Dr. Leila Hudson is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona. A graduate of Yale College (BA) and the University of Michigan’s Anthropology Department (MA) and Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropology and History (PhD), she researches and teaches about culture and political economy in the Arab Mashreq. She is the author of Transforming Damascus: Space and Modernity in an Islamic City (IB Tauris, 2008) and Middle Eastern Humanities: An Introduction to Middle Eastern Cultures (Kendall Hunt, 2010) as well as articles on gender, culture, and power in the Ottoman and contemporary Middle East. She is currently co-editing a volume on Media Evolution in the Middle East and working on a monograph on global and local capital flows in the Arab Middle East.
Dr. Turki Faisal al-Rasheed is the founder and chairman of Golden Grass Inc., one of the top 100 businesses in Saudi Arabia. He is also founder and director of Al-Ulama Management and Consultancy Services, the Saudi Voters Center, and the Turki Faisal International Corporation (TFIC). He also serves on the board for Saudi Arabia’s National Agriculture Development Company (NADEC) and is a member of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Committee.
Dr. al-Rasheed is frequently called upon as a sustainable agricultural development expert, and is the author of five books, including most-recently Post Arab Spring: The Manual Labor of Democratic Change–as well as numerous articles in Arabic and English exploring national security, sustainable agriculture, food/ water scarcity and security, sustainable development, political economy, and self-improvement.
Dr. al-Rasheed was honored as the 2013 University of Arizona Outstanding Alumnus, and currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the UA Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.
David Dunford retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1995 following completion of his assignment as Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman. He served from 1988-92 in Saudi Arabia as Deputy Ambassador, including 15 months as Acting Ambassador. His other Foreign Service assignments included Director of Egyptian Affairs in the Department of State in Washington, DC, Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative in the Executive Office of the President.
Ambassador Dunford is an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Arizona where he teaches courses on the Arab-Israeli Conflict and the Middle East Business Environment. He was an Adjunct Professor at the Thunderbird School of Global Management from 1998- 2000. He is on the Governing Board of the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow with visits to small colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Over the past six years he has traveled to Korea, Germany and to various military bases in the U.S. to assist in the training of U.S. forces being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. During 1997-8, Ambassador Dunford was Coordinator of the Transition Team for the establishment of the Bank for Economic Cooperation and Development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENABANK). The Team offices were located in Cairo. From April to June of 2003, he worked for the Organization of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, and later the Coalition Provisional Authority, in Baghdad as Senior Ministerial Liaison to Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Brigadier General (U.S. Army-retired) John Adams retired from the U.S. Army in 2007 after more than 30 years of active duty service worldwide as an Army Aviator, Military Intelligence Officer, and Foreign Area officer. Currently president of Guardian Six Consulting, he is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science in the School of Government and Public Policy at the U.A. He served in Iraq on temporary duty in February 2004, while assigned as Deputy G-2 for Headquarters Department of the Army. Adams’ final military assignment was as Deputy U.S. Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium.