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Senior Fellows


Sharon Ackerman, PhD


Abdulaziz Al Hussan

Dr. Sharon Ackerman is a dynamic self-starter that is dedicated to higher education, human rights and civil society progress for developing nations. Prof. Ackerman has been awarded three Fulbright Fellowships to Japan, Russia, and China and most recently served as the Academic International Liaison and Human Rights Advisor for the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Kurdistan Regional Government in north Iraq, where she also served as Professor of Law in the College of Law and Politics at the University of Salahaddin, Erbil, Iraq.


Sharon Ackerman hasover twenty-five years of academic experience as professor of sociology, political science and law. She has served as associate provost and training specialist for new programs in international and domestic universities, and served as human rights advisor for the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Kurdistan Regional Government in north Iraq. Ackerman has spent innumerable hours evaluating and developing curricula for new departments and training programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels, serving on assessment and accreditation teams, and training cohorts on topics relating to ethnic relations, comparative and international law, research programs and human rights. Her time in academe includes ten years of work with civil society organizations that focused on good governance, peace, and international relations, five years teaching in and developing graduate human rights law programs and nearly a decade placing international students on scholarship in universities in the U.S. and abroad. She is expert in liaising with universities at home and abroad to establish memoranda of understanding to enable future collaborative work, placement of graduate students, collaborative research projects among faculties, development of dual Ph.D. placement sites, and sabbatical placements for professors. Charged by the Ministry of Higher Education with overseeing the accreditation program for 21 public and private universities of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Ackerman worked with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges to develop a strategy that would lead to this goal. She was awarded ten grants from the British Council to establish graduate programs in law and human rights, gender studies, midwifery programs, quality assurance, and capacity building in the five major public universities of the Kurdistan Region. She voluntarily gave of her time to liaise with American university hospitals to arrange placements for clinical training for medical doctors of the Kurdistan Regional Medical Specialties Board that would qualify them for American Board Certification.


Ackerman has planned and hosted international conferences for the various ministries and universities in which she has served. She has travelled to scores of countries while researching and lecturing on human rights and cultural issues. She serves on boards of non-governmental organizations and has escorted numerous shipments of containers of aid to Iraq. She has worked with the United Nations on human rights issues and has recently been asked to serve on the Monroe County Human Rights Commission. She has authored articles and books on topics relating to the sociology of religion and she has documented underground religious movements in totalitarian countries. She has edited numerous works and serves on the editorial board of the Young Lawyer’s Journal for the American Bar Association. She is currently writing a book on nationalism and identity of the Kurds in their land-locked geopolitical status of the Middle East.

Abdulaziz Al Hussan, LLM


Abdulaziz Al Hussan

Abdulaziz Al Hussan is a Visiting Scholar at the Center. Mr. Al Hussan is a Senior Legal Advisor at Osool Law Firm in Riyadh where he formerly worked as the managing partner. With the onset of the Arab Spring, Mr. Al Hussan became involved in human rights cases in Saudi Arabia. His focus as a lawyer is in corporate/capital market and Islamic finance, but he does pro-bono work in human rights. Before founding Osool Law Firm, he worked with the largest law firm in the world, Clifford Chance in Washington D.C, and also worked with different international law firms in their offices in Riyadh. His experience of over a decade in the legal field has exposed him to many different areas of law, including IPOs, rights issues, M&A and others. In late 2011 Mr. Al Hussan began to represent the cases of political detainees as pro bono. It was then that he discovered many legal violations taking place within the Kingdom, which led him to withdraw from the Specialized Criminal Court. In early 2012 he took two cases of the most well-known human rights activists in Saudi Arabia. At this time he also represented other human rights activists, and many detainees’ families began to approach him for help. He soon became well-known in the Kingdom’s mainstream and left Saudi Arabia for the United States. Mr. Al Hussan holds a Bachelor of Law (LLB) from King Saud University in Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a Master of Law –(LL.M) from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. As Visiting Scholar, Mr. Al Hussan is responsible for the Arabian Peninsula program of the CCD.


Amy Horowitz, PhD


Amy HorowitzDr. Amy Horowitz has three decades of experience in the academy, the music industry, and grassroots arts networks. Her main research interests are Mediterranean Israeli Music, (a form of contemporary popular Israeli music created by Israeli Jews from Islamic countries), the study of cultures in disputed territories, the folklore traditions of contemporary Jerusalem, and protest music as responsible citizenship. Her work in cross-cultural and multiracial coalitions (Artist Representative for Sweet Honey in the Rock 1977 - 1994) complements her academic background that combines training in Jewish studies and Ethnomusicology (MA, New York University, 1986) with Folklore and Israel studies (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, 1994).

Dr. Horowitz served as assistant and acting director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, where she was awarded a Grammy as co-producer of the The Anthology of American Folk Music. Also, while at the Smithsonian she served as curator for The Jerusalem Project under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Research for that project, originally intended as the groundwork for a 1993 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program, became the basis for folklore archives, which are now housed at Hebrew University and Bir Zeit University. Horowitz also selected elements for inclusion in a video documentary on Israeli and Palestinian cultures in Jerusalem, for which she was Executive Producer and Research Director (Jerusalem: Gates to the City, 1996). Horowitz subsequently received generous funding to continue this project through the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, The Melton Center for Jewish Studies, Outreach and Engagement, the Batelle Foundation, and the Office of International Affairs.

Dr. Horowitz's recent book: Mediterranean Israeli Music and the Politics of the Aesthetic received Honorable Mention in the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award of the Association of Jewish Studies in 2010. She has published articles on popular music and politics in Israel in The Journal of American Folklore, as well as edited two anthologies; one by Ted Swedenborg and Rebecca Stein and the other by Barbara Kirshenblatt Gimblett and Jonathan Karp.

Dr. Horowitz teaches courses on music, globalization, and disputed territories through the International Studies Program. She is a research associate and scholar of folklore and music at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and a faculty board member at the Middle East Studies Center, Ohio State University.




Haidar Khezri, phD

 Haidar Khezri

Dr. Haidar Khezri is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS) at Indiana University Bloomington. He specializes in the languages and literatures of the Persian, Kurdish and Islamic/ate world. His research in particular focuses on comparative literature (Persian, Arabic, Kurdish, and Turkish), poetry, critical theory, post-colonial literature, translation, world literature, gender studies, and East-West cultural encounters.

Dr. Khezri has conducted fieldwork in Turkey, Iran, Syria, Morocco, Lebanon, Kurdistan, Europe (Germany and Scotland) and most recently the U.S. He has received grants, awards, and fellowships from Indiana University, Bloomington, Mardin Artuklu University (Turkey), Damascus University (Syria), and Lebanese University (Lebanon). In 2014, he was awarded the Title VI, U.S Department of Education by Centre for the Study of the Middle East (CSME) at Indiana University, Bloomington, for developing Kurdish language curriculum for North American universities. From 2012 to 2014 he was awarded Scientific Research Projects Funding, (Bilimsel Araştırma Projeleri), from Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey, for his research in comparative literature in Islamic/ate world.

An expert in the field, Dr. Khezri has recently published his work entitled Comparative Literature in Iran and the Arab World 1903 – 2012. (Samt: 2013) His work It is Only Sound that Remains, which details the life and poetry of Forūgh-i Farrukhzād, including Kurdish translations of two collections of Forough's poetry (Another Birth and Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season) is due to be published in 2016. Additionally, Dr. Khezri has published on topics ranging from Kurdish identity to Jerusalem in Persian literature. His current project, a translation of Kafka's Message by Sadegh Hedayat is set to be completed in 2016, as well. His most recent article “Arabic Comparative Literature; Intersection with West Asian Literature” (Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetic: the American University in Cairo: 2015), has been translated to Persian and Kurdish.

Before joining Indiana University, Dr. Khezri has taught at Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey as an assistant professor from 2011 to 2014; and Damascus University and Al-Bath University in Syria from 2007 to 2011 as a lecturer. Dr. Khezri has experience in teaching Persian, Kurdish and Arabic languages. Middle Eastern Literary Genres, contemporary and comparative Persian literature, Arabic literature, translation, and writing methodolgy. In addition, he has proficiency in 6 different languages, including English, Persian, Kurdish, Arabic, Azari and Turkish.


Dr. Khezri can be reached via email at or by phone at (812) 856-9813



Major General (USAF, Ret.) Charles Tucker


Charles TuckerMajor General (USAF, Ret.) Charles Tucker, serves as Executive Director of two International Non-Governmental Organizations: the Sustainable Capacity International Institute, Arezzo, Italy; and the World Engagement Institute, Chicago, IL, USA.  In these capacities, he designs and manages institutional capacity building programs throughout the world. He likewise promotes the economic and legal development of people through education, research, documentation, and advocacy. In addition, Prof. Tucker also serves as the International Projects Director for the National Strategy Forum, a non-partisan training institute and think-tank located in Chicago. And he serves on the Board of Directors of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association (ICoCA), Geneva, Switzerland, where, as the U.S Government representative on the 12-member Board, he is charged with promoting, governing and overseeing the implementation of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers to promote the responsible provision of private security services and respect for human rights and national and international law by exercising independent governance and oversight of the ICoC.


Gen. Tucker has been an educator, international legal expert, and institutional capacity development practitioner for more than thirty years. Throughout his career, he has routinely served with the US State Department, United Nations and various International Organizations in numerous countries. His academic career includes teaching positions in International Law for the University of Colorado (1999-2002) and DePaul University (2008-2011). He attained the rank of Assistant Professor of Law at the US Air Force Academy and served as Course Director of the Academy’s Comparative International Law Program (1999-2002). He was the founding Co-Editor of the USAFA Journal of Legal Studies and the DePaul University Rule of Law Journal. Prof. Tucker has also served as Adjunct Professor of Business and Labor Management for Bradley University (2002-2008), as Adjunct Professor of Political Science for the University of Maryland (1984-1989), and as Adjunct Professor of Government for Wayland University (1982-1984). Prof. Tucker currently serves as the Co-Course Director of the United Nations’ Annual International Humanitarian Law Symposium. He has lectured as a Visiting Professor at the Vietnam National University (Đại học Quốc gia Hà Nội); the Universität Heidelberg (Germany); the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Germany); the University of Zagreb (Sveučilištu u Zagrebu, Croatia), the University of Sarajevo (Univerziteta u Sarajevu, Bosnia and Herzegovina); the Middle East Technical University (Orta Dogu Teknik Üniversitesi, Turkey), Ankara Üniversitesi (Turkey), the University of Sulaimani (جامعة السليمانية , Sulaymaniyah, Iraq), and Duhok University (جامعة دهوك , Duhok, Iraq). Prior to retiring from a distinguished active duty and reserve military career, Prof. (Major General, Ret.) Tucker served as the National Guard’s Director of Joint Doctrine, Training and Force Development. He was responsible for overseeing the National Guard’s various Joint Education and Training Centers, as well as its entire Joint Professional Education Program and curricula development efforts. Since his military retirement, he has assisted the Vietnamese, Kenyan and Somali governments with their constitutional and legal development and has published widely on these subjects.  He is a 1979 graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A., Government) and a 1982 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law (Juris Doctor).