Staff and Associates
Center for Peace, Democracy and Development Staff
J. Samuel Barkin*
Rezarta Bilali *
Jeanne Cleary *
Loraine Della Porta
Leila Farsakh *
Maria Ivanova *
Joshua Jacks *
Audrey Lee *
Adugna Lemi *
David Matz *
Craig Murphy * (on leave)
Hormoz Shahdadi *
Courtenay Sprague *
Ursula Tafe *
Douglas Thompson *
Robert Weiner *
Eben Weitzman *
*See faculty bios
Darren Kew (PhD, Tufts University) is an associate professor of conflict resolution at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the relationship between conflict resolution methods and democratic development in Africa. Much of his work focuses on the role of civil society groups in this development. He also monitored the last three Nigerian elections and the 2007 elections in Sierra Leone.
Kew has worked with the Council on Foreign Relations' Center for Preventive Action to provide analysis and blueprints for preventing conflicts in numerous areas around the world, including Nigeria, Central Africa, and Kosovo. He has also been a consultant on democracy and peace initiatives to the United Nations, USAID, the US State Department, and to a number of NGOs, including the Carter Center.
Associate Professor Kew is author of numerous works on Nigerian politics and conflict resolution, including the forthcoming book, Democracy, Conflict Resolution, and Civil Society in Nigeria (Syracuse University Press).
- Civil society, conflict prevention, and transnational civil society development
- International security and crisis intervention in Africa
- Conflict resolution efforts as grassroots approaches to promoting democracy
- Conflict and democracy in Africa (especially Nigeria)
- Culture, religion, and conflict resolution
- International negotiation
Michael Keating, Director of Operations
Michael Keating is an expert in the area of media and economic development with over twenty years experience as a management consultant and corporate executive.
Keating was formerly a partner with the Boston Consulting Group and was also a vice-president with the German media firm, Bertelsmann. In 2006, Keating's focus shifted to Africa, primarily on developments in Liberia.
His research and consulting interests focus on the question of how to create sustainable media businesses in developing and post-conflict societies and how the media segment can best serve positive social outcomes in conflict prone societies. He has conducted country risk studies in Nigeria, Guinea, and Zambia and specific sector studies in cocoa production, mining, and telecom.
He teaches at both UMass Boston and the New School University.
- Media and communications in development
- Communities and conflict
- Role of China in Africa
- Tertiary education in Africa
- Democracy building in fragile states
Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development Senior Fellows
Edmund Beard, Senior Fellow
Edmund Beard, now senior advisor in the Office of the President, University of Massachusetts, is the former chair of the Political Science Department and former director of the Master of Science in Public Affairs Graduate Program.
From 1983-1991, and again from 1999-2003, Professor Beard was director of the McCormack Institute, a predecessor of the McCormack Graduate School. Under his direction, the McCormack Institute developed the Master of Science in Public Affairs Graduate Program; established the New England Journal of Public Policy; published dozens of books, papers, and special reports; and received over six million dollars in federal endowment funds. From its inception in 2003 until the spring of 2006, Beard led the new McCormack Graduate School as acting dean.
The author and/or co-author of three books and numerous articles on various aspects of politics and public policy, Beard holds a MIA in international affairs and PhD in political science from Columbia University. He served for many years on the board of directors of the Social Policy Research Group in Boston and is a former research associate at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
In 1988, the University of Massachusetts Boston presented Edmund Beard with its Distinguished Public Service Award, the University's highest public service honor. A specialist in democratic political institutions and democratic political behavior, Professor Beard has been principal investigator of projects in Russia, China, Eastern Europe, and East and West Africa.
Loraine Della Porta’s public sector career spans over twenty-five years and reflects extensive experience in conflict prevention, organizational development and training. She is a trained lawyer and an experienced mediator, facilitator and dispute systems designer. From 2001 to 2013, Ms. Della Porta served as the deputy director of the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC), a free-standing institute of the University of Massachusetts Boston which serves as a neutral forum to assist public entities in resolving conflict and collaborating on important policy issues within government and across sectors. During her tenure, Ms. Della Porta played a major role in launching a number of large-scale projects, programs and public policy initiatives including most recently, the design and implementation of mediation programs for the Massachusetts Department of Correction and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. She also served as the director of MOPC’s Public Policy Institute which provided a vehicle for communities to engage in deliberative dialogue and civil discourse on important policy issues including quality and affordable health care, elder care workforce issues, immigration, natural resources, energy, youth violence, and financial security. Loraine Della Porta's current professional work focuses on expanding the use of restorative justice and restorative practices both domestically and abroad.
Susan Jeghelian, Senior Fellow
Susan Jeghelia is the executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC), leading the organization's institutional planning, policy and budget development, fundraising, outreach, and qualification of practitioners for service on public contracts. She oversees the design, administration, and evaluation of programs and initiatives serving public agencies, legislators, courts and communities. Ms. Jeghelian has been with MOPC since 1993. She formerly served as MOPC Director of Court Programs as well as a mediator, facilitator and trainer for the office. Prior to orchestrating the office’s move to the University, Ms. Jeghelian led implementation of Executive Order #416, integrating dispute resolution into state government and served on the Trial Court Standing Committee for Dispute Resolution. Before MOPC, Ms. Jeghelian practiced law with a concentration in civil litigation and mediation, and worked as a staff attorney for the Supreme Judicial Court and a law clerk for the Superior Court. She has a BA from Mount Holyoke College and a JD from Boston College Law School. She recently served on the founding Steering Committee of the University Network for Collaborative Governance and formerly served as a board member of Cape Cod Dispute Resolution Center, Inc., a community mediation center on Cape Cod.
Madhawa Palihapitiya, Senior Fellow
As associate director of the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration, Madhawa Palihapitiya heads the research and evaluation unit and conducts fundraising and organizational development. Mr. Palihapitiya has over ten years of experience in the conflict resolution field, with significant work in the areas of violence prevention, program design and program evaluation. With MOPC since 2007, Mr. Palihapitiya oversees research on all major MOPC mediation, collaborative governance and deliberative democracy programs, projects and initiatives. Prior to working at MOPC, Mr. Palihapitiya was the director of programs at the Foundation for Co-Existence in Sri Lanka where he engaged in high-risk mediation and violent conflict prevention efforts, including co-creating a state-of-the-art Conflict Early Warning and Early Response System for Sri Lanka. Mr. Palihapitiya holds a BA from the University of Colombo and a MA in conflict resolution from Brandeis University, and has completed courses in law at Sri Lanka Law College.
David Steele has 20 years experience working with political, religious, and other civil society actors to effectively facilitate conflict transformation and coexistence within unstable, violence-prone situations of inter-ethnic and sectarian conflict.
During 2010-2011, he served as adjunct faculty in the master's program on coexistence at Brandeis' Heller School, led workshops for US government personnel on developing programming in religious contexts, and developed a manual for use in discussion of Muslim/Christian reconciliation efforts in Nigeria and inter-ethnic conflict in Kenya. During 2009-2010, he worked with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, following post-election violence in Kenya, to design a curriculum and manual for use in peace building and conflict transformation. He also co-led workshops for 300 participants from local NGOs. During 2008-2009, he served as senior reconciliation facilitator with the Baghdad office of the US Institute of Peace, providing training in negotiation, problem solving, and interfaith dialogue for a variety of personnel from Iraqi government agencies, educational institutions, religious groups, and civil society organizations. In addition, he has previously worked on conflict management projects in Indonesia, Iraq, Kosovo, Macedonia, Sri Lanka, and Yugoslavia.
Steele earned a PhD in Christian ethics and practical theology from the University of Edinburgh, where he wrote a dissertation on a theological assessment conflict resolution theory and practice.
He is also the author of numerous other publications on faith-based peace building, including: “Reconciliation Strategies in Iraq” and an “Overview to Faith-Based Peace Building."
Agron AlibaliAgron Alibali, Visiting Fellow
A native of Albania, Agron Alibali’s research centers on issues of legal and electoral reform, human and minority rights, and development and reform of banking and financial institutions in southeastern Europe.
A graduate of the University of Tirana Law School and Boston University School of Law, Alibali has worked at the Albanian Ministry of Justice and John Hancock Financial Services. He has been a consultant for the World Bank and an adjunct professor at Bryant University where he taught banking and business law. He has promoted and pursued several projects in southeastern Europe, including curriculum development, constitutional and electoral reform, environmental law, and bilateral university partnerships.
Mr. Alibali has published several articles in various legal journals covering different aspects of positive and customary law. As a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School in 2000, he researched and presented work on Kosovo’s legal status after NATO’s intervention and also on the legal status of ethnic minorities in the European Union. Through his work with local NGO’s in Albania, Alibali has contributed in further developing international environmental law especially in connection with various compliance mechanisms of international financial institutions. In 2008, he was nominated as a candidate member with the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland.
Honorable R. Peter Anderson (Ret.), Visiting Fellow
Judge Anderson is the USAID China co-director and has as participated in rule of law programs in China, Mongolia, and the Slovak Republic. He served as co-leader of the McCormack Graduate School and Massachusetts Judges Conference 2003 and 2005 Mock Trial Programs in China.
He has traveled independently to China several times and was key in developing the 2006 Beijing-to-Boston program which brought six Chinese judges to Boston for a three-month judicial internship program. He has consulted in China at the request of the Yale Law School China Law Project.
He retired from the bench in the fall of 2007.
Lt. General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Ret.), Visiting Fellow
Lt. General (Ret.) Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, CFR, PhD, started cadet training at the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) in December,1974 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Infantry in June,1977. He held several staff, instructional and command appointments, including chief of army staff (Nigeria's highest army position), a position he held for four years until his disengagement in September, 2010.
He holds a BS in criminal justice, an MA in international relations, an MEd in higher educational administration, and a PhD in criminology.
He was registrar, academic branch NDA and a part-time lecturer (gratis) of criminology at Ahmadu Bello University Faculty of Law. He has authored five books and several journal articles.
He is a member of several international professional organizations, including World Society of Criminology, World Society of Victimology, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, American Society of Criminology, British Society of Criminology, and International Police Executive Symposium.
He is the founder and chair of the board of trustees for the Nigerian Society of Victomology and the Foundation for the Victims of Child Abuse. He was honored by the Nigerian government with the title of Commander of the Federal Republic and fellow of the Institute of Public Relations.