From off-campus, please dial: 781-736-XXXX.

Cynthia Cohen, Ph.D. Director x2133 Email
Toni Shapiro-Phim, Ph.D. Assistant Director  x7744 Email
Lauren Satterlee Web and Communications Specialist Email

Cynthia Cohen, Ph.D., Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts

Cynthia Cohen is Director of the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis University, where she leads action/reflection research projects, writes and teaches about work at the nexus of the arts, culture, justice and peace. She directed the Brandeis/Theatre Without Borders collaboration "Acting Together on the World Stage," co-edited the Acting Together anthologies and co-created the documentary and toolkit ( She directs ReCAST, Inc, a non-profit organization partnering with Brandeis and New Village Press on the dissemination of Acting Together resources. Dr. Cohen has written extensively on the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of peacebuilding, including chapters "Creative Approaches to Reconciliation" and "Engaging with the Arts to Promote Coexistence," and an on-line book "Working With Integrity: A Guidebook for Peacebuilders Asking Ethical Questions." Prior to the Acting Together project, she directed an international fellowship program "Recasting Reconciliation through Culture and the Arts," which produced an anthology by that name. (All are available in the online Resource Library.) In addition, Dr. 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, anti-racist oral history center in the Boston area.

Toni Shapiro-Phim, Ph.D., Assistant Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts (outside the tenure track)

Toni Shapiro Phim was appointed Assistant Director to the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts in May 2019. With a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Cornell University, Toni Shapiro-Phim is a leading scholar and practitioner analyzing and building the role of the arts in conflict/post-conflict situations and in response to mass violence and sudden traumatic loss. A central theme of Toni’s work over many decades is that of long commitment to, and respect for, diverse populations. While her area of personal and professional expertise is dance and human rights, her research and professional activities have included ethnomusicology, documentary filmmaking, videography, and the study of expressive forms as diverse as domestic altars and women’s klezmer “culture” in the Philadelphia area and beyond. Toni’s international work has focused on Cambodia, where she lived for many years and acquired fluency in Khmer; she has worked in other Asian countries, including in refugee camps. Her recent work with the Liberian Women’s Chorus in Philadelphia has also allowed her to extend her knowledge to the contemporary African diaspora; she documented the work of the Chorus in her film Because of the War. Toni’s co-edited volume, Dance, Human Rights, and Social Justice: Dignity in Motion (2008), has made her a leader in this field, and her other book-long publications, as well as shorter articles and reviews, all show Toni to be deeply committed to exploring the critical intersection of human rights, peace and justice concerns, genocide studies, migration, and the arts and other forms of cultural expression. Toni’s long experience in non-profit management, most recently as Director of Programs for the Philadelphia Folklore Project, will be a great asset to the administrative and fundraising needs of the program, as CAST continues to develop its profile and increase its visibility on campus.

Toni brings ongoing work on issues of human rights and conflict resolution, as well as the documentation of transitional justice institutions, to her role as Assistant Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis. She holds a leadership role in IMPACT – Imagining Together: Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation. Directed by Cindy Cohen, IMPACT is establishing a global network of practitioners and scholars engaged in work around the arts and conflict transformation.

The Interdisciplinary Minor in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (CAST) at Brandeis University announced the appointment of Toni Shapiro-Phim in May 2019 as Associate Professor of Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation. Beginning fall semester 2019, Professor Shapiro-Phim will co-chair the CAST minor, offer its core course (CAST 150b), develop two new CAST-designated courses, and support the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts.

Lauren Satterlee, Web and Communications Specialist

Since 2011, Lauren Satterlee manages research, writes content and serves as editor for the Peacebuilding and the Arts NOW e-newsletter as well as the organization's website. Lauren holds a MA in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Lauren has managed digital communications for other nonprofit organizations, including managing the social media presence and developing web 2.0 strategy for American Refugee Committee. She co-organized the Red Hot Art Festival in Minneapolis, and has a strong belief in the power of the arts to give a voice to individuals and  communities, especially those that are traditionally marginalized. Lauren is also an amateur photographer. She is honored to have the opportunity to support to the work of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts and a remarkable global network of artists, cultural workers, and peacebuilders.