Dr. Kelly Shannon Appointed as Director of PJHR

Thursday, Jun 25, 2020


 I am pleased to announce that Dr. Kelly J. Shannon will serve as the next Director of the Peace, Justice and Human Rights Initiative (PJHR). As articulated in the University Strategic Plan, PJHR’s mission is to work toward “developing and sharing the best practices for promoting tolerance and understanding of diverse cultures.” One of nine University-level platforms, PJHR offers a unique multidisciplinary framework operating across the university to invite engagement by all members of the university community and our external partners in research, scholarship, creative activities and applied practices that realize a more just and peaceful world. As recent events have so tragically illustrated, the work of PJHR and its efforts to facilitate dialogue and involvement in public affairs through research, workshops, forums, artistic experiences, and community engagement are needed now more than ever.

 Dr. Shannon is an Associate Professor of History and the Chastain-Johnston Middle Eastern Studies Distinguished Professor in Peace Studies. Her research specializes in 20th and 21st century U.S. foreign relations and international history, with particular attention to the Islamic world, Iran, women, transnational feminism, and human rights. She is the author of U.S. Foreign Policy and Muslim Women’s Human Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). Dr. Shannon is also the winner of the 2019 Stuart L. Bernath Lecture Prize awarded by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), which recognizes scholarly excellence by a historian under age 40. Dr. Shannon has previously served as a Faculty Affiliate with FAU’s Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and has been actively involved in FAU’s PJHR Initiative since its launch in 2014. Dr. Shannon’s previous involvement in PJHR includes serving as an inaugural Fellow, organizing events featuring guest speakers, participating in faculty groups, developing a “History of Human Rights” course for the Peace Studies certificate, and collaboration with local justice organizations, such as the Hollywood chapter of the Women’s March and the Boca Raton Martin Luther King, Jr. Day committee. She has previously served as a Thomas Davis Fellow at Temple University’s Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy and is an active member of SHAFR, where she was a founding member and co-Chair of the Committee on Women. She now serves an elected three-year term on SHAFR’s Executive Council and heads that association’s task force on sexual misconduct.

 Upon accepting the position, Dr. Shannon stated, “I am honored and excited to be PJHR’s new Director. I look forward to continuing to grow this important initiative together with the FAU community. I believe deeply in PJHR’s mission. I am committed to supporting and promoting teaching, learning, research, community engagement, and other activities here at FAU that address the myriad structures of power and oppression that exist in order to contribute meaningfully to the fight for peace, social justice, and human rights. Recent events – from the social inequities laid bare by COVID-19 to the ongoing fight against anti-Black racism – underscore that PJHR is needed now more than ever. FAU’s students, faculty, staff, and community partners are already deeply engaged in this work. I look forward to amplifying your work and to working with all of you to make FAU a leading scholarly institution for peace, justice, and human rights. I am humbled by the energy and commitment of the FAU community to peace and human equality, and I thank my predecessors – particularly outgoing Interim Director Dr. Doug McGetchin – for building such a vibrant PJHR Initiative since its inception in 2014. I very much look forward to leading PJHR into its next phase.”

 I look forward to Dr. Shannon assuming this important position and I encourage all students, staff and faculty to participate in the endeavors PJHR will undertake and opportunities it will offer under her leadership.

 I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Doug McGetchin, Associate Professor of History, for serving as the interim Director of PJHR during the past year and for maintaining the initiative’s commitment to public programming that urges us to reflect on ways we can make our world more humane for all.

Michael J. Horswell

Dean, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters