Courses will be taught by faculty from Gordon College, with guest lectures given by faculty from University of Zagreb, University of Sarajevo, University of Belgrade, University of Pristina and other domestic and international institutions, and by notable political, religious and literary figures.
Petra Belkovic Taylor (Comparative Literature, South Slavic Literature), Program Director
Petra Taylor is the Director of Operations for the Balkans Semester. A native of Croatia and a survivor of the recent war in the Balkans, Petra is earning her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. She holds an MA in English from Loyola Marymount University, an MEd in TESOL from Boston University, a BA in English from Gordon College, and is fluent in several of the region’s languages. She specializes in South Slavic and Russian literatures, and is interested in questions of nationalism and literature, and multilingual and exile writers..
James L. Taylor (Philosophy), Program Director
James Taylor is the Director of Academic Programs for the Balkans Semester. He is currently completing his doctorate in philosophy from Boston College (2013), and holds an MA from Loyola Marymount University and a BA from Gordon College. He specializes in the “ethics of transformation” at the political, religious, and personal levels, and in the possibilities for reconciliation afforded by intercultural and interreligious dialogue. He is the editor (with Richard Kearney) of the volume Hosting the Stranger: Between Religions (Continuum 2011) that examines the possibility of transformation through dialogue between the five major religious traditions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. He is the guest editor of a special edition of the journal Philosophy and Social Criticism on the subject of “Heidegger and Politics” (2013) and he has published on spirituality and ethics in New Arcadia Review and International Studies in Hermeneutics and Phenomenology.
Judith Oleson (Sociology/Social Work)
Judith Oleson is Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Work at Gordon College where she has developed and coordinates a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. Her interests include cross-sector partnerships for social change initiatives, conflict transformation, sustainable reconciliation in organizations and communities, and international social work. Oleson came to Gordon after thirty years as a community practitioner. Her work included development of family support services, facilitating inter-governmental and Tribal partnerships, democracy building initiatives, and enhancing UN/Corporate partnerships to reach millennium development goals. She currently consults with churches, non-profits and community coalitions in facilitating conflict transformation and in building reconciling communities. She is a consultant for the International Center for Conciliation. Oleson received her Doctorate in Ministry at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, where she entitled her dissertation, “Sacred Leadership: Facilitating Reconciliation.” Her MSW from the University of Minnesota focused on institutional change. Judith studied multi-party negotiation and mediation and earned a Masters in Public Administration at the Kennedy School of Government. She is particularly interested in cross-cultural issues in conflict mediation and transformation.
Daniel C. Johnson (Sociology)
Daniel Johnson is Professor of Sociology at Gordon College. He received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Virginia, with special concentrations in critical social theory and the sociology of religion, and then completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at the University’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. Johnson is the director of the Gordon College Initiative for the Study and Practice of Peace. This endowed initiative is charged with underwriting grants to Gordon students and faculty who are engaged in scholarship on issues of peace and reconciliation, sponsoring a public “Peace Lecture” series, and building library holdings of materials pertaining to peace and reconciliation studies. His current research focuses on experiences of hope in religious contexts, as well as on the cultural dynamics that render expressions of social hope problematic in contemporary societies.
Mark Gedney (Philosophy)
Mark Gedney is Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Gordon College. After receiving his Ph.D. on Hegel's social philosophy from Boston University, Dr. Gedney lectured at both Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Boston University where he taught courses in ethics, the philosophy of the social sciences, and social and political philosophy. During this time, he also served as Associate Program Coordinator for the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy and as the Associate Editor of the Proceedings (in 12 volumes). His teaching and research interests include ontology, continental philosophy (including Kant, Schelling, Hegel, Nietzsche, Ricœur, Derrida, and Levinas), philosophy of religion, and social and political philosophy. He has published articles and reviews in these areas; as well as on figures such as Hegel, Rousseau, Ricœur, Derrida, and Richard Kearney.
His most recent work has focused on continental philosophy of religion--especially the work of Paul Ricœur and Jacques Derrida. Recent publications include “The Saving or the Sanitizing of Prayer: The Problem of the sans in Derrida's Account of Prayer,” in The Phenomenology of Prayer, eds. Bruce Benson and Norman Wirzba; "The Hope of Conversation," a review of Richard Kearney's On Paul Ricœur: the Owl of Minerva and Debates in Continental Philosophy: Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers in Religion and the Arts; A Love as Strong as Death: Ricœur's Reading of the "Song of Songs," in The Wisdom of Love, eds. Bruce Benson and Norman Wirzba (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press); and "The Hope of Remembering," a review of Paul Ricœur's Memory, History, Forgetting in Research in Phenomenology.
Paul A. Brink
Paul Brink teaches Political Theory, European Politics, and Canadian Politics. He received his B.A. from Redeemer College, his M.A. from Dalhousie University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. He was a recent participant in a panel on “Toleration and Freedom: The American Experience in Context” at the Institute for Philosophy and Religion at Boston University, and authored a chapter in Walking Together, ed. Joel Carpenter, titled, “Negotiating a Plural Politics: South Africa’s Constitutional Court” (ACU Press, 2011).
GUEST LECTURES AND COLLABORATORS
Professor O’Malley is the John Joseph Moakley Professor of International Peace and Reconciliation at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at UMass Boston; a Senior Fellow in the Center for Development and Democracy; and the founder and editor of the New England Journal of Public Policy, a semiannual publication of the McCormack Graduate School. He is also a Visiting Professor of Political Studies at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.
O’Malley is a peacemaker and noted author who specializes in the problems of divided societies, such as South Africa, Northern Ireland and Kosovo. He is the founder of the Forum for Cities in Transition—an international network of mayors, councilors, municipal officials, business people, and representatives of the voluntary and community sector—which works with three cities from the Balkans, Mitrovica (Kosovo), Mostar (Bosnia) and Sarajevo (Bosnia), to overcome ethnic, religious and political division.
O'Malley spent 20 years involved with the conflict in Northern Ireland. Among his many interventions were the Amherst Conference on Northern Ireland (Massachusetts, 1975), the Airlie House Conference (Virginia, 1985), and the Arniston Conference with the government of South Africa (Western Cape, 1997). In 1992, he brought some of the South African figures to Boston for a meeting with representatives of the factions in Northern Ireland. In 1996, he helped arrange a second such meeting, in Belfast, attended by South Africans Cyril Ramaphosa of the African National Congress and Roelf Meyer of the white National Party. In 1997, he helped convene the Arniston Conference (also known as The Great Indaba) in which Martin McGuinness, David Trimble and Peter Robinson met with Nelson Mandela. O'Malley was also a member of the Opshal Commission, which authored the report "Northern Ireland: A Citizens' Inquiry" (Belfast, 1993)
Between 1989-1999, O'Malley conducted 2,000 hours of interviews tracking South Africa's transition to democracy. His work is archived in written transcription and on audio tape at the Robben Island Museum/Mayibuye Archives [University of the Western Cape]. This work earned Nelson Mandela's highest regard, with Mandela noting, quoting Yeats, that O’Malley was able “to hold together in a single thought reality and justice”.
In 2007, O'Malley became involved in the Iraq peace process by arranging a conference in Finland, where 16 Iraqis met senior negotiators from South Africa (SA). O'Malley has monitored elections in South Africa, Mozambique, and the Philippines on behalf of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He is also a frequent contributor to The Boston Globe.
Professor Kuzmic is the Eva B. and Paul E. Toms Distinguished Professor of World Missions and European Studies at Gordon Conwell Seminary. A native of Slovenia and a citizen of Croatia, he is one of the foremost evangelical scholars in Eastern Europe and is considered an authority on the subject of a Christian response to Marxism and on Christian ministry in post-Communist contexts. He co-founded and directs Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia, and he founded Agape and New Europe Vision, which minister to the physical and spiritual needs of those in the Balkans. He was influential in bringing about the Dayton Peace Awards and served as an advisor on reconciliation for national leaders in the Balkans, the United Nations and the U.S. State Department. He is an honorary member of the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and has received the Presidential Award of Croatia. He also received the Helsinki Award for Human Rights and Religious Liberty in recognition of his work in promoting interreligious dialogue. Dr. Kuzmic is an award-winning author and founded and serves as the editor of Izvori, a Christian monthly journal in the Croatian language.
Richard Kearney holds the Charles B. Seelig Chair of Philosophy at Boston College and serves as a Visiting Professor at University College Dublin, the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and the University of Nice. As a public intellectual in Ireland, he was involved in drafting proposals for a Northern Irish peace agreement. Kearney has written over 20 books in Continental philosophy and religion, and is the founder and director of the Guestbook Project, an interdisciplinary initiative oriented toward establishing lasting peace through investigating different ways of offering hospitality to the stranger.
Emanuela C. Del Re
Emanuela Del Re is a professor of the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the University of Rome (La Sapienza), where she specializes in geopolitics and security issues. She is president of EPOS International Mediating and Negotiating Operational Agency and is an expert in Balkan issues. She acts as reference and consultant for Institutions such as such as the Italian Ministry of Interiors, the Military Centre for Strategic Studies (CeMiSS) and NOMISMA. She often lectures on the illegal trafficking of women aimed at prostitution networks and has been an International Electoral Observer in more than 15 missions, for the UN, EU, and OSCE, in Bosnia, Albania, Yemen, South Africa, Algeria, Ukraine, Serbia, Kenya.
Asim Mujkic is Professor of Political Science at the University of Sarajevo. He is the author of a monograph Justice and Ethnonationalism, as well as of numerous influential papers such as “We the Citizens of Ethnopolis.” Professor Mujkic is a public figure representing the University of Sarajevo in the media, and is extremely active in the social and political life of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is a tireless advocate against ethnic segregations in the political and social structures of post war Bosnia.
Dan Darko is Associate Professor of Biblical studies and theology at Gordon College. He earned his doctorate from King’s College, University of London. While born in Ghana, he lived in the Balkans during the wars in the nineties where he worked as a chaplain at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia. During this time he often worked behind the front lines with churches whose membership divided along the ethnic lines. Dan used his identity of a foreigner and of a man of color in a predominantly white society to mediate conflict between the Serbs and Croats. Dan is a speaker, author and a president of Africa Potential, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Africans for the service of Africa. Prior to teaching at Gordon College, he also taught at the Central University College (Ghana) and the University of Scranton, PA.
Aida Vidan is student programs coordinator at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University and co-chair of the CES's Southeastern Europe Study Group. She holds a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, where she teaches Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian languages and literatures in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. She is also a research fellow in the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature and president of Association for Croatian Studies (a subsidiary of Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies). Aida has lived and conducted research in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Great Britain, Italy, and Russia, and in addition to offering classes at Harvard, she has also taught in Northwestern University’s summer program in Croatia and at the Institute of Ethnic Literature of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. Her areas of interest and publications include both written and oral traditional literatures from the South Slavic region, language-teaching methodologies, and East European film.
Enver Petrovci is a well-known Yugoslav actor from Kosovo. Has acted in over 40 films and numerous theatre productions. He is also one of the founders of the Dodona Theatre and the Acting School in Pristina. He currently writes and produces plays on the theme of recent wars in the Balkans, especially in Kosovo.
Zlatko Kopljar is a visual artist who has exhibited at Sao Paulo Biennale, Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka, The Kitchen - New York, Gallery Manes- Praha, etc. His work problematizes the absurd cruelty of modern social systems and proposes a response of compassion to all of us caught in this inhuman web. His art is part of the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka, the Museum of Modern Art Zagreb, the Filip Trade collection and others. He lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia.
Hari Ivancic is a highly awarded contemporary Croatian painter who has exhibited over 30 solo exhibits in Croatia and abroad. He is anthologized in the major works on Croatian art history. His highly poetic painting style focuses on textures and nuances of the earth, its depth and surface, raising philosophical questions of man’s place on the earth.
Hus is the founder of Zagreb’s iconic rock-pop band Parni Valjak. Parni Valjak is one of the originators of the rock pop movement in the former Yugoslavia and remains one of the most successful musical draws in the area. The band enjoys great respect among many Croatian rock critics, being seen as the embodiment of "true" rock and urban culture and many of their songs are considered evergreens in the former Yugoslavia like "Sve još miriše na nju", "Jesen u meni", "Ugasi me" and "Zastave". Their continued popularity is evident in the recent turnout of 44,000 people to a concert in Belgrade (2010). “Hus” is the composer of Parni Valjak’s over 20 albums and is the recipient of numerous music awards in Croatia and abroad, including the prestigious Porin award. He is also one of the founders and long time president of the Croatian Musician’s Union.