George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

S-CAR Activity Recap – March 2020

April 23, 2020

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 so that we can include them in our Activity Recaps.  


The month of March was one full of change, uncertainty, and most importantly, optimism. Though S-CAR closed its office and shifted to virtual communication, education, and administration, members of our faculty, staff, and student and alumni body continued to produce research, contribute to the public discourse on the global pandemic, and connect meaningfully with our community. Faculty shared their views on the impacts of COVID-19 while connecting the situation to conflict analysis studies, such as Susan Allen’s letters to the editor of the Financial Times, alongside over a dozen other members of the community who published articles and were featured in podcasts and interviews. Although the long-awaited ISA Annual Conference in Honolulu was cancelled, Agnieszka Pacyńska was elected to serve as the Chair of the Peace Studies Section of the International Studies Association, and was also granted a Fulbright Specialist Award. 

Awards and Accolades

Agnieszka Pacyńska was elected to chair the Peace Studies Section of the International Studies Association, and was also named as a Fulbright Specialist, joining the diverse roster of academics and professionals sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Academic Publications

Journal Articles

Charles Martin-Shields (PhD ‘16), Constantine Ruhe, and Lisa Maria Groß. “Asylum Hump: Why Country Income Level Predicts New Asylum Seekers, But Not New Refugees.” Journal of Refugee Studies. March 4, 2020.


Mohammed Cherkaoui. “The Shifting Geopolitics of Coronavirus and the Demise of Neoliberalism (Part 1).Al Jazeera Centre for Studies. March 19, 2020.

Mohammed Cherkaoui. “The Shifting Geopolitics of Coronavirus and the Demise of Neoliberalism (Part 2).Al Jazeera Centre for Studies. March 22, 2020.

S-CAR in the News

Alpaslan Ӧzerdem wrote an article, “Coronavirus and the Least Developed Countries,” for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, published on March 23, 2020. The opinion piece explores the exceptional threats posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic to those countries that are already struggling from war and poverty. 

Richard Rubenstein published an article titled “The Struggle Against Coronavirus: are we at ‘War’? How will it Change the World?” in TRANSCEND Media Service on March 30, 2020. The article explores the comparison between the global pandemic and a state of war, and the connection between the COVID-19 outbreak and globalization. He also published an article in Newsweek on March 20, 2020, titled  “Bernie Sanders’ campaign was all policy talk. His values would have made a better rallying cry

Audrey Williams (MS Student) wrote multiple articles for S-CAR News, including her March 10, 2020 piece titled “S-CAR to become the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution,” which featured quotes from Alpaslan Ӧzerdem, and an article titled “PhD students and faculty work together to take courses from lecture hall to virtual classroom,” featuring Juliette Shedd, Daniel Rothbart, Fatma Jabbari (PhD Student), Ziad Al Achkar (PhD Student), Tehama Lopez Bunyasi, and Thomas Flores, published on March 25, 2020.

On March 10, 2020, the Daily Sabah published an article by Talha Köse (PhD ‘10), titled “The Moscow Agreement is Fragile at Best”. The article discusses recent interactions between leaders from Russia, Syria, and Turkey regarding Syria’s Ildib. On March 23, 2020, Köse published another article in the Daily Sabah, titled, “How prepared are we for a new global crisis?” Köse discusses the great challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the global economy and international politics.

Rowda Olad (MHCR Fellow) was featured in a Voice of America News article, “Somali Mental Health Therapist sees Mental Health as Key to Rebuilding Country,” on March 5, 2020. The article discusses Olad’s initiative to address the need in Somalia for mental health support for civilians in a country deeply wounded by years of civil war. 

Mohammed Cherkaoui published an article in Arabi21 on March 14, 2020, in which he discusses how several countries were excluded from the development of peace and conflict resolution pedagogy, claiming they need it now more than ever. 

Susan Allen published a letter to the editor in the Financial Times titled “We must act now to limit the impact on warzones.” It was published on March 26, 2020, as a follow-up to her previous letter to the editor in the same publication, titled “What will happen if I try to fly home to the US next week, as planned?” published on March 13, 2020. She was also featured on an episode of the Coronavirus Stories podcast titled “Give Peace a Chance” on March 29, 2020. 

Ibrahim Fraihat (PhD ‘06) published an article in New Arab on March 30, 2020, discussing the impact of the novel Coronavirus on international conflicts, and was featured in a podcast episode on the Richardson Institute’s SEPADPod on March 19, 2020.

Craig Zelizer (PhD ‘04) authored an article, “Will remote work become the new normal? Reflections and resources in a Covid-19 world,” released on his Peace and Collaborative Development Network (PCDN) website on March 25, 2020. 

Yerevan Saeed (PhD Candidate) published an article titled “Corruption and partisan politics can bring down the KRG” in Al Jazeera on March 1, 2020. 

Michael Shank (PhD ‘12) published an article on Vermont Biz titled “GMP launches expansion of fast charging for electric vehicles” on March 9, 2020, and was also featured in an article in The Sun Community News titled “Brandon man leading way in EV fast-charging” on March 19, 2020.

Sarah Federman (PhD ‘15) published a post on The Language of Conflict on March 14, 2020, titled “Emotional Mastery during COVID-19.”

On March 10, 2020, US News and World Report published a short article about S-CAR changing its name to the Carter School.  

On March 10, 2020, ARLNow published an article about S-CAR’s renaming, titled “GMU School in Arlington to be Named after Carters.”

S-CAR Events and Public Presentations

David J. Smith presented a talk titled “Peace is Your Day Job: How to Make a Career Out of Peacebuilding” at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s Matsunaga Institute for Peace on March 11, 2020. 

Sheherazade Jafari presented at a Theology and Peacebuilding Consultation, co-hosted by Eastern Mennonite University and the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, on March 10, 2020.

On March 3, 2020, the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation hosted an event titled “Living Room Conversations: On Mental Health and Peacebuilding,” in Vernon Smith Hall on the Arlington Campus. The discussion featured Rowda Olad, a trained therapist who is currently the only practicing clinical therapist in Mogadishu, Somalia. 

An Admissions Information Session was held on March 3, 2020, in Vernon Smith Hall on the Arlington Campus.

On March 4, 2020, the S-CAR Student Association held the second event in its Spring 2019 Career Proseminar Series at Van Metre Hall on the Arlington Campus. The featured speaker was Lisa Schirch (PhD’ 99). Remarks were made by Sofiyat Ibrahim (Master’s Student) and Alpaslan Ӧzerdem.