S-CAR Activity Recap – April 2019

S-CAR's monthly Activity Recaps highlight the ongoing contributions being made by S-CAR students, faculty, and alumni to the field of conflict analysis and resolution. Each Activity Recap includes publications, presentations, and awards from the previous month.

Are you a member of the S-CAR community? Send your publication, presentation, and award updates to scarlib@gmu.edu so that we can include them in our Activity Recaps.


In April 2019, students from the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels received multiple awards and recognitions, as did S-CAR faculty, including Agnieszka Paczynska, who was named a Guest Researcher at the German Development Institute for this coming summer. Throughout the month, multiple S-CAR faculty, students, and alumni published a wide range of academic work, including PhD alum Valery Perry, who published her book discussing violent extremism in Serbia. S-CAR community members also published a series of articles in a variety of news publications, and multiple alumni and faculty were featured in televised talks and interviews.

Awards & Accolades

Nathan Danielson (MS student) was awarded a 2019 Fulbright Grant on April 8, 2019, to pursue research on education, diplomacy, and peacebuilding in Indonesia.

Marina Chafa (BA student) was recognized by the School of Integrative Studies’ Seeds of Change program and received a Community Engagement Medallion for her commitment to serving the community on April 9, 2019.

Nora Malatinszky (BS student) was awarded an OSCAR Intensive Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) grant on April 2, 2019 for her project “Mapping Magyar Media: A Survey of Transitioned Power, Influence, and Impact through Post-Regime Change Hungarian Media.”

Hannah Cole (BA student) was awarded a 2019-2020 Boren Fellowship. The award is an initiative of the National Security Education Program, and allows current and future graduate students to intensively study languages critical to U.S. interests. Cole will go to South Korea to study Korean at Sogang University.

Sandra Tombe (PhD student) was a Mason 3MT competition finalist at Mason’s 2019 Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference. Her research submission was titled “Transnational Opposition Networks Near and Far: Mobilization of Cameroonian and South Sudanese Diasporas by Non-State Actors in Times of Conflict.” She was also awarded the Robert C. Wood Prize for Best Paper Written by a Graduate Student from the New England Political Science Association at their annual conference on April 29, 2019. 

Agnieszka Paczynska was named a Guest Researcher at the German Development Institute in Bonn, Germany, for summer 2019.

Pamina Firchow was awarded a 2020 Fulbright Grant to Colombia, where she will be working on her NSF-funded research projects, as well as her next book project, “Inclusive Measurement: Information Flows and Decision-making in Peace Processes.” She will also teach a class in the peacebuilding master's program at the Universidad de los Andes.

Academic Publications

Books and Book Chapters

Valery Perry, ed. (PhD ‘06). Extremism and Violent Extremism in Serbia: 21st Century Manifestations of an Historical Challenge. Ibidem Press/Columbia University Press. Published April 2019.

Pamina Firchow. “Indivisibility as a Way of Life: Transformation in Micro-processes of Peace in Northern Uganda.” From Transitional to Transformative Justice. Cambridge University Press. Published April 30, 2019.

Journal Articles, Papers, and Reports

Lisa Schirch (PhD ‘99). “Mapping Responses to Social Media Threats.” Toda Peace Institute, Policy Brief No. 38. Published April 2019; “Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding.” United States Institute of Peace. Published April 2, 2019.

Charles Martin-Shields (PhD ‘16). “When Information Becomes Action: Drivers of individuals’ trust in broadcast versus peer-to-peer information in disaster response.” Disasters. Published April 8, 2019.

Alexander Cromwell (PhD ’19). “How peace education motivates youth peacebuilding: Examples from Pakistan.” International Journal of Educational Development. Published April 2019.

Mohammed Cherkaoui. “Algeria-Libya: A New Demarcation Line between Two Arab Worlds?Al Jazeera Centre for Studies. Published April 23, 2019; “مثلث المعضلات في الشرق الأوسط: دينية الخطاب السياسي وتوحش السلطة ونكوص الهويات الوطنية (The Middle East's dilemmas: religious political discourse, the monopolization of power, and the erosion of national identities).” Al Jazeera Centre for Studies. Published April 16, 2019. 

S-CAR in the News

Ibrahim Fraihat (PhD ’06) appeared in various media publications, including the The New Arab, where he authored an article titled “القدس ... هندوراس والبرازيل وغيرهما [Jerusalem... Honduras, Brazil and others],” published April 3, 2019; Al Jazeera, where he was featured in two televised interviews titled “Will Saudi Arabia go nuclear” as well as “Tunisia detains armed European diplomats en route from Libya,” published April 4, 2019, and April 17, 2019, respectively; and Al Shabaka, where he co-authored an article titled “Who Lost the Arabs?: Regional Relations with Palestine,” published April 18, 2019.

Ahmad Chami (MS ’12) was featured in a televised interview on The Media Line titled “TEDx To Give Voice to Palestinian Youth” on April 4, 2019. The interview discussed the first ever TEDx conference in Palestine scheduled for September 2019, and the ways in which the platform will give a voice to disenfranchised Palestinian youth in the West Bank.

Lisa Schirch (PhD ‘99) wrote an article for her self-titled blog, titled “11 African Innovations in Peacebuilding,” published on April 17, 2019. The article discusses various African peacebuilding traditions that can inform modern conflict resolution frameworks.

Patricia Maulden was quoted in an article for Mason News by Mariam Aburdenieh titled “Dismantling religious discrimination,” published on April 29, 2019. The article discusses a town hall-style panel discussion in which Marc Gopin was cited as a panel participant.

Marc Gopin gave a televised presentation to members of the Kehila Chadasha community on April 15, 2019, titled “Being Good: The Art of Making Ethical Decisions. Gopin explored various schools of ethical thought, how to apply to them to our lives, and the critical importance of compassionate reasoning.

Leslie Durham (Academic Advisor) was featured in an S-CAR News article by John Hollis titled “Mason students learn from diplomats at the third annual U.S. Foreign Service Day,” published April 8, 2019. The article discusses Mason’s annual U.S. Foreign Service Day, where students learn about careers in the Foreign Service from current and former U.S. diplomats. The article also quoted S-CAR undergraduate student Carter Rainey

Philip Gamaghelyan (PhD ’17) wrote an article for The Progressive Post titled “Nagorno-Karabakh: Nationalist politics at geo-political cross-roads,” published April 19, 2019. The article discusses the potential for improved diplomatic relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan following the 2018 Armenian elections.

Audrey Williams (MS student) wrote “Dr. Charles Chavis will link the past with the present at S-CAR” for S-CAR News, published on April 15, 2019. The article profiles Charles L. Chavis, Jr., who will explore the role of memorials and museums in racial reconciliation in the U.S. as S-CAR’s newest assistant professor. In addition to quoting Chavis, the article quotes Solon Simmons and Kevin Avruch.

Asha Noor (MS student) was featured in a Citizen Truth article by Walter Yeates titled “Interview With CAIR’s Asha Noor and How Ilhan Omar is Shaking Up Politics” on April 30, 2019. The article summarizes the interview with Noor as she comments on current events in domestic politics.

Richard Rubenstein published an article through TRANSCEND Media Service titled “Antisemitism and Jewish Self-Determination” on April 29, 2019. The article also appeared on his self-titled blog.

Garik Himebaugh (BS ’10) was profiled in an article by the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. The article discusses his achievements in sustainable entrepreneurship and the creation of his eco-friendly fashion business, Eco-Stylist.

Juliette Shedd wrote “S-CAR explores innovation in conflict resolution at ISA 2019” for S-CAR News, published on April 15, 2019. The article discusses the presence and achievements of S-CAR faculty, students, and alumni at this year’s annual ISA conference in Toronto.

Mohammed Cherkaoui wrote several articles, including “الجامعة المغربية من النبوغ إلى الانحطاط.. المسار والتداعيات (University of Morocco from the degenerate to degeneration: Path and Implications)” for Arabi 21 on April 2, 2019; “مثلث المعضلات في الشرق الأوسط: دينية الخطاب السياسي وتوحش السلطة ونكوص الهويات الوطنية (Dr. Cherkaoui lectures on “Trump” and “Measuring the rule of Islamists” in Moroccan universities and research centers)” for Al Jazeera on April 16; as well as “منظمة الأمم المتحدة وقضايا الصراع الداخلي في بعض الدول العربية: توثيق وتحليل (UN documentation and internal conflict issues in some countries)” for the Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies on April 8, 2019. Cherkaoui likewise appeared in several televised interviews, including “ للخبر بقية | إيران وواشنطن .. تحذيرات ويد ممدودة (For Iran and Washington, Warnings and an extended hand),” published by Al Araby TV April 24, 2019; and “حبر على ورق؟ القمم العربية منذ التأسيس حتى تونس (Ink on paper? Arab summits since the establishment until Tunisia),” published by i24 News on April 4, 2019.

Talha Kose (PhD ’10) authored an article in Sabah titled “ABD’nin çıkarları uluslararası hukukun üzerinde mi? [Are US interests above international law?]” on April 27, 2019. He also published “The idea of a ‘Turkey Alliance’” on April 25, 2019, and “Normalization of Turkish politics after municipal elections” on April 5, 2019, both in Daily Sabah. He was featured twice on TRT World, in Strait Talk’s “Why has the US designated Iran’s IRGC as a ‘terrorist organization’?” and as the author of an op-ed, “Turkey’s elections beyond the local context,” published on April 2, 2019.

Dissertation Defenses

Alexander Cromwell – “Building a Culture of Peace: The Long-term Effects of Encounter-Based Peace Education with Pakistani Youth.” April 4, 2019.

Dhirendra Nalbo – “The “Local” and Peacebuilding: A Study on Community Forests Management in Myanmar’s Kachin State.” April 12, 2019.

John DeRosa – “Narrativizing Strategic Choice.” April 15, 2019.

S-CAR Events, Presentations, and Public Lectures

Susan Hirsch delivered a talk titled “Blurring the Secular/Religious Divide: Legal Integration and Muslim Law in Kenya and Beyond” at The Religion and Public Life in Africa and the Americas Symposium, sponsored by Harvard University’s Center for African Studies and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University on April 18, 2019.

Agnieszka Paczynska gave a series of lectures on “International Assistance and the Security-Development Nexus” at UMCS (University of Maria Skolodowska-Curie) in Lublin, Poland, April 8-10, 2019. As a guest speaker, she also presented a paper titled “The New Politics of Aid: Emerging Donors and Post-Conflict Settings,” at the Africa Transitions Seminar Series at UMCS on April 11, 2019.

S-CAR Events

On April 6, 2019, S-CAR co-organized Mason’s third annual Foreign Service Day on George Mason University’s Fairfax campus. Students were able to hear from and connect with current and former Foreign Service officers and ambassadors in order to help them understand, prepare, and assimilate the process of taking the rigorous Foreign Service Exams. Students gained an insider’s perspective on opportunities at the U.S. State Department, preparing them to lead successful careers in one of the government’s most sought-after agencies. The co-organizers included the Global Affairs Program, Global Programs, the Schar School of Policy and Government, University Career Services, University Life, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Diplomacy Center.

On April 12, 2019, the Center for the Study of Gender and Conflict held it’s 7th Annual Conference on George Mason University’s Arlington campus. The theme of this year’s conference was “Intersectional and Interdisciplinary: Global Feminist Scholarship, Activism, and Resistance.” The conference “[brought] together an intellectual community of feminists engaged in different forms of scholarship and practice including academic theorizing, art, and activism to share innovative ideas, approaches, and analyses for challenging gendered violence.”

On April 17, S-CAR’s Diversity Committee organized a book discussion on So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. The discussion was held at Vernon Smith Hall on Mason’s Arlington campus and was open to members of the S-CAR community.

On April 18, S-CAR held its annual Celebration of Scholarship and Practice at Vernon Smith Hall on Mason’s Arlington campus. The event brought together S-CAR students, faculty, staff, and Advisory Board members to celebrate the scholarship and achievements of S-CAR students during the 2018-19 academic year. The event featured presentations from multiple S-CAR students on research and practice related to their coursework and their theses. During the celebration, the recipients of S-CAR’s annual scholarships were announced.

On April 29, S-CAR’s undergraduate program held its Spring 2019 Research Symposium, during which students enrolled in the Spring 2019 CONF 490 course presented on their individual research projects. The symposium featured opening remarks from Mara Schoeny. The symposium also included a panel discussion with S-CAR alumni Remaz Abdelgader (BA ‘17), Travis Hammill (BS ‘13), and Sarah Parshall (BA ‘13), who discussed their experience at S-CAR and how it has influenced their current careers.

S-CAR Faculty Conference

On April 26, S-CAR convened its annual faculty conference at its Point of View International Retreat Center in Lorton, VA. The conference gave S-CAR faculty the opportunity to present on and workshop ideas around their ongoing research. Kevin Avruch gave the opening remarks. The conference featured presentations from the following S-CAR faculty, staff, and alumni:

Panel I: Identity Groups and the Dynamics of CAR

Panel II: States in Conflict Dynamics

Panel III: Reflective Practice of Community Change

Panel IV: Functioning of Discourses and Narratives

  • Solon Simmons – “Overcoming Radical Disagreement: Root Narrative Approaches to Conflict Resolution”
  • Daniel Rothbart – “The Paradox of State Power over its Political Subjects”
  • Sara Cobb – “Narratives and Trauma”

Panel V: Historical Narratives, Violence, and Conflict