The Peace and War Center at Norwich University is an academic center of excellence for students, scholars, and practitioners that works to advance interdisciplinary knowledge on the relationship between peace and warfare at local, national, and global levels.
Feb. 15: Shabana Basij-Rasikh
Born and raised in Kabul, Shabana finished high school in the U.S. through the State Department's Youth Exchange Studies program. She went on to attend Middlebury College in Vermont, graduating magna cum laude in International Studies and Women & Gender Studies in 2011. In 2016, Shabana was awarded an honorary doctorate from SOAS University of London.
While at Middlebury, Shabana was awarded a Davis Peace Prize-with which she built wells in the outskirts of Kabul-and was selected as one of Glamour Magazine's Top 10 College Women of 2010. She also received the Vermont Campus Compact 2011 Madeleine Kunin Public Service Award for outstanding leadership and service to others.
While still in college, Shabana co-founded SOLA-School of Leadership, Afghanistan, a nonprofit dedicated to giving young Afghans access to quality education abroad and jobs back home. After graduating from Middlebury, she returned to Kabul to turn SOLA into the nation's first boarding school for girls. SOLA provides college preparatory courses to students aged 11 to 19 representing all major ethnic groups, religious sects, and tribes. It also helps graduates enter universities worldwide and return to substantive careers in Afghanistan, where they often become the first women to enter their fields.
During this period, Shabana served as the National Gender Mainstreaming Advisor at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development's National Solidarity Program in Kabul, but left the position in 2012 to focus on SOLA full time. In addition to leading SOLA, Shabana's advocacy work on the importance of educating girls takes her around the world. She is a global ambassador for Girl Rising, a call to action seeking investment in girls' education worldwide. In recognition for her work, Shabana was named one of National Geographic's 2014 Emerging Explorers, and one of CNN International's Leading Women of 2014.
March 5-7: Jim Townsend, "The US, NATO and Transatlantic Defense"
Jim Townsend is an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where he is building a Transatlantic Security Program with Julieanne Smith. Their program has become the crossing point for Europeans and Americans who want to know more about the Transatlantic community-how it works, the institutions that underpin it, and how to do business in the community.
Before going to CNAS, Jim spent eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European and NATO Policy. That assignment completed more than 34 years of work primarily on European and NATO policy in the Pentagon, at NATO and at the Atlantic Council. His work spanned the Cold War, post-Cold War political reconstruction in Europe and Europe's new challenges including Russia and terrorism. Through his work, he has helped execute US military engagement in almost every conflict from the Gulf War to the reintroduction of US forces into Europe to deter Russia. He also played critical roles in NATO enlargement, NATO reform, and helping to build bilateral defense relations with the new democracies coming from the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Before becoming DASD in 2009, Jim was a Vice President in the Atlantic Council of the United States and Director of the Council's Program on International Security. In this position, he strengthened the Council's voice and impact on transatlantic security and defense issues, making the Atlantic Council a leading player in shaping the Euro-Atlantic defense agenda.
Jim joined the Atlantic Council in 2006 after a distinguished Civil Service career at the Pentagon and at NATO. In the 1990s, Jim was the Principal Director of European and NATO Policy, the Director of NATO Policy and the Director of the Defense Plans Division at the US Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium.
Travis Morris, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, is currently the director of Norwich University's Peace and War Center. The mission of the Center is to promote discussions and understanding of war and its effects; to convey that there is always a relationship between peace and war; to advance interdisciplinary knowledge for students, scholars, and practitioners on the relationship between peace and war at local, national, and global levels. Dr. Morris holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska, an MS in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University, and a BA in criminology from Northern Illinois University. He was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer with the 10th Mountain Division, U.S. Army, and a police officer in Lexington, Ky. Dr. Morris teaches courses in terrorism, policing, homeland security, and criminology; his research interests include violent extremist propaganda analysis, information warfare, and comparative justice systems. He has published on the relationship between policing, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, and counter-insurgency and has conducted ethnographic research in Yemen and published on how crime intersects with formal and informal justice systems in a socio-cultural context.
Yangmo Ku is an assistant professor of political science and the associate director of the Peace and War Center at Norwich University. He received his BA in German Language and Literature from Sogang University in Seoul and earned his MA in International Affairs and PhD in Political Science from George Washington University. He taught at the School of International Service at American University before moving to Norwich in July 2012. Since then, he has taught various courses, including International Relations, Asian Politics, Intro to International Studies, International Law/Organizations, and US-China Relations. Dr. Ku's research focuses on Korean politics, East Asian security, US foreign policy, and the politics of memory and reconciliation in East Asia and Europe. His coauthored book, titled Politics in North and South Korea: Political Development, Economy, and Foreign Relations, will be published by Routledge in December 2017. His previous research has also appeared in the Journal of East Asian Studies, Asian Perspective, Pacific Focus, Asian Journal of Peacebuilding, and the Yale Journal of International Affairs, as well as in two edited volumes on memory and reconciliation and North Korean nuclear issues.
Nicole DiDomenico serves as the Norwich University Director of Civic Engagement, Service-Learning and Campus-Community Partnerships. She began the University's Office of Volunteer Programs in 2002 and oversees what is now the Center for Civic Engagement, it's on-going and one-time (on-campus and off-campus) local and domestic public service programs, events and clubs. In 2004, Ms. DiDomenico began Norwich University' NU VISIONS Abroad program - a short-term international and interdisciplinary service-learning program focused on collaborative problem-solving with host community partners based on the needs expressed by the communities served. Since its inception, Ms. DiDomenico has since sent over 120 students to 7 countries on 18 international service trips to sites such as Tanzania, Viet Nam, the Philippines, Haiti, Nicaragua and others. She holds a Masters in Teaching with a concentration in Service-Learning from SUNY Plattsburgh (2002,) and a Masters of Public Administration with a track in Organizational Leadership from Norwich University (2015.) Her skillsets include conducting needs assessments in culturally diverse settings with diverse populations; harnessing the human and other available resources to address expressed needs; assessing site risk; planning group travel and logistics; event planning; fundraising; and leadership development. In her free time, she serves on the Upendo Mmoja Board of Directors, and is an active member of the Northfield Rotary Club.
Miri Kim is an assistant professor of history at Norwich University. Her work is centered on intercultural flows of ideas and materials in northeast China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As a China specialist with a lifelong interest in the study of languages as well as regional and world history, she is strongly committed to incorporating multiple perspectives and methods into her teaching as well as research. At Norwich, she teaches courses in the history of world civilizations, China, Japan, and East Asia that aim to engage students in the same way. She is the academic advisor for the Norwich University Model United Nations Club and is also active in fostering undergraduate research, guiding students on honors thesis and independent summer research projects that focus on Asian Studies topics. She attended the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies at Tsinghua University, Beijing, after completing her B.A. in history at Reed College, and received her Ph.D. and M.A. in modern Chinese history from the University of California, Irvine.
David Last is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he teaches comparative politics and graduate courses in conflict management and peacekeeping. He served for thirty years in the Canadian army, retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel. He is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada (BA), Carleton University (MA), the London School of Economics (PhD, Commonwealth Scholar), and the US Army Command and General Staff College (MMAS). He served in uniform in Germany, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and has conducted research and taught in Israel-Palestine, Mongolia, West Africa, Botswana, Brazil, Indonesia, and Japan. His book, Conflict De-escalation in Peacekeeping Operations, is published by the Canadian Peacekeeping Press, and he has published more than forty chapters and articles on peacekeeping and various aspects of conflict management. His final three years in uniform were as the Registrar of the Royal Military College.Dr. Last's research interests focus on the management and prevention of violence, third party intervention in protracted social conflict, and development of security professionals for the management of violence. Since 2009 he has led a project to enhance security education for police, paramilitary, and military professionals. In 2016, he was the Fulbright Scholar in Peace and War Studies, at the Peace and War Center in Norwich University.
Darlene Olsen, PhD is currently an Associate Professor of Mathematics and the Director of the Honors Program at Norwich University. She has taught at Norwich University since 2006 and routinely teaches statistic courses such as Introductory Statistics for Criminal Justice majors, Statistics for Health Science majors and Statistical Methodology for STEM majors. Her current research areas are biostatistics and mathematics pedagogy. Dr. Olsen has received research grants through the Vermont Genetics Network, has served as a statistical consultant, and her work has been published in several research journals. Previously, she worked as a statistician for the New York State Department of Labor and taught at the University at Albany, Saint Michael's College, Johnson State College, and the University of Vermont. Dr. Olsen received her doctorate in Mathematics from the University at Albany in 2003. She also has a Master of Science in Biometry and Statistics, a Master of Arts in Mathematics, both from the University at Albany, and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from SUNY Geneseo.
Kyle Pivetti is an assistant professor of English at Norwich University. He specializes in Renaissance literature, with special interests in adaptation studies, the history of nationalism, and memory studies. His first book Of Memory and Literary Form: The Making of Nationhood in Early Modern England (University of Delaware Press, 2015), examined the ways literary devices craft collective memory and national identity alike. Along with Professor John Garrison, he co-edited the collected volume Memory and Sexuality in Early Modern England: Literature and the Erotics of Recollection (Routledge, 2015). His writing has been featured in the journals Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, Modern Philology and Upstart: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies. Currently, he is working with John Garrison on Shakespeare at Peace, a book examining Shakespeare's relationships to peacebuilding movements of both the Renaissance and the 21st century.
Steven Sodergren earned his doctorate in American and Military history from the University of Kansas in May 2006, having earned his Master of Arts in American history at Kansas five years earlier. While in graduate school, he received a General Matthew Ridgeway Research Grant from the Military History Institute in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and a Dissertation Fellowship from the U.S. Army Center of Military History for his work on the adaptation of Union soldiers to tactical conditions during the American Civil War. Sodergren has also been a fellow at the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History, and more recently participated in an NEH summer program in Savannah, Georgia exploring new approaches to the study of the Civil War. Since 2007, he has worked in the History and Political Science department at Norwich University and was promoted to Associate Professor of History in 2013. Since his arrival at Norwich, he has held the position of Coordinator of the Studies in War and Peace degree program. As the resident Civil War scholar at Norwich, he routinely teaches courses on the subject as part of the curriculum and conducts several public presentations of his work each year. Each summer he leads a group of Norwich students on staff rides to a range of Civil War battlefields, including the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Fredericksburg and Malvern Hill. Sodergren recently completed his book The Army of the Potomac in the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns: Union Soldiers and Trench Warfare, 1864-65, which will be published by Louisiana State University Press in 2017.
Judith Stallings-Ward has published extensively on topics ranging from Cervantes's Don Quixote, the poetry of Federico García Lorca, inter-art relations in the avant-garde poetry of Gerardo Diego, to the anarchism of Mahatma Gandhi and Buenaventura Durruti. She is associate professor of Spanish and Spanish Program Director at Norwich Unversity, where her most recent course deals with the literary and cultural representations of Mexican drug cartels. Her current book project focuses on Gerardo Diego's masterpiece Fábula de Equis y Zeda. She holds a Ph.D. from Yale University, an M.A. from Middlebury, and a B.A. and B.J. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Lasha Tchantouridzé is Associate Professor and Director of the graduate programs in Diplomacy and IR, Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont. He is also a Davis Center Associate, Harvard University, Boston, MA, and a research fellow, the Center for Defence and Security Studies, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. He earned his PhD in International Relations from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Tchantouridzé's research interests are at the intersection of diplomacy and force in international politics, and his academic publications are in the areas of geopolitics, Russian foreign policy, Canadian foreign policy, the Arctic, the Black Sea basin, international politics in the Caucasus, and NATO-Russia relations.
Matthew A. Thomas is an assistant professor of Psychology at Norwich University. As an experimental psychologist who specializes in cognition, he teaches courses in Perception, Cognition, Experimental Psychology I/II along with guiding students through a rigorous three course thesis series based on original student research that culminates in presentations at the annual meeting of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has published work on a diverse range of topics, including word processing, semantic priming, object novelty and visual attention, and false memory paradigms. His current areas of research interest explore the automatic capture of visuospatial attention, rotary-wing aircraft cockpit design, and the influence of video games on attention and working memory. He earned his doctorate in Cognitive Psychology from the University at Albany.