The Vision Series

2013-2014 Fairfax Speakers

Bassam Haddad

Bassam Haddad's is Director of the Middle East Studies Program and teaches in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, and is Visiting Professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011). Bassam is currently editing a volume on Teaching the Middle East After the Arab Uprisings, a book manuscript on pedagogical and theoretical approaches. His most recent book is a co-edited volume with the title Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of an Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012). Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal a peer-reviewed research publication and is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of a critically acclaimed film series on Arabs and Terrorism, based on extensive field research/interviews. More recently, he directed a film on Arab/Muslim immigrants in Europe, titled The "Other" Threat. Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and serves on the Editorial Committee of Middle East Report. He is the Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute, an umbrella for five organizations dealing with knowledge production on the Middle East, and Founding Editor of Tadween Publishing.

Kenneth A. De Jong

Kenneth A. De Jong received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Michigan in 1975. He joined George Mason University in 1984 and is currently a Professor of Computer Science, head of the Evolutionary Computation Laboratory, and Associate Director of the Krasnow Institute. His research interests include genetic algorithms, evolutionary computation, machine learning, and adaptive systems. He is currently involved in research projects involving the development of new evolutionary algorithm (EA) theory, the use of EAs as heuristics for NP-hard problems, and the application of EAs to the problem of learning task programs in domains such as robotics, navigation and game playing. Support for these projects is provided by DARPA, ONR, NSF and NRL. He is an active member of the Evolutionary Computation research community and has been involved in organizing many of the workshops and conferences in this area. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Evolutionary Computation (MIT Press), and a member of the board of ACM SIGEVO. He is the recipient of an IEEE Pioneer award in the field of Evolutionary Computation and a lifetime achievement award from the Evolutionary Programming Society.

Joy Fraser

Folklorist Joy Fraser is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at George Mason University, specializing in folk narrative, foodways, folk custom and drama, and the folk culture of tourism. She earned her PhD in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, in 2011. Fraser is working on her first book project, which traces the evolving status of haggis as a contested symbol of Scottish nationality from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. In 2012, the project was selected for the prestigious Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World multi-press book series workshop. The series publishes exceptional first books that exemplify the interdisciplinary and international nature of contemporary folklore scholarship. Fraser's essays have appeared in several publications, including the journals Contemporary Legend, Scottish Studies, and Ethnologies.

Susan Shields

Susan Shields is the recipient of the 2006 Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography, and has created dances on several professional companies and universities. Her work appears in the repertories of Ballet West, The Juilliard School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, The Washington Ballet, Richmond Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Boston Ballet II, City Dance Ensemble, and numerous universities. Shields was recently nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for her choreography in STAY, an evening length work she co-created with playwright Heather McDonald, that premiered in 2011 at the Lansburgh Theater.

Shields performed nationally and internationally, most recently as a member of Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project. In addition to performing the works of numerous contemporary choreographers, she was partnered with Baryshnikov in Mark Morris' acclaimed dance, The Argument.

She was also a member of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company for eight years, performing a substantial part of his repertory worldwide. She performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group in The Hard Nut, and has performed with Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians, Eliot Feld Ballet New York, and The Washington Ballet, where she received her training.

She holds a BA in Philosophy from SUNY Empire State and an MFA from George Mason University, where she is the Director of the School of Dance.

Elavie Ndura

Professor Elavie Ndura is an international education expert with over 20 years of experience in developing, implementing and managing intercultural education, teacher education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages programs in the United States and Burundi. She is a tenured Professor of Education and the founder and coordinator of the Shinnyo Fellowship for Peacebuilding through Intercultural Dialogue at George Mason University. Fueled by her passion for and dedication to equity and social justice, Professor Ndura’s teaching builds bridges of caring critical social consciousness to advance the quest for lasting peace.

Professor Ndura’s signature interdisciplinary research and scholarship that unites multicultural education, peace education, and conflict analysis and resolution highlight the central role of formal and non-formal education in peacebuilding. Her six books include Seeds of New Hope: Pan-African Peace Studies for the Twenty-First Century; Seeds Bearing Fruit: Pan-African Peace Action for the Twenty-First Century; Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action; and Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice. Additionally, her work is featured in more than 30 book chapters and professional journal articles, and numerous conference presentations and keynotes.

Professor Ndura’s many awards include the 2010-2011 Woodrow Wilson Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; the Peace and Justice Studies Association’s 2011 Peace Educator of the Year Award; the 2008 United Burundian Community Association Imboneza Award; and the 2004 Reno-Sparks NAACP Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Award. She was a recipient of the British Council scholarship and a Fulbright scholar.

Professor Ndura holds a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in Bilingual and Multicultural Education from Northern Arizona University, USA; a M.Ed. in Teaching English for Specific Purposes from the University of Exeter, England; a B.A. in Arts and Social Sciences with emphasis in English Language and Literature from the University of Burundi; and a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution Advanced Skills from George Mason University.