Facing History and Project Zero Day of Learning Speaker Bios

Learn more about the speakers and scholars from our past Day of Learning events, hosted in partnership with Harvard University's Project Zero. Recordings from previous Day of Learning events are available to be viewed.

Anthony Appiah, New York University

Kwame Anthony Appiah is chair of the Facing History Board of Scholars, as well as a Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University, where he teaches both in New York and in Abu Dhabi and at other NYU global centers. He has worked in philosophy of mind and language, ethics and political philosophy, and African and African American Studies. He is currently interested in the relation between philosophical ethics and other disciplines, among them political theory, literary studies, and psychology. His prize-winning books include The Ethics of Identity and Cosmopolitanism; with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., he is the editor of Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience

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Sandra Arnold, Periwinkle Initiative

Sandra Arnold is the founder and Executive Director of the Periwinkle Initiative – a nonprofit dedicated to the education and protection of heritage sites associated with enslaved Americans. The Periwinkle Initiative is equipped with an advisory team that includes the National Park Service, Fordham Law School and The Gilder Lerham Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University. Its core project is the National Burial Database of Enslaved Americans – the first and only national database to document burials and burial grounds of enslaved Americans.

Ms. Arnold was born and raised in rural Tennessee during the American Civil Rights Movement to parents and grandparents who are survivors of the Jim Crow era - her great grandfather was born enslaved. The discovery of his gravesite sparked her passion to protect burial grounds of enslaved Americans, as well as create the Burial Database Project of Enslaved African Americans at Fordham University. Ms. Arnold received her B.A. in history from Fordham where she is currently on staff in the departments of History, African and African American Studies, and the Latin American and Latino Studies Institute. She is also an advisor in the Office of Student Leadership and Community Development.

Lynn Barendsen, GoodWork Project

Lynn has been working on the GoodWork Project through Project Zero since 1997, and current research also includes a study on Quality and Good Collaboration. Lynn has written articles about young social and business entrepreneurs and young professionals in theater and business, and authored several chapters on GoodWork related research, including, with Howard Gardner, a chapter on the Young Worker in a Global Age in the Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work (Oxford University Press, 2009). With Wendy Fischman, she co-developed the GoodWork Toolkit, designed to help develop a common language that school communities and other institutions can use to define their work and identify their goals. Lynn has published articles on African American and regionalist literatures, and taught courses in literature and film, English and American literature, and expository writing.

Roger Brooks, Facing History and Ourselves

Roger Brooks is President and CEO of Facing History and Ourselves. He is also a renowned educator, scholar and leader. Previously, Brooks held a long and distinguished tenure at Connecticut College, where in addition to his service as Dean of the Faculty and Chief Academic Officer from 2007-2014, he has also held the Elie Wiesel Professorship in the department of Religious Studies for 23 years. Brooks also is currently a Fellow at the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia University Law School. As Dean of Faculty at Connecticut College, Brooks worked collaboratively in every aspect of the institution’s work: leading the academic program, advancing the school’s information technology program, developing capital projects, and expanding fundraising. Brooks also led Connecticut College in substantially increasing faculty diversity. Brooks’ outstanding contributions to the classroom were recognized when he received the John S. King Memorial Award, the highest teaching honor Connecticut College confers on faculty.

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Jeffrey Burds, Northeastern University

Jeffrey Burds is Associate Professor of History at Northeastern University, the recipient of three awards for excellence in teaching. Professor Burds completed a PhD with distinction at Yale University in 1990. He is the author of four books--three on Ukraine. For fifteen years, Burds has been working on a series of microhistories from World War II in Ukraine. His work has drawn from documents in English, German, Hebrew, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian from archives in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the United States, and Israel. These archival studies have been supplemented by interviews, and subsequent access to private family collections.

Rebecca Hamilton, Columbia Law School

Bec Hamilton’s scholarship draws on her background in the study of genocide, international criminal law, and social movements, as well as her earlier work as a foreign correspondent. She is the author of Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide, published by Palgrave Macmillan, which analyzes the growth of citizen activism against mass atrocities. Her current work sits at the nexus of international law and international relations, exploring the role of networks in the formation and maintenance of international law in the 21st century.

Before joining Columbia Law School, Hamilton served as a lawyer in the prosecutorial division of the International Criminal Court, working on cases arising from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda and Sudan. Hamilton has lectured on mass atrocities and international law at universities across the United States, as well as in the U.K., the Netherlands and Australia. During law school, Hamilton was the Managing Editor of the Harvard Human Rights Journal, and a teaching assistant for Justice Richard Goldstone. She worked in the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, represented asylum seekers as a student attorney in Boston, and received the Gary Bellow Award for excellence in public interest work.

As a journalist, Hamilton worked as a foreign correspondent for the Washington Post, and a legal correspondent for Reuters. A Pulitzer Center grantee, and former fellow at the New America Foundation and the Open Society Foundation, her writing for mainstream audiences has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, The International Herald Tribune, and The New Republic. Before law school, Hamilton worked to change the legislation in New Zealand, her country of birth, to ensure a right to identity for children conceived with the use of gamete donors. Hamilton is admitted as an attorney in the State of New York, and serves as Co-Chair of the International Criminal Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law.

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, University of Southern California

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D. is an affective neuroscientist and human development psychologist who studies the development of social emotion and self-awareness across cultures, connections to social resilience and morality, and implications for education. She is an Assistant Professor of Education, Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Southern California. A former public junior high school science teacher, she earned her doctorate in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard University in 2005 and completed her postdoctoral training in affective neuroscience with Antonio Damasio in 2008. In 2010, she and her co-authors received the PNAS editorial board’s Cozzarelli Prize for their paper, Neural Correlates of Admiration and Compassion. She holds an NSF CAREER award and in 2011 was named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science. She has received an honor coin from the U.S. ARMY and a commendation from the County of Los Angeles for her work on compassion education, and is the inaugural recipient of the IMBES Award for Transforming Education through Neuroscience. In 2014 she received the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Early Career Award for Engaging the Public in Science and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Early Career Award.

Carrie James, Project Zero

Carrie James is a Research Director and Principal Investigator at Project Zero, and Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A sociologist by training, Carrie’s research explores young people's digital, moral, and civic lives. Since arriving at PZ in 2003, Carrie has worked with Howard Gardner and colleagues on The Good Project. She co-directs the Good Play Project, a research and educational initiative focused youth, ethics, and the new digital media, and the Good Participation project, a study of how youth “do civics” in the digital age. Carrie is also co-PI of the Out of Eden Learn project, an educational companion to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek's epic Out of Eden walk. Her publications include Disconnected: Youth, New Media, and the Ethics Gap (The MIT Press, Forthcoming, 2014). Carrie is a recurring faculty member for the Project Zero Classroom and the Future of Learning summer institutes. She holds an M.A.(1996) and a Ph.D.(2003) in Sociology from New York University.

Aliza Luft, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Aliza Luft is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Madison working on issues related to state violence, political violence, and persecution. Specifically, her research agenda focuses on the decision-making processes underlying individuals' behaviors in high-risk contexts. What motivates individuals to participate in political violence, and what motivates them to stop? Aliza's research has been supported by the Chateaubriand Fellowship of the Fulbright Commission and French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Social Science History Association, and the Wisconsin Center for Jewish Studies, among others. Aliza has also served as a research assistant for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate.

Jill Medvedow, Institute of Contemporary Art

Jill Medvedow is the first Ellen Matilda Poss Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Under Medvedow’s civic leadership, she envisioned a bold plan to expand the ICA, winning designation to build a new museum on Boston’s waterfront and hiring architects Diller + Scofidio for their first major project. The ICA’s iconic new building opened to critical and public acclaim in 2006, pioneering Boston’s new Innovation District, and increasing museum attendance over tenfold. With the Board of Trustees, Medvedow has successfully led two major capital and endowment campaigns, and, since opening the museum, has transformed the ICA into one of the nation’s most ambitious centers for contemporary art. At the ICA, Medvedow has created a national model for teen arts education, investing in urban adolescents as future leaders, artists and electorate. With more than 7,000 teens participating in ICA teen education programs annually, ICA teens were recognized by the White House twice over the past year, including a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program award. The new ICA catalyzed a renaissance of contemporary art in Boston, building a community of collectors, curators, philanthropists, educators and artists. With a  focus on mid-career and emerging visual and performing artists and leading-edge curatorial projects, under Medvedow’s tenure the ICA has organized landmark exhibitions and solo exhibitions and performances. After 70 years as a kunsthalle, she transformed the ICA into a collecting institution, focused on 21st century art and artists. Medvedow’s leadership has been consistent throughout her career from her early work in Seattle to her founding of Vita Brevis, a contemporary arts organization that produced temporary projects in nontraditional sites, linking history and landscape to public art. She was the first Deputy Director and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Medvedow is co-editor of Vita Brevis: History, Landscape, and Art 1998–2003, published by Steidl. Medvedow sits on the national advisory boards of the PBS series Art 21 and the National Arts and Learning Curriculum, she served as Chair of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Working Group on the Creative Economy, and she is a member of Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s Economic Development Transition Team. Her transformative direction of the ICA is subject of an MIT Sloan School of Management Case Study on Leadership and Risk.

Martha Minow, Harvard Law School

Martha Minow is the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School where she has taught since 1981. An expert in human rights with a focus on members of racial and religious minorities and women, children, and persons with disabilities, her scholarship also has addressed private military contractors, management of mass torts, transitional justice, and law, culture, and social change. She has published over 150 articles and her books include In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Educational Landmark (2010); Partners, Not Rivals, Privatization and the Public Good (2002); and Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence (1998); she is co-editor of law school casebooks on civil procedure, and on gender and the law. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Minow received her law degree at Yale Law School before serving as a law clerk to Judge David Bazelon and Justice Thurgood Marshall. A member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, her awards include the Sacks-Freund Teaching Award; the Holocaust Center Award; the Radcliffe Graduate Society Medal; Trinity College History Society Gold Medal; and seven honorary doctorates.

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Luis Moreno-Ocampo, International Criminal Court

Luis Moreno-Ocampo was the first Chief Prosecutor (June 2003- June 2012) of the new and permanent International Criminal Court. His office was involved in twenty of the most serious crises of the 21st century including Iraq, Korea, Afghanistan, and Palestine. He conducted investigations in seven different countries, presenting charges against Muammar Gaddafi, the President of the Sudan Omar Al Bashir, the former President of Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo, Joseph Kony and the former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Jean Pierre Bemba. Previously, Moreno-Ocampo played a crucial role during the transition to democracy in Argentina, as the deputy prosecutor in the "Junta trial" in 1985 and the Prosecutor in the trial against a military rebellion in 1991. He was a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and Harvard University. He is now in private practice at a New York law firm and Senior Fellow at Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University.

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Elaine Pagels, Princeton University

Elaine Pagels is best known for research and publication involving a cache of over fifty ancient Greek texts discovered translated into Coptic in Upper Egypt in 1945. After completing her doctorate at Harvard University she participated with an international team of scholars to edit, translate, and publish several of these texts. After publishing two monographs and several scholarly articles, she wrote The Gnostic Gospels, which won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Then, having received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, she joined the faculty at Princeton University in 1982 as the Harrington Professor of History of Religion at Princeton University, where she now teaches and engages in research. Besides continuing to write scholarly articles, she has published other books accessible to a wider audience, including Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, which explores how various Jewish and Christian readings of the Genesis accounts articulate a wide range of attitudes toward sexuality and politics; The Origin of Satan: How Christians Came to Demonize Jews, Pagans, and Heretics; Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas and most recently, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation (Viking Penguin, 2012).

Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

Jon Sawyer is founding director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit organization that funds independent reporting with the intent of raising the standard of media coverage and engaging the broadest possible public in global affairs. The Center partners with major newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets as well as universities and high schools across the country and in Europe. In 2013 the Center provided over $1 million in direct support to journalists working on 90 projects. Jon, previously Washington bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was selected three years in a row for the National Press Club's award for best foreign reporting. The Pulitzer Center has won an Emmy for new approaches to news and documentary, the Asia Society's Goldman Sachs Foundation Prize for best use of technology in international education, and best online journalism prizes from the National Press Foundation, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Press Club.

Doris Sommer, Harvard University

Doris Sommer, Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University, is Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies. Her academic and outreach work promotes development through arts and humanities, specifically through “Pre-Texts” in Boston Public Schools, throughout Latin America and beyond. Pre-Texts is an arts-based training program for teachers of literacy, critical thinking, and citizenship. Among her books are Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America (1991) about novels that helped to consolidate new republics; Proceed with Caution when Engaged by Minority Literature (1999) on a rhetoric of particularism; Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education (2004); and The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities (2014). Sommer has enjoyed and is dedicated to developing good public school education. She has a B.A. from New Jersey's Douglass College for Women, and Ph.D. from Rutgers, The State University.

Margot Stern Strom, Facing History and Ourselves

Margot Stern Strom is the Klarman Family Executive Director at Facing History and Ourselves, and has spent more than thirty years as an educator, author, and lecturer. Since 1979, she has been executive director and president of the Facing History and Ourselves National Foundation. Since 1994, Strom has also served as senior officer for the Harvard/Facing History and Ourselves Project and co-chair of the project’s Advisory Committee. She is the recipient of numerous civic and education awards, including the 1997 Charles A. Dana Foundation Award for Pioneering Achievement in Education. She has been featured in many national and local media and has co-authored several articles and books on moral education and citizenship education. Strom received a B.A. in liberal arts and sciences from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in history from Memphis State University, and a C.A.S. in human development from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has been awarded an L.L.D. Honorary Degree from Hebrew College, and Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degrees from Lesley University, Northeastern University, and Bard College.

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Ethan Zuckerman, MIT

Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and a principal research scientist at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the distribution of attention in mainstream and new media, the use of technology for international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. With Rebecca MacKinnon, Zuckerman co-founded international blogging community Global Voices. Global Voices showcases news and opinions from citizen media in over 150 nations and thirty languages, publishing editions in twenty languages. Through Global Voices and through the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where he served as a researcher and fellow for eight years, Zuckerman is active in efforts to promote freedom of expression and fight censorship in online spaces. In 2000, Zuckerman founded Geekcorps, a technology volunteer corps that sends IT specialists to work on projects in developing nations, with a focus on West Africa. Previously he helped found Tripod.com, one of the web's first "personal publishing" sites. He blogs at http://ethanzuckerman.com/blog. He received his bachelor's degree from Williams College, and, as a Fulbright scholar, studied at the University of Ghana at Legon.

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