Brian J. Adams is the Director of the Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue (ICD) at Griffith University, South Brisbane, Australia. As a former Rotary Peace Fellow, Brian is primarily focused on promoting respect and understanding across cultural, religious and organisational boundaries. This work is supported by a Ph.D. (political science) in deliberative dialogue and two Master degrees in community development and conflict resolution, respectively. Brian’s 20+ years of work in Africa, Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific certainly brings a compelling international perspective to the ICD. His background in mediation, conflict management and dialogue facilitation strengthens the Centre’s ability to address some of the great challenges facing the world today, while his fluency in English, French and Swahili allow him to expand the work of the ICD to marginalised groups in Australia and to troubled regions across the globe.
Hina Anwar Ali belongs to Lahore, Pakistan. A result oriented professional with proven abilities in premeditated planning, managing projects, and improving efficiency of operations, team building, & detailing project information to determine effective process for operations. She did her BBIT from Curtin University Australia & M.A. in Political Science from Punjab University, Lahore. Further to this she is working in the development sector as General Manager in an Architectural & Engineering Consulting firm. Earlier, she has worked as an instructor with FAST University. Active in youth affairs, Hina has served as a coordinator for Youth Alliance for Human Rights. She has also worked as a facilitator with the UNFPA, Pakistan. Involved in various social causes, Hina serves as Secretary General of Society for Welfare Activities, Vice President of Mashal-e-Rah and President of The Awareness Network. Previously, she has worked & been associated with various national & international NGOs which focus on education, human rights advocacy, women empowerment, gender & youth issues. Additionally, she has been the founding lead coordinator of the Indo-Pak Youth Forum For Peace (IPYFP) which aims at fostering peace initiatives, consolidating democracy, good governance, building the capacity of young people within these two countries to understand the nature of conflict, identifying their role and taking positive actions for bridging the gaps focusing attitude and behavior change for peace and conflict management. Her various research publications include Commonwealth-Asia Regional Symposium on HIV/AIDS and Drug/Substance Abuse 23-29, November, 2004, Mumbai, India, on ‘Drug Trafficking’, Intergenerational Conference: Human Rights as a Tool for Social Change, organized by the UNESCO Chair & Institute of Comparative Human Rights at the University of Connecticut,7-13 August 2005 USA, on ‘Juvenile Justice in Pakistan’, “Women as Global Leaders”, 12-14 March, 2006 Abu Dhabi, UAE, SANA-Society for the Anthropology of North America, “Anthropology in an Uncertain Age”, NY UA April, 2006, Human Rights: A Growing World Without Them, University of James Madison, Virginia, USA, March 30-31 2006. And Journal Publication in the Muslim Public Affairs Journal, April 2006, Published by Muslim Public Affairs Council, Islamic Affairs Review: The Crisis of Thought & Ijtihad. Her fields of interest include Interfaith harmony, Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, Foreign Affairs and Women Development. She plans to continue further studies & work for the cause of human rights development in Pakistan.
Timothy L. Christopher is a writer and researcher of religious and ethnic conflict, warfare, foreign policy and politics. A veteran of the United States Navy, Tim has traveled throughout the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and West Africa, where he participated in Operation Sharp Edge, evacuating embassies and foreign nationals during the Liberian Civil War. A native Oregonian, he holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Eastern Oregon University, and a Master’s of Science in Political Science from Portland State University. His Master’s thesis, titled “The Strategic Effects of Counterinsurgency Operations at Religious Sites: Lessons from India, Thailand, and Israel”, examined the interaction between tactical operations and the strategic implications for ethno-religious insurgencies. Tim has researched and written about counterinsurgency, religious and ethnic conflict, foreign affairs, and the geo-politics of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. He is in the process of developing the CORSA Group (Conflict Observation, Research, Strategy, and Analysis), a policy and research organization dedicated to the study of counterinsurgency, civil, ethnic and religious conflict, and asymmetrical warfare. He is currently researching the strategic impact of the United States endorsing statehood for the de-facto sovereign state of Somaliland, as well as the historical development of state-sponsored terrorism in South Asia and its impact on regional and global politics. Tim lives in Oregon with his wife and four children.
Rod Coffey is a recently retired Army Infantry Colonel with extensive experience in counter-insurgency and counter terrorism theory and practice. With tours in Kosovo and Iraq and extensive work creating counter-IED training solutions for Afghanistan his additional work as a trained historian has led to decades long study of Islam itself, political Islam and Middle Eastern “tribal” society.
Johnny Sargon Jacob – One of two native Arabic speakers on this project, Johnny is Chairman of the Assyrian Democratic Movement in San Diego, a Staff Electronics Engineer, and former Intelligence Analyst for the US military. Passionate about the plight of particularly Assyrians and other Christians, in Iraq and around the globe, Johnny served in Iraq with the US Army for ten years as a linguist, cultural advisor, Human Terrain Analyst and in various other capacities. Johnny generated a variety of assessments, reports and recommendations to military staff regarding Iraqi political, social, economic, cultural, religious and tribal issues. Arising from his experience growing up in Baghdad, he also prepared a comprehensive Iraqi-Islamic calendar for Coalition forces, describing the significance of all celebrated Iraqi religious holidays, including Muslim (Shi’a & Sunni), Kurdish and Assyrian holidays, and Iraqi state official holidays. Johnny prepared numerous presentations on culture awareness for US and Coalition forces that included: The fasting during the month of Ramadan, a Soldier’s Guide for Ramadan (Do’s & Don’t’s), Ashura and cultural awareness, dogs in Arab/Islamic culture, Flags in Islam, tattoos in Iraq culture, names and terms used in Iraq, Al-Hajj (Islamic Pilgrimage), Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adhha Islamic feasts, Christmas and New Year celebration in Iraq, and the various words or actions that might cause insult in the Iraqi culture. Johnny is currently involved in assisting Assyrian Christians and other Iraq refugees through the Assyrian Aid Society-USA.
Rabbi Debra Kolodny has worked with and for faith-based organizations, labor unions, women’s, environmental, peace and LGBTQ non-profits since she graduated from college in 1981. As befits a life-time of interfaith and peace advocacy, the first week she served P’nai Or of Portland as its rabbi she spoke at two events memorializing the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. She is currently the spiritual leader of Portland’s UnShul. Before that she served as Executive Director of Nehirim, a national Jewish LGBTQ retreat and advocacy organization committed to a more just and inclusive world. From 2002 until 2011 she served as the Executive Director of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, the headquarters organization of the Jewish Renewal Movement. Founded by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi zt”l (may the memory of the righteous be a blessing), a fundamental tenet of Jewish Renewal is the imperative to connect to the deep well of truth shared by all spiritual traditions. Rabbi Debra has taken this directive to heart as the founder and co-leader of Bosom of Abraham: Rocking our Sufi, Jewish and Christian souls, an interspiritual prayer, learning and spiritual practice community, by producing inter-spiritual conferences dedicated to social justice and by teaching immersion classes with a Sufi Sheikh, Ibrahim baba, on Sufism and Jewish Mysticism. In addition, Rabbi Debra has taught in hundreds of venues on Judaism and sexual orientation, gender identity, environmentalism, Eco-Kashrut, mysticism, text study, prayer, healing the wounds created by religion and more. She published Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith in 2000 as well as dozens of essays in anthologies and magazines. Daily prayer, meditation and taiji help make life a glorious adventure!
Heather McAfee, Geographer, Instructor and Researcher. Head of the Department of Geography at Clark College – Between 2006-2009, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Heather directed the daily operation of a regionally-focused research team supporting requirements generated from primary customers deployed to combat theaters of operation. Her team provided support for short and long-term Requests for Research (RFR) from collaborative, government and non-government sources. Heather developed, produced, edited, and managed timely operationally relevant socio-cultural research and analysis. Heather designed, implemented, and executed a “Reach-Forward” analyst exchange between the US-based Reachback Research Center (RRC) and deployed teams, which included her own travel into the Iraq theater of operations for interaction with most of the deployed teams.
Jim Moody is a veteran of both the Korean War and Vietnam, mostly working in intelligence. Upon learning of this project, Jim became my most enthusiastic local collaborator as he not only offered to revise or re-launch the website, but to help establish a viable blog as well. That is currently in the works, and getting Jim at least a preliminary list of our contributors and at least initial bios, is a part of that process. He is also soliciting articles and any other input (visuals, links, etc.) that any participant in this project might offer. Jim brings a pretty fair understanding of the Far East and Buddhism to the mix. He has also suggested that we might call ourselves “American Jihadists,” and encourage others who get engaged to do the same as we individually and collectively bring attention to the foundational meanings of the word – countering the violent descriptives that include “Holy War.” Among Jim’s many passions, through “Compassion & Choices,” he gives comfort to those who are terminally ill. He has many insights to share, including an anthropologist’s perspective on some of the dynamics of human interaction that transcend “East” and “West.”
Conrad Pearson, Conrad Pearson & Jerry Tucker, of Pearson Financial Group, were honored to be included in a select group of wealth managers that received the 2012 Five Star Wealth Manager distinction. The recognition could be seen in the May, 2012 edition of Portland Monthly. Having also won the award in 2011, this is the second consecutive year that Conrad received the recognition and Jerry Tucker’s first. (from his chapter intro) My awareness that a “better tomorrow is possible” began over forty years ago as an undergraduate student at Portland State University (PSU). At that time, PSU had the only undergraduate program in the country that offered a degree in Middle East Studies. I had the opportunity to actually travel to the Middle East as a student, and studied the Palestinians. That was a real eye opener! I continued my Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). After SAIS, my career path led me back to the Middle East numerous times. I visited for my work at Shell Oil, Chase Manhattan Bank and, eventually, my own consulting firm called Risk Insights. During my travels and while doing business that took me to over 30 countries, I was immersed in different cultures and philosophies. I saw tremendous diversity. It was during this period of time that I felt God calling me to help make the world a better place. I met very loving people on both sides of the Middle East conflict, and became aware of how much they shared in common that never seemed to get talked about. The discussions always appeared to center around how the sides were different.
Dan Sockle: Most of Dan’s career has been in intelligence, criminal and civil investigations. Dan was a communications intelligence analyst and criminal investigator for the US Army, retiring as a supervisory special agent/CW3 in 1992. He served as a CID agent in the first Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), and as a Research Manager/Cultural Advisor (contractor) on “Human Terrain Teams” in Kirkuk and Baghdad, Iraq, in 2008-2009. He has taught classes for the Clark College Mature/ Lifelong Learning program and conducted numerous presentations, workshops, training and briefing sessions both in the military and later with the State of Washington’s Risk Management Division in Olympia. He has a B.A. in Criminal Justice (Univ. of Nevada/Reno) and Masters in Public Administration (Evergreen State College in Olympia). His volunteer work has included coaching youth sports, Kiwanis, Crime Stoppers, community mediation, veteran advocacy and Rotary – where he chairs his club’s “Peace & Conflict Resolution” committee, served two years as the “Service Projects Director” on the club’s board, and now collaborates with other Rotary “Peacebuilders” around the world. Dan is equally proud to serve on the board of the Community Military Appreciation Committee, supporting veterans and military families, and strongly believes that our military men and women should be seen as allies in conflict prevention and resolution. After all, “No one appreciates peace more than a soldier.”
Thomas M. Tripp, Ph.D – Tom Tripp is a Professor of Management at Washington State University. Professor Tripp is an internationally famous expert in workplace conflict. For the past 20 years, he has published dozens of scientific papers on workplace conflict, and especially on workplace revenge and forgiveness. He is co-author of the 2009 book, Getting Even: The truth about workplace revenge — and how to stop it. At WSU, he teaches business courses in leadership skills and in negotiation skills. A popular teacher, Tripp has won numerous teaching awards, including the Business School’s top teaching award three times, and the 2010 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction, which is WSU’s top teaching award for the whole university. Tripp earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Washington.
Abdullah Craig Walker – Writer and education consultant Abdullah Craig Walker is based concurrently in Portland, Oregon and Lahore, Pakistan. He has an extensive professional education background, having taught political science and international relations at the college level, and later pioneering the development of inclusion programs for special needs students, and alternative programs for at-risk youth. Prior to accepting Islam, Abdullah served in a Christian lay ministry program serving homeless adults. He living and worked in Kuwait, and traveling extensively throughout Asia and the Middle East. In Kuwait, he worked for a major English-language newspaper, and helped launch a cross-cultural education program under the auspices of the Kuwait Grand Mosque. He also participated in developing two other cross-cultural organizations to promote better understanding and relations among expatriates of different nationalities living in Kuwait. Abdullah and his wife currently are involved in a model school development project serving out-of-school children from impoverished families. Abdullah is co-author of Jewish-Muslim Relations – the Qur’anic View, published in Kuwait and the U.S. His forthcoming book, Globalization, Culture and Faith, examines the impact of the forces of globalization on culture, faith on Pakistan’s Muslim-majority society.
Benjamin Sockle served in the U.S. Army Infantry from April 2001- August 2014. He served two tours in Iraq: Mosul (2004-2005), and during the “Surge” in Baghdad and Muqdadiyah (2007-2008). He served in Command Centers (S-3), Liaison in a variety of roles and functions, including Brigade for Iraqi Security Forces, and as a Stryker Squad Leader. These different levels of interaction with the coalition forces and Iraqi nationals gave him a unique perspective on the war in Iraq and its fallout. With his contribution to this book, he hopes to broaden perspectives on the lives people are forced to live (and find ways to survive) in a country that is being torn apart from within. In America, land of the free and most fortunate, we take far too much for granted – and, sadly, have no clue regarding the suffering of others. The next time you see the grave marker of a fallen soldier, take a moment to reflect on those he or she left behind.
Harris Zafar – National Spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (America’s oldest Muslim organization), Harris not only presents the community’s nationwide efforts (such as the “Muslims for Peace” initiative) but also encourages Muslims to speak out about the true, moderate teachings of Islam to counter the incorrect image caused by extremists across the world. He is a frequent lecturer, writer & news commentator about Islam, including topics such as Shariah, Jihad, women’s rights, interfaith, freedom, etc. When debunking misunderstandings of Islam – even confronting other Muslims as well – Harris goes to the source of Islam to uncover the true teachings. In June 2014, Harris’s new book, Demystifying Islam; Asking the Tough Questions, was released. Harris has appeared on various media as a reasoned and moderate voice for Islam, including CNN and FoxNews.
Arif Humayun – Managing an international technology licensing business, Arif Humayun devotes his free time towards explaining Islamic teachings. His first book The Summit of Religious Evolution, (pub 1992) establishes the common bonds between the three Semitic faiths. Islam and the US Constitution (pub 2002) was his response to the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks to highlight the contradictions between Islamic teachings and the radicals’ actions. In Connivance by Silence (pub 2011), he urges Muslims to reject the radicals’ misinterpretation of Islam. He has authored several papers on Radicalism among Muslims, Sharia, Jihad, Blasphemy, Apostasy, etc. Arif is an avid supporter of separation of religion and politics and the co‐founder of the Circle of Peace.
Shanaz Tejani-Butt – A Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Associate Dean for the College of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Dr. Shanaz Tejani‐Butt has over 150 publications. She serves on the Scientific Expert review panel for the National Institute of Health and on the Advisory Board for Graduate Education at the Medical College of Virginia. She takes an active role in humanitarian activities and in correcting the misperceptions about Muslim women. She currently serves on the Advisory Boards of organizations like Humanity First, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and Pathways Pennsylvania. She is presently developing a National Feed the Hungry in America Program for Humanity First.