Field work is one of my core passions as an academic. I have had the privilege of living and working in several countries throughout my life.
In 1991, I spent my college junior year abroad studying at Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary (then called the Karl Marx University of Economic Sciences). I had the unique opportunity to watch Hungary and its neighboring states takes steps towards democracy and undergo significant social changes with the end of the Soviet Union and its influence in the region.
Following my graduation from college in 1993, I spent a year teaching English in the village of Shirataka, in Yamagata prefecture, Japan, as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program.
In 1994, I moved to Osijek, Croatia and spent two years working on issues relating to war refugees, including a stint with the Lutheran World Federation, a Geneva-based NGO. I also taught English at the Visoko Evanđeosko Teološko Učilište, the Evangelical Theological University in Osijek. I was particularly interested in learning about paths to reconciliation following the ethnically based conflict.
In 1998, I spent a year in the West Bank/Palestine, working with the Lutheran church in Palestine, including assisting the Bishop of the Lutheran church, and working for Dar al Kalima, a Lutheran school in Bethlehem. I was interested in learning how faith-based organizations could be an opportunity to facilitate Israeli and Palestinian collaboration.
While working for the RAND Corporation, I spent half a year as a researcher on a project that took me to Doha, Qatar, to help overhaul their education system, focusing specifically on postsecondary education.
From 2012 to 2015, I traveled to Dushanbe, Tajikistan periodically as part of a team that engaged Tajik security forces on issues relating to religiously motivated violence and extremism, focusing specifically on how to address the potential growth and spread of Salafism in the region.
And during the fall of 2016, I spent a term at the Universitas Pertahanan Indonesia (UNHAN), the Indonesian Defense University, teaching graduate-level Indonesians from across the archipelago, as part of a sabbatical from the Naval Postgraduate School. I was particularly interested in learning about Indonesia’s diversity in Islam, and the extent to which Salafism was spreading throughout the country.
I hope to engage more countries and cultures through my work as an academic. For me, there is no better teacher than cross-cultural education and exchanges.