Project Directors

Ahmed Abdelhakim Hachelaf, Professor, Ecole Normale Supérieure

As an Educationalist and Civic Engagement Specialist, Hachelaf’s focus is on capacity building and education of youth who work to have a social impact. Hachelaf has a PhD on civic education and was a Research Fellow and Project manager for Online Senior Leadership Training, a shared venture between the Maxwell School and the Moynihan Institute at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, that manages the incubation of the online training. He previously worked as the Director of Studies at Bridges Institute where he co-designed syllabuses and managed academic affairs of the institute. He has also worked for national Algerian NGOs and supervised a nationwide active-citizenship program as well as the training of local NGO leaders on community service and leadership in three Algerian provinces. Finally, Hachelaf founded an initiative that fights 21st-century illiteracy by teaching IT skills to women. This project allowed marginalized segments of society to benefit from access to technology and widened their opportunities.

Ahmed is also a frequent presenter on civic education and democratic schooling in the Middle East and North African region. In 2012, Ahmed was chosen as a Leaders for Democracy fellow and subsequently was chosen to be the delegate of Algeria in a UN event in New York and most recently as a Caux Scholar in Switzerland. His work has appeared in Revolution by Love, where he spoke to issues of social change through education. He is currently working on a single-author book, "The Apprenticeship of Leadership in Arab Schools," where he discusses the role of distributed leadership in education.

Co-founder, Tatweer Association Algeria

Bassam Alahmad

Bassam Alahmad, is a Syrian human rights defender and he is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Syrians for Truth and Justice-STJ, He is also working as consultant with the International Federation of Human Rights FIDH. Formerly at the Violations Documentation Center in Syria VDC. He graduated from Damascus University, where he studied Arabic literature and started working in the field of human rights in 2005, with a special focus on the issue of Kurdish minority in Syria. In 2012, Bassam started working for the Violations Documenting Center in Syria (VDC). He served as the VDC’s spokesperson and its Director of Research and reports. He held that position for more than four years. Bassam is based in Istanbul, Turkey. He was arrested in Damascus on February 16, 2012 when the VDC/SCM office was stormed by Syrian Air Forces intelligence. He did a fellowship with the Maxwell school at Syracuse University in New York City in the US, as a part of the program "Leaders for Democracy” (LDF).

Director/Co-Founder, Syrians for Truth and Justice

Steve Parks, Professor, Syracuse University (University of Virginia)

Steve Parks is a founding figure in the field of civic engagement and community partnerships in the the field of English Studies. For the past twenty years, he has created local, national, and international partnerships focused on social justice, democratic practices and human rights. Over the past six years, Parks has worked with democratic activists in the Middle East/North Africa to create publications, such as Revolution by Love: Arab Youth Voices, as well as organizations, such as Syrians for Truth and Justice,  often linked to university classrooms and community projects. He is the founder of New City Community Press (, an international publishing project focused on circulating the voices of the politically marginalized. He is also author of two single author books, Class Politics: The Students' Right To Their Own Language (NCTE, 2000) and Gravyland: Writing Beyond the Curriculum in the City of Brotherly Love (Syracuse University Press, 2010) as well as co-editor of numerous anthologies focused on civic-engagement and literacy. Currently, he is Editor of Studies in Writing and Rhetoric, the founding academic series in composition/rhetoric,  as well as Working and Writing For Change, a national series focused on the best practices of civic engagement by university professors and community members. 

Executive Director, New City Community Press

Lori Shorr, Professor, College of Education, Temple University

Lori Shorr has over twenty years experience creating and sustaining school/community partnerships as well as international experience in human rights work. Her current book project is a multi-modal examination of how Middle East/North African democratic activists understand the concept of human rights, exploring how these concepts get enacted in countries such as Syria, Tunisia, and Egypt. In addition to her university work, Shorr has also served as the Chief Education Officer for the City of Philadelphia, where she coordinated city, state, and federal policies around public school education. Currently, Shorr coordinates the Urban Education Program at Temple University as well as serving on the board of numerous non-governmental organizations focused on civic engagement. During her tenure at Temple University, Shorr created the first university committee focused on civic engagement, founded an office dedicated to this work, and created programs linking university students to public school and community projects.

Coordinator, Urban Education Program and Board Member, Research for Action

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