Alumni https://carterschool.gmu.edu/ en Advocating for diverse representation in climate change policy https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2021-11/advocating-diverse-representation-climate-change-policy <span>Advocating for diverse representation in climate change policy </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/16" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kristin Heydt</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/04/2021 - 17:47</span> <div class="layout layout--gmu layout--twocol-section layout--twocol-section--30-70"> <div class="layout__region region-first"> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:field_associated_people" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasefield-associated-people"> <h2>In This Story</h2> <div class="field field--name-field-associated-people field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">People Mentioned in This Story</div> <div class='field__items'> <div class="field__item"><a href="/profiles/tlyons1" hreflang="und">Terrence Lyons</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="layout__region region-second"> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:body" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasebody"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><p><span><span><a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2019-09/peacebuilding-civil-duty-alumna-who-lived-through-civil-war" target="_blank">Dilafruz Khonikboyeva, BA ’10, MS ’14, grew up during the civil war in Tajikistan</a>, and said it was her experience of living through conflict that motivated her to study at George Mason University’s <a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/" target="_blank">Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a>. In April, she received the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“The Carter School means so much to me personally and professionally,” Khonikoboyeva said, adding that she keeps in touch with professors who have been like mentors. “For me, this award is a promise that I will live up to it.”</span></span></p> <p><span><span>So far, she’s on track. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>Since graduating, Khonikboyeva spent eight years working at USAID, doing the same work she said people did for her as a child living through war. Following four years at the Aga Khan Foundation, where Khonikboyeva developed communications and policy strategy for countries in conflict, she was appointed Senior Advisor, Policy, Planning and Learning for USAID under the Biden-Harris Administration in February 2021.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“We are thrilled, but not surprised, to see Dilafruz getting the recognition she deserves,” said Carter School associate professor </span><a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/profiles/tlyons1" target="_blank">Terrence Lyons</a><span>. “Her appointment will allow her commitment to social justice and her understanding of how transnational processes of advocacy and development shape policy at the highest levels to make a lasting difference.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>“This is about giving back to this country that means so much to me, and as a Muslim immigrant woman, it’s important to show that there is a space for us in leadership,” Khonikboyeva said.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>She said her new position calls on her to coordinate with global partners, including the United Nations, in support of the Biden-Harris priorities. At the same time, she is focusing on climate change at the intersection of diversity and inclusion, looking at issues around environmental justice, and ensuring diverse voices, including indigenous populations and racial and ethnic minorities, have a place at the table.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Diverse representation is critical, she said, as multiple perspectives help strengthen the nation. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>The skills she learned at Mason also come in handy.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“Conflict resolution helps you at the interpersonal, organizational, and certainly for my career, at the international level,” Khonikboyeva said. “The need for the Carter School grows with every single moment and every single year.”</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Khonikboyeva’s story was also chronicled by former President George W. Bush in his book, “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants,” which was released in April. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>Each chapter opens with an oil portrait of one of the immigrants, painted by President Bush. The chapters are written from his perspective, telling the inspiring stories of immigrants, and their contributions to America, Khonikboyeva said. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>The portraits and stories are on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas through Jan. 3, 2022. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>The book’s potential impact is what excites Khonikboyeva most.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“I’m deeply touched by this book,” she said. “It doesn’t try to hide how difficult it is to immigrate, how difficult it is to build back up from absolutely nothing.” </span></span></p> <p><span><span>“It’s a celebration of that hard work and it doesn’t feed into partisan politics,” she said. “It’s very much a celebration of people and immigrants who are critical to making this country succeed.”</span></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:field_content_topics" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasefield-content-topics"> <h2>Topics</h2> <div class="field field--name-field-content-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Topics</div> <div class='field__items'> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/91" hreflang="en">Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/251" hreflang="en">Alumni</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/196" hreflang="en">Campus News</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/931" hreflang="en">Student news</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/111" hreflang="en">Conflict Resolution</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/106" hreflang="en">Peacebuilding</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/991" hreflang="en">International Development</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 04 Nov 2021 21:47:42 +0000 Kristin Heydt 2631 at https://carterschool.gmu.edu An unusual prison encounter inspired this alum to open doors for peacebuilding https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2021-10/unusual-prison-encounter-inspired-alum-open-doors-peacebuilding <span>An unusual prison encounter inspired this alum to open doors for peacebuilding</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/261" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mariam Aburdeineh</span></span> <span>Thu, 10/14/2021 - 12:08</span> <div class="layout layout--gmu layout--twocol-section layout--twocol-section--30-70"> <div class="layout__region region-first"> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:field_associated_people" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasefield-associated-people"> <h2>In This Story</h2> <div class="field field--name-field-associated-people field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">People Mentioned in This Story</div> <div class='field__items'> <div class="field__item"><a href="/profiles/apaczyns" hreflang="und">Agnieszka Paczyńska</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/profiles/sallen29" hreflang="und">Susan Allen</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/profiles/cdavids5" hreflang="und">Charles Davidson</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:call_to_action" data-inline-block-uuid="ce942f0f-9235-47d7-80e8-2f10929fcc5e"> <div class="cta"> <a class="cta__link" href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/"> <h4 class="cta__title">Learn more about the Carter School <i class="fas fa-arrow-circle-right"></i> </h4> <span class="cta__icon"></span> </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="layout__region region-second"> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:body" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasebody"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><figure role="group"><article><div class="field field--name-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/yyqcgq191/files/2021-10/70020758_10104303721290037_3581489536401670144_n.jpeg" width="1000" height="667" alt="Charles Davidson hiking outdoors with backpack" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div> </article><figcaption>Charles Davidson being airlifted by the United Nations in the Congo in 2019, after the region came under attack from militia groups in the area. Photo provided.</figcaption></figure><p><span class="intro-text">A cultural immersion trip in 2008 brought Charles Davidson (PhD ’19) inside the walls of San Pedro prison in La Paz, Bolivia. What he saw there not only changed his life, he said, but ignited a spark of inspiration that led to peacebuilding efforts around the world.</span></p> <p><span><span><span>“At the time, children were living in the prison with their incarcerated parents because there was nowhere else for them to go,” said Davidson, research faculty and alumnus of George Mason University’s </span><a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/"><span>Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</span></a><span>. “I felt so deeply this reality that children were paying the price of their parents’ crimes, and I felt there was more to be done to address issues in war-torn countries, especially as a person of faith.” </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>From that moment, Davidson said he decided to dedicate his life to breaking cycles of violence. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“I came back to the United States and started reading everything I could about what it meant to be a professional peacebuilder,” the Arkansas native said. “I wrote down names of different war-torn countries I wanted to affect change in and nailed [the paper] to my doorframe.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>His dream wasn’t fleeting. Davidson said he spent his early 20s traveling to and living in conflict-ridden countries, including Colombia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Honduras and Uganda, to learn as much as he could about conflicts and peacebuilding. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>When he returned home in 2009, he founded the nonprofit, </span><a href="https://www.innovationsinpeacebuilding.com/"><span>Innovations in Peacebuilding International</span></a><span> (formerly ForgottenSong),</span><span> which has launched or supported 16 peacebuilding projects in five war-torn countries.</span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span>“A mountaintop moment for us has been working directly with the demobilization of child combatants [in the Congo],” Davidson said. </span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>In partnership with a Congolese-led organization that works to demobilize young people engaged with militias, Davidson’s group helps offer sustainable futures and peaceful alternatives to children, when and if they choose to leave those militias. That could mean helping fund their education, or supporting their start in agriculture, entrepreneurship, or pursuit of a technical skill, Davidson said.</span></span></span></p> <figure role="group"><article><div class="field field--name-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/yyqcgq191/files/2021-10/IMG_1693%5B24%5D.jpg_0.png" width="725" height="368" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div> </article><figcaption>From left to right: David Bubasha, Charles Davidson, and the late Thierry Shabani. Bubasha and Shabani were former child soldiers who left militias to start AJDC, an organization that works to demobilize child combatants in the Congo, and partners with IPI. 2019. Photo provided.</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span>“What has always impressed me about Charles is his infectious enthusiasm and passion for his work, research, family and friends, and especially for making the world a better place,” said Professor </span><a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/profiles/apaczyns"><span>Agnieszka Paczynska</span></a><span>. “He does this incredibly important work while remaining modest and humble.” </span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span>Davidson said the Carter School, with its reputation for being a leader in peacebuilding, was his dream PhD program. </span></span></span></h3> <figure role="group" class="align-right"><article><div class="field field--name-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/yyqcgq191/files/2021-10/IMG_4512%20copy%202.png" width="350" height="263" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div> </article><figcaption>Davidson and his wife, Abby, in Andorra in 2018. “[Abby] has always backed my ideas, and been the breadwinner for so long as I charged through school,” Davidson said. "I no way would be able to have done any of this [work] without her moral and all other types of support.”</figcaption></figure><p><span><span><span>“I got to learn the dynamics about what it means to be a peacebuilder from many different angles, read the great minds, be around great thinkers, attend conferences and meet my scholarly heroes,” Davidson said, adding that what he learned continues to influence his work.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“[The Carter School] helped me respect the agency and identity of people involved with conflict,” he said. “Thereby, it equipped me to go searching for peace in the minds of those who were experienced in the conflict, rather than thinking I possessed all the answers.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Davidson is also impacting the world, said Professor </span><a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/profiles/sallen29"><span>Susan Allen</span></a><span>, as he leads Mason’s </span><a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2020-11/new-academy-carter-school-helps-future-leaders-navigate-political-conflicts"><span>Political Leadership Academy</span></a><span>, which encourages participants to embrace conflict in healthy ways.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“I really hope that, domestically and internationally, my life and career will amount to people knowing how to think about conflict differently,” Davidson said. “If people are willing to meet one another on the field of their humanity, with kindness, love and respect, in spite of—or even through—their conflicts, I know I’ll have done my job.”</span></span></span></p> <figure role="group"><article><div class="field field--name-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/g/files/yyqcgq191/files/2021-10/2.jpg" width="725" height="572" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div> </article><figcaption>Davidson, and a team visiting the area to explore ideas for expanding peacemaking practices, gather with villagers from Minembwe in 2019, after the area came under attack from militia groups in the area. Photo provided.</figcaption></figure></div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:field_content_topics" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasefield-content-topics"> <h2>Topics</h2> <div class="field field--name-field-content-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Topics</div> <div class='field__items'> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/901" hreflang="en">Carter School Leadership</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/91" hreflang="en">Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/106" hreflang="en">Peacebuilding</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/111" hreflang="en">Conflict Resolution</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/1046" hreflang="en">Nonprofits</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/181" hreflang="en">Carter School Political Leadership Academy</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/286" hreflang="en">Students</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/251" hreflang="en">Alumni</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/676" hreflang="en">Faculty and Staff News</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 14 Oct 2021 16:08:58 +0000 Mariam Aburdeineh 2621 at https://carterschool.gmu.edu Double Mason alum leads Africa Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2021-04/double-mason-alum-leads-africa-center-us-institute-peace <span>Double Mason alum leads Africa Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/261" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mariam Aburdeineh</span></span> <span>Mon, 04/05/2021 - 16:09</span> <div class="layout layout--gmu layout--twocol-section layout--twocol-section--30-70"> <div class="layout__region region-first"> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:field_associated_people" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasefield-associated-people"> <h2>In This Story</h2> <div class="field field--name-field-associated-people field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">People Mentioned in This Story</div> <div class='field__items'> <div class="field__item"><a href="/profiles/tlyons1" hreflang="und">Terrence Lyons</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="layout__region region-second"> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:body" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasebody"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><figure role="group" class="align-right"> <div alt="Joseph Sany was named one of the vice presidents of the United States Institute of Peace, where he leads the Africa Center. Photo provided." data-embed-button="media_browser" data-entity-embed-display="media_image" data-entity-embed-display-settings="feature_image_large 1 Array" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="49ed785d-a836-459b-b23a-d7998659d3da" title="Joseph Sany was named one of the vice presidents of the United States Institute of Peace, where he leads the Africa Center. Photo provided." data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity"> <img src="/sites/g/files/yyqcgq191/files/styles/feature_image_large/public/2021-04/Dr%20J.%20Sany%204572%20copy.jpg?itok=d1Nd1bec" alt="Joseph Sany was named one of the vice presidents of the United States Institute of Peace, where he leads the Africa Center. Photo provided." title="Joseph Sany was named one of the vice presidents of the United States Institute of Peace, where he leads the Africa Center. Photo provided." typeof="foaf:Image" /></div> <figcaption>Joseph Sany was named one of the vice presidents of the United States Institute of Peace, where he leads the Africa Center. Photo provided.</figcaption> </figure> <p><span><span>Growing up in the slums of Cameroon, Joseph Sany said he witnessed urban violence and police oppression regularly. He heard about genocide in Rwanda, and he saw more violence firsthand when he worked with NGOs and visited countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone during civil war.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“What drives me is making sure that at the end of the day, everything I did, I helped a woman, a man, a child live in a community where they don’t have to worry about violence,” said Sany, who earned his master’s in conflict analysis and resolution (’05) and his PhD (’13) in public policy from George Mason University. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>In October 2020, Sany was named one of the vice presidents of the <a href="https://www.usip.org/">United States Institute of Peace</a> (<a>USIP</a>), where he leads the <a href="https://www.usip.org/about/centers/africa-center">Africa Center</a>, following a more than 20-year career working at the forefront of peacebuilding with civil society, governments, businesses, and international organizations in Africa.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Sany and his colleagues at the center, which is committed to peace and security in Africa, regularly meet with and inform U.S. policymakers, including the U.S Congress, he said.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“It’s about, how do we listen to African voices? How do we work with our African partners in that spirit of humility and co-learning?” Sany said, adding that the center informs policies and shapes peacebuilding practice by supporting those working on the front lines of conflict in Africa. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>Whether it was training thousands of peacekeepers in Africa on conflict resolution, advising diplomats of the Economic Community of Central African States with USIP, or providing guidance to multimillion-dollar peacebuilding and civil society development programs in Africa and Asia with the nonprofit <a href="https://www.fhi360.org/">FHI 360</a>, Sany said Mason laid the foundation for his success.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“The [<a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/">Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a>] allowed me to think through the issues in a systematic way and find approaches to frame them to facilitate the emergence of conflict sensitive solutions,” he said, adding that his public policy degree also provided insight and a foundation for his policy work.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Originally drawn to the school because of its reputation as a leader in conflict resolution, Sany said he also benefited from learning from Mason professors who are peace practitioners with real-world experience, and from international classmates who contributed diverse and inspiring perspectives to class discussions.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Sany was always probing and seeking fresh answers to the complex challenges of conflict analysis and resolution, with a particular passion for the potential for a peaceful Africa,” said Carter School professor Terrence Lyons. Sany said Lyons served as a mentor to him and provided connections that led to his first contract as a consultant in the conflict resolution field.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“What made [Sany] stand out was how he straddled the worlds of grassroots everyday peacebuilding and the graduate seminar, always looking to understand how the two can be linked in order to build a more just world,” Lyons said “His well-deserved position at the USIP will allow him to continue that work and to make sure we never ignore those working in the trenches to build peace in Africa.” </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>“Most of my classmates are now out there in the world making a difference because we were exposed to solid theoretical foundations, the world of work, the nature of the international cohort, and the proximity to Washington, D.C.,” Sany said. “That is a winning combo.”</span></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:field_content_topics" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasefield-content-topics"> <h2>Topics</h2> <div class="field field--name-field-content-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Topics</div> <div class='field__items'> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/91" hreflang="en">Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/106" hreflang="en">Peacebuilding</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/251" hreflang="en">Alumni</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/931" hreflang="en">Student news</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/286" hreflang="en">Students</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/941" hreflang="en">Graduate Education</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 05 Apr 2021 20:09:20 +0000 Mariam Aburdeineh 2486 at https://carterschool.gmu.edu Negotiating with the Taliban: Alumnus strives for peace in Afghanistan https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2021-04/negotiating-taliban-alumnus-strives-peace-afghanistan <span>Negotiating with the Taliban: Alumnus strives for peace in Afghanistan</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/261" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mariam Aburdeineh</span></span> <span>Fri, 04/02/2021 - 15:38</span> <div class="layout layout--gmu layout--twocol-section layout--twocol-section--30-70"> <div class="layout__region region-first"> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:field_associated_people" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasefield-associated-people"> <h2>In This Story</h2> <div class="field field--name-field-associated-people field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">People Mentioned in This Story</div> <div class='field__items'> <div class="field__item"><a href="/profiles/tlyons1" hreflang="und">Terrence Lyons</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="layout__region region-second"> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:body" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasebody"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Body</div> <div class="field__item"><figure role="group"> <div alt="Khalid Noor 1" data-embed-button="media_browser" data-entity-embed-display="media_image" data-entity-embed-display-settings="feature_image_large 1 Array" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="17fcb8bd-a74b-4b62-b488-ffeacd9e5c3f" title="Khalid Noor 1" data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity"> <img src="/sites/g/files/yyqcgq191/files/styles/feature_image_large/public/2021-04/Unknown-4.jpeg?itok=ebOC3OTR" alt="Khalid Noor 1" title="Khalid Noor 1" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div> <figcaption>Khalid Noor speaks in Balkh, Afghanistan after the first round of peace talks in Doha, Qatar. Photo provided.</figcaption> </figure> <p><span><span>A few days after Khalid Noor was born in Takhar, Afghanistan, the Taliban seized the province, and his family had to escape to another region on foot.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“We were constantly moving from city to another city,” he said. “When one district was taken or collapsed, we had to move to another.”</span></span></p> <p><span><span>It wasn’t an ideal life, but Noor is motivated to change that for future generations—and he’s negotiating with the Taliban to do so.</span></span></p> <figure role="group" class="align-right"> <div alt="Khalid Noor Headshot" data-embed-button="media_browser" data-entity-embed-display="media_image" data-entity-embed-display-settings="feature_image_large 1 Array" data-entity-type="media" data-entity-uuid="6db88a20-1f6c-45e6-ab78-33054ec55811" title="Khalid Noor Headshot" data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity"> <img src="/sites/g/files/yyqcgq191/files/styles/feature_image_large/public/2021-04/Unknown-5%20copy.jpeg?itok=UVx2oil4" alt="Khalid Noor Headshot" title="Khalid Noor Headshot" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div> <figcaption>Khalid Noor is the youngest member of the Afghan negotiating team.</figcaption> </figure> <p><span><span>In March 2020, the George Mason University alumnus, who graduated with BA in conflict analysis and resolution in 2019, was appointed to the Afghan negotiating team by President Ashraf Ghani. The team, comprising high-level politicians, members of Parliament, and representatives of political factions in Afghanistan, is negotiating with the extremist insurgency group in efforts to achieve peace, ceasefire, and a political settlement to the four-decade-long conflict. Noor is the youngest member of the negotiating team.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“My vision is to have a peaceful Afghanistan, where there is political justice, where there’s social justice and all ethnic groups see themselves as equal,” said Noor, who also learned about the struggles of Afghans from his father, who is the head of the political party Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan. “I want to see the women of Afghanistan empowered; I want the young generation to be educated.” </span></span></p> <p><span><span>His dream mimics U.S. ideology, he said, which is why he wanted to study at Mason. The <a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/">Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a><span class="MsoHyperlink"><span>’s</span></span> prestige in the field of conflict resolution was another draw.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>So, what’s it like negotiating with the Taliban?</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“It’s a bit complicated,” Noor said, adding that the team spends between one and five hours a day in negotiations. “In the first round, we spent three months only talking about the rule of conduct.”</span></span></p> <p><span><span>The slow progress can be frustrating, but Noor keeps the goal in perspective. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>“Whenever I see my people and that hope they have when they look at me and other team members representing them, that is something that gives me patience and drives me at those difficult times,” Noor said. “I have patience because I negotiate for a cause that I live for.”</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Noor said his Mason education helps him decrypt complicated scenarios. In particular, he enjoyed learning from professor <a href="https://crdc.gmu.edu/marc-gopins-bio/">Marc Gopin</a> on “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Healing-Heart-Conflict-Crucial-Yourself-ebook/dp/B01M06PALB/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1498158823&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=gopin+healing">Healing the Heart of Conflict</a>” and understanding opposing sides.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“These classes help me analyze the situation every time that we meet with the Taliban,” Noor said. </span></span></p> <p><span><span>Mason’s <a href="https://www2.gmu.edu/news/2019-01/dialogue-difference-shows-religion-and-politics-arent-table">Dialogue &amp; Difference</a> class, which brings together international and American students to discuss controversial issues, also helped Noor learn how to manage emotions and discussions with conflicting groups, he said.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>"Khalid demonstrated great understanding of the stages of healing serious conflicts that we studied,” Gopin said. “He applied those approaches to healing conflict exactly to the challenges in Afghanistan, showing great skill and sensitivity to all parties.” </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“I am so proud of him engaging in this vital undertaking,” Gopin said.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span>Negotiations aren’t always successful though, and that terrifies Noor.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“I know the burden and responsibility we have on our shoulders,” he said. “If this negotiation fails, we won’t have the current situation, it will get much worse.”</span></span></p> <p><span><span>But he’s giving it his all.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“I feel for [my people],” he said, “and I have this feeling that I’m willing to sacrifice myself for this good cause.” </span></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="field_block:node:news_release:field_content_topics" class="block block-layout-builder block-field-blocknodenews-releasefield-content-topics"> <h2>Topics</h2> <div class="field field--name-field-content-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Topics</div> <div class='field__items'> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/91" hreflang="en">Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/251" hreflang="en">Alumni</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/931" hreflang="en">Student news</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/286" hreflang="en">Students</a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 02 Apr 2021 19:38:14 +0000 Mariam Aburdeineh 2491 at https://carterschool.gmu.edu Mason’s Carter School helps bring Restorative Justice to Arlington County https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2020-10/masons-carter-school-helps-bring-restorative-justice-arlington-county <span>Mason’s Carter School helps bring Restorative Justice to Arlington County</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/261" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mariam Aburdeineh</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/13/2020 - 01:00</span> <div class="layout layout--gmu layout--twocol-section layout--twocol-section--30-70"> <div > </div> <div class="layout__region region-second"> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="f1bbb6df-bc49-4dc3-b481-26a6d33f8cbc" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div class="block-feature-image caption-below"> <div class="feature-image"> <div class="narrow-overlaid-image"><img src="https://content.sitemasonry.gmu.edu/sites/g/files/yyqcgq336/files/content-image/Susan Hirsch.jpg" alt="" /></div> </div> <div class="feature-image-caption"> <div class="field field--name-field-feature-image-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"> <p>Carter School professor Susan Hirsch</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="da5a9731-ff07-4322-913c-ebe0310f2aad" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>There are times when studying peace and conflict resolution is theoretical. But at George Mason University’s <a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/">Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a>, students also put their knowledge into action to benefit the local community.</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="13bc6835-8fc8-4824-bd38-6f2d66226631" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Since January, the school has partnered with <a href="https://topics.arlingtonva.us/restorative-arlington/">Restorative Arlington</a>, a new initiative aimed at incorporating restorative justice practices into Arlington County’s public schools, legal system and community. The partnership was formalized in July when Carter School Dean <a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/profile/view/578681">Alpaslan Özerdem</a> and Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz signed a joint Letter of Intent.</p> <p>“It really is an opportunity for students to be on the ground floor of how a major community-driven initiative is built,” said Carter School professor <a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/profile/view/7643">Susan Hirsch</a>, who will teach a conflict course next semester where students can directly support the initiative. “It’s the best of experiential learning.”</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="df6229e8-cb6c-4f67-8647-749358c174d0" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Restorative justice is an alternative approach to punitive discipline. At its center is community building and repairing not only the harm done, but also relationships.</p> <p>“The Carter School partnership offers engagement on multiple levels,” said Liane Rozzell, Restorative Arlington’s project coordinator. “We have students who help us grow the initiative while they’re learning themselves; there are faculty who are knowledgeable and excited, who can contribute their expertise to this process.”</p> <p>The support from Mason is multifaceted, Rozzell said. Some of those ways the school is and will continue to be involved include evaluating how the initiative is going, training teachers and community members on how to facilitate restorative justice practices, developing curriculum, organizing dialogues and conducting research.</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="2d93839c-ae91-4f02-99d0-83a460fd63ce" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div class="block-feature-image caption-below"> <div class="feature-image"> <div class="narrow-overlaid-image"><img src="https://content.sitemasonry.gmu.edu/sites/g/files/yyqcgq336/files/content-image/LRozzell400x400-AECF-official-photo 2.jpg" alt="" /></div> </div> <div class="feature-image-caption"> <div class="field field--name-field-feature-image-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"> <p>Liane Rozzell</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="c89c1390-f483-4ca4-b0f5-b827ae6a5a70" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>“All of this is very needed and it gives us a tremendous boost that we couldn’t do on our own,” Rozzell said.</p> <p>What would incorporating restorative justice look like in action?</p> <p>“We would have way fewer, if any, students suspended,” Rozzell said. “We’d have way more connection and folks thriving in schools.”</p> <p>“My hope is that a number of different cases that might have gone to the criminal legal system might find their way to be handled outside that system,” Hirsch said. “I would also hope that community members would [develop] a restorative ethic and feel empowered to resolve other conflicts using approaches that are restorative and not punitive.”</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="2c8b33e0-10e9-450c-b692-7d628f8cd9fa" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Kimiko Lighty, MA Interdisciplinary Studies ’10, is interim co-coordinator for Restorative Arlington. She is one of several Mason alumni contributing to the initiative. Most recently she helped create Restorative Arlington’s strategic plan and facilitated VCircles, virtual groups held over Zoom that focused on community building.</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="a182d869-64c4-447c-95e6-884a956cd389" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div class="block-feature-image caption-below"> <div class="feature-image"> <div class="narrow-overlaid-image"><img src="https://content.sitemasonry.gmu.edu/sites/g/files/yyqcgq336/files/content-image/Kimiko.jpeg" alt="" /></div> </div> <div class="feature-image-caption"> <div class="field field--name-field-feature-image-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"> <p>Kimiko Lighty, MA Interdisciplinary Studies '10, is interim co-coordinator for Restorative Arlington. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="5f2a9566-cb8a-49df-867d-c450f93b3fa0" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>“The first time I heard about restorative justice was in a peace studies class at Mason,” said Lighty, who works as a restorative justice practitioner for <a href="https://nvms.us/">Northern Virginia Mediation Services</a>.  </p> <p>“I think we have a disposability crisis in our civilization, where we have so much disposable stuff that it leads us to start thinking about people as disposable,” she said. “Restorative justice honors the fact that we’re all connected—it gives us a way to see people as whole people that we live in relation with, and that does work in preventing harm before it even happens.”</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="ef04f1de-113a-433c-b589-1d89e923d97b" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 13 Oct 2020 05:00:00 +0000 Mariam Aburdeineh 651 at https://carterschool.gmu.edu From Jerusalem to DC, Mason alumna dedicates her life to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2020-09/jerusalem-dc-mason-alumna-dedicates-her-life-solving-israeli-palestinian-conflict <span>From Jerusalem to DC, Mason alumna dedicates her life to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/261" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mariam Aburdeineh</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/23/2020 - 01:00</span> <div class="layout layout--gmu layout--twocol-section layout--twocol-section--30-70"> <div > </div> <div class="layout__region region-second"> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="9c929bee-b5cf-4d24-a875-a6107e76494e" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div class="block-feature-image caption-below"> <div class="feature-image"> <div class="narrow-overlaid-image"><img src="https://content.sitemasonry.gmu.edu/sites/g/files/yyqcgq336/files/content-image/1.JPG" alt="" /></div> </div> <div class="feature-image-caption"> <div class="field field--name-field-feature-image-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"> <p>After graduating from Mason, Fakhira Halloun returned to Jerusalem, where she works as a civil society and peacebuilding consultant at the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. Photo provided.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="eb88bd21-979d-4b78-ab53-7d2a4e85d039" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Fakhira Halloun holds two contradictory identities: She is Palestinian and an Israeli citizen.  </p> <p>It wasn’t until she began facilitating peace dialogues between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem in 2000, that she realized Palestinian citizens of Israel could be the missing link in bridging ties between the two groups.</p> <p>“Palestinian citizens of Israel have an important role to play in solving the conflict,” said Halloun, a 2019 PhD graduate of George Mason University’s <a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/">Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution</a>. “We know the mindset of the Palestinians in the West Bank and share the same national identity and culture; at the same time, we know the Jews in Israel because we live with them and a lot of relationships are built there.”</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="06761834-69fc-4361-b2d4-960fd4252b8c" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>That realization inspired her studies at Mason and life goal of bringing about peace, she said.</p> <p>After graduating from Mason, Halloun returned to Jerusalem, where she works as a civil society and peacebuilding consultant at the <a href="https://unsco.unmissions.org/">Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process</a>.</p> <p>“This was my dream work,” Halloun said. “I’m helping civil society organizations engaged in peacebuilding work on both sides to reexamine and redefine their work in order to make a difference.”</p> <p>Though she is overseas, Halloun’s impact in the Washington, D.C., area remains.</p> <p>Halloun was part of a team that established the D.C.-based <a href="https://mpp-dc.org/">Museum of the Palestinian People</a>, which highlights the history, identity, culture and achievements of Palestinians.</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="acedee91-dd4e-4ba7-9652-b13ff65b1043" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div class="block-feature-image caption-below"> <div class="feature-image"> <div class="narrow-overlaid-image"><img src="https://content.sitemasonry.gmu.edu/sites/g/files/yyqcgq336/files/content-image/725_showing Kerstin copy.jpg" alt="" /></div> </div> <div class="feature-image-caption"> <div class="field field--name-field-feature-image-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"> <p>Fakhira Halloun (left) shows a guest around the Museum of the Palestinian People, which she helped establish. Photo provided. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="6930bf5c-647d-4981-9187-198e58c66669" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>“Usually the story about the Palestinian people is very narrow, and it’s linked with the conflict,” Halloun said. “We wanted to expand their narrative and bring out the complexity of it so that Americans and others can see themselves through the stories of the Palestinian people.”</p> <p>Halloun has also stayed connected to Mason.</p> <p>Since 2019, she has been co-teaching a study-abroad course with professor <a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/profile/view/7036">Marc Gopin</a> that takes students to Israel and Palestinian territories to understand the conflict from both sides.</p> <p>It’s an enlightening course, Halloun said, and one she also took as a student.</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="a5e8d26e-b50a-4b79-ab65-970ed0ca5e3a" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>“Fakhira is an extraordinary peacemaker who understands intellectually and personally the power of compassion and the heart to heal wounds of war and conflict,” Gopin said. “She combines that with reasoning and strategy to build bridges across lines of adversaries.”</p> <p>“I brought my passion, commitment and persistence to impact my reality, but professors like Dr. <a href="https://carterschool.gmu.edu/profile/view/4169">[Kevin] Avruch</a> and Dr. Gopin equipped me with a deep lens in conflict resolution through their knowledge, analysis and approaches to understand,” Halloun said. “I couldn’t be successful now where I work in the UN without their contribution to who I am.”</p> <p>Creating a better future is Halloun’s top goal, she said. According to her professors, she has what it takes.</p> <p>“If peace with justice is ever to have a chance, it will be people like Fakhira—on <em>all</em> sides—who will commit to seeing it through, and bring it about,” Avruch said.</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="eaa5b525-6588-4ac3-b5b1-3f274a484c9c" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div class="block-feature-image caption-below"> <div class="feature-image"> <div class="narrow-overlaid-image"><img src="https://content.sitemasonry.gmu.edu/sites/g/files/yyqcgq336/files/content-image/jerusalem.JPG" alt="" /></div> </div> <div class="feature-image-caption"> <div class="field field--name-field-feature-image-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"> <p>Fakhira Halloun (far right) with her students in Jerusalem. Photo provided.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="0e9682d0-057b-40c6-9adc-82a1d5cb36fb" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 05:00:00 +0000 Mariam Aburdeineh 1026 at https://carterschool.gmu.edu At career intensive seminar, S-CAR alumni help grad students prepare for careers in peace and conflict studies https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2020-02/career-intensive-seminar-s-car-alumni-help-grad-students-prepare-careers-peace-and <span>At career intensive seminar, S-CAR alumni help grad students prepare for careers in peace and conflict studies</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/216" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Audrey Williams</span></span> <span>Fri, 02/14/2020 - 12:18</span> <div class="layout layout--gmu layout--twocol-section layout--twocol-section--30-70"> <div class="layout__region region-first"> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:call_to_action" data-inline-block-uuid="dcc36c40-327a-49e3-a0b2-6e1868c1630e"> <div class="cta"> <a class="cta__link" href="https://scar.gmu.edu/about/alumni"> <h4 class="cta__title">Connect with Us as an Alum <i class="fas fa-arrow-circle-right"></i> </h4> <span class="cta__icon"></span> </a> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:call_to_action" data-inline-block-uuid="cd267984-0488-41fd-abd1-3572c1c24414"> <div class="cta"> <a class="cta__link" href="https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001QSVz3SN0NaoO4l4_dMtvXKbDwAy6ZCquVzeWSZwsJC5CLJrqsrgJQ_HXl1uIs00NUqZ8FcsIkgkhi5X6KyhAZ4hAgy2qJD4diqJLaj11-2w%3D"> <h4 class="cta__title">Subscribe for Updates from S-CAR <i class="fas fa-arrow-circle-right"></i> </h4> <span class="cta__icon"></span> </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="layout__region region-second"> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:media_slideshow" data-inline-block-uuid="164d2453-75aa-4ad2-a90c-310c26b7c7f9" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockmedia-slideshow"> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="83d5fbfc-addf-4852-b0a2-3f9d7181b317" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h4><strong>By David J. Smith (Adjunct Faculty, MS ‘09)</strong></h4> <p>Earning a graduate degree in a field doesn’t necessarily mean professional opportunities will immediately follow. Looking for work requires thoughtful preparation, honed networking skills, and a good sense of what the market looks like. This is especially true for graduates of conflict analysis and resolution, a whole-of-society, multidisciplinary field that offers a dizzying array of possible career paths.</p> <p>For students at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University, navigating these possibilities is made easier by learning from the experiences of the many S-CAR alumni working in a range of conflict-related settings in the Washington, D.C.-area and beyond.</p> <p>This past fall, with alumni support, S-CAR offered a Career Intensive Seminar for master’s, certificate, and PhD students to guide them as they envision their post-S-CAR careers. </p> <p>The seminar consisted of six sessions at S-CAR’s office in Arlington, Virginia, as well as four site visits to organizations and agencies in the Washington, D.C.-area. A total of 12 students participated in the free seminar. Students who successfully completed the seminar were awarded a stipend to support participation in conferences or professional development.</p> <p>As the <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/why-s-car/legacy-leadership">oldest graduate program in conflict analysis and resolution in the world</a>, S-CAR offers a formidable network from which new graduates can seek mentors and have doors opened to career opportunities.</p> <p>As such, an important goal of the seminar was to provide the opportunity for alumni to talk with students about their work and discuss strategies for getting their first job following graduation.</p> <p>During the sessions, students were introduced to strategies for networking, techniques for drafting a competitive resume that reflected their S-CAR experiences, and approaches to using social media, such as LinkedIn, for career-building purposes. </p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:call_to_action" data-inline-block-uuid="993efa65-025f-491a-8c0d-fd2afbf9e011"> <div class="cta"> <a class="cta__link" href="https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12295297/"> <h4 class="cta__title">Join S-CAR’s new LinkedIn group, S-CAR Careers, to learn about and share opportunities in conflict analysis and resolution <i class="fas fa-arrow-circle-right"></i> </h4> <span class="cta__icon"></span> </a> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="f6e06283-d8a2-443b-8b91-b0e1f36d48e6" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Students were also coached in interviewing skills and salary negotiations. <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/13283">Jane Walker</a>, director of undergraduate student services at S-CAR, provided a session on what to expect in an interview. Students were then able to participate in interview simulations with the guidance of S-CAR alumni Colette Carmouche (MS ‘17), who is a conflict management specialist at the U.S. Department of Interior, and Justin Fogata (MS ‘19), who is the volunteer recruitment and training coordinator at <a href="https://www.casadc.org/">CASA for Children of DC</a>.</p> <p>In addition to equipping students with job-searching skills and strategies, the seminar sought to provide students with the opportunity to envision the various forms that a career in conflict analysis and resolution can take. Hearing directly from S-CAR alumni was critical toward this end.</p> <p>During seminar sessions at S-CAR, students had the chance to hear from Kathryn Koziol (MS ‘19) and Aaron Ziglar (MS ‘04), who work in the Consumer Protection Section in the Dispute Resolution Unit of the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, as well as Rachel Barbour (MS ‘95), who works as a political consultant.</p> <p>In addition, students participated in site visits to the workplaces of various S-CAR alumni in the D.C. area, which were among the most informative and beneficial aspects of the seminar. </p> <p>During these visits, S-CAR alumni were eager to speak to students and share about their work. The students were hosted by Kristen Woodward (MS ‘09) and Chris Eichmann (MS ‘15) at the Fairfax County Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) office, as well as by Gina Cerasani (PhD ‘15), Acting Director of the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).</p> <p>Students also visited the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) at the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and FEMA’s ADR office. At these offices, S-CAR alumni shared about their work.  </p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="2255ffb6-f4f1-40c4-95d7-f5f21e72a83c" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Seminar students found the experience valuable for understanding the vast opportunities in the field.</p> <p>“I learnt that S-CAR alumni and current students can use their training in various professions in the corporate, government, and nonprofit sectors,” commented PhD student Mathieu Bere. “This seminar was a great opportunity for students to connect with the professional world that needs or employs their skills in the DMV area.”  </p> <p>The sessions on job-seeking techniques and best practices were especially useful for the students.</p> <p>"The seminar gave me insights about the crucial role of effective networking in the job search process,” said master’s student Anjali Mishra. “Good networking pursuits make you more visible and can give a future employer a quick glimpse into your ambitions, working style, and human qualities." </p> <p>Alumni appreciated being able to support current S-CAR students as they prepare for their post-S-CAR careers.</p> <p>"I enjoy[ed] meeting with students and helping them the way alumni helped me when I was starting out," said Barbour.</p> <p>Beyond passing along insights, some alumni also hoped to be able to connect directly with S-CAR students about opportunities in the field.</p> <p> “We had hoped the visit would provide an opportunity for us to recruit an S-CAR student interested in environmental conflict resolution to intern in our office,” said Cerasani.</p> <p>The next career intensive seminar will be offered in the spring of 2020, with sessions set to start at the end of February and run through the first week of April.</p> <p>Applications for the Spring Career Intensive Seminar are now open, and students are encouraged to <strong>apply by February 17, 2020</strong>. To apply, please email S-CAR Advising at <a href="mailto:scaradvi@gmu.edu">scaradvi@gmu.edu</a>.</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="0a60393f-6f98-4aef-a4cb-607949609ec2" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 14 Feb 2020 17:18:05 +0000 Audrey Williams 1741 at https://carterschool.gmu.edu In Love and In Service: Meet the Married Alumni Who Keep Giving Back https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2020-02/love-and-service-meet-married-alumni-who-keep-giving-back <span>In Love and In Service: Meet the Married Alumni Who Keep Giving Back</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/261" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mariam Aburdeineh</span></span> <span>Thu, 02/13/2020 - 00:00</span> <div class="layout layout--gmu layout--twocol-section layout--twocol-section--30-70"> <div > </div> <div class="layout__region region-second"> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="1a14603e-e141-438d-8469-d1efeb657ca8" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div class="block-feature-image caption-below"> <div class="feature-image"> <div class="narrow-overlaid-image"><img src="https://content.sitemasonry.gmu.edu/sites/g/files/yyqcgq336/files/" alt="" /></div> </div> <div class="feature-image-caption"> <div class="field field--name-field-feature-image-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="bb4f54a9-3271-4e7f-8280-5dd61cdf714f" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 13 Feb 2020 05:00:00 +0000 Mariam Aburdeineh 1561 at https://carterschool.gmu.edu S-CAR Activity Recap – September 2019 https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2019-10/s-car-activity-recap-september-2019 <span>S-CAR Activity Recap – September 2019</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/216" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Audrey Williams</span></span> <span>Wed, 10/23/2019 - 15:59</span> <div class="layout layout--gmu layout--twocol-section layout--twocol-section--30-70"> <div class="layout__region region-first"> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:call_to_action" data-inline-block-uuid="cd5d87ac-7122-4a60-b776-cfba628a4cae"> <div class="cta"> <a class="cta__link" href="https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001QSVz3SN0NaoO4l4_dMtvXKbDwAy6ZCquVzeWSZwsJC5CLJrqsrgJQ_HXl1uIs00NUqZ8FcsIkgkhi5X6KyhAZ4hAgy2qJD4diqJLaj11-2w%3D"> <h4 class="cta__title">Subscribe for Updates from S-CAR <i class="fas fa-arrow-circle-right"></i> </h4> <span class="cta__icon"></span> </a> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:call_to_action" data-inline-block-uuid="45be73d9-7a0d-47c8-88af-87ecf13aba84"> <div class="cta"> <a class="cta__link" href="mailto:scarlib@gmu.edu"> <h4 class="cta__title">Send Us Your Updates <i class="fas fa-arrow-circle-right"></i> </h4> <span class="cta__icon"></span> </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="layout__region region-second"> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="d1aab05e-8b8c-4a2f-902f-7deedff34328" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>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.</p> <p>Are you a member of the S-CAR community? Send your publication, presentation, and award updates to <a href="mailto:scarlib@gmu.edu">scarlib@gmu.edu</a> so that we can include them in our Activity Recaps.</p> <h2><strong>Summary</strong></h2> <p>September saw the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution through the beginning of a new semester, alongside a series of events and publications. <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/9201"><strong>Tehama Lopez Bunyasi</strong></a> released her new book, <em>Stay Woke, </em>for which an event was held at the American Political Science Association’s Washington, D.C., headquarters at the end of the month. Two academic articles and one report were published, including a co-authored article from Dean <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/578681"><strong>Alpaslan Özerdem</strong></a>. In addition, eleven members of the S-CAR community wrote or were featured in twelve news articles, while three members of the S-CAR community made television and radio appearances. Three S-CAR faculty members made public presentations in September, including <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/9286"><strong>Terrence Lyons</strong></a>, who launched his newest book, <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/publication/view/579911"><em>The Puzzle of Ethiopian Politics</em></a>, at USIP on September 16. S-CAR and its affiliated research centers and student organizations hosted eleven events throughout September.</p> <p>Congratulations to PhD candidate <a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/people/sandra--tombe-"><strong>Sandra Tombe</strong></a>, who successfully defended her dissertation proposal on September 5! </p> <h2><strong>Academic Publications</strong></h2> <h3>Books and Book Chapters</h3> <p><a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/9201"><strong>Tehama Lopez Bunyasi</strong></a> co-published the book <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/publication/view/579901"><em>Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter</em></a> with Candis Watts Smith, released on September 24, 2019. </p> <h3>Journal Articles, Papers, and Reports</h3> <p><a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/9201"><strong>Tehama Lopez Bunyasi</strong></a>, “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/article/role-of-whiteness-2016-presidential-primaries">The Role of Whiteness in the 2016 Presidential Primaries</a>,” <em>Perspectives on Politics, 17</em>(3), 679–698, published September 2019; co-authored with Candis Watts Smith and Jasmine Carrera Smith, “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/article/linked-fate-over-time-and-across-generations">Linked Fate over Time and Across Generations</a>,” <em>Politics, Groups, and Identities,</em> <em>7</em>(3), 684–694, published September 2019.</p> <p><a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/578681"><strong>Alpaslan Özerdem</strong></a> and Bahar Baser, “<a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/publication/view/580191">Conflict Transformation and Asymmetric Conflicts: A Critique of the Failed Turkish-Kurdish Peace Process</a>,” <em>Terrorism and Political Violence</em>, published online on September 9, 2019.</p> <p><a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/12180"><strong>Solon Simmons</strong></a>, “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/publication/aging-of-empire-and-future-of-inter-civilization-dialogue">The Aging of Empire and Future of the Inter-Civilization Dialogue</a>,” <em>Al Jazeera Centre for Studies</em>, published on September 29, 2019. </p> <h2><strong>S-CAR in the News</strong></h2> <h3>Print Articles</h3> <p><a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/people/michael-shank"><strong>Michael Shank</strong></a> was quoted in an article by Daniel L. Davis titled “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/magazine-article/real-911-tragedy-america-missing">The Real 9/11 Tragedy America is Missing</a>,” published by <em>The National Interest</em> on September 11, 2019.</p> <p><a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/11610"><strong>Richard Rubenstein</strong></a> wrote an article titled “<a href="https://activity.scar.gmu.edu/magazine-article/donald-trump%E2%80%99s-foreign-policy-sows-confusion">Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Sows Confusion</a>,” for <em>Transcend Media Service</em>, published on September 16, 2019.</p> <p><strong>Dilafruz Khonikboyeva</strong> (MS ‘12) was featured in a news article by Mariam Aburdeineh for <em>Mason News</em>, “<a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/news/579756">Peacebuilding is a civil duty for alumna who lived through civil war</a>,” published on September 25, 2019. </p> <p><a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/555206"><strong>Audrey Williams</strong></a> (MS student) wrote an article featuring <a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/people/fatma-jabbari"><strong>Fatma Jabbari</strong></a> (PhD student) for <em>S-CAR News</em>, “<a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/news/579646">In Berlin, street art prompts PhD student to reflect on Holocaust remembrance</a>,” published on September 18, 2019.</p> <p><a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/9538"><strong>Patricia Maulden</strong></a> wrote an article for <em>S-CAR News</em> titled “<a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/news/579531">Peacebuilding &amp; performance</a>,” published on September 13, 2019.</p> <p><a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/578681"><strong>Alpaslan Özerdem</strong></a> was profiled in an article by Mariam Aburdeineh for <em>Mason News</em>, “<a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/news/579256">New dean is ready to build up the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution</a>,” published on September 3, 2019. </p> <p><a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/people/talha-kose"><strong>Talha Kose</strong></a> (PhD ‘10) published numerous columns in <em>T</em><em>he</em> <em>Daily Sabah</em>: “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/articles/pkks-dirty-gamble-kurdish-youth">PKK’s dirty gamble with Kurdish youth</a>” (September 7, 2019); “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/articles/still-too-early-be-optimistic-about-stability-syria">Still too early to be optimistic about stability in Syria</a>” (September 21, 2019); and “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/articles/un-general-assembly-era-of-declining-multilateralism">The UN General Assembly in an era of declining multilateralism</a>” (September 30, 2019).</p> <p><a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/people/nousha-kabawat"><strong>Nousha Kabawat</strong></a> (MS ‘14) wrote an article titled “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/articles/will-new-constitutional-committee-secure-more-just-future-syria">Will a New Constitutional Committee Secure a More Just Future for Syria?</a>” for the <em>International Center for Transnational Justice</em>, published on September 30, 2019.</p> <p><a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/people/ibrahim-fraihat"><strong>Ibrahim Fraihat</strong></a> (PhD ’06) was featured in an article in <em>Hafryat</em> on September 19, 2019, <a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/articles/palestinian-academic-specializing-conflict-resolution-without-burning-boats-%D8%A3%D9%83%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%8A-%D9%81%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B7%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%8A">profiling and praising his work in the field</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/people/antti-pentikainen"><strong>Antti Pentikainen</strong></a> was quoted in an article titled “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/articles/emoji-forgiving-campaign-launched-finland-crowdsourcing-ideas">An Emoji for Forgiving? Campaign Launched in Finland is Crowdsourcing Ideas</a>,” published by <em>PR Newswire</em> on September 20, 2019.</p> <h3>Television and Radio Appearances</h3> <p><a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/people/min-zaw-oo"><strong>Min Zaw Oo</strong></a> (PhD ‘10) appeared on <em>7 Day TV</em> discussing “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/researcher-media/civilian-casualties">Civilian Casualties</a>” on September 2, 2019.</p> <p><a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/people/ibrahim-fraihat"><strong>Ibrahim Fraihat</strong></a> (PhD ‘06) appeared on <em>Al Jazeera</em> to discuss <a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/researcher-media/american-houti-negotiations">American-Houthi negotiations</a> in regards to Yemen. The interview aired on September 6, 2019.</p> <p><a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/9201"><strong>Tehama Lopez Bunyasi</strong></a> joined the Mississippi Edition radio broadcast on <em>Mississippi Broadcasting Service</em> to <a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/radio-broadcast/mississippi-edition-thursday-september-12">discuss her new book</a>, <em>Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter.</em> The interview aired on September 12, 2019. She also appeared on “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/radio-broadcast/talkies-september-3-2019">Talkies</a>” (September 3, 2019); “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/radio-broadcast/black-lives-matter-roadside-attractions-digital-textbooks">Top of Mind with Julie Rose</a>” (September 5, 2019); “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/radio-broadcast/issues-today-19-37">Issues Today</a>” (September 9, 2019); “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/radio-broadcast/stay-woke-peoples-guide-making-all-black-lives-matter">Rising Up with Sonali</a>” (September 12, 2019); “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/radio-broadcast/stay-woke-peoples-guide-making-all-black-lives-matter-0">More Talk Radio</a>” (September 16, 2019); and “<a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/radio-broadcast/tehama-and-candis-stay-woke-suzanne-muller-heinz-lovable">Patricia Raskin's Positive Living</a>” (September 23, 2019).<strong> </strong></p> <h2><strong>Dissertation Proposal Defense</strong></h2> <p><a href="http://activity.scar.gmu.edu/people/sandra--tombe-"><strong>Sandra Tombe</strong></a> defended her dissertation proposal, “Transnational Opposition-Diaspora Networks: Mobilization of Cameroonian and South Sudanese in the United States by Opposition Groups in Times of Conflict” on September 5, 2019. On the committee was <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/9286"><strong>Terrence Lyons</strong></a> (Chair), <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/6593"><strong>Thomas Flores</strong></a>, and Jennifer Victor (Schar School for Public Policy).</p> <h2><strong>S-CAR Events, Presentations, and Public Lectures</strong></h2> <h3>Public Lectures</h3> <p>On September 10, <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/11582"><strong>Daniel Rothbart</strong></a> presented his paper, “The Paradox of State Power over Political Subjects,” at the Conflict Research Society Conference, University of Sussex, UK.</p> <p>On September 16, <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/9286"><strong>Terrence Lyons</strong></a> presented research from his <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/publication/view/579911">new book</a> at an event titled “<a href="https://www.usip.org/events/changing-ethiopia-puzzle-ethiopian-politics">A Changing Ethiopia: The Puzzle of Ethiopian Politics</a>” at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.</p> <p>On September 27, <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/9201"><strong>Tehama Lopez Bunyasi</strong></a> launched the book she co-authored with Candis Watts Smith, <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/publication/view/579901"><em>Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter</em></a>, at the American Political Science Association in Washington, D.C. A video of the event can be viewed on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmQPZ2VZV50">S-CAR's YouTube channel</a>.</p> <h3>S-CAR Events</h3> <p>On September 9, the Fall 2019 S-CAR Student Welcome took place at the Johnson Center on the Fairfax Campus. Other in-house events from the school this month included an Admissions Information Session on the Arlington Campus on September 18 and the Welcome Back Picnic on September 22 at Point of View International Retreat and Research Center.</p> <p>On September 11, Patriots for Peace held an interest meeting in Merten Hall on the Fairfax Campus. The group also celebrated the International Day of Peace with an event at the Johnson Center on the Fairfax Campus on September 21.</p> <p>On September 16, the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict (CRDC) held an Open House at Vernon Smith Hall on the Arlington Campus. The CRDC also held a study abroad information session on the Arlington Campus on September 23 to advertise their upcoming academic trips.</p> <p>On September 17, the Dialogue and Difference Project launched its Fall 2019 programming with a dialogue on social violence, which was held at Research Hall on the Fairfax Campus.</p> <p>On September 18, S-CAR hosted a Critical Conversations discussion featuring Dr. Fathali Moghaddam (Georgetown University), who discussed “Threat to Democracy: The Appeal of Authoritarianism in an Age of Uncertainty.” The event was held on the Arlington Campus.</p> <p>On September 19, S-CAR’s undergraduate program hosted a book discussion at the Johnson Center on the Fairfax Campus on this year’s Mason Reads community book selection, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s <em>We Should All Be Feminists</em>.</p> <p>On September 20, S-CAR’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee held a committee meeting at Vernon Smith Hall on the Arlington Campus.</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="08c0f6c9-df59-4cb7-9a86-f5ac5cbe5ea1" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 23 Oct 2019 19:59:06 +0000 Audrey Williams 1376 at https://carterschool.gmu.edu Making conversations great again https://carterschool.gmu.edu/news/2019-10/making-conversations-great-again <span>Making conversations great again</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/216" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Audrey Williams</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/22/2019 - 17:06</span> <div class="layout layout--gmu layout--twocol-section layout--twocol-section--30-70"> <div class="layout__region region-first"> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:call_to_action" data-inline-block-uuid="74d4e0f6-0162-43d1-92ec-578701a5f789"> <div class="cta"> <a class="cta__link" href="https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001QSVz3SN0NaoO4l4_dMtvXKbDwAy6ZCquVzeWSZwsJC5CLJrqsrgJQ_HXl1uIs00NUqZ8FcsIkgkhi5X6KyhAZ4hAgy2qJD4diqJLaj11-2w%3D"> <h4 class="cta__title">Subscribe for Updates from S-CAR <i class="fas fa-arrow-circle-right"></i> </h4> <span class="cta__icon"></span> </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="layout__region region-second"> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="3886fd20-cf1a-4c6c-92d7-b4f8de02eb8b" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2>Scholars from S-CAR have partnered with public libraries to navigate difference through the development of an award-winning program on media literacy and dialogue.</h2> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="f246ebda-2624-407b-8c5c-150612d1e5dc" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div class="block-feature-image caption-below"> <div class="feature-image"> <div class="narrow-overlaid-image"><img src="https://content.sitemasonry.gmu.edu/sites/g/files/yyqcgq336/files/content-image/Conable Award Photo from PLA.png" alt="ID: Seven women in professional attire post with a plaque." /></div> </div> <div class="feature-image-caption"> <div class="field field--name-field-feature-image-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"> <p>S-CAR alum Samantha Borders-Shoemaker (PhD '19, second from right) and S-CAR associate dean Julie Shedd (third from right) partnered with the Fairfax County Public Library in Virginia on a dialogue program that won the 2019 Gordon M. Conable Award from the Public Library Association. (Photo courtesy of the Public Library Association)</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="060bec6c-c2b4-4ca1-a886-c25efc62e652" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h4> </h4> <h4><strong>By Oakley Hill</strong></h4> <p>In January 2017, during Donald Trump’s first weeks in office, a coalition of peacebuilders from George Mason University’s <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/">School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution</a> (S-CAR) and librarians from Fairfax County, Virginia, met together to discuss the intensifying conflict present in everyday conversations. Attending this meeting was S-CAR associate dean <a href="https://scar.gmu.edu/profile/view/12062">Julie Shedd</a>, then S-CAR PhD candidate Samantha Borders-Shoemaker, and librarians from the Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL), including Jennifer Dickinson.</p> <p>“We could see the lack of civility as a problem that was not going to go away anytime soon, much as we may have hoped,” said Dickinson. The political environment was heated, and this unique group sought out strategies to ameliorate the problem at the interpersonal level.</p> <p>At first glance, one may wonder what peacebuilders and librarians have in common. Learning how the “fake news” phenomena affects people’s interaction with information may lend understanding.</p> <p>As the U.S. political conflict has deepened, an air of mistrust of information has spread through all sides of the political divide. Some groups distrust political elites and popular news media, while others distrust the President and economic elites. Warranted or not, this mistrust poses a threat to the aims of peacebuilders who work to help society navigate its differences and disagreements constructively. Conflict creates distrust, and distrust is an obstacle on the road to resolving conflict.</p> <p>Where conflict meets distrust is precisely where the interests of librarians and peacebuilders overlap. As a public institution, libraries represent a community’s commitment to knowledge, and the equal access to it. The mistrust of information is a threat to the work of librarians, whose role includes providing the public with knowledge, among other things.</p> <p>“As a country we don’t have media literacy skills,” said Dickinson. “We think we do but we really don’t. There has been a big push in libraries and schools to address that.”</p> <p>Through their meetings, this coalition has developed a program to help individuals resolve their interpersonal conflicts and think critically about the information they take in. This program is offered as a free class that teaches both media literacy and dialogue skills in public libraries across Virginia’s Fairfax County.</p> <p>Over the last two years, volunteers have taught these classes, each of which includes the practice of a media literacy skill, such as evaluating new sources, and a dialogue skill, such as asking good questions. Participants practice these skills through dialogue on a number of social issues, from the legalization of marijuana to infrastructure development in the Washington, D.C., area.</p> <p>Borders-Shoemaker teaches similar classes in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. While inspired by the Fairfax County curriculum, her classes omit the media literacy dimension and add lessons on power dynamics to help participants recognize when they are made to be more or less powerful in a dialogue. These lessons aim to help participants create more equitable conversations.</p> <p>“The goal of these workshops is to help members of the public better communicate around difficult topics and successfully and wisely navigate the plethora of news,” she said. By creating an atmosphere of trust and curiosity, these workshops aim to “leave [participants] with more confidence about engaging topics they may otherwise avoid.”</p> <p>After listening to participants speak of how political disagreements had damaged relationships with their loved ones, Borders-Shoemaker felt inspired to do something proactive and constructive. This experience led her to choose interpersonal dialogue and political tension as the topic of her dissertation research, which she <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81-af-_No8E">successfully defended on August 30 of this year</a>.</p> <p>When discussing interpersonal conflict over email, Borders-Shoemaker said that “the three things that prevent interpersonal dialogue from being constructive are saliency of one identity over others (in this case, political identity), pursuing purity of identity over embracing multiplicity, and perceived threats to that specific identity.” These three phenomena can make the ingroup both a safe space and the center of validity.</p> <p>However, they can also increase antagonism towards those outside of the ingroup. According to Borders-Shoemaker, “when the boundaries between identities are perceived to be threatened or compromised, members of the ingroup can be moved into offensive or defensive positions wherein outside ideas are seen as threats to the integrity of the group's identity.” Learning basic communication skills like those taught in the course can help to loosen the rigidity of identity and mitigate interpersonal conflict.</p> <p>The group has been given three awards in recognition of their good work. From George Mason University, they received the <a href="https://relations.gmu.edu/community-relations/programs-and-services/jack-wood-award-for-town-gown-relations/2018-jack-wood-award-recipients/">2018 Jack Wood Award for Town Gown Relations</a>, and from Fairfax County Public Library, they received a Recognition of Excellence.</p> <p>Then, in June 2019, during the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference in Washington, D.C., the program received the Gordon M. Conable Award from the Public Library Association, a subset of the ALA, the largest association of librarians in the world. The award <a href="http://www.ala.org/pla/awards/gordonmconableaward">recognizes</a> recipients for their “commitment to intellectual freedom and the Library Bill of Rights.”</p> <p>The next steps for the program lie in questions of scalability and funding. The group is currently shifting the program from semester-long courses to four-week courses, and they are considering adding three-day training sessions for other librarians interested in teaching similar courses.</p> <h3><strong>The link between libraries and peacebuilding</strong></h3> <p>The work of Shedd, Borders-Shoemaker, Dickinson, and other FCPL librarians is connected not only to interpersonal conflict but macro peacebuilding efforts as well. As they scale the project up, they hope to increase the capacity of communities to prevent or resolve their own conflicts.</p> <p>Media literacy and dialogue have long been intertwined where peacebuilding is concerned. In his book, <em>The Better Angels of Our Nature</em>, Canadian psychologist Steven Pinker argued that the “humanitarian revolution” spanning from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries best correlates with the spike in literacy after the invention of the printing press. This, according to Pinker, is the most likely event that led to the proletariat questioning, and eventually ending, many forms of institutionalized state violence. It isn't a leap to think that improving literacy and dialogue skills could further this process and aid American society today as we work to replace systems of conflict with systems of conflict resolution.</p> <p>For Shedd, public libraries can serve as critical actors in linking media literacy, dialogue, and peacebuilding. “Libraries have always been crucial institutions allowing information to flow across the citizenry, with programs that provide intentional support across the socio-economic spectrum,” she said.</p> <p>As the late Representative Elijah Cummings <a href="https://twitter.com/repcummings/status/1115640480426070016?lang=en">said on Twitter</a> this past April, “Libraries do much more than lend books.” Libraries are the institutions that serve our society’s informational needs, no matter what one’s political leanings, race, or socio-economic status.</p> <p>For example, during the McCarthy Era, when socialists in the U.S. were imprisoned for their beliefs, Dickinson noted that <em>The Communist Manifesto </em>remained on the shelf. “We don’t ban books,” she said seriously.</p> <p>Because public libraries are explicitly against the boycott of information, they are uniquely positioned to teach media literacy skills and do it well. Librarians are part of the communities they work in, are already trained in important media literacy skills, are devoted to a free market of ideas, and as Shedd noted, libraries are among the last trusted institutions.</p> <p>There is little question in terms of need, either. “The fact that adults don’t understand and don’t think critically about what they’re getting in terms of news,” Dickinson noted, “tells us there’s a need to keep doing this.”</p> <p> “Libraries are playing an increasingly crucial role in the Information Age where citizens’ skills at identifying accurate information is taxed by the sheer volume [of it],” said Shedd. In the Information Age, it seems that some of the most pressing needs are the abilities to identify a good source of information, think critically, and learn to interact peaceably with the source of all information: each other.</p> </div> </div> <div data-block-plugin-id="inline_block:basic" data-inline-block-uuid="10e36a7a-d132-40ed-a3e2-babd397c0f2d" class="block block-layout-builder block-inline-blockbasic"> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 22 Oct 2019 21:06:19 +0000 Audrey Williams 736 at https://carterschool.gmu.edu