Department of Peace and Conflict Studies

School of Health and Human Sciences


See also Faculty Research Projects.

Thomas Matyók, Ph.D., Department Chair and Director of Graduate Studies

~Fulbright Scholar researching international graduate student exchange models at the University of Konstanz in Germany~

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Thomas Matyók is an Associate Professor in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at UNCG. He has been professionally involved in conflict resolution for over 35 years as a mediator, negotiator, facilitator, trainer, executive and conflict coach, dispute systems designer, researcher, and professor. He has consulted for private, civic, religious, and community organizations. Dr. Matyók has been interviewed for radio and television regarding international conflicts and national security issues.   He has negotiated significant international agreements and has been recognized for his abilities by the United States Coast Guard and United States Army as well as national and international human rights organizations. He has presented and testified to industry and government officials regarding cross-cultural conflict and slavery in the transnational merchant marine. He has also received the honor of becoming a Fulbright Scholar.  His current research interests are violence, peace and stability operations, religion and peacebuilding, institutions of peace, and conflict analysis.

Dr. Matyók served in the United States Army in various command and staff positions. During his twenty-three years on active military service, Tom served as an enlisted soldier, Non-Commissioned Officer, and Officer. His duty assignments included the 3rd United States Infantry (The Old Guard) and 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry, Vicenza, Italy. Tom also served in various positions with the 2nd Armored Division (Forward), Germany; and the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) including Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM.  While assigned to the National Training Center, Tom served with the Scorpion Infantry Training Team.

As a Visiting Research Professor and Senior Fellow at the United States Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI), Dr. Matyók’s research and outreach responsibilities are in the areas of strategic policy and securing U.S. interests in an era of persistent irregular and hybrid conflict. Tom conducts high-impact, policy-relevant studies regarding the strategic environment, its principle strategic challenges, and the relative balance of national security ends, ways, and means to contend with them.   Tom is also investigating ways of merging design and conflict analysis to achieve a multi-dimensional understanding of conflict. Dr. Matyók also supports the Army War College’s teaching mission. He teaches two graduate studies classes; Religion and Violence, and Conflict Studies: Analyzing and Assessing Violent Conflict.

Dr. Matyók is also researching the role of religion and religious actors in peacebuilding and conflict management. As part of this project, he is reviewing professional military education curricula to identify ways of developing religious literacy within the military officer corps. Dr. Matyók has a newly released edited volume, Peace on Earth: The Role of Religion in Peace and Conflict Studies (2014). Click here to read more about this important work.

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Jeremy Rinker, Ph.D., Director of Undergraduate Studies

Jeremy Rinker, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at UNCG’s Department of Peace and Conflict Studies where he researches the intersections between narrative, violent conflict, and nonviolent conflict transformation. His work on the Ambedkar-Buddhist social movement in Maharashtra, India is a provocative approach to the connections between justice, narrative and identity. While much of Jeremy’s research has focused on the centrality of justice discourse in religiously based social change movements, Jeremy also has interest in restorative justice, political violence, and conflict intervention practices, as well as, trauma, memory, and reconciliation.

Having previously taught at DePauw University and Guilford College, Jeremy brings a passion for liberal arts education and critical thinking to his teaching and research. Jeremy was a 2013 Fulbright Fellow at the Malaviya Center for Peace Research at Banaras Hindu University in Banaras, India. He also has experience in non-governmental organizations working in international development, humanitarian aid, and restorative justice. Jeremy has served as the Director of a conflict resolution practice clinic on Guilford College’s campus and has extensive training experience in mediation and community conferencing and community dialogue models. Jeremy first began teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer (’95-’97) in Kyzl-orda, Kazakhstan and remains committed to exploring the complex pedagogies and erasures associated with social conflicts over issues of cultural and justice.


 Ali Askerov, Ph.D.


An Assistant Professor in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at UNCG since 2013, Ali Askerov previously taught peace studies, international relations, political history, public international law, and political ideas and ideologies at the University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, and University of Regina. He is a recipient of several prestigious fellowships offered by the US Department of State and the Open Society Foundation. His publications include numerous articles. Ali is also an author or co-author of several books. His research fields include ethnic conflict, terrorism, religious studies, peace education, conflict transformation, qualitative research methods, and the history of political ideas, among others. Ali is a research fellow for the Center for New North Carolinians. He has been interviewed for various televisions numerous times regarding international conflicts, terrorism, and national security issues. Ali’s present research includes ongoing refugee issues, contending interests of Russia and Turkey in Syria, the collusion of legitimate and covert politics in the Middle East, international terrorism, and identity formation and change.


Emily Janke, Department Chair (Interim), Ph. D.

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Emily M. Janke, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at UNCG  and the founding Director of the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (ICEE). Emily’s teaching and scholarship explores multiple aspects of community engagement, including community-university relationships and partnerships, institutional culture and change strategies, and the role of reciprocity, communication and tension in win-win negotiations and collaborative relationships. As the director of ICEE (a university-wide institute) Emily leads initiatives that encourage, support, elevate, and amplify faculty, staff, student, and community colleague community-engaged teaching, learning, research, creative activity, and service in ways that promote the strategic goals of the university, address pressing issues in the Piedmont Triad and serve the public good of communities across the state, nation, and world. Emily was chosen to by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the New England Resource Center for Higher Education be a panelist for the 2015 Elective Community Engagement Classification.


Laura K. Taylor, Ph. D.

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Laura K. Taylor (PhD) is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at UNCG and an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University, Belfast. She earned a dual Ph.D. in Psychology and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Her research applies a risk and resilience framework, within a developmental psychopathology approach, to examine the impact of political violence on children, families, and communities in Colombia, Croatia and Northern Ireland. She is also expanding this international research to work with immigrant and refugee youth in the United States. In addition, she has research and operational knowledge in conflict transformation, mental health, and transitional justice with six years of field experience in rights-based empowerment in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Nepal.

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Roy J Baroff, J. D.

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Roy Baroff is an attorney who focuses his practice on dispute resolution services. He is a North Carolina Superior Court, Family Financial and Clerk of Court Certified Mediator (certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission). He is also an arbitrator, provides dispute resolution training, teaching and external ombuds services. He serves as a mediator in a range of settings including Superior, District and Federal Court, the North Carolina Industrial Commission and in matters before the Clerk of Court. Roy has also served as mediator for the Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence in conjunction with their Medicare Quality Improvement program.

Roy was originally trained as a mediator in 1982 and received his North Carolina Superior Court Mediator Certification in 1992. He completed his Family Financial mediation training in 2003 and his Clerk of Superior Court training in 2006. He joined the American Arbitration Association Commercial Arbitrator panel in 2002 and the National Association of Securities Dealers (now Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) panel in 2004.

Roy is an educator. He taught first year law students Legal Method and Communication at Elon Law School (2011 – 2012), he taught Research Reasoning Writing and Advocacy at UNC Law School (2005 – 2011) and teaches Mediation Theory and Practice to graduate students in the Program on Conflict and Peace Studies at UNC Greensboro (2005 to present). He also provides mediation training and other conflict resolution skills programming. In the past he has provided leadership training for sports teams in collaboration with Team Achievement, Inc.

Roy is proactive when it comes to conflict and believes addressing conflict situations early and in a systematic manner can make businesses and organizations more productive and competitive. He provides external ombuds services to businesses and organizations seeking early conflict resolution.

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Barbara Timmons Strahl, Ph.D.

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Barbara Timmons Strahl has worked in conflict resolution for more than 25 years and has a passion for restorative justice. She is currently a Senior Mediation Specialist with the Clark County Neighborhood Justice Center (NJC) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Barbara has trained more than 1000 mediators in Nevada. She mediates for the NJC as well as the United States Postal Service, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation, and the Environmental Protection Agency. She mediates cases ranging from neighbor-to-neighbor to victim-to-offender and equal opportunity to large group conflicts. She has designed mediation programs for the local police department, Southern Nevada prisons, the University of Nevada, Nellis Air Force Base, and the Clark County Department of Juvenile Justice. Barbara was the past chair for the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) and continues to serve as an elder. Barbara’s doctorate is in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. She has a graduate certificate in Dispute Resolution, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Education. She is a behavior analyst and an adjunct professor for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Nova Southeastern University, and the University of Nevada.

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Raleigh Bailey, Ph.D.

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Raleigh Bailey is founding Director of the Center for New North Carolinians (CNNC) at UNCG and Senior Research Scientist in the Office of Research and Economic Development at UNCG. The CNNC is a resource to the state university system in immigrant outreach, research, and training. In 2003 he received the lifetime achievement award from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Refugee Program for service to refugees, and in 2008 he received the Outstanding Leadership Award from the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. In March of 2010 the Office of the Governor of the State of North Carolina awarded him the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

During 1993 and 1994, Raleigh administered the Casa Guadalupe Hispanic Outreach Project for Catholic Social Services in Winston-Salem. From 1989 to 1993, he lived in Southeast Asia: first in Thailand where he administered an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) refugee training program through the Department of State; and then in Cambodia where he administered a USAID funded prosthetics project for land mine victims. Prior to that, 1984-89, Raleigh served as Director of Refugee Programs for Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas. During that time he directed the initial Montagnard resettlement project in the US. The project received a White House Presidential Citation. From 1976 to 1984, Raleigh was an education and training specialist with the Head Start State Training Office at NC A & T State University. Prior to that, he taught anthropology at Guilford College. He has an undergraduate degree from Florida Southern College and a theological degree from Boston University. His doctoral work at Hartford Seminary Foundation in anthropology of religion was related to the peace movement and the counterculture of the sixties. He was born in Miami, Florida, in 1943 and moved to Greensboro in 1973.

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Rebecca McGuire, Ph.D.

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Rebecca S. E. McGuire currently is the Executive Director of the Southwest and Intercostals Divisions of Children’s Home Society of Florida. With over 25 years of experience in the Child Welfare arena, she has been in frontline positions and upper administrative appointments. McGuire earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in Sociology, her Masters in Administration from the University of Central Michigan, and currently her Doctorate of Philosophy from Nova Southeastern University in Conflict Resolution. She spent 12 years in Hawaii working in the Child Welfare arena at the time when Hawaii began the use of Family Team Conferencing which changed the system of care in that state immensely. During this time, Rebecca also worked with the Oahu Correctional Department on a project around forgiveness and victims..

Rebecca has chaired and sat on various strategic work groups in Florida to help with system redesign for District 10’s child welfare service delivery system. As an expert witness if the areas of child abuse, McGuire has testified in over 100 civil trials and 40 criminal trials on behalf of children and families.

Additionally, Rebecca has held teaching assistantships in various courses at Nova Southeastern University in both undergraduate and graduate courses in conflict resolution.

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 Affiliated Faculty

 Pete Kellett, Ph.D.

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Pete Kellett is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at UNCG. He is interested in personal narrative approaches to understanding how people engage in and transform conflict. He has published numerous books, book chapters, and articles on narrative and conflict transformation, and speaks and presents frequently on this topic. He is also interested in positive communication as an approach to transforming conflict. He has a particular interest in conflicts within Indian culture, and has published several works recently on dowry conflict and violence. He has been a member of the Peace and Conflict Studies advisory board at UNCG since its inception, and is its longest serving member.


Roy Schwartzman, Ph.D.


Dr. Roy Schwartzman is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and a Faculty Affiliate with the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. Roy is a renowned Holocaust studies scholar and educator whose work focuses on Nazi propaganda, identity-based conflict, and genocide survivor testimonies. His research has won multiple awards from the National Communication Association, and he has held fellowships from the Holocaust Educational Foundation as well as the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. Roy’s work on Holocaust education outreach and genocide prevention has received funding from the Southern poverty Law Center, the Jewish Chautauqua Society, the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust, and many other organizations. He also investigates how to reconcile conflicting perceptions of risk, especially between scientific researchers, policymakers, and the lay public. With more than 35 years of experience in coaching and theorizing public argumentation and debate, Roy supports efforts to train people to engage each other through rigorous rational argumentation rather than through violence.



J. Chastain, Administrative Support Specialist

Office: 210 McIver Building
Phone: 336-334-4781




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