July 24, 2014

Al-Tikriti Chairs Social Media Panel, Re-Elected to MSF USA Board

Nabil Al-Tikriti at MSF USA General Assembly in NYC

Nabil Al-Tikriti at MSF USA General Assembly in NYC

During the May 30-31, 2014 MSF/Doctors Without Borders USA annual General Assembly, Associate Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti successfully ran for re-election to the MSF USA board of directors. Each term runs for three years, and is completely voluntary. First elected in 2011, with his re-election Al-Tikriti hopes to continue serving on the MSF USA board through 2014. Elected board members traditionally spring from returned field volunteers, a qualification which Al-Tikriti gained in Somalia (1993), Iran (1996), Albania (1999), Turkey (1999), Jordan/Iraq (2002-2003), and Turkey/Syria (2013).

In his capacity as a board member, on May 30 Al-Tikriti co-organized (with Jason Cone, MSF USA Director of Communications), moderated, and led discussion for a plenary session entitled “Use of Social Media in Crisis Situations” during the 2014 MSF USA General Assembly in Brooklyn. During this session, participants set out to describe various experiences in the field regarding the use of social media.

Session panelists included: Wendy Harman (Director of Information Management and Situational Awareness, American Red Cross), Patrick Meier (Director of Social Innovation at QCRI), Chris Houston (Member, MSF Canada Board of Directors), and Jason Cone (Director of Communications, MSF USA).

The session description was as follows: “MSF’s relationship with social media is no longer a matter of choice, if indeed it ever was. Social media is the communications reality in which MSF must learn to operate. What new challenges does this pose, and what are the opportunities to be found therein? What have been our experiences with social media in recent years, and what lessons might we learn from them? What are we doing in order both to leverage social media in furtherance of our own ends, and to prepare ourselves for instances when pressure is exerted on MSF via social media?”

Aminrazavi Presents at International Conference

Mehdi Aminrazavi, professor of Philosophy and Religion and Co-Director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies, presented a paper entitled “The Pearls and Perils of Teaching the Prophetic Message Virtually” at the International Conference on Islamic E-Learning.

Sponsored jointly by The Islamic College of London and Middlesex University, the conference was held in London on May 27 and 28.

Harris Serves as Seminar Fellow

James Monroe Museum Director Scott Harris was among 42 museum professionals from across the United States and three other countries participating in the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries Leadership Seminar held at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, June 23-27.  Dynamic, engaging, highly interactive by design and interspersed with team and individual problem-solving exercises in leadership and management, this intensive five-day certificate program allows participants to learn from one another and be guided and inspired by nationally-recognized scholars drawn principally from Kellogg’s renowned faculty.  As a Seminar Fellow, Harris will benefit from an expanded knowledge base and a valuable professional network to help guide development of the James Monroe Museum.  The Association of Academic Museums and Galleries is the leading educational and professional organization for academic museums, galleries, and collections.

O’Brien Contributes to Library of Congress Exhibit

Bruce O’Brien, professor of History and American Studies, is one of four national experts who served as an adviser for the Library of Congress’ exhibition “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor” to celebrate the document’s 800th anniversary.

The exhibition runs from Nov. 6, 2014, through Jan. 19, 2014, and will display one of only four surviving copies of the 2015 Magna Carta. On loan from the Lincoln Cathedral in England, the document will travel to several museums before its final stop at the Library of Congress. The exhibition will also feature medieval manuscripts, published works, prints, photographs, maps, posters and annotated draft opinions by justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

For more information, visit http://loc.gov/today/pr/2014/14-113.html.

New Director of Student Activities & Engagement

Ethan Feuer joined the Division of Student Affairs on June 25 as the new director of student activities and engagement.  The former director, Joe Mollo, retired from the position in June.

Ethan comes most recently from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he served as the student activities coordinator for the MIT Energy Initiative.

He received his master of arts in higher education from the University of Michigan, and his bachelor of arts in history with a minor in education from Brandeis University.

Please join us in welcoming Ethan to the UMW community.

Harris and Farnsworth Publish Research

Benjamin M. Harris, a 2014 political science graduate from the University of Mary Washington and Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of UMW’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, are coauthors of a research article, “With Overwhelming Support for Nonpartisan Redistricting, Virginians are Studying Ways to Make That Happen,” which was published in the June 2014 issue of the Virginia News Letter, published by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.

Gately Performs with National Symphony Orchestra

Doug Gately performed with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Emil De Cou at Wolf Trap on June 20.  The program, “Pixar in Concert,”  featured 14 films that Pixar Animation Studios has produced. Collectively, this music has won three Academy Awards, 10 Oscar nominations, and 10 Grammy Awards. The music with film included Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Ratatuoille, A Bugs Life, Wall-E, Cars, Up, The Incredibles, Brave, Monsters Inc. and Monsters University.

Nabil Al-Tikriti Discusses Iraq on KPFA and KPFK Pacifica Radio Stations

Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti

Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti

On Friday, June 13, 2014, Associate Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti appeared on Los Angeles based KPFK’s “Radio Uprising” program to discuss the latest developments in Iraq. Hosted by Sonali Kolhatkar, Al-Tikriti was also joined by Matt Howard of the NGO “Iraq Veterans Against the War.”

The segment lasted just over 18 minutes, and can be screened via this podcast link: http://uprisingradio.org/home/2014/06/13/breaking-sunni-militants-capture-cities-as-baghdad-braces-for-an-invasion/.

In the course of this discussion, Al-Tikriti described the factors dating back to the 2003 Anglo-American invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq which led to the current crisis. He also offered prescriptive advice for today’s policymakers, suggesting both that the regional sectarian war that many have been predicting has in fact arrived, and that one of the few policy options with a modest chance of success would be for U.S. officials to mediate a meeting between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

On Saturday, June 21, 2014, Nabil Al-Tikriti appeared on San Francisco’s KPFA “Saturday Morning Talk” program to discuss developments in Iraq. Hosted by Kris Welch, Al-Tikriti was also joined by Sami Rassouli of the “Muslim Peacemaker Teams” and Robert Naiman of “Just Foreign Policy.”

The segment lasted roughly 55 minutes, and can be screened via this podcast link until July 5: http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/103986. Al-Tikriti’s starts at the 1:06 minute mark.

In the course of this discussion, Al-Tikriti described the meaning of the term ISIL, the evolution of the organization’s growth, the role played by U.S. foreign policy in the past, and some of the options facing foreign policymakers today.

Jim Groom Co-Authors Article in EDUCAUSE Review

Jim Groom and Brian Lamb published the article  “Reclaiming Innovation” in the May/June edition of EDUCAUSE Review. The article examines the state of innovation in higher education in regards to information and education technologies. Additionally, the article featured a series of supplemental videos about various sites of innovation, including one focusing on UMW’s intiaitive Domain of One’s Own. You can read the article online here and watch the video below.

UMW Geography Professor Awarded National Grant

University of Mary Washington professor Stephen Hanna is the recipient of a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct fieldwork at plantation museums in the American South. Hanna is professor of geography at UMW, and is an expert on commemorative landscapes, cartography, and critical applications of GIS.

Hanna and his research partners will conduct fieldwork at plantations, like the Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana. Photo by Arnold Modlin (Norfolk State).

Hanna and his research partners will conduct fieldwork at plantations, like the Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana. Photo by Arnold Modlin (Norfolk State).

The NSF grant, totaling $445,423 over three years, will support the project “Transformation of Racialized American Southern Heritage Landscape.”  Hanna is co-principal investigator for the project with David Butler (University of Southern Mississippi), Derek Alderman (University of Tennessee), Perry Carter (Texas Tech University), Amy Potter (Armstrong Atlantic State University), and Arnold Modlin (Norfolk State University).

The grant, supplemented by Hanna’s Waple Professorship, will allow Hanna and three UMW undergraduate students to join faculty and graduate students from the other universities to conduct fieldwork at plantation museums in Louisiana, coastal South Carolina and Georgia, and Virginia’s James River region.

Stephen Hanna

Stephen Hanna

During the fieldwork, students and faculty will survey and interview plantation visitors, tour guides, and owners, and will conduct participant observations of the tours. Based on pilot research already conducted at four plantation museums in Louisiana, the researchers aim to determine how and to what extent narratives of the enslaved are incorporated in the landscapes and narrations of these museums. They will document visitors’ experiences to show how the role of slavery in the region’s and country’s history are presented at these sites.

Throughout the project, Hanna will teach UMW students to transcribe, code and analyze qualitative data. Students will map the plantation sites and create a website, hosted by UMW, to disseminate the project’s results.