Staff

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Melissa Stimell
Director, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life
Professor of the Practice, Legal Studies Program
781-736-8577 Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex 308

In addition to serving as director of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Melissa Stimell is a professor of the practice in the Legal Studies Program and chair of the program in Social Justice and Social Policy. She also is the academic program director of ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation. Stimell currently teaches Advocacy for Policy Change, Conflict Analysis and Intervention, and Global Justice and Societies in Transition. She also has led Brandeis Summer in The Hague and the seminars accompanying the internship programs. Stimell received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and her law degree from Boston University School of Law. She has been a public interest attorney for over 30 years, focusing on the representation of vulnerable populations in such areas as criminal law, discrimination of individuals with disabilities, and child welfare.

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Armine Avetisyan, MA’19
Program Coordinator, IMPACT
781-736-5016 Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex 323

Armine Avetisyan has served since October 2017 as program coordinator for IMPACT: Imagining Together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation. She holds a European diploma in cultural project management from Foundation Marcel Hicter, a master's in cultural management from Istanbul Bilgi University and a master's in peace studies and conflict resolution from Brandeis' Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

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Cynthia Cohen
Director, Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts
781-736-2133 Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex 303

As director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, Cynthia Cohen leads action/reflection research projects and writes and teaches about work at the nexus of the arts, culture, justice and peace. She directed the Brandeis University/Theatre Without Borders collaboration Acting Together, co-edited the "Acting Together on the World Stage" anthology and co-created the related documentary and toolkit. She directs ReCAST Inc., a nonprofit organization partnering with Brandeis and New Village Press on the dissemination of Acting Together resources.

Cohen has written extensively on the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of peacebuilding, including the chapters "Creative Approaches to Reconciliation" and "Engaging With the Arts to Promote Coexistence," and an online book "Working With Integrity: A Guidebook for Peacebuilders Asking Ethical Questions."

Cohen previously directed the international fellowship program Recasting Reconciliation Through Culture and the Arts, which produced an anthology by that name (available at the virtual resource library.) She teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Cohen was the founding director of the Oral History Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has facilitated coexistence efforts involving participants from the Middle East, the United States, Central America and Sri Lanka.

In addition, Cohen has worked as a dialogue facilitator with communities in the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Central America and the United States. Prior to her tenure at Brandeis, she directed a community-based, antiracist oral history center in the Boston area.

She holds a master's in city planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in education from the University of New Hampshire.

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Toni Shapiro-Phim
Assistant Director, Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts
Associate Professor, Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation
781-736-7744 Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex 311

Toni Shapiro-Phim, assistant director of the Program for Peacebuilding in the Arts and associate professor of the Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation program, is a cultural anthropologist and dance ethnologist whose research, writing, community work and teaching focus on the history and cultural contexts of the arts in discrete regions of the world, particularly in relation to violence, migration, conflict transformation and gender concerns.

Shapiro-Phim, who holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Cornell University, has held teaching and research appointments at the University of California-Berkeley, Yale University and Bryn Mawr College, and worked in Cambodian, Lao and Vietnamese refugee camps in Indonesia and Thailand. She has also conducted years of ethnographic research inside Cambodia.

Shapiro-Phim has dedicated her professional career to nurturing the arts as part of social justice transformations. Co-author of "Dance in Cambodia" and co-editor of "Dance, Human Rights and Social Justice: Dignity in Motion," she has also contributed to "Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide" and "The Choreography of Resolution: Conflict, Movement and Neuroscience," among other publications. Her latest book (co-written with colleagues at the University of Auckland), "Talking Dance: Contemporary Histories From the South China Sea," was published in 2016.

Before joining Brandeis, Shapiro-Phim served as director of programs at the Philadelphia Folklore Project, an arts and social justice organization. There she conducted ethnographic research, curated exhibitions and produced performances, humanities forums and publications highlighting aspects of the cultural practices of Philadelphia's diverse communities.

Shapiro-Phim's documentary film "Because of the War" shares the stories of four women: mothers, refugees, immigrants, singers, dancers and survivors of Liberia's civil wars. The movie highlights ways in which these superstar recording artists harness the potency of their arts to address violence at home in West Africa and in exile in North America.

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Barbara Strauss ’02
Senior Department Coordinator
Academic Administrator, Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation
781-736-8577 Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex 310

Barbara Strauss is senior department coordinator for the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life and the academic administrator for the minor in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation.

She is a 2002 graduate of Brandeis, where she majored in English on the creative writing track, and holds a Master of Fine Arts in fiction from Lesley University.

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Leigh Swigart
Director, Programs in International Justice and Society
781-736-2694 Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex 313

As director of Programs in International Justice and Society, Leigh Swigart manages the Language, Culture and Justice Hub and writes and edits the monthly e-newsletter International Justice in the News.

Swigart is the coauthor, with center Director Emeritus Daniel Terris and Cesare Romano, of "The International Judge: An Introduction to the Men and Women Who Decide the World's Cases" (2007, Brandeis University Press and Oxford University Press).

Her academic work and publications have focused on the challenges of language diversity in international criminal courts and tribunals; language use in postcolonial Africa; and African immigration and refugee resettlement in the United States. Her current research focuses on how the International Criminal Court is managing the challenges associated with accommodating African-language speakers in its investigations, in the courtroom and in its outreach programming to affected regions and victims.

Swigart has wide experience in international education, including tenure as director of the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal. Holding a doctorate in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Washington, Swigart is a two-time Fulbright Scholar and recipient of the Wenner-Gren Foundation Fellowship for Anthropological Research. A list of her publications may be found at the ResearchGate website.

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Daniel Terris
Director Emeritus, International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life
781-736-8577 Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex 308

Founding Ethics Center Director Daniel Terris stepped down in June 2018 to become dean of Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences at Al-Quds University, a Palestinian institution. He now holds the title of director emeritus of the Ethics Center.

An intellectual historian, Terris has written on race and ethnicity in the United States, business ethics and international law and justice. His books include "Ethics at Work: Creating Virtue in an American Corporation" and "The International Judge: An Introduction to the Men and Women Who Decide the World's Cases" (with Leigh Swigart and Cesare P.R. Romano).

As an academic entrepreneur and leader, Terris has overseen the development of many signature programs at Brandeis, including the Brandeis Institute for International Judges, the Brandeis-Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry, the Master's Program in Coexistence and Conflict, and the university's Division of Graduate Professional Studies. He has also served as the university's vice president for global affairs, building new connections for Brandeis in Israel, India, the Netherlands and other countries.

Terris holds a doctorate in the history of American civilization from Harvard University. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with his wife Maggie Stern, an artist. His four sons — Ben, Eli, Theo and Sam — all attended Brandeis.

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David Weinstein
Assistant Director, ENACT and Communications
781-736-2115 Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex 315

In his role as assistant director of ENACT and communications, David Weinstein coordinates the national expansion of the Educational Network for Active Civic Engagement program, manages communications for the Ethics Center, served as coordinator of the Ethics Center Leadership Council and is editor of the Ethics Central newsletter and Ethical Inquiry series. He has also worked with the Office of Global Affairs to support international exchanges of students and faculty.

Weinstein is an educator with K-12 teaching experience in public and alternative school settings and has more than 18 years of communications and project-management experience in nonprofits and higher education. In 2020, he was elected to the Cambridge (Massachusetts) School Committee.

Weinstein is a graduate of Wesleyan University, where he earned a bachelor's in American studies, and holds a master's in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.