Day of Learning 2014 Speakers

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 towardsexuality 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).

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.

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.

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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