Third Space Thoughts to Policy

IIIT

Third Space Thoughts to Policy is the official podcast for the Advancing Education in Muslim Societies (AEMS) program at IIIT, the International Institute of Islamic Thought. The purpose of our podcast (Third Space Thoughts to Policy) is to hear from experts and stakeholders in the field of education policy reform including policy advisors, governmental officials, academics, teachers, and parents. For IIIT's Mapping the Terrain Research Department, education is not just about mastering arithmetic and literacy, but improving community mindedness, moral reasoning, forgiveness, and empathy so that learning is a transformative process improving society as a whole by advancing each individual spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.

All Episodes

Join Amina as she interviews Ms. Meena Srinivasan, an expert on gratitude. Meena goes over key strategies folks can use to cultivate gratitude, even during a challenging time like the one we are currently facing. Ms. Srinivasan goes over the most important steps we need to take when we feel discouraged and stuck, especially now in the COVID-19 era. She also explains how she defines gratitude and mindfulness in her work, which are very trendy terms these days. Meena also explains how to teach gratitude to various age groups, from children to adults. Ms. Srinivasan also talks about her book, "Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom", and different techniques for cultivating loving-kindness, gratitude and greater human connection. Meena Srinivasan, MA, National Board Certified Teacher, is a South Asian-American edupreneur with deep expertise in the fields of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mindfulness in Education. She is the Founding Executive Director of Transformative Educational Leadership (TEL), an empowering, racially and culturally diverse, compassion-centered, innovative program for educational leaders who are called to integrate mindfulness-based, social, emotional, academic and ethical learning into schools and school systems. Prior to this role she spent five and a half years working in partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to implement SEL system-wide in the Oakland Unified School District. Meena has taught and led in a variety of school settings (public, private, urban, international) and is the creator of the SEL Every Day online courses, author of Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom and SEL Every Day: Integrating SEL with Instruction in Secondary Classrooms which was chosen as one of 2019’s Favorite Books for Educators by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

Aug 2020

35 min 25 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Carolyn Zahn-Waxler on the complexity and importance of empathy. Empathy has come up a few times before earlier this season, but during this interview, we will take an even deeper diver into the concept. In part 2 of this interview, Dr. Carolyn Zahn-Waxler discusses the importance of empathy in good leadership, the role of culture, the impact conflict situations and sociopolitical conditions can have on the ability to have concern for others, what inspired her to pursue researching this concept further, and much more. Throughout her career, Dr. Zahn-Waxler has studied the origins and development of empathy and caring behaviors beginning in the first years of life. These longitudinal studies have focused on the role of genes, temperament, family life and socialization experiences that foster or impede compassion and altruism in children. She has also conducted longitudinal studies on the role of emotion in the development of psychopathology in adolescents, as well as risk and protective factors in the development of conduct problems. She has written about the intergenerational transmission of depression from mothers to daughters from a personal perspective. She served on the Task Force on women and depression for the Lt. Governor of Wisconsin and works to de-stigmatize mental illness. Dr. Zahn-Waxler is currently interested in translational questions, for example, how scientific advances can inform the development of practices and interventions that foster kindness, altruism and positive emotions in children.

Jul 2020

25 min 32 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Carolyn Zahn-Waxler on the complexity and importance of empathy. Empathy has come up a few times before earlier this season, but during this interview, we will take an even deeper diver into the concept. Dr. Carolyn Zahn-Waxler discusses what makes empathy worth studying, more about its origins and how genes and environment play a role, as well as some negative forms of empathy and how best to avoid those. Throughout her career, Dr. Zahn-Waxler has studied the origins and development of empathy and caring behaviors beginning in the first years of life. These longitudinal studies have focused on the role of genes, temperament, family life and socialization experiences that foster or impede compassion and altruism in children. She has also conducted longitudinal studies on the role of emotion in the development of psychopathology in adolescents, as well as risk and protective factors in the development of conduct problems. She has written about the intergenerational transmission of depression from mothers to daughters from a personal perspective. She served on the Task Force on women and depression for the Lt. Governor of Wisconsin and works to de-stigmatize mental illness. Dr. Zahn-Waxler is currently interested in translational questions, for example, how scientific advances can inform the development of practices and interventions that foster kindness, altruism and positive emotions in children.

Jul 2020

27 min 40 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Gregory Light for the second part of their conversation on critical thinking and problem solving. Dr. Light tells us more about his observations from his work in critical thinking at different universities around the world and explains how students can strengthen their problem solving skills and ability to think critically by participating in study abroad programs (prior to COVID-19 outbreak and hopefully again in the future after travel is safer). At the end, he also gives tips on how listeners can improve their own problem solving and critical thinking skills in the challenging times we live in today. Dr. Gregory Light served as the director of the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching for 15 years at Northwestern University where he was instrumental to innovative change across the university. Currently, he is a member of the advisory boards for the University of Toronto and for the new American University of Sicily. After retirement, Dr. Light has published more than a dozen new papers, chapters and presentations as well as a co-written a book on Reflective Teaching in Higher Education that was published in the U.K. March. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, often collaborating with others. One of his most recent international projects has been in the Middle East and South America, and he has consulted with universities around the world -- on every continent except Antarctica. He has delivered more than 150 invited talks, keynotes and workshops on a wide range of topics related to pedagogy and learning in higher and professional education. He has been crucial in conceptualizing and implementing wide-ranging programs, from tailored sessions and workshops, assessments and curriculum support to program evaluations across Northwestern University that focus on evidence-based learning. While at Northwestern University, Dr. Light collaborated on 10 major grant-funded projects, including the Gateway Science Workshop program (Mellon Foundation); Northwestern University Ventures in Biology Education (Howard Hughes Medical Institute); the CLIMB program (National Institutes of Health), the Critical Thinking in STEM (National Science Foundation) and the Palestinian Faculty Development Program. He has served on numerous committees to enhance the culture of learning, including the University Diversity Council, the Educational Technologies Advisory Committee, the University Course and Teaching Evaluation Committee, the University Council on Assessment and Accreditation and the University Classroom Committee. A committed educator, Light also was pivotal in the reconfiguration of the Masters of Higher Education Administration Program in 2002; he taught in the program as well as served in an advisory role for over 13 years. He has mentored many students and colleagues throughout the years adhering to a philosophy of building capacity in others and inclusive excellence.

Jul 2020

23 min 55 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Gregory Light from the University of Toronto , who discusses problem solving and critical thinking during the time of COVID-19 and why critical thinking is essential in education settings, particularly higher education settings, in order for us to solve pressing issues today including racial inequality and other social injustices as well as climate change and the global COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Light discusses the difference between surface approaches and deep approaches to learning, and gives insight on how faculty and teachers can cultivate critical thinking in their classrooms to help teach students to engage in creative, effective, and innovative problem solving. Dr. Gregory Light served as the director of the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching for 15 years at Northwestern University where he was instrumental to innovative change across the university. Currently, he is a member of the advisory boards for the University of Toronto and for the new American University of Sicily. After retirement, Dr. Light has published more than a dozen new papers, chapters and presentations as well as a co-written a book on Reflective Teaching in Higher Education that was published in the U.K. March. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, often collaborating with others. One of his most recent international projects has been in the Middle East and South America, and he has consulted with universities around the world -- on every continent except Antarctica. He has delivered more than 150 invited talks, keynotes and workshops on a wide range of topics related to pedagogy and learning in higher and professional education. He has been crucial in conceptualizing and implementing wide-ranging programs, from tailored sessions and workshops, assessments and curriculum support to program evaluations across Northwestern University that focus on evidence-based learning. While at Northwestern University, Dr. Light collaborated on 10 major grant-funded projects, including the Gateway Science Workshop program (Mellon Foundation); Northwestern University Ventures in Biology Education (Howard Hughes Medical Institute); the CLIMB program (National Institutes of Health), the Critical Thinking in STEM (National Science Foundation) and the Palestinian Faculty Development Program. He has served on numerous committees to enhance the culture of learning, including the University Diversity Council, the Educational Technologies Advisory Committee, the University Course and Teaching Evaluation Committee, the University Council on Assessment and Accreditation and the University Classroom Committee. A committed educator, Light also was pivotal in the reconfiguration of the Masters of Higher Education Administration Program in 2002; he taught in the program as well as served in an advisory role for over 13 years. He has mentored many students and colleagues throughout the years adhering to a philosophy of building capacity in others and inclusive excellence.

Jul 2020

27 min 59 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl who tells us more about the fascinating concepts of self-regulation and mindfulness, and why they are important for human development. This is the second part of a two-part interview. Dr. Schonert-Reichl is an applied developmental psychologist and a professor in the Human Development, Learning, and Culture area in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She is also the director of the Human Early Learning Partnership in the School of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. She began her career as a middle school teacher and then was a teacher for “at risk” adolescents in an alternative high school. She received her master’s from the University of Chicago and her doctorate from the University of Iowa. She was a National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellow in the Clinical Research Training Program in Adolescence at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Schonert-Reichl is a renowned expert in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL) research with children and adolescents, particularly in relation to the identification of the processes and mechanisms that foster positive human qualities such as empathy, compassion, altruism, and resilience. For more than two decades, her research has focused on the social and emotional development of children and adolescents in school and community settings. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.

Jun 2020

22 min 8 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl who tells us more about the fascinating concepts of self-regulation and mindfulness, and why they are important for human development. Dr. Schonert-Reichl is an applied developmental psychologist and a professor in the Human Development, Learning, and Culture area in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She is also the director of the Human Early Learning Partnership in the School of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. She began her career as a middle school teacher and then was a teacher for “at risk” adolescents in an alternative high school. She received her master’s from the University of Chicago and her doctorate from the University of Iowa. She was a National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellow in the Clinical Research Training Program in Adolescence at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Schonert-Reichl is a renowned expert in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL) research with children and adolescents, particularly in relation to the identification of the processes and mechanisms that foster positive human qualities such as empathy, compassion, altruism, and resilience. For more than two decades, her research has focused on the social and emotional development of children and adolescents in school and community settings. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.

Jun 2020

23 min 3 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Ms. Mary Gordon, President and Founder of Roots of Empathy. They discuss how empathy can break cycles of violence, combat various social injustices including racism, and make our world more peaceful. Ms. Gordon goes into detail about the inspirational work her organization does to foster empathy and emotional literacy in classrooms around the world. Mary Gordon is recognized internationally as an award-winning social entrepreneur, educator, author, child advocate and parenting expert who has created programs informed by the power of empathy. They have been used as a best practice model internationally. Ms. Gordon is a frequent keynote speaker in conferences and has presented to and advised governments, educational organizations and international bodies such as The World Health Organization, and the United Nations. Both Ms. Gordon and her organization have received many international awards recognizing her contribution to innovation in education and international social entrepreneurship. She has won her country’s highest award for innovation, the Governor General’s Award for Innovation and the Manning Innovation Award. She has been given the highest distinction in her country, the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, and the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is an Ashoka Globalizer and represents 3,500 Ashoka Social Entrepreneurs on the Global Board in DC. Both Ms. Gordon and the program have been featured in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, The Globe and Mail, Time Magazine, Japan’s NHK, CBC and in features on PBS, CNN, NBC and the Huffington Post. She has written articles and book chapters and her book, Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child, is a Canadian bestseller.

Jun 2020

27 min 28 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Mohammed Abu-Nimer to talk about forgiveness and its complicated relationship with reconciliation and justice. Dr. Abu-Nimer also elaborates more on how forgiveness plays a role in his work, including interfaith dialogue and peace building. Dr. Mohammed Abu-Nimer is a professor at the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program at American University, and former Director of the Peacebuilding and Development Institute. He has conducted interreligious conflict resolution training and interfaith dialogue workshops in conflict areas around the world, including Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Northern Ireland, the Philippines (Mindanao), Sri Lanka, and others. In addition to his articles and publications, Dr. Abu-Nimer is the co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development. His professional services include being on the Advisory Board of Nonviolence International and being a co-chair of the PARD (Partnership for Religion and Development). One of his most recent publications is a co-edited book with Michelle Garred on Making Peace With Faith. He also co-directed a research project on forgiveness with Dr. Ilham Nasser (who has been on our podcast for the past three seasons) on perceptions of forgiveness among teachers in the Arab world.

Jun 2020

32 min 53 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Ms. Emily Esfahani Smith on the program over Zoom to talk about meaning making. Emily Esfahani Smith's Ted Talk titled “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy” has over 8 million views on Ted.com and over 3 million on YouTube. In this talk she explained that even though “our culture is obsessed with happiness” she learned “chasing happiness can make people unhappy” and that having meaning in life is more beneficial to individuals. Emily lets us know why she thinks this topic resonated with so many people and elaborates more on how she came to this conclusion. She also discussed her bestselling book, The Power of Meaning: Crafting A Life that Matters, where she names 4 pillars of meaning: belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence. Emily shares these with the audience and explains how they contribute to meaning making and ways to best cultivate them in our communities.

Jun 2020

17 min 58 sec

Listen into our conversation with Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss on sense of belonging, one of the constructs measured in the first two rounds of the AEMS Mapping the Terrain Study. This term usually has positive connotations but also comes up alot in Dr. Miller-Idriss's work on far right extremism which she delves into more deeply during the podcast along with ways that faculty and administrators can help increase sense of belonging for students on campus. They also discuss sense of belonging through online learning, which is particularly relevant in the time of COVID-19 era. Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss is an award-winning author and scholar of far right extremism and higher education. She is Professor of Education and Sociology and runs the Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) in the Center for University Excellence (CUE) at the American University in Washington, DC. She is also Director of Strategy and Partnerships at the U.K.-based Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right and serves on the international advisory board of the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) in Oslo, Norway. Dr. Miller-Idriss has testified before the U.S. Congress and frequently serves as a keynote speaker and expert panelist on trends in white supremacist extremism to global academic and policy communities as well as staff and representatives in U.S. and international government agencies and embassies. Dr. Miller-Idriss is the author, co-author, or co-editor of six academic books, including Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right, forthcoming from Princeton University Press in fall 2020. She also has recent by-lines in The Washington Post and The New York Times and also appeared on NPR's All Things Considered.

May 2020

34 min 15 sec

Listen in to Amina's conversation with Dr. Andreas Krafft as they discuss the power of hope, one of the constructs studied in the second round of IIIT's research for the Mapping the Terrain Study, part of its Advancing Education in Muslim Societies (AEMS) initiative. For the past ten years, Dr. Krafft has been working on a very exciting project called the Hope-Barometer, which is an annual survey of people's hopes and expectations for the future. This has included approximately 10,000 people in 14 different countries each year. Dr. Krafft reveals to Amina what inspired this initiative and what the most important findings have been. They also discuss the benefits of hope, its various sources, as well as its relationship to spirituality and religion. Dr. Andreas M. Krafft is a Research Associate and Lecturer at the Institute of Systemic Management and Public Governance, University of St. Gallen (Switzerland). He is also the head of the International Hope-Barometer Research Network and Co-President of swissfuture, the Swiss Society for Future Studies. Dr. Krafft is also a Board member of SWIPPA, the Swiss Association of Positive Psychology.

May 2020

28 min 25 sec

Third Space Thoughts to Policy is back with season 3! Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Ilham Nasser, Director of Mapping the Terrain Research at IIIT to talk about the latest developments with the study in spite of COVID-19 and the importance of researching values that are part of this round of Mapping the Terrain including hope, gratitude, sense of belonging, forgiveness, and meaning making. For the last two seasons, we’ve discussed various topics pertaining to education, human development, religion, policy, grassroots activism, wellbeing, culturally responsive education, how these overlap, and much more. All twelve of the episodes in our second season centered around the concept of wellbeing in or through education. Our third season discusses the values or constructs being measured in our global Mapping the Terrain Study which include hope, sense of belonging, meaning making, and forgiveness. These are all very relevant and timely concepts and audience members benefit from hearing from the experts who have studied these concepts and/or provided workshops on how best to foster them. To kick off the third season, we starts by interviewing the Director of Mapping the Terrain Research, Dr. Ilham Nasser in episode 25 to discuss the latest developments with the global Mapping the Terrain study, which is still progressing in spite of COVID-19, as well as why we’re focusing on these particular values and how this information can be helpful for humanity as a whole.

May 2020

30 min 53 sec

Join Amina and Dr. Jehanzeb Cheema for the finale of season 2 of Third Space Thoughts to Policy. Dr. Cheema is an Assistant Professor at George Mason University's School of Business and a research methodologist with a background in education and economics. Prior to joining the School of Business, he taught research methodology courses at the University of Baltimore and also taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his Ph.D. in Education from George Mason University in 2012, specializing in research methodology. He also has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, specializing in labor economics and development economics. His research interests include research methodology, focusing on measurement, assessment, and evaluation. His secondary fields of research interests include educational psychology and survey research. Dr. Cheema is also interested in missing data analysis and student achievement. He’s been published in numerous academic peer-reviewed journals including Educational Psychology, International Review of Education, Entertainment Computing, Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods, The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, and numerous others. He is the Methodologist for IIIT’s Mapping the Terrain study, part of the AEMS initiative.

Nov 2019

20 min 9 sec

Join the second part of our discussion on well-being and the future with Scott Jordan from The Centre for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies (CPPFS). We discuss how understanding the concept of postnormal times can help policy makers make better decisions in the best interest of societal and individual well-being as well its role in educational settings. Scott Jordan is the Executive Assistant Director at CPPFS. A philosopher and political scientist, Scott is attached to the Asian World Center at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a member of the Nonkilling Consortium International, and has worked with an international summer camp in China through the Soong Ching Ling Foundation. A regular contributor to the quarterly Critical Muslim, he hosts a radio podcast show, Tea Talk Asia. His research is focused on the postnormal dimensions of international policy, politics and governance, which he often explores through films.

Nov 2019

34 min 8 sec

Join the first part of our discussion on well-being and the future with Scott Jordan from The Centre for Postnormal Policy and Future Studies (CPPFS). We discuss the definition of "postnormal times", futures studies, and how understanding these concepts can help policy makers. Scott Jordan is the Executive Assistant Director at CPPFS. A philosopher and political scientist, Scott is attached to the Asian World Center at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a member of the Nonkilling Consortium International, and has worked with an international summer camp in China through the Soong Ching Ling Foundation. A regular contributor to the quarterly Critical Muslim, he hosts a radio podcast show, Tea Talk Asia. His research is focused on the postnormal dimensions of international policy, politics and governance, which he often explores through films.

Nov 2019

31 min 42 sec

Listen into Amina's conversation with Dr. Nora El-Bilawi from Hood College as they discuss well-being and training of teachers. Dr. Nora El-Bilawi is currently an assistant professor of education at Hood College, Fredrick MD. Dr. El-Bilawi has a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree from George Mason University, College of Education and Human Development with a specialization in multicultural education, international education, and curriculum and instruction. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in online, hybrid, and in face-to-face class format focusing on cultural studies, international and globalization perspectives, and on language learning methods and strategies. Also, she held a position during 2014-2016 as an assistant professor of education at the American University in Dubai, UAE. Her research interest and field publications focus on international education, multiculturalism/multilingualism, education reform, teacher training/education, and curriculum and instruction.

Nov 2019

26 min 2 sec

Join Amina and Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss as they discuss well-being, culturally responsive research, and the far right. Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss is an award-winning author and scholar of far right extremism and higher education. She is Professor of Education and Sociology and Director of Research at the Center for University Excellence (CUE) at the American University in Washington, DC, and Senior Fellow and Director of Outreach at the U.K.-based Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right. A cultural sociologist, she has spent two decades researching the emotional and aesthetic dimensions of radical and extreme youth culture, most recently through a focus on how clothing, style and symbols act as a gateway into extremist scenes and subcultures. She also writes widely on higher education issues, particularly related to the internationalization of universities and the far right's impact on the higher education sector.​ In addition to her academic work, Miller-Idriss writes frequently for mainstream audiences, with recent by-lines in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CNN Style, The Guardian, Le Monde, Salon, and more. She appears regularly in the media as an expert source and political commentator, most recently on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, NPR's All Things Considered, NBC's The Today Show, the UK's BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed, France 24's The Interview, The Washington Post Live, Ireland's The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk and in Austria's DATUM Magazine. ​In new research, Miller-Idriss has been studying transnational flows in far-right youth scenes' aesthetics and style in six countries. She is at work on a new book, Hate in the Homeland: The New Spaces and Places of the U.S. Far Right, to be published in fall 2020. Her most recent book, The Extreme Gone Mainstream: Commercialization and Far Right Youth Culture in Germany, was published last year in 2018.

Oct 2019

40 min 35 sec

Listen in to Amina's conversation on well-being and ethics with Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi from The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi from is an innovative thinker, philosopher, educator and a polymath monk. He is Director of the Ethics Initiative at the MIT Media Lab and President & CEO of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a center dedicated to inquiry, dialogue, and education on the ethical and humane dimensions of life. The Center is a collaborative and nonpartisan think tank, and its programs emphasize responsibility and examine meaningfulness and moral purpose between individuals, organizations, and societies. Six Nobel Peace Laureates serve as The Center’s founding members and its programs run in several countries and are expanding. Venerable Tenzin's unusual background encompasses entering a Buddhist monastery at the age of ten and receiving graduate education at Harvard University with degrees ranging from Philosophy to Physics to International Relations. He is a Tribeca Disruptive Fellow and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Venerable Tenzin serves on the boards of a number of academic, humanitarian, and religious organizations. He is the recipient of several recognitions and awards, and received Harvard’s Distinguished Alumni Honors for his visionary contributions to humanity.

Oct 2019

22 min 23 sec

Listen in to Amina's conversation on well-being and philanthropy with Dr. Shariq Siddiqui from Indiana University. Dr. Siddiqui is also part of the AEMS team at IIIT. Dr. Shariq Siddiqui serves as the visiting director and assistant professor of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Shariq has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He also has a JD from the McKinney School of Law at Indiana University and holds a B.A. in History from the University of Indianapolis. Shariq authors research on Muslim philanthropy and the Muslim nonprofit sector. Most recently, he conducted a national survey of full-time Islamic schools in the United States. This project resulted in the book (that he co-authored) Islamic Education in the United States and the Evolution of Muslim Nonprofit Institutions that will be published in November 2017. Shariq also serves as the co-editor of the new Journal on Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society and as the Series Editor of the Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society Book Series published by Indiana University Press. He has served as a nonprofit practitioner for over 20 years for international, national, regional, and local nonprofit organizations. Shariq is also the former Executive Director of Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). ARNOVA is a leading international association that connects scholars, teachers, and practice leaders in research on nonprofit organizations, voluntary action, philanthropy and civil society.

Oct 2019

35 min 6 sec

Join the second part of our discussion with Mara Kronenfeld from the International Youth Foundation (IYF) as she discusses well-being of youth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with Amina. Mara Kronenfeld is an international development specialist with over 15 years of experience designing, implementing, and leading youth development programming in the Middle East and North Africa, a region where she has lived and worked in for many years. Mara has extensive leadership experience in youth workforce development, with a strong focus on program design and development, organizational capacity strengthening, and multi-sectoral partnership cultivation and collaboration. Mara currently serves as Regional Director of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) programs at the International Youth Foundation (IYF) where she has worked for close to a decade. As Regional Director, Mara oversees a diverse portfolio of youth education, employability, and empowerment programs in collaboration with partners such as the World Bank, USAID, OCP Foundation (Morocco), Hilton, Samsung, JP Morgan, Saudi Aramco, the King Khalid Foundation, and hundreds of local NGOs and community based organization across the Middle East and North Africa. Before joining IYF, Mara served in the Business Development department at AMIDEAST where she managed corporate, foundation, and individual fund-raising efforts and also as manager of the Fulbright scholarship program for students from the MENA region. Mara was a U.S. Fulbright grantee to Syria herself between 2001 and 2003 and while in Syria, also managed a U.S. State Department funded teacher training project and UNRWA’s English Language Club for Palestinian vocational students. She has also worked for the American University in Cairo. Mara brings Arabic language skills and a deep knowledge of the MENA region to IYF. Mara holds a Masters Degree in Near Eastern Studies from New York University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Stanford University.

Oct 2019

28 min 20 sec

Join the first part of our discussion with Mara Kronenfeld from the International Youth Foundation (IYF) as she discusses well-being of youth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with Amina. Mara Kronenfeld is an international development specialist with over 15 years of experience designing, implementing, and leading youth development programming in the Middle East and North Africa, a region where she has lived and worked in for many years. Mara has extensive leadership experience in youth workforce development, with a strong focus on program design and development, organizational capacity strengthening, and multi-sectoral partnership cultivation and collaboration. Mara currently serves as Regional Director of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) programs at the International Youth Foundation (IYF) where she has worked for close to a decade. As Regional Director, Mara oversees a diverse portfolio of youth education, employability, and empowerment programs in collaboration with partners such as the World Bank, USAID, OCP Foundation (Morocco), Hilton, Samsung, JP Morgan, Saudi Aramco, the King Khalid Foundation, and hundreds of local NGOs and community based organization across the Middle East and North Africa. Before joining IYF, Mara served in the Business Development department at AMIDEAST where she managed corporate, foundation, and individual fund-raising efforts and also as manager of the Fulbright scholarship program for students from the MENA region. Mara was a U.S. Fulbright grantee to Syria herself between 2001 and 2003 and while in Syria, also managed a U.S. State Department funded teacher training project and UNRWA’s English Language Club for Palestinian vocational students. She has also worked for the American University in Cairo. Mara brings Arabic language skills and a deep knowledge of the MENA region to IYF. Mara holds a Masters Degree in Near Eastern Studies from New York University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Stanford University.

Oct 2019

24 min 14 sec

Listen into Amina's conversation with Walid Darab, the host and creator of the very popular Greed for Ilm podcast. They discuss the role of podcasts in human development, education, empathy, and well-being. With over 300,000 followers on Facebook who were attracted to his message of raising personal awareness to become better individuals, whether through religious knowledge or non-religious knowledge, Walid started a podcast to promote this cause which now has over 210 episodes and continues to grow with top-ratings.

Sep 2019

21 min 51 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Maryam Sharifian who visited and presented at IIIT during for the Summer Institute of Scholars in 2019. Dr. Sharifian talks about her study, "Trauma, Burnout, and Resilience of Syrian Primary Teachers Working Inside the War Zone". They discuss the findings from the study, the phenomenal resilience of teachers in the war zone in Syria, as well as the importance of teachers' well-being and how that plays a role in students' lives. Dr. Maryam Sharifian is an Assistant Professor at James Madison University, College of Education. Dr. Sharifian received her undergraduate and graduate degree in School Counseling from Tehran University in Iran. After completing her PhD in Early Childhood Education from SUNY at Buffalo, she started her position at JMU to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Early Childhood Education. Dr. Sharifian serves as country liaison at Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) as a National Representative (representing Iran/Middle East). She also served as Board of Directors of ACEI for three years. She is an active member in several international Early Childhood Organizations such as the World Organization for Early Childhood Education, Cooperative and International Education Society and American Education Research Association to advocate for children and teachers' right. Dr. Sharifian addresses educational issues relating to children and teachers in the area of armed conflict (their well-being and resilience strategies). In addition, she has worked with children of undocumented Afghan immigrants, school girls in rural Tanzania and street children in Iran. She has several book chapters and article publications related to teacher training and children education.

Sep 2019

39 min 14 sec

Join Amina as she sits down to talk with Dr. Ilham Nasser from the IIIT (International Institute of Islamic Thought) about AEMS, the Advancing Education in Muslim Societies program. Dr. Nasser particularly focuses on the Mapping the Terrain study, a research project which investigates the conditions and status of education in Muslim societies while focusing on the person as a whole and more specifically at the socio-emotional and spiritual aspects of his/her being. It is about “learning to be” where education is not only about knowledge and skills but also about being a human being. Dr. Nasser talks about the different "constructs" or concepts chosen for the survey in the 2019 annual study which all relate to well-being either directly or indirectly. Dr. Nasser is the Director of Pedagogy and a Senior Researcher for the AEMS research team at IIIT. She is also a former Chair of the Peace Education Special Interest Group at the American Education Research Association (AERA) and has spent over twenty five years in teacher training and research in different educational settings in the United States, Africa, and the Middle East. Dr. Nasser was an associate professor in Early Childhood Education at George Mason University for 12 years. Her research interest includes studies and publications on the topic of global teachers’ professional development and more specifically, teacher preparation and professional development in social and political contexts and ways these influence children’s outcomes. Previously, she led the modernization of the curriculum for kindergarten in Iraq and the design and development of the first national curriculum for kindergarten in Palestine. Dr. Nasser has researched and published on education for forgiveness in the Arab World. Currently she is the Dean for the School of Education at Virginia International University.

Sep 2019

21 min 18 sec

Join Amina and Dr. Debbie Almontaser as they discuss her new book, Leading While Muslim: The Experiences of American Muslim Principals After 9/11, as well as inclusion, empathy, and culturally responsive education. Dr. Debbie Almontaser is an internationally recognized, award-winning educator, speaker and authority on cross cultural understanding. She is an influential community leader and the Founder and CEO of Bridging Cultures Group, Inc. Dr. Almontaser was the founder and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, NY. A twenty-five year veteran of the NYC Public School System, she taught special education, inclusion, trained teachers in literacy, and served as a multicultural specialist and diversity advisor. Currently, she is the Board President of the Muslim Community Network (www.mcnny.org). In 2005, Dr. Almontaser spearheaded the inauguration of Arab Heritage Week in New York City. She also sits on the Public Advocate Tish James’ Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh Task Force to Combat Hate. Dr. Almontaser is a founding board member of The Dialogue Project, Brooklyn Borough President’s New Diversity Task Force and board advisor for the Same Difference Interfaith Alliance. Dr. Almontaser served on the boards of Youth Bridge NY, Women In Islam, Inc., and Saba: The Association of Yemeni Americans. She is a co-founder of Brooklyn Bridges, the September 11th Curriculum Project, We Are All Brooklyn, and Women Against Islamophobia and Racism (WAIR).

May 2019

34 min 2 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Tavis Jules. They discuss geopolitics and education, whether globalization is on "pause", and how the absence of softer skills being taught by education systems either formally or informally can lead to disastrous outcomes. Dr. Tavis D. Jules is an Associate Professor of Cultural and Educational Policy at Loyola University Chicago, specifically focusing on Comparative and International Education and International Higher Education. Recently, he co-authored the book, Educational Transitions in Post-Revolutionary Spaces: Islam, Security, and Social Movements in Tunisia, with Teresa Barton, which explores the transformation of the education system in Tunisia following the Jasmine Revolution, the first of a wave of revolutions known as the Arab Spring. Dr. Tavis Jules also wrote the book Neither World Polity nor Local or National Societies: Regionalization in the Global South – the Caribbean Community (Peter Lang, 2012). He has taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses at Loyola. He received his MA (2004) in International Educational Development, specializing in Peace Education, at Teachers College, Columbia University. He then went on to receive both an Ed. M. (2005) and Ed.D. (2008) in International Educational Development—International Educational Policy Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to arriving at Loyola, Dr. Jules held a variety of positions internationally. From 2009-2011 he worked as the Head of Knowledge and Communication for the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI), where he was responsible for developing fundraising, communication, marketing, and education programs. He also worked as a curriculum specialist (2008-2009) for Freedom House in New York, New York, where he wrote, coordinated, and edited an online curriculum manual and learning portal for educators teaching about democracy and freedom in Iran. His vast professional and academic experiences have led to research interests in regionalism and governance, transitory spaces, and policy challenges in small island developing states (SIDS). He also has written a plethora of book chapters ranging on topics from post-revolutionary higher education reforms in Tunisia to post-socialist conversions in the global South.

Mar 2019

54 min 1 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Fairfax County School Board candidate, Abrar Omeish. Abrar Omeish is a Yale graduate who is passionate about public service and community work and has served as a student, advocate, student government official, teacher, and community member. She currently works at a human rights and immigration law firm and substitute teaches in the school system. Omeish was also raised in Girl Scouting and earned the Gold Award. Just a summer ago, she ran for Fairfax County School Board, and she is running again this year. Omeish currently co-chairs the Human Resources Advisory Committee and has been incredibly passionate about equity and, driven by this interest served as the President of the Superintendent’s Advisory Council where the team carefully studied skills for "21st Century Learning" and proposed implementation that contributed to the current FCPS "Portrait of a Graduate." She also served on three School Board committees: advanced academics, where she consistently advocated for additional resources for students who are disadvantaged and whose chances at success are undermined; one on student discipline following the tragic suicide of a fellow classmate and friend, led by his father and sparking necessary conversations; and the Superintendent selection committee, which contributes to the primary official role of the School Board. Omeish was also an intern for the FCPS Superintendent’s Office and, separately, led an anti-bullying campaign that amended FCPS policies. She also co-founded a completely youth-led, youth-run non-profit organization which has been running for ten years that serves lower-income youth in twenty centers across the county (www.giveyouth.org). Since then, she’s worked in several levels of government and policy-making and has been a part of community projects that have been generating real solutions tested on the ground.

Mar 2019

51 min 21 sec

Listen into Amina's conversation on education policy with Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, IIIT's current Chairman. Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim is the leader of Malaysia’s ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, President of the People’s Justice Party, and is expected to lead the country as its eighth Prime Minister. He served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1993-1998 and Finance Minister from 1991-1998. He was also the Minister of Education from 1986–1991. Since 1998, he has led the reform movement to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in the country. For his principled stance on issues of justice and the rule of law, he has spent over ten of the past 20 years in solitary confinement as a prisoner of conscience. He received a full pardon for all of the crimes alleged against him just days after his party won the Malaysian General Election on May 9, 2018.

Feb 2019

18 min 48 sec

Listen in to Amina's 2-part interview with Afeefa Syeed. This first portion focuses on defining Islamic education and human development. Afeefa Syeed most recently served as Senior Advisor at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has been a Scholar Consultant for the Carter Center, and is currently Research Associate with Cambridge University's Institute on Religion and International Studies, and Senior Fellow and Advisory Council Member for Institute for Global Engagement's Center for Women, Faith & Leadership. She also founded a community-based school whose core curriculum includes peace education, service-in-action, and place-based learning. The school has been an incubator and global model for innovative practices in integrated learning and teaching including creating a curriculum to teach religious studies in a holistic manner.

Feb 2019

21 min 43 sec

Listen in to Amina's 2-part interview with Afeefa Syeed. This second portion focuses on the value of grassroots engagement and the role of women. Afeefa Syeed most recently served as Senior Advisor at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has been a Scholar Consultant for the Carter Center, and is currently Research Associate with Cambridge University's Institute on Religion and International Studies, and Senior Fellow and Advisory Council Member for Institute for Global Engagement's Center for Women, Faith & Leadership. She also founded a community-based school whose core curriculum includes peace education, service-in-action, and place-based learning. The school has been an incubator and global model for innovative practices in integrated learning and teaching including creating a curriculum to teach religious studies in a holistic manner.

Feb 2019

20 min 59 sec

Listen into Amina's interview with Professor Tyler Cowen, host of the popular podcast series Conversations with Tyler on iTunes. Professor Cohen is Director of the Mercatus Center and a professor at George Mason University. His book,The Great Stagnation: How America Ate the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better, was a New York Times bestseller. He received his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1987.

Jan 2019

11 min 59 sec

Join Amina as she interviews Rania Rankoussi, an educational consultant and Director of Bright Signs, a business that offers education focused on kids learning life skills with the integration of Islamic values and morals. Rania also talks about her experiences serving UNICEF in Syria for an education project she talks more about in the interview.

Jan 2019

31 min 34 sec

Join Amina and Dr. Ahmed Alwani, Vice President of IIIT and Director of IIIT's Reform of Education project, as they discuss how to make the visions and goals of Advancing Education in Muslim Societies (AEMS) in the realm of human development and transformative education a part of reality with tangible results and pragmatic approaches.

Nov 2018

22 min 35 sec

In the third episode, join Amina as she discusses creating reading cultures with Saulat Pervez, a member of the AEMS research team.

Oct 2018

13 min 54 sec

In the second episode of Third Space Thoughts to Policy, join Amina and Dr. Ilham Nasser as the latter gives an overview of what "Mapping the Terrain" entails. Dr. Nasser also defines the four main constructs for listeners: empathy, forgiveness, moral reasoning, and community mindedness. Furthermore, Dr. Nasser explains the importance of what UNESCO calls "learning to be", where education is not only about knowledge and skills but also about being a human being, and how this fits in with the AEMS program.

Oct 2018

19 min 56 sec

This is the first episode of the Third Space Thoughts to Policy podcast. Join Amina and Dr. Miller-Idriss to listen in to their conversation on what "third space" means, why we don't have research on socio-emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual in that space, and how this discussion is relevant not just to Muslim societies, but globally as youth around the world grapple with anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation. You'll also hear more about IIIT's work and how the AEMS program is working towards transformative education advancing holistic human development and overall wellness.

Oct 2018

24 min 34 sec