Dr Steve Parks  is Professor of English and Chair of the Democratic Futures Working Group at the University of Virginia. For the past decade, he has been actively working at the intersection of democratic advocacy and academic research, with a specific focus on the Middle East/North Africa. As part of this work, Parks has co-founded Syrians for Truth and Justice, a non-profit based in Paris and Istanbul dedicated to documenting human rights abuses in the Syrian Conflict. With Ahmed Abdelhakim Hachelaf, he co-founded The Twiza Project, an alliance of Middle Eastearn, North African, and North American academics, dedicated to sponsoring international dialogues on peace, justice, and democracy. Parks is also the founder of New City Community Press, a publishing project dedicated to supporting oppressed communities having a platform to speak and organize in their own interests. Over the past 30 years, Parks has authored three books, and over 30 articles and chapters focused on these issues. During this same period, Parks has created academic research series such as Working and Writing for Change, served as an editor of academic journals such as Reflections, and been appointed to leading academic monographs series, such as Studies in Writing and Rhetoric. He can be reached at [email protected]. 

Dr Lori Shorr  is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Temple University. Her doctoral research emerged from an interest in Critical and Cultural Studies, with an emphasis on how social changes are connected to, and influenced by, narratives – be they political, historical, social, or personal. It was within this framework that Shorr dedicated over 20 years to public policy work on issues of equity and education. This work included serving as special assistant to three Pennsylvania Secretaries of Education and eight years as the Chief Education Officer for the City of Philadelphia, which entailed setting the mayor’s policy agenda in K-12 and higher education. Over the past five years, Shorr has been developing university courses centred around the theories which help to explain how power, representation, constructions of social justice, and community interact with the lived experiences and policy realities in specific historical junctions. Shorr is currently working on building a collaboration of regional school leaders who are committed to working on communication across sectors of education (U.S. district, charter, private) to increase opportunities for success for all students through holistic and project-based instruction. She remains committed to increasing the capacity of the schools and the non-profit sector in Philadelphia in order to bring about equity in educational opportunity in hopes of a more just city. 

Dr Tamara Issak  is an Assistant Professor in the Institute for Core Studies at St. John’s University. She completed a Ph.D. in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric at Syracuse University in 2018 with support of the American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship in 2017-2018 and a Fulbright Fellow to Syria in 2008-2009. Working from a commitment to equity and social justice, Issak’s current research and teaching focuses on Islamophobia, constitutive rhetoric, and the rhetoric of space and place. 

Emily Warwick is a doctoral candidate in the University of Virginia Department of Politics and a Graduate Affiliate with the UVA Quantitative Collaborative. Her research explores how civil society-state relationships are brokered in informal contexts of the cities of Latin America. More specifically, she evaluates how the urban poor mobilize to gain access to essential public goods and services from state or non-state actors, and how these strategies enable urban peripheries to weather chronic and exogenous shocks like pandemics and floods. Her previous editorial work includes serving as an Editorial Assistant for the American Journal of Political Science (AJPS) and Associate Editor of the Philologia Undergraduate Research Journal. 

Editorial Board

Bassam al-Ahmad, Syrians for Truth and Justice
Al-Ahmad is the co-founder and Executive Director of  Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ), an international human rights documentation project located in Istanbul, Turkey, and Paris, France. A political refugee due to the Syrian Civil War, al-Ahmad established Syrians for Truth and Justice during the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Leaders for Democracy Fellowship program he took part in. Starting as a humble project to tell the stories of Syrians experiencing enforced disappearances and torture, STJ grew into an established organization committed to unveiling human rights violations of all sorts. Since its establishment, STJ has had access to thousands of victims, documented hundreds of violations, and trained dozens of human rights activists. Its private database reflects this engagement and aims at contributing to the prospects for justice. Covering all areas of Syria, STJ has fostered its experience of documenting in a conflict zone to reach out to the population, hear their story, and collect evidence. Willing to enhance the Syrian civil society, STJ also implements capacity-building projects on various topics, including digital security and civic engagement , helping transfer the skills and expertise to changemakers in the field.
Ellen Cushman, Northeastern University 
Cushman is Dean’s Professor of Civic Sustainability and Professor of English at Northeastern University, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Her work explores how people use literacy and language to endure and create change. Cushman’s current research takes up Cherokee philosophies of collective change and re-evaluates the commitment to civic mindedness at the heart of American literary and rhetorical studies. Cherokees Writing Resilience: Everyday Literacies of Collective Action (working title) will be the first monograph to treat the common writings of Cherokee people as evidence of a lived ethic of individual perseverance and a people’s collective resilience. Along with this book project, Cushman is currently co-leading a team that is developing a digital archive to support indigenous language learning through the translation of Cherokee language manuscripts housed in museums and archives around the United States. The Digital Archive of American Indian Languages Preservation and Perseverance (DAILP) project has been generously supported with an Institute for Museums and Library Services: Sparks! Ignition Grant, the Henry Luce Foundation: Indigenous Knowledge Initiative grant, and a Northeastern University Tier 1 grant. Cushman brings this background into publishing unheard voices and amplifying their impact through publications like Transformations.
Tessa Farmer, University of Virginia

Farmer is Assistant Professor in the Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures Department at the University of Virginia. She also serves as the Track Director for the Global Studies Middle East South Asia (GSMS) program at the University of Virginia. Farmer received her MA (2007) and PhD (2014) in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. She conducted fieldwork in Cairo, Egypt between 2009 and 2016. Based on this work, her current book project, “Cairo Ecologies: Water and Wastewater at the Doorstep”, investigates the ways in which lower income residents of Cairo work to obtain sources of potable water and deal with the ramifications of sewage in their urban ecology. Her research has been awarded funding by the Fulbright Hayes, the Social Science Research Council, the PEO, the University of Texas, and the University of Virginia. Her work has appeared in Middle East Law and Governance, Review of Middle East Studies, Text Practice, and Performance. 

Dareen Al-Khoury, Generations For Peace

Al-Khoury is a Communications Director at  Generations For Peace. Through her academic pursuits and research experience Al-Khoury has gained expertise in a wide range of research topics, including trust in information; journalism in inter-religious dialogue in the 22 Arab League countries; digital media and information literacy (DMIL), cyber harassment in Mosul, Iraq; media literacy amongst illiterate communities in Tal Afar and Fallujah, Iraq; the role of satire in youth political participation in Jordan; perceptions about pre-service teacher education in Jordan; and the use of discourse analysis to analyze publications of extremist organizations in Syria and Iraq, and Italy. Al-Khoury’s doctoral research analyzed the social, cultural, economic, and symbolic factors contributing to youth susceptibility to violence and extremism in Jordan. In her bilingual empirical research, Al-Khoury employed desk research, surveys, focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and descriptive data analysis techniques, including multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) and discourse analysis. Al-Khoury has managed data collection missions in collaboration with community-based organizations in conflict-affected areas. Al-Khoury received her PhD in the Analysis of Social and Economical Processes from the University of Milano Bicocca. Al-Khoury holds an MA in Communications, Media, and Advertizing from the University of Leicester in the UK. In addition to her research activities, Al-Khoury has actively participated in academic conventions, including the Italian Society of Political Science Conferences and the Democracy at the Crossroads School at the Berlin School of Social Sciences.  

Jahnisse Vaca-Daza, Freedom Fellows

Vaca-Daza is director of the Freedom Fellowship Program, sponsored by CANVAS and Human Rights Foundation. She is co-founder of Bolivian non-violent citizen movement Ríos de Pie (Spanish for Standing Rivers). She received her B.A. from Kent State University where she studied International Relations and graduated with honors. (She subsequently completed the Non-violent Movement Leadership for Social Progress program at Harvard Kennedy School. Her focus of work is human rights and non-violent action. She has received the 2018 Distinguished Honors Alumna Award from Kent State University for her work fostering democracy and teaching non-violent action as a way of protest in Bolivia.  

Srdja Popović, Center for Applied Non-Violent Actions and Strategies

Popović is a prominent non-violent expert and co-founder of the Centre for Applied Non-Violent Actions and Strategies (CANVAS), a non-profit organization dedicated to working with non-violent democratic movements around the world. The organization has worked with people in 52 countries to transfer knowledge of effective non-violent tactics and strategies. Popović appears in two award-winning documentaries, “Bringing Down a Dictator” and “How to Start a Revolution”. He is the author of numerous articles in publications such as Slate, The Guardian, and Foreign Policy Matters on the topic of non-violence, including the book “Blueprint for Revolution”. In 2011, Foreign Policy named Popović one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In 2012, Wired included Popović on its Smart List of “50 people who will change the world”, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2014, he was listed as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum in Davos. Over the past decade, Popović has also been awarded Poul Luritzen Human Rights and Democracy Award, Tuft University Global Citizenship Award, and The Lawrence and Lynne Brown Democracy Medal, presented by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Pennsylvania State University. He has taught at the Harvard Kennedy School, New York University, the University of Colorado, and St Andrews University in Scotland, UK. 

Rebecca Dingo, University of Amherst

Dingo is the author of Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy Writing (Pittsburgh 2012) (winner of the W. Ross Winterowd Award for outstanding book on Composition Theory 2013) and co-editor of The Megarhetorics of Global Development (with J. Blake Scott) (Pittsburgh 2012). Her most recent book is Transnational Feminist Rhetorics and Gendered Leadership in Global Politics: From Daughters of Destiny to Iron Ladies. Dingo has also published articles and chapters on a wide range of topics related to rhetoric, feminism, composition, and globalization. She has reviewed manuscripts for several rhetoric, composition, and women’s studies journals, and is on the Editorial Board of Lexington Press’ Cultural Studies/Pedagogy/Activism series. Dingo’s research spans the fields of composition and rhetoric and feminist studies; she has published essays on transnational feminist rhetorical methods, transnational literacy, writing program administration and globalization, as well as a policy brief on UK international disability and development policies.  

Ahmed Albdelhakim Hachelaf, Generations For Peace

Hachelaf is a Senior Peace and  Conflict  Education  Specialist at  Generations For Peace,  where he conducts research, and focuses on the creation of training processes and systems through curriculum development and instructional design, all in service of the organization’s peacebuilding mission. With Dr Parks, Hachelaf is the co-founder of the Twiza Project, which engages youth who work to have social impact in  capacity building and education. Previously, Hachelaf was an Assistant Professor at Higher Normal School at Laghouat and University of Algiers II, and a Resident Research Fellow at the Moynihan Institute at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. He has also worked as a project manager for several social enterprises and non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa region, and US-based consulting firms including The Obama Foundation, Dexis, IIIT, and Five Oaks. The main objective of the projects Hachelaf led was widening access to opportunities for youth and marginalized segments of society. In 2012, Hachelaf was chosen as a Leaders for Democracy fellow and subsequently as the delegate of Algeria in a UN event in New York, as well as a Caux Scholar in Switzerland. He is a frequent presenter on civic education and social justice in the Middle East and North Africa. Hachelaf’s work has appeared in “Revolution by Love: Emerging Arab Youth Voices”, where he spoke to issues of social change through education, and in the “Equality and Justice: An Engaged Generation, a Troubled World”, as well as in several peer-reviewed articles. 

Evan Mawarire, Renew Democracy Initiative
Mawarire is a Zimbabwean pastor and civil rights activist. He is best known as the founder of the #ThisFlag Citizen Movement, which utilized the Zimbabwean flag as a symbol of national pride in a social media campaign to ignite public demand for accountability of the government’s widespread corruption and abuse of office. #ThisFlag was instrumental in the protests that led to Robert Mugabe’s resignation. Mawarire’s work has attracted international attention: Foreign Policy named him one of the 100 global thinkers of 2016, and South Africa’s Daily Maverick newspaper named him the 2016 African Person of the Year. Mawarire is a 2018 Stanford University Fellow of the Centre for Democracy Development and the Rule of Law. He is a nominee of the 2017 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression awards and the 2018 Swedish government’s Per Anger Prize for democracy actors. In addition to holding a fellowship at Stanford University’s Centre for Democracy Development and the Rule of Law, as 2020 Yale University World Fellow, and as Reagan-Fascell Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, Mawarire has addressed audiences at The Atlantic Council, Harvard, Oxford Union, Oslo Freedom Forum, and Geneva Summit. He currently serves as the Director of Education for Renew Democracy Initiative.
Eileen Schell, Syracuse University 

Schell is a Professor of Writing and Rhetoric as well as the L. Douglass and Laura Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence. Schell’s research is focused on women’s rights in a transnational context, with a specific focus on community writing as a tool to find voice and agency. Her work also includes a specific focus on the methodologies that guide transnational feminist rhetorical studies. This is well represented in her co-edited collection Rhetorica in Motion:  Feminist Rhetorical Methods and Methodologies (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010) and in recent articles. Schell also co-edits the series Writing, Culture, and Community Practices for Syracuse University Press. 

Catherine Vieria, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Vieira is the Susan J. Cellmer Distinguished Chair in Literacy in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of American by Paper: How Documents Matter in Immigrant Literacy (University of Minnesota Press, 2016; Honorable Mention CCCC Outstanding Book Award, 2017) and Writing for Love and Money: How Migration Drives Literacy Learning in Transnational Families (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). She is a recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award (2018-2019), a Spencer/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2016), a Conference of College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Chair’s Research Initiative Grant (2017), and the Donald Murray Prize for Creative Nonfiction (2018). Her areas of specialization include writing studies, writing and peacebuilding, composition and rhetoric, and migration and literacy.