Department of Peace and Conflict Studies

School of Health and Human Sciences

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

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Thomas Matyók is Chair and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is also Executive Director of the Joint Civil-Military Interaction Education and Research Network. The network addresses issues involving civil-military interaction, and educates civil and military organizations and actors regarding unity-of-aim in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

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 human security, 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 also investigates ways of merging design and conflict analysis to achieve a multi-dimensional understanding of conflict, and the role of religion in post-conflict rehabilitation. Dr. Matyók continues to support the Army War College’s (USAWC) teaching mission. He teaches graduate studies classes each year at USAWC focused at the strategic level; Religion and Conflict and Conflict Studies: Analyzing and Assessing Violent Conflict.

Matyók served as a career Army Infantry officer before transitioning to university graduate education. His Ph.D. is in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Tom was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany. 

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Jeremy Rinker, Ph.D.


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, 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.


Curriculum Vitae


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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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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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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Tom Martinek, Jr.

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Tom Martinek, Jr. has been an adjunct faculty member in UNCG’s Peace and Conflict Studies program since 2013. Tom earned his undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology from UNCG as well as his graduate degree from UNCG’s Peace and Conflict Studies program.

Tom has also been working in UNCG’s International Programs Center since 2004 as Assistant Director of Study Abroad and Exchange Programs and helps to coordinate UNCG’s study abroad programs. Prior to coming to UNCG, he worked with an organization in Chicago that addressed issues of homelessness and social justice. He also helped to organize a similar organization in Morganton, NC that addressed the needs of the immigrant community there, as well as local issues related to labor and economic disparity.

Tom has also had several leadership roles within the field of International Education at both the state and national level. He is particularly interested in the role that international education plays in peacebuilding and the impact these experiences have on students in developing capacities to understand and address issues of peace and social justice. He also facilitates workshops with students and other staff and professionals on intercultural development and skill building.



 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




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