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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Helen Malko

Dr. Helen Malko is an anthropological archaeologist with training in cultural heritage preservation and museum practices. She is an Associate Director at the American Center of Research in Amman, Jordan. Her research is focused on archaeology of the Near East as well as the destruction of monuments and historical landscapes in Iraq and its impact on the local communities, including the Assyrians. Other areas of her scholarly interest include cultural representation in Iraqi museums and ideas of historical consciousness and cultural exchange.

Dr. Malko received a Ph.D. from Stony Brook University, and a master's degree from Baghdad University. She was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship to conduct research in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, Metropolitan Museum (2012-2014). From 2014 to 2017, Dr. Malko was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Art History and Archaeology and the Italian Academy for Advanced studies at Columbia University. She has been a member of the Columbia university project Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments, a topographical survey of the standing historical monuments, including rock reliefs, early Christian churches  and monasteries, early Islamic, Ottoman 

and twentieth century architecture and monuments throughout Iraq and southeast Turkey.

Her recent publications include "Heritage Wars: A Cultural Genocide in Iraq" in Cultural Genocide: law, Politics, and Global Manifestations, ed. Jeffrey Bachman (Routledge, 2019), a co-authored article "Parthian Rock Reliefs in Iraqi Kurdistan" in Iraq, the BISI Journal, and "the Kassites of Babylonia: A Re-examination of an Ethnic Identity," in Studies and the Sealand and Babylonia under the Kassites, eds. Susanne Paulus and Tim Clayden (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2020).

Sargon Donabed

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Sargon Donabed is an associate professor of history at Roger Williams University. He holds a PhD in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto and a MSci from Canisius College in Anthrozoology/Animal Studies. 

 

Donabed is one of the foremost experts on the perennial history of Assyria-Mesopotamia and its heritage. His recent focus consists of indigenous and marginalized methodologies concerning the development of Assyrian Studies as an anti-orientalist and anti-colonialist field, as well as issues of cultural continuity. Currently, his studies in animal studies touch upon storytelling and folklore and issues of re-enchantment of reality through myth and panentheism. Sargon is also at present working on two major fantasy epics.

 

In addition, he is a TAARII (the American Academic Research Institute in Iraq) recipient, serves on the advisory board of the journal Chronos, published by the University of Balamand and is also the editor for the book series Alternative Histories: Narratives from the Middle East and Mediterranean with Edinburgh University Press. https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/series-alternative-histories.html

 

Donabed is also published in a variety of journals from Folklore to National Identities and Perspectives on History and is the author of Reforging a Forgotten History: Iraq and the Assyrians in the 20th Century (Edinburgh University Press, 2015) and co-editor and contributor to numerous works including The Assyrian Heritage: Threads of Continuity and Influence (Uppsala University, 2012) among others. Currently, he is under contract to write a comprehensive history entitled The Assyrians: A Cultural History from Empire to Endangered Existence (Cambridge University Press). He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School and Brown University and lectures in various universities around the world.

Ruth Kambar

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Ruth Kambar is a public school English teacher and adjunct professor at the State University of New York, Westchester Community College. Dr. Kambar earned her doctorate from New York University in 2013. She has created a verbal testament to Assyrian Americans called “A Family Archive: Construction of Identity in the Assyrian American Diaspora.”

 

Her work stemmed from an NEH Fellowship in the study of Folklore, resulting in her process of recording Assyrian American life narratives, which eventually laid the foundation for her doctoral research. Ruth analyzed a collection of life narratives and complementary texts, which provided a unique window into an immigrant Assyrian family and its Assyrian American identity. A Family Archive: Construction of Identity in the Assyrian American Diaspora sought to identify personal myths, pedagogical indicators, intertextuality, geographical and historical references in oral narratives that the community employs to establish and perform identity. 

 

Additionally, in 2017, Dr. Kambar played an instrumental role in curating photography and narrative for the art exhibit Assyrians in Yonkers at the Blue Door Gallery. In 2019, Dr. Kambar released Assyrians of Yonkers, a title among the Arcadia Images of America Series. The book the history of the Yonkers community of Assyrians and how generations of them have come together from different nations and settled in Yonkers to live and to contribute to the American mosaic. Many of the Yonkers Assyrians have fled different periods of genocide. 

Mark Tomass

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Mark Tomass is a monetary economist, specializing in financial markets. In the past 30 years, he taught money and banking, international trade and finance, and economic systems in various business schools in the United States and Europe, where he also designed and accredited graduate and undergraduate business programs.

 

His research focuses on using the proper economic methodology for understanding monetary and financial crises, the working of economic systems, organized crime, and violent group conflict in the Middle East. His work on Assyrians focused on the Assyrian community of Aleppo, where he argued that the fragmentation of the Assyrian identity is a result of their fragmented social and economic infrastructure.

 

His 2016 book The Religious Roots of the Syrian Conflict: Remaking the Fertile Crescent formulates economic concepts to outline mechanisms by which conflicts of secular nature often mutate into conflicts among religious groups. In his 2017 (with Charles Webel) edited book Assessing the War on Terror: Western and Middle Eastern Perspectives, Tomass brings together internationally acclaimed scholars in the field of terrorism and pairs his background as an expert in both international economics and Middle Eastern history with his personal upbringing in Syria to add unique value and deliver an unspoken voice to the vital study of counter-terrorism. In The International Handbook of Group Violence (2020), Tomass contributes a chapter entitled Holy Terror: How Scriptures Legitimized Group Violence in the Middle East, where he argues that distinguishing between the motivation for terrorist activity must be a main component of devising solutions for it.

Anobel Odisho

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Anobel Odisho, MD, MPH received his undergraduate training from the University of California, Berkeley where he earned a degree in Molecular Biology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations with high honors. He then earned his MD from the University of California, San Francisco with an Area of Distinction in Medical Humanities.

 

He stayed at UCSF for his General Surgery and Urology training. During residency, he earned a Masters of Public Health degree at the University of California, with an emphasis in epidemiology and biostatistics. He completed his Urologic Oncology fellowship training at the University of Washington.

 

In 2017, Dr. Odisho was recruited to join the faculty at UCSF and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Specializing in urologic cancer care, he is part of the multidisciplinary urologic oncology team of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, located primarily at the Mission Bay campus. He also maintains privileges at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Önver Cetrez

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Cetrez is Associate Professor in psychology of religion, at Uppsala University. During 2017-2021 he was the coordinator and PI for the Horizon2020 project RESPOND – Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond (www.respondmigration.com). During 2014-2016 he held the position as deputy director at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul. Before that he has led several research projects on migrants and refugees, mainly Assyrians, but also other minorities from the Middle East, as well as coordinated master programs in Religion, Peace and Conflict at Uppsala University. Cetrez’ peer reviewed articles, chapters, and scientific evaluation reports link to topics on migration, refugees, psychosocial health, meaning-making/religiosity, resilience, coping, acculturation, and youth, both qualitatively and quantitatively, in a mixed-method fashion.

 

He has edited several books and peer-reviewed articles in his field of expertise. He is an ordinary member of the Swedish Ethical Review Authority, the International Association for the Psychology of Religion (IAPR), and board member in CRS – Centre for Multidisciplinary Research on Religion and Society as well as CEMFOR: Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism. See more: http://katalog.uu.se/profile/?id=N96-5719.

Michel Shamoon-Pour

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Michel Shamoon-Pour is a molecular anthropologist specializing in population genetics and paleogenomics. He is currently a Research Assistant Professor with the Binghamton University's First-year Research Immersion program. His research primarily focuses on the genetic histories of the Middle East and Caucasus populations. Shamoon-Pour has worked with members of Assyrian communities in the United States to reconstruct genetic matrilineages and patrilineages of pre-Genocide Assyrian settlements. A microbiologist by training, Shamoon-Pour's research also includes the diagnostics of Lyme disease. As an educator, he emphasizes the health impact of socioeconomic disparities and systemic racism in the United States.