© Sharokin Betgevargiz
Board of Directors
Dr. Helen Malko is an anthropological archaeologist with training in cultural heritage preservation and museum practices. She is a Program Manager at Columbia Global Centers | Amman, where she oversees the Fellowship Program for Emerging Displaced Scholars. Her research has been focused on archaeology of the Middle 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 PhD 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 field member and Content Manger for the Columbia University Project Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments, a topographical survey of the standing historical monuments, including rock reliefs carved into the cliff faces of the mountains, early Christian churches and monasteries, early Islamic, Ottoman and twentieth century architecture and monuments throughout Iraq and Southeast Turkey.
Her most recent article “Heritage Wars: A Cultural Genocide in Iraq” has been published in Cultural Genocide: Law, Politics, and Global Manifestations, ed. Jeffrey Bachman (Routledge, 2019). Among her forthcoming publications is "The Kassites of Babylonia: A Re-examination of an Ethnic Identity," in Studies on the Sealand and Babylonia under the Kassites, eds. Susanne Paulus and Tim Clayden (De Gruyter 2019). In addition to fieldwork and research, Dr. Malko has extensive teaching and advising experience.
Sargon Donabed is an associate professor of history at Roger Williams University. He is one of the foremost experts on the perennial history of Assyria-Mesopotamia and its culture. His recent focus consists of indigenous and marginalized communities but also cultural continuity. Currently, his studies center on cultures in contact and 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. Donabed is also published in a variety of journals from Folklore to National Identities 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 was also a visiting scholar at Brown University for the academic year 2018-2019.
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 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 civil conflict in the Middle East. His work on Assyrians focuses on the community of Aleppo, where he argues that the fragmentation of the Assyrian identity is a result of their fragmented social and economic infrastructure.
His recent 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 edited book Assessing the War on Terror: Western and Middle Eastern Perspectives, Tomass 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.
Tomass brings a pragmatic approach to the study, centered on deep-seated historic analysis. Level-mindedness and frankness are key assets of Tomass’ work where these characteristics are critical in confronting the ongoing battle of international terrorism.
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