author Archives - Community | Union Institute & University

Meet Union’s 2016 California Commencement Speaker

By | Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Students | No Comments

It is an honor to welcome Joseph G. Bock as the commencement speaker for the 2016 California commencement ceremony.

Dr. Joseph Bock

2016 California Commencement Speaker

It is an honor to welcome Joseph G. Bock as the commencement speaker for the 2016 California commencement ceremony. Dr. Bock is well-known for his research and publications on violence prevention, a sub-field of global health. He has twelve years of international humanitarian experience. He joined Kennesaw State in 2015 from the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Bock also served as director of External Relations at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at University of Notre Dame. He has taught at University of Notre Dame, Monterey Institute for International Studies, Hebrew University, Eastern Mennonite University, and William Jewell College. Other positions include executive director of the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship at Haverford College and executive director of the Secure World Foundation. 

Dr. Bock’s humanitarian work has included directing Catholic Relief Services’ programs in Pakistan and Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza Strip, and overseeing programs in Bosnia, Croatia, Guinea, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Pakistan, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Thailand, and Uganda while serving as vice president at American Refugee Committee. In 2010, he took a two-month leave from Notre Dame to serve as American Refugee Committee’s country director in Haiti following its devastating earthquake.  

Bock has been a speaker and consultant at the World Bank on violence prevention; at University of Malta on the use of information technologies in humanitarian relief; at the Woodrow Wilson Center on foreign aid to Pakistan; at a UN Assembly in Cairo, Egypt about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; in Leuven, Belgium on ethnic violence and religious extremism; at University of Karachi on conflict early warning and early response; and, at Macalister College on the refugee crisis in Africa.

Dr. Bock served as a panelist for InterAction in Washington, DC about international issues facing Internally Displaced Persons. He served as a consultant with The Asia Foundation on conflict management and democratic governance, providing support in Thailand, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, he worked on a conflict early warning and early response program of the Foundation for Co-Existence, which formed the basis of his book The Technology of Nonviolence: Social Media and Violence Prevention, which was published by MIT Press in 2012. He is the author of two other books. 

In December 2015, Dr. Bock was provided a Fulbright Specialist award to work with the Municipality of Athens, Greece on the migrant crisis. He has been a Fellow with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a Fulbright Specialist at University of Malta, and a Visiting Fellow at Gonzaga University. Bock served as a member of the Working Group on Reconciliation of Caritas Internationalis, based in Vatican City. 

Dr. Bock holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work. After completing his Ph.D. at the School of International Service of American University, Dr. Bock served six years in the Missouri House of Representatives, with leadership positions as Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee and Vice-Chair of the Commerce Committee. More recently, he was a candidate for the U.S. Congress from Illinois.

Dr. Bock is on the Advisory Council of the War Prevention Initiative of the Jubitz Family Foundation and is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Center of Conflict Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Dr. Bock is an editorial adviser to Development in Practice, a peer-reviewed journal founded by Oxfam Great Britain. He has authored or co-authored articles in various peer-reviewed journals including, among others, Political Geography, Information Technology for Development, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Information Technology & Politics, and Journal of Refugee Studies.  

His dedication to service and humanitarian causes has permeated his life and his work. We welcome him as our commencement speaker as an example of Union’s enduring mission to engage, enlighten, and empower adults as they pursue professional goals, and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Union Institute & University’s California Commencement will be held
August 7, 2016 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. Find out more below!

Meet Union’s 2016 Florida Commencement Speaker

By | Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Students | No Comments

Dr. Alison McMahan

2016 Florida Commencement Speaker

Union Institute & University is pleased to announce that alumna Alison McMahan (Ph.D. 1997) will be the 2016 Florida Commencement speaker. Dr. McMahan is a testament to Union Institute & University’s mission to transform lives and communities. She is recognized for her commitment to lifelong learning, her abilities to use her education to shine light on forgotten but important figures and movements, and her dedication to education.

As a Ph.D. student at Union, she researched and wrote Alice Guy Blaché, Lost Visionary of the Cinema, about the first female filmmaker and a key figure in the development of narrative film. Blaché had been left out of the history books and her work had been forgotten. McMahan’s research led to retrospectives of Alice Guy’s work at the George Pompidou Museum in Paris, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and at film festivals all over the globe.

McMahan’s award-winning doctoral dissertation at Union was also the recipient of the Circle of Scholars award in 1997. Published in 2002 by Bloomsbury, the book was translated into Spanish, adapted into a play, and is being produced as a documentary by Hollywood. 

An expert in early cinema topics, Dr. McMahan is often called upon to do research for and appear in projects by other filmmakers, such as the documentary The Lost Garden: The Life and Work of Alice Guy Blaché, the Emmy-award winning program Into the Light (State of the Arts series), and a documentary on early woman filmmakers, Reel Models: The Women of Early Film, which aired the American Movie Classics Channel.

McMahan is also the author of The Films of Tim Burton: Animating Live Action in Hollywood, (Bloomsbury, 2005) and an award-winning novel, The Saffron Crocus, a historical mystery for young adults, published by Black Opal Books in 2014. She is a regular contributor to the magazine The Big Thrill.

Dr. McMahan’s film work includes numerous award-winning screenplays. Through her company, Homunculus Productions, LLC, she produces non-fiction films. Her film work includes: an industrial film and PSA for Pensamento Digital, an NGO in Brazil that provides computers and internet access to poor communities; the educational film, Living with Landmines for the World Rehabilitation Fund; and the documentary, Bare Hands and Wooden Limbs, narrated by Sam Waterston, which is now in general distribution. 

Dr. McMahan held a Mellon Fellowship in Visual Culture at Vassar College from 2001-2003 where she built a virtual reality environment with a biofeedback interface for CAVEs (computer automated virtual environments). From 1997 to 2001, she was an associate professor, teaching film history and theory and new media at the University of Amsterdam.  

A committed lifelong learner in the Union tradition, she graduated from the Catholic University of America with a B.F.A. in drama/playwriting, and, in addition to her doctorate from Union, holds two masters degrees, an M.F.A. from New York University in film production and an M.F.A. in creative writing from University of Southern Maine. 

Union Institute & University’s Florida Commencement will be held
May 15, 2016 at the Hilton Miami Airport. Find out more below!