New Perspectives and New Pursuits

My father and I during my first campus visit (June 2014)

I am back! (well, sort of)

Since I last posted, much has changed.

After some time off from the world of academia, I am once again embarking on a journey in the realm of higher education! The job hunt in the immediate aftermath of my graduation from the University of Oklahoma yielded minimal results. However, I am quite excited to reveal my latest endeavour...

I am now a graduate student pursuing a Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Over the next two years I will be immersed in a practical application of civil society oriented approaches to peace building. I just started my first semester and could not be loving this return any more than I am now. This term I am taking three seminar courses: Building Civil Society, Conflict Analysis, and Land & Place as Foundations for Peace. And yes, because I will be generating more academic materials, this does mean the return of new content and the end of my hiatus.

When I announced my hiatus back in August of 2013, I noted that I had over 22,000 visitors to my academic blog. Since that post, just over a year ago, I managed to add another 30,000 visitors - all while still never having paid for any sort of advertising or content promotion. I cannot explain how exciting and reaffirming it was to see the content on my blog continue to generate heavy traffic during my hiatus.

Lastly, while trying not to rely on past glory, I have once again been published in an academic journal. A research paper I wrote while still at the University of Oklahoma back in April/May of 2013 titled "Martyrdom and the Afterlife in Islam: Analyzing Theological Justifications in extremist Ideologies" for a course called Conceptions of the Afterlife was selected for publication in the OU Religious Studies Student Journal, Volume 7. In the paper I deconstruction the notion that Islam is inherently evil and is the root of terrorism by examining source texts like the Koran and Hadith as well as the charters and creeds of Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, transposing them against the University of Chicago's Project on Suicide Terrorism, all, of course, peppered with my insightful analysis and commentary. Here is a link to the full text which can be found on my 'Publications' page.

I have left Oklahoma and the U.S.A. and I am now living in Canada. I will be doing so for the foreseeable future - until, at the very least, I graduate. I absolutely love the societal atmosphere and the new perspective on many current affairs issues.

Even in its infancy, the new chapter in my life has been enthralling. For example this weekend I will be going to Canada's capitol, Ottawa, for a three day conference marking the centennial anniversary of World War I. During this event I will be reporting on the conference proceedings for Project Ploughshares, a leading peace-building NGO in Canada.

Thanks again for your continued support of my academic and blogging endeavors. It feels good to be back!


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