Symposiums on Gender in Media

Hollywood’s Impact on Societies in Conflict: Hyper Men and Passive Women on the Big Screen

Washington D.C., U.S. Institute of Peace
September 23, 2014

Kathleen Kuehnast, Moderator
Director, Gender and Peacebuilding Center, USIP

Abigail E. Disney

Executive Producer, The Trials of Spring

Abigail E. Disney is a filmmaker, philanthropist and community activist currently producing the multi-media initiative, Awakening, along with Executive Producer and fellow Leadership Council Member, Zainab Salbi. Her longtime passion for women’s issues and peace-building culminated in her first film, the acclaimed Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Ms. Abigail co-founded the Daphne Foundation, which works with low-income communities in the five boroughs of New York City. She also founded Peace is Loud, which amplifies women’s voices for peace-building using the power of media.

Jill Dougherty

Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

After a three-decade career with CNN Jill Dougherty left the network this year to pursue her main area of expertise and interest: Russia. Based at CNN’s Washington, D.C., bureau, Dougherty was CNN’s Foreign Affairs Correspondent, covering U.S. foreign policy. In addition to reporting on news developments from the State Department, she provided analysis on international issues across multiple CNN platforms and traveled widely with Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She reported from more than 50 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and North Korea.

Dougherty previously served as U.S. Affairs Editor for CNN International, a role in which she covered political, cultural and business stories in the United States for CNN’s international network. Prior to that, Dougherty was Managing Editor of CNN International’s seven bureaus in the Asia-Pacific region. Dougherty, who joined CNN in 1983, also served as CNN’s Moscow bureau chief and correspondent for nine years, named to that post in 1997. From 1991 – 1996 she was CNN White House correspondent, covering the presidencies of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Sheldon Himelfarb, PhD

Director, Media, Technology and Peacebuilding, USIP

Sheldon Himelfarb joined USIP from The Corporate Executive Board, where he was on the Technology Practice Leadership Team, working with chief information officers from governments, universities, and multi-national corporations. Prior to this, he served as foreign policy adviser to a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the head of North American Documentary Development for Yorkshire TV, and the CEO/Executive Producer for Common Ground Productions, the media division of Search for Common Ground. He is an award-winning filmmaker, former commentator for National Public Radio (Sunday Morning Edition) and author of numerous articles on politics, popular culture and conflict. He has managed peacebuilding programs in numerous conflicts, including Bosnia, Iraq, Angola, Liberia, Macedonia, Burundi and received the Capitol Area Peace Maker award from American University. He holds a doctorate from Oxford University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University. He has held visiting or guest scholar positions at the Brookings Institution, Harvard University and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Kathleen Kuehnast, PhD

Director, Gender & Peacebuilding Center at USIP

Dr. Kathleen Kuehnast is director of the Gender & Peacebuilding Center at USIP. The Center focuses on the gendered impacts of conflict and post-conflict transition of both men and women. She has written extensively on this nexus of work, including her forthcoming co-authored chapter, Peace and Security in the Twenty-First Century: Understanding the Gendered Nature of Power, as well as her co-edited the volume, Women and War: Power and Protection in the 21st Century (2011), which focuses on U.N. Resolution 1325 and the critical role women should play in peacebuilding. In addition to her expertise on conflict and gender, Kuehnast worked 15 years in the international development field, where her research included studies on community driven development in post-conflict reconstruction, as well as migration and poverty impacts on gender roles. Kuehnast is a recipient of the Mellon Foreign Fellowship at the Library of Congress, and also a former post-doctorate fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies Program. Her regional expertise is Central Asia, in particular Kyrgyzstan, where she has written extensively on the impact of post-Soviet transition on Muslim women, including the co-edited volume, Post-Soviet Women Encountering Transition: Nation Building, Economic Survival, and Civic Activism (2004). She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Kuehnast holds a doctorate in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Minnesota.

Andrew Levack

Deputy Director, US Programs for Promundo

Andrew Levack is the Deputy Director of US Programs for Promundo, and has over twenty years of expertise in prevention efforts that address gender
inequality. Andrew is the former director of U.S. Programs for EngenderHealth, where he created Gender Matters – a demonstration project working with
young men and women to address harmful gender norms as a key determinant to dating violence and teen pregnancy. Previously, Andrew served as the director of EngenderHealth’s global Men As
Partners (MAP) Program, where he worked in more
than 20 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Andrew is a founding member and former co-chair of MenEngage—a
global alliance of more than 300 organizations that seek to engage boys and men to achieve gender
equality. Andrew sits on the United Nations Secretary General’s Network of Men Leaders and holds a clinical
faculty appointment at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.

Marc Sommers

Consultant and Visiting Researcher, African Studies Center, Boston University

Marc Sommers is an internationally recognized youth, conflict, education and gender expert, and an award-winning author. In 2009-2010, he was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace. The USIP fellowship allowed him to complete field research and begin writing Marley’s War: Youth, Terror and Transformation in Sierra Leone (University of Georgia Press, forthcoming). The book probes how international pop culture icons, and drugs, played critical roles in youth lives in Sierra Leone during the periods of pre-war resistance, civil war, and post-war adaptation. The book highlights the particularly strong influence of three icons: reggae legend Bob Marley, hip-hop superstar Tupac Shakur, and movie hero John Rambo (played by Sylvester Stallone). Currently, Dr. Sommers is working to complete Marley’s War.

For over two decades, Dr. Sommers has consulted for donor agencies, NGOs, UN agencies and policy institutes, working in 21 war-affected countries across Africa and in Colombia, El Salvador, Kosovo, Macedonia, Pakistan and Timor-Leste. His work addresses a range of war and post-war issues, including youth, security, conflict negotiation, child soldier, gender (sexual violence, adulthood, masculinity), education, employment, governance, urbanization, displacement, development and coordination. He taught for many years at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, and was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is a Visiting Researcher with the African Studies Center at Boston University. He also works part-time as Senior International Technical Advisor for the Education Development Center.

Dr. Sommers has an extensive publication record. His books include: Stuck: Rwandan Youth and the Struggle for Adulthood, which received Honorable Mention for the 2013 Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize; Islands of Education: Schooling, Civil War and the Southern Sudanese (1983-2004); and Fear in Bongoland: Burundi Refugees in Urban Tanzania, which received the 2003 Margaret Mead Award. His eighth book is called The Outcast Majority: War, Development and Youth in Africa (University of Georgia Press, forthcoming 2015).