian Max Schwandner is a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He holds a doctoral degree in earth science from the prestigious Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Striving to apply scientific methods to benefit humankind, he focuses on early detection of volcanic eruption precursors in developing countries. From a seminal experience in the aftermath of the apocalyptic 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines, he found his calling to use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educational and scientific initiatives to the benefit of people living under threat of severe natural hazards. Schwandner has been engaged in social entrepreneurship and nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years. He has a strong dedication to social entrepreneurship toward empowerment and gender equality, and passionately drives international capacity building initiatives through informal diplomacy. He is a seasoned public speaker engaged in international relations between space agencies, nongovernmental organizations, governments, and universities.
Rajiv Uttamchandani is an astrophysicist, human rights activist, social entrepreneur, educator, and motivational speaker. He is the founder and chairman of several organizations which offer a multifaceted approach to addressing violence against women around the world: the International STEM Society for Human Rights, the H.E.R. (Humanity Education & Rights) Conferences, the International H.E.R. Clubs, and the H.E.R. Journal. Uttamchandani regularly travels across continents and countries, giving talks at public and private venues, stressing the necessity of gender equality, women empowerment, and promoting human rights as a career choice. Uttamchandani is Indian by nationality and was born and initially raised in Ormoc City, Philippines. He spent most of his young adulthood in Hong Kong, China. He currently resides in Los Angeles and has obtained his BS and MS degrees in astrophysics and physics, respectively, from California State University-Northridge.
Katie Zanoni is the program officer for Women PeaceMakers at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ). She oversees the planning, implementation and management of the Women PeaceMakers (WPM) program, one of the IPJ’s flagship programs that documents the stories of women advancing peace and human rights in their home countries. For nearly two decades, Zanoni has engaged in the education and non-profit sector as a peace and human rights educator, curriculum developer and program manager. As a doctoral candidate at the University of San Francisco in the international and multicultural education department, her research examines how the Education Sector Policy on Peace Education (2014) in Kenya has impacted the national and local discourse and action related to peace education as a form of peacebuilding. She is also part of a research team exploring peace leadership capacities, using the Women PeaceMakers narratives and a grounded theory approach.