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SIS Honors Retiring Senior Faculty Members

Professor and Mohammed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace Abdul Aziz Said

Several senior School of international Service faculty members have elected to retire this year. Below are notes that were sent to the SIS community from Dean Jim Goldgeier about these professors’ remarkable accomplishments and contributions.




Professor Gordon Adams
Professor Ronald Fisher
Professor Clarence Lusane
University Professor James Mittelman
Professor and Mohammed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace Abdul Aziz Said



Gordon Adams

Gordon Adams

I write to share the news that Professor Gordon Adams will be stepping down from the full-time faculty at the end of this academic year to take up permanent residence in Maine. Fortunately for us, Gordon will maintain an affiliation with SIS for both research and teaching purposes.

Gordon and I worked together many years ago at George Washington University, so I was thrilled to be able to work with him again when I arrived at AU in 2011. He has been an amazing practitioner-teacher-scholar, and I look forward to celebrating his many accomplishments later this spring.

Since joining the SIS faculty in 2007, Gordon has taught graduate students foreign policy and national security institutions, processes, and resource planning. His national security resources class has been innovative in covering both defense and foreign policy budgeting. He has also taught undergraduates the history and practices of U.S. foreign policy and an innovative Honors Colloquium on the militarization of U.S. foreign policy. While at SIS, he has served on admissions committees and the AU Faculty Senate Budget and Benefits Committee.

He has been a research-active term faculty member as well, publishing two books during his time at AU, one a unique textbook on national security and foreign policy resource planning, and the other an edited volume (with SIS Professor Shoon Murray) on the militarization of foreign policy. He has also produced two published monographs, covering national security budgeting (MIT Press) and U.S. security assistance policy (Stimson Center), two book chapters, covering U.S. reconstruction operations and the budgetary role of the Office of Management and Budget, as well as a number of articles and columns in the public media.

Gordon has also been extremely active in the public arena. Since 2012, he has written a regular column on defense and foreign policy issues for Foreign Policy online. He has been a Distinguished Fellow with the Stimson Center since 2008. In 2008-09, he was a member of the incoming Obama administration’s transition team at the Office of Management and Budget. He has been a frequent commentator for print, online, video, and audio media on defense and foreign policy issues, for outlets ranging from the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Defense News and appears regularly on such media programs as the PBS NewsHour, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Al Jazeera, BBC, and many other outlets.

He has also provided more than twenty briefings and talks a year on defense and foreign policy planning and budgetary issues for audiences including at the Foreign Service Institute, the National Defense University, the Eisenhower School, the Army War College, the Peace and Security Funders Group, the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellows, Politico’s media panels, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and elsewhere.

Gordon had a distinguished career before he came to the SIS. From 2006-07, he was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. From 1999-2006, he was a Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director of the Security Policy Studies Program at the Elliott School of International Affairs. From 1998-99 he was Deputy Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, where he participated in management and planning, developed the IISS corporate membership program, and wrote and spoke widely on U.S. and European defense resource and planning issues.

As Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget in the White House, between February 1993 and December 1997, Gordon was the senior White House official for national security and foreign policy budgets. He supervised a staff of sixty responsible for reviewing the budget plans of the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, the United States Information Agency, the Treasury Department (international programs), the intelligence community, and a number of smaller agencies.

Before joining OMB, Gordon was founder and Director of the Defense Budget Project, a nonpartisan research center in Washington D.C. which was one of Washington’s leading analytical institutions working on the defense budget, defense economics, and defense policy issues. The Project became today’s Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Gordon received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University with a specialization in Western Europe. He was a Fulbright Fellow studying European integration at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium 1963-64, and graduated magna cum laude in Political Science and Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University. He has been an International Affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, senior staff at the Council on Economic Priorities in New York, has taught at Columbia University and Rutgers University, and was a staff associate for European Programs at the Social Science Research Council.

His publications include Mission Creep: The Militarization of US Foreign Policy? (Georgetown University Press, 2014), Buying National Security: How America Plans and Pays for Its Global Role and Safety at Home (Routledge 2010), Transforming European Militaries Coalition Operations and the Technology Gap (Routledge 2006), and The Iron Triangle: The Politics of Defense Contracting (Transaction Press 1980).

Gordon is a member of the Advisory Board for Business Executives for National Security and of the Board of Advisers of the Naval Postgraduate School/Naval War College. He received the Defense Department’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1997, was a member of the Defense Policy Board of the Department of Defense (1998-2001), and has been a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies since 1998 and of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1990.

In addition to his professional work in public policy, Gordon is also an accomplished stage actor. He studied at the Studio Theater Conservatory, and has appeared in more than ten stage productions in the Washington, DC area, including the Shakespeare Theater Company, Silver Spring Stage, Montgomery Players, Doorway Arts Ensemble, Rockville Little Theater, and the Capitol Fringe Festival. His roles have included Polonius in Hamlet, the Inspector in The Inspector Calls, and Hamm in Endgame.

Gordon is currently using his acting and teaching talents to build a course for our IR Online program. And although he is moving up to Maine, Gordon will continue to participate in research activities here at the school and plans to teach occasionally for us in the IR Online program.

Life in Maine sounds great, and I am glad Gordon will remain connected to SIS. I am also extremely grateful for all he has done for our faculty and students. He has been an extraordinary resource for all of us.

Ronald Fisher

SIS Professor Ronald Fisher

After an extremely distinguished career in Canada and at SIS, Ron Fisher has decided to retire at the end of this academic year.

Ron first came to SIS and AU as a Visiting Professor in 1998-1999, and following an international search, he was appointed as Professor in 2001, joining the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, for which he served as Program Director from 2007-2013. His previous faculty appointments were at the University of Guelph in Ontario, where he led the development of the first graduate program in applied social and community psychology in Canada, and at his alma mater, the University of Saskatchewan, where he led the development of the first doctoral program in applied social psychology. He has also been affiliated with Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, where he contributed to the development of the first Master’s program in Canada in conflict analysis and management.

Born to a French, Catholic mother and an English, Protestant father, Ron grew up in an increasingly multicultural Canada, and his interest in intergroup relations and conflict was heightened by his observations of prejudice and discrimination toward indigenous people by mainstream society. Ultimately, this interest led to the study of social psychology, with BA and MA degrees at the University of Saskatchewan, and a Ph.D. in social psychology with a minor in international relations at the University of Michigan, which had established the world’s first center for research on conflict resolution.

Ron has published four books in social psychology and conflict resolution, including Paving the Way: Contributions of Interactive Conflict Resolution to Peacemaking (Lexington: 2005), and he is currently working on an edited collection of his papers for Springer to be published in its Pioneers in Science and Practice Series. In addition to numerous chapters in edited collections, Ron has published in many of the leading interdisciplinary journals in the peace and conflict resolution field, including Peace and Change, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Negotiation Journal, International Negotiation, International Journal of Conflict Management, and Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict. Ron’s primary interest focuses on the theory and practice of interactive conflict resolution, which involves unofficial, third-party interventions in protracted and violent ethnopolitical conflict.

In the field of conflict resolution, Ron’s theoretical contributions include models of third-party consultation, a contingency approach to third-party intervention, and the modes of transfer from interactive conflict resolution interventions to decision-making and policymaking. He is currently publishing work on a process and outcome model of transfer. On the analytical side, Ron developed an eclectic model of intergroup conflict that organizes a large amount of research in the social sciences on the causation, escalation and resolution of this most serious social issue.

As a practitioner, Ron has contributed to the development of the problem-solving workshop as a form of interactive conflict resolution, and has implemented this approach working in scholar- practitioner teams on the Cyprus conflict and other long-standing disputes, including Moldova/Transdniester and Darfur/Sudan. He was also a core member of an NGO-based training consortium in Cyprus from the early to late 1990s, providing conflict resolution training to the growing community of peacebuilders on the island that eventually grew to thousands of participants and dozens of bicommunal groups. More generally as a practitioner, Ron has devoted forty years as a trainer and consultant in the areas of conflict analysis and management, communication skills, small group processes, and teambuilding, providing services to a wide range of public and human service organizations. At the international level, he has provided workshop design and training expertise in conflict resolution to several international institutes that organize workshops for diplomats, NGO staff, military personnel, and citizen peacebuilders from a wide range of countries.

For his scholarly and professional work in peace and conflict resolution, Ron has received two honors from the Peace Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association -- in 2001 an Outstanding Contribution Award, and in 2003 the Morton Deutsch Conflict Resolution Award. In 2011 he received the Nevitt Sanford Award for professional contributions from the International Society of Political Psychology. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in 2004, and in 2006 he was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association.

As IPCR Program Director, Ron undertook several initiatives in curriculum development and other areas to continue to build the IPCR MA Program. Along with then-program coordinator Rebecca Davis, Ron initiated the IPCR Diversity Task Force, which two years ago served as the basis for the creation of the Dean’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion. He supported the initiation and continuation of the Dialogue Development Group, which, through a collaborative effort, has now been institutionalized as the Intergroup Dialogue Program in AU’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. In collaboration with the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Ron helped to develop trainings in the method of the problem-solving workshop that have been offered to IPCR and other students in SIS every year since 2009. Ron also documented the importance of the development of conflict analysis and resolution initiatives in the United States Government, including the new Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations in the State Department.

I am grateful to Ron for his years of dedicated service to the profession and to SIS and for his tremendous passion for peacebuilding education and research. I look forward to celebrating his many contributions to SIS in the spring.

Clarence Lusane

SIS Professor Clarence Lusane

I write to let you know that after eighteen distinguished years at SIS, Professor Clarence Lusane will retire at the end the spring semester.

Clarence was born and raised in Detroit and completed his undergraduate degree in Communications and Business Administration at Wayne State University.

Prior to attending graduate school at Howard University, Clarence spent many years working as an investigative journalist and then later as a staffer on Capitol Hill. As a staff journalist for Covert Action magazine, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and chair of the National Alliance of Third World Journalists, he traveled extensively to cover many international events including the U.S. invasion of Panama, elections in Haiti, conflict in Zimbabwe, race relations in Cuba, human rights for immigrants in France, Roma issues in Hungary, unification issues in the former East Germany and North Korea, political violence in Chile, and other concerns globally. His article, “Israeli Arms in Central America,” won the prestigious Project Censored First Place Award for “Most Censored Story of the Year” in 1984.

From 1988 to 1995, he worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as Office Manager-Legislative Aide for Congressman Walter Fauntroy (D-DC) and then as Special Assistant to the Director for the Democratic Study Group. Among the areas of legislation he held in his portfolio were Haiti policy, national and international drug policy, human rights and civil rights, and DC statehood.

Clarence joined SIS with a specific interest and focus on global race and ethnicity issues. Over the course of his tenure, he developed courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels related to these concerns. He also developed the annual “Ronald Walters Symposium on International Race Relations” named in honor of the late Dr. Ronald Walters, a Ph.D. alumnus of American University and former chair of Political Science at Howard University. Dr. Walters was a mentor to both Clarence and Professor Derrick Cogburn.

In addition to his classroom work with students, Clarence also traveled with AU students on numerous occasions including trips to Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, the UK, and Rwanda.

Over his career, Clarence has published eight books and dozens of scholarly and popular articles for which he has received wide acclaim.

His international stints as a visiting scholar have included Japan, France, Brazil, South Korea, and South Africa. In 2001, he won the British Council Atlantic Fellowship in Public Policy. He spent two years based in London working, initially, for then-Mayor Ken Livingstone doing research on the UK’s anti-racism policies, and then as Associate Director the 1990 Trust, the UK’s largest minority-based human rights organization.

Clarence will continue to focus on public policy. He is a Commissioner on the DC Commission on African American Affairs, and a board member of the National Foster Youth Institute, both involving issues very close to his heart.

I am extremely grateful to Clarence for his leadership in the school as a scholar, teacher, mentor, and program director.

University Professor James Mittelman

University Professor James Mittelman

After more than two decades on the SIS faculty, University Professor Jim Mittelman is retiring from full-time classroom teaching at the end of this academic year. I am delighted to report, however, that Jim will continue at SIS as Distinguished Scholar in Residence.

Prior to joining AU in 1992, Jim served as Assistant and Visiting Associate Professor at Columbia University, Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies (today the Korbel School) at the University of Denver, and Professor and Dean of the Division of Social Science at Queens College of the City University of New York. He has also held teaching and research appointments at universities in Uganda, Mozambique, Japan, Singapore, and South Africa.

Jim traces his early involvement in international relations to his participation in support groups surrounding campaigns for social justice, including the anti-apartheid movement, in southern Africa.

After studying at the University of East Africa and earning his Ph.D. at Cornell University, Jim’s prolific writing has engaged four themes: African politics, international development, global governance, and globalization. His publications include Ideology and Politics in Uganda: From Obote to Amin (Cornell University Press), The Globalization Syndrome: Transformation and Resistance (Princeton University Press), Hyperconflict: Globalization and Insecurity (Stanford University Press), and Innovation and Transformation in International Studies (coedited, Cambridge University Press). He is often seen as a pioneer of globalization studies who has helped shape this growing field.

Jim has won grants from the World Society Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the United Nations University, the John Parker Compton Foundation, and elsewhere. His books Capturing Globalization (Routledge) and Hyperconflict (Stanford) have received best book awards. Other honors are his appointments as the Pok Rafeah Chair in International Studies and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National University of Malaysia, and as a Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He was also named Honorary Fellow, one of three scholars so designated, at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.

In addition, Jim has served the profession as Vice President of the International Studies Association (ISA) and as a member of its committees and numerous editorial boards. The International Political Economy Section of the ISA accorded its Distinguished Senior Scholar Award to him in 2010, and he is the first-ever recipient of an ISA workshop project grant, which resulted in Jim’s edited volume Globalization: Critical Reflections (Lynne Rienner Publishers). And as a scholar-practitioner, he has worked with and for different United Nations agencies and with civil society organizations, especially on African issues. Jim has lectured in training programs for diplomats in the United States and overseas. Among his media appearances are op-eds, letters, and interviews in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, CBS News, NPR, and United Nations Radio.

At SIS, Jim has contributed substantially to institution-building and curriculum development by designing and teaching new courses, including “Social Theory in Comparative and International Perspective,” a core offering in our Ph.D. program. A recipient of AU’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Other Professional Contributions, he was promoted to the rank of University Professor in 2007.

Jim takes special pride in the careers of his former students, which include a prime minister, a foreign minister, a secretary general of an international organization, an assistant secretary general at the United Nations, ambassadors, deans, professors, businesspeople, and civil society activists.

Tentatively titled Universities and International Relations: Repurposing Higher Education, Jim’s next book is under contract with Princeton University Press. I am delighted that Jim will be writing the book here at SIS.

I am grateful to Jim for all he has done to build up our academic programs and for the scholarly visibility he has provided SIS through his enormous impact on our field. I greatly look forward to continuing to work with Jim in his new capacity.

Abdul Aziz Said

Professor and Mohammed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace Abdul Aziz Said

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the “war to end all wars.” If only it were so. Even after a second World War, countless lives have continued to be lost across the globe in violent conflicts, among them the French-Algerian War, Korean and Vietnam wars, Soviet-Afghan War, Iran-Iraq War, the India-Pakistan wars, the wars in the Balkans, and civil wars in Rwanda, Lebanon, Cambodia, Syria, and many other countries.

Since its founding, the School of International Service has sought to understand conflict, cultures, and inequality, in order to strive for peace. We have been led in this journey by Professor Abdul Aziz Said, the longest serving faculty member at American University and the first occupant of the endowed Mohammed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace. Revered by legions of former students and peace builders across the globe, Professor Said began teaching at American University in 1957. Fifty seven years later, it is my bittersweet duty to announce his retirement from SIS at the end of this academic year.

I can think of no one more worthy of the school’s appreciation than Professor Said, for the many lessons he has taught thousands of students, alumni, faculty, and staff, and the greater SIS community, for nearly six decades.

Since first experiencing war as a child in French-occupied Syria, Professor Said has dedicated his life to understanding and enabling peace. A graduate of AU, he has worked to generate new insights into the cultural dimensions of world politics, improve Islamic-Western understanding, and position societies in the Middle East, the West and around the world toward peace. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and he has mentored generations of peacemakers and activists here in Washington and around the world.

The senior ranking professor at the University, Professor Said has been a champion of tolerance and inclusion, founding the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program at SIS. Moreover, he has participated in a number of professional associations and service academies. His past and current public service includes serving as an adviser for the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Defense, the United Nations, and the White House Committee on the Islamic World. In addition, he has helped guide and serves on the board of directors of various international nongovernmental organizations, including Search for Common Ground, Nonviolence International, the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, and the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation. In each organization, he champions human dignity as the path to a great personal and political peace. Among his numerous awards, Professor Said was the first-ever recipient of the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize in 2007.

Beyond advising organizations and teaching generations of peace activists, Professor Said has actively participated in peace negotiations in the Middle East for more than 50 years. He participated in back-channel negotiations with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1980s, recommending nonviolent activism as a way forward. After 2003, he worked with tribes in Iraq to help stabilize the country, serving on the Department of State Future of Iraq Project and advising the country’s first interim president, Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawar. Professor Said has been active in supporting democracy in Syria since the 1950s, most recently advising the Syrian National Council, an umbrella group of moderate opposition activists.

Professor Said has authored more than sixteen books, including Contemporary Islam: Dynamic, Not Static (co-edited with Meena Sharify-Funk and Mohammed Abu-Nimer; Routledge Publishers) and Islam and Peacemaking in the Middle East (co-authored with Nathan Funk; Lynne Rienner Publishers). His scholarship has continually highlighted topics before their time, including pioneering work on human rights and how phenomena ranging from multinational corporations to ethnicity and revolutionary diffusion altered dynamics in the international system in the early 1970s. His recent research explores frameworks for “localizing” peace practices to sustainably tap cultural resources, support local solutions, and empower agents of social change.

I encourage you to read Professor Said’s past writings, many of which are timeless. A decade ago, in a thought-provoking piece advocating increased communication between the West and the Islamic world, he demonstrated yet again how he has remained in the vanguard of peace research and public policy:

It is particularly self-defeating to exclude Islamic extremists if they are willing to participate in democratic politics. The central issue raised by extremist movements -- the failure of development in the region -- is legitimate. By repressing extremist voices, existing elites force the Islamic impulse into narrower channels characterized by violence. Instead, the United States should encourage Middle Eastern governments to create the space necessary to dialogue with extremists and engage their core concerns and grievances.

Professor Said has served as our moral compass for nearly six decades. He has been a much-needed force for peace and cultural understanding -- particularly between the West and the Islamic world. While violent conflicts persist across the globe, we are better able to understand them, and to train our students to address them, because of Professor Said.

Whenever I meet alumni around the country and overseas, the first question I receive is, “how is Professor Said?” In the fall of 2012 at All-American Weekend, I hosted a breakfast on the occasion of the 50th reunion of the SIS class of 1962, whose members had started at American University when SIS opened its doors in 1958. Professor Said joined me for the breakfast, and it was extraordinary to see the group’s faces light up when he walked into the room. He recognized all of them, despite not having seen many of them since they graduated. I left the group after about ninety minutes; Professor Said stayed and discussed world events, including the tragic civil war in Syria, for another two hours.

We are all his students. I am grateful to Professor Said for the many lessons he has taught us in the past, and the lessons he will teach us in the coming years.

We will celebrate his extraordinary career in the Spring. In the interim, please join me in congratulating Abdul Aziz for his numerous accomplishments and thanking him for giving of himself so generously to the School of International Service for so many years.