Distinguished Visiting Scholars.
Supported by a generous gift from Dr. Sol J. and Meri Barer and the Barer Family, the Barer Fellow serves the CRCC in contributing to its threefold mission of teaching, research and public outreach by acting as a catalyst for interdisciplinary conversations about social and economic development as a means for addressing conflict.
The primary role of the Barer Distinguished Visiting Fellow is to teach and anchor a public lecture series, focusing on topics including new media and social entrepreneurship and grassroots peacebuilding and humanitarian work.
Through a generous gift from Dr. Sol J. and Meri Barer and the Barer Family, Drew CRCC welcomes Global peace activist Don Mullan as the Barer Distinguished Visiting Fellow for 2016-2017. Don Mullan is an Irish peacebuilder, humanitarian, media producer and best-selling author. After fighting for peace, truth, justice and equality around the world, this spring Mullan takes on the classroom as a scholar in residence, joining the Conflict Resolution and Leadership faculty to offer a unique course, entitled Grassroots Peacebuilding and Activism.
Mullan was a teenager in 1972 attending his first protest in Derry when he witnessed the tragic shooting of civilians by British soldiers in the infamous Bloody Sunday, an iconic event in the Northern Irish conflict known as the Troubles. Mullan’s relentless efforts to bring forth the truth moved the British government to re-examine the events of that day; his book, Eyewitness Bloody Sunday: The Truth is officially recognized as a primary catalyst for the “Savile Commission”, which ultimately led to the government’s unprecedented apology for the massacre. A peacemaker who could engage with both sides of the conflict, Mullan is widely recognized for his role in helping to advance the Irish peace process. In the words of Irish historian and professor Dr. Christine Kinealy, Mullan was fighting for peace “with debate, persuasion and dialogue.”
Mullan’s activism does not stop at Ireland’s borders. He has done humanitarian worke in refugee camps in Rwanda and Zaire, family relief in Brazil, and in preserving the stories of Frederick Douglass, the Choctaw Nation and the Christmas Truce, Mullan is truly a humanitarian for the global age. As a peace practitioner, Mullan emphasizes the importance of truth-seeking in his work. Looking back on peace efforts during the height of the Troubles, Mullan says, “it was not about hatred. It was never about being anti-British. It was always about the truth. There are always wonderful people on both sides. When the moment for peace comes, they will be the bridges for it.” In May 2014, Mullan’s storied career was recognized by Drew University when the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict presented with the CRCC Peacebuilder Award. This spring, take advantage of a rare opportunity to learn about grassroots peacebuilding and humanitarian work as Mullan teaches for the Conflict Resolution and Leadership certificate.
Don Mullan was a teenager in 1972 attending his first protest in Derry when he witnessed the tragic shooting of civilians by British soldiers in the infamous Bloody Sunday, an iconic event in the Northern Irish conflict known as the Troubles. Mullan’s relentless efforts to bring forth the truth moved the British government to re-examine the events of that day; his book, Eyewitness Bloody Sunday: The Truth is officially recognized as a primary catalyst for the “Savile Commission”, which ultimately led to the government’s unprecedented apology for the massacre.
A peacemaker who could engage with both side of the conflict, Mullan is widely recognized for his role in helping to advance the Irish peace process. As an expert on the subject of the Troubles, Mullan discussed several films, including Bloody Sunday, Omagh, and Five Minutes of Heaven in which he has been involved as a consultant and producer.
Through a generous gift from Dr. Sol J. Barer and the Barer Family, Drew CRCC welcomed Jessica Jackley as the Barer Distinguished Visiting Fellow for the 2012-13 academic year. Jessica is the co-founder of microfinancing platform kiva.org.
Jackley graduated from Bucknell University and earned her MBA from Stanford. Inspired by her experiences on an undergraduate study abroad program in Uganda, Jackley conceived and co-founded KIVA.org, a pioneering on-line micro-lending site that now facilitates nearly $350 million in micro-loans annually from 800,000 individual lenders to empower over a million people in 220 countries around the world by allowing them to improve their lives through entrepreneurship. KIVA boasts a loan repayment rate of nearly 99%. Jackley has appeared on TED, and in 2009 TIME magazine recognized her as one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Last fall Economist magazine awarded Jessica Jackley its prestigious “No Boundaries” Innovation Award. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton frequently cites her work with KIVA as a prime example of how social entrepreneurship can radically change poverty around the world. She is currently featured in a series of national television advertisements by the Best Buy company. Read more about Jessica’s thoughts on social entrepreneurship and global change.
The primary role of the Barer Distinguished Visiting Fellow is to teach and anchor a public lecture series, focusing this year on the topic of new media and social entrepreneurship. The Barer Fellow serves the CRCC in contributing to its threefold mission of teaching, research and public outreach by acting as a catalyst for interdisciplinary conversations about social and economic development as a means for addressing conflict.
The CRCC asked Barer Visiting Fellow Jessica Jackley to share some insights on crowdfunding, micro-lending and what makes her tick
CRCC: What sparked your interest as a young person in social entrepreneurship?
Jessica Jackley: I wasn’t interested in social entrepreneurship per se at an early age; I was interested in serving the poor but had no idea how to do this in a way that would really matter, that would really have lasting impact. I did learn about social entrepreneurship a few years out of college and thought it sounded incredibly interesting, but I didn’t yet have a mission yet, and it’s impossible to be an entrepreneur without knowing exactly what you want to do.
When I learned about microfinance, I became totally passionate about the idea of tiny loans to the poor and tried to find experiences that would let me learn more about that. Eventually my adventures learning about microfinance led to the idea for Kiva, and we were able to grow that idea in an entrepreneurial way. So, it was mission-finding first, having an innovative idea, then applying entrepreneurial thinking and business principles to create and grow the organization itself.
CRCC: Seven years after co- founding Kiva.org, what are some of your most cherished accomplishments?
JJ: My most cherished accomplishments are really less about specific organizations or roles and more about having a part in changing how people think. Many lenders, for example, now see and know about the lives of others they would have never encountered otherwise, and instead of seeing the poverty they see potential. That’s huge.
The other “accomplishments” I care about most are very personal, and are less accomplishments than they are relationships, gifts that I am doing my best to care for and steward well: my marriage, my babies, my family, and my closest friendships. This is what I cherish most.
CRCC: How would you explain crowdfunding and what socio-economic role do you see it playing now and in the future?
JJ: Crowdfunding is about allowing many individuals to contribute financially, often in relatively small amounts, to support a project or business. It’s clearly a trend and with the JOBS Act we will see a proliferation of crowdfunding-related sites. We’re already starting to see this, and it’s changing the way we all imagine and can have access to the resources we need to pursue more entrepreneurial paths. It’s very exciting.CRCC: What advice can you give to young people interested in philanthropy and community involvement about starting/re-focusing their careers?
JJ: Run after the things (and the people) you love. Don’t get too caught up in figuring out exactly what job you want to pursue or whether or not you want to start an organization and “be an entrepreneur”… instead think broadly about the purpose of your life, and the kind of impact you want to have over the course of your career.
Do you want to impact children through education? Wonderful! There are countless ways to do this: teach in a classroom; build an app to help kids practice math or language; raise money for a nonprofit that provides scholarships; start a charter school; start 100 charter schools; etc. Don’t get hung up on the first few jobs you have, just try to work with people you respect, on projects/in an organization you believe in and that has something to do with your overall mission.CRCC: You spent a semester teaching Entrepreneurial Design for Social Change here at Drew. How do you think liberal arts students can apply the kind of course you offered in the real world?
JJ: I think my students in particular have heard me say this a million times, but if you focus on getting to know, really deeply getting to know, the person or people you want to serve in the world, and if you bring some discipline to trying to understand them and their needs, you can come up with solutions to problems that matter to them. Liberal arts students have an advantage because they are masters of making creative connections among seemingly disparate subjects. They have a diverse set of knowledge and a broad, usually very open-minded worldview. All of these things make for better, more powerful, more creative innovators!CRCC: In addition to teaching, you are a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a 2011 World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, and you serve on numerous boards. What do you do in your “spare” time?
CRCC: Tell us about one of the quirkiest experiences you’ve had traveling abroad.
JJ: I have too many stories… Once in Rwanda I was charged by one of the largest, oldest living silverback gorillas. He was maybe 15 feet away, and a friend took a photo with a flash (a big no-no) so the gorilla freaked out, roaring, and then charged at us, taking out two trees along the way that were in his path. At the last minute our guide jumped in front of me to block him; he puffed up his chest and grunted at the gorilla, mirroring him — seriously communicating with him — they locked eyes for a minute, staring each other down, and then the gorilla sighed (no joke) and turned and walked away. Super scary.
CRCC: What’s next for you?
JJ: I’m happily serving as a venture partner with the Collaborative Fund, so that’s keeping me plugged in and busy. But I’m thinking about starting another venture myself as well. Follow me on Twitter (@jessicajackley) — will announce soon!
Through a generous grant from Jane and Bernard Wallerstein and the Johanette Wallerstein Institute, the Drew University Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict has received funding to invite distinguished scholars and public intellectuals to be in residence on Drew’s campus for varying periods of time.
Distinguished Visiting Professors are people especially noted for their capacity to bring many disciplines into conversation with each other about the particular area of religion and culture in which they work. Professors interact with both students and faculty in a variety of ways in wide-ranging interdisciplinary conversations about different aspects of cultural and religious conflict.
Prof. Aslan, who teaches at the University of California, Riverside, earned his Ph.D. in the sociology of religion at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The author of several best-selling books, including No god, but God, How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization and the End of the War on Terrorism, Muslims & Jews in America, and Tablet and Pen, Aslan frequently appears on nationally broadcast television and radio programs such as: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Colbert Report, Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square, Anderson Cooper 360 and other respected public affairs shows like Meet the Press and All Things Considered.
A highly regarded scholar of religion and contemporary global politics, as well as an expert on new social media and contemporary culture, Reza Aslan is also a contributing editor for The Daily Beast. He is the founder of both Boomgen Studios, a pioneering and highly acclaimed web-based entertainment and media company, and Aslan Media.
The CRCC’s Wallerstein Distinguished Visiting Professor, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, was in Cairo this winter prior to ongoing popular protests demanding immediate democracy in Egypt. Promoting free and fair democracy in Egypt has been the life-long striving of Saad Eddin Ibrahim and the current protests have brought the Egyptian call for democracy to the fore of global politics. Since his return Professor Ibrahim has been around the country meeting with White House, State Department and Congressional leaders on the rapidly developing crisis and offering his insight to various major media organizations.
Defies Threats, Arrests to Challenge U.S. Backed Mubarak Government
Time for the United States to stand with the Egyptian people, CNN
Egypt’s Uprising from an Exile’s Point of View, NPR National Public Radio
Meet The Featured Human Rights Defenders- Saad Eddin Ibrahim
The CRCC recently produced and released a television quality round table conversation with Professor Ibrahim and Brandeis’ Professor Kanan Makiya entitled: “Islam, Democracy & the Arab World.” Copies of this timely 45-minute DVD may be obtained through the CRCC for $25. Please make checks payable to: “Drew University” and send your request for a DVD to: Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict, Drew University, Madison, NJ 07940. Please be sure to include where you would like your copy of the DVD sent. The CRCC will soon be announcing a public program with Professor Ibrahim focusing on recent developments in Egypt.