The team brings broad and complementary expertise in the areas of conflict prevention and mitigation, organizational leadership and development, training and education, monitoring and evaluation, capacity building, and public participatory process. Our cultural competency includes North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Our language abilities include English, Arabic, and French.
Conflict Resolution Practitioners
Dr. Alma Abdul-hadi Jadallah is President of Kommon Denominator, Inc. She has advised and worked on strategic projects related to conflict prevention and mitigation, training and education, and capacity building on the national and international levels. She has participated in a number of global conferences on Conflict Resolution, International Women’s Leadership Development, and has been a speaker and participant at various national and international forums.
Dr. Abdul-Hadi Jadallah, PhD, won top honor as the 2009 Woman Business Enterprise Regional Star Award. Previous awards include the DC – Region Outstanding Woman Business Enterprise for 2008. In 2007, the company was listed on the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise in Maryland, a recognition conferred by the University of Maryland College Park, Maryland Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Abdul Hadi-Jadallah earned her Ph.D. from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. Her dissertation research titled “Reflections on Practice: The Impact of 9/11 on Conflict Resolvers” focused on the impact of a critical event – 9/11 – on the practice of conflict resolvers. As an scholar / practitioner, she teaches graduate level courses in conflict resolution practice and theory at lead academic institutions such as the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Summer Peace Institute at Eastern Mennonite University, American University School of International Service / International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, Georgetown University School of Government / M.A. Program in Conflict Resolution, affiliate faculty at the Women’s Center at George Mason University, and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Global Peace at American University.
Dr. Abdul Hadi-Jadallah serves her community through active board participation. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, and member of Board of Directors, Institute for Victims of Trauma, McLean, Virginia. She is also a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution, Women in International Security, Virginia Mediation Network and Rotary International, and Peace and Justice Studies Association.
Dr. Cynthia Irmer is Acting Managing Director of Kommon Denominator, Inc. Dr. Irmer is a conflict resolution specialist and attorney working as an independent consultant for US State Department, USAID, the UK’s DFIF, the UN and private sector companies on conflict analysis, prevention and resolution as well as peacebuilding and social resilience. She recently returned from Egypt and Nigeria where she trained conflict specialists and mediators to reduce community-based and election violence.
She served the U.S State Department as special assignment to the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights leading efforts on strategic planning, gender equality, religion and foreign policy and public sector involvement. She also served with the bureau for Conflict and Stabilization Operations, formerly the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) where she led in the development and use of a systematic, collaborative tool for analyzing deep causes of conflict and social and institutional strengths and resilience. She has trained government ministers, armed rebel groups and ordinary citizens in peace negotiations and to be mediators and non-violent conflict resolvers in north and sub-Saharan Africa, south and Southeast Asia, north and Central America and Europe.
She was a trial lawyer for 15 years for the US Department of Justice, private law firms and multinational corporations. She studied at Oxford University and has degrees from George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Creighton University Law School and the University of Nebraska. Dr. Irmer is certified by USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation certifications in Gender and Conflict and Advanced Conflict Assessment.
Bruce Engelbert is a former Federal employee with over 30 years of service at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. Early in his career he held policy analysis and program evaluation positions dealing with issues related to pesticides and toxic substances, air pollution, solar energy and oil shale. Subsequently, he joined Superfund, the Federal program for cleaning up hazardous waste sites. In this program he served in a variety of capacities. First he managed the program’s strategic planning, budgeting and accountability activities. Then he became Chief of the Response Operations Branch, which supported EPA’s emergency response activities all across the nation. During this time he was a member of EPA’s National Incident Coordination Team as well as an EPA representative to the Federal Catastrophic Disaster Response Group, and helped to coordinate the Exxon Valdez cleanup and the response to the Loma Prieta earthquake. Later he supervised Superfund’s human resources and organizational development activities. Finally, he worked to promote good public participation and managed dispute resolution and mediation services related to hazardous waste cleanup program activities. Among other things, this involved coordinating EPA’s Superfund Ombudsmen network.
Mr. Engelbert brings to the firm a management background and extensive experience in helping people work effectively together and in dealing constructively with differences and disputes. He is a certified mentor mediator in the State of Virginia who has mediated over 100 community, consumer and employment cases. He has designed dispute resolution systems and trained students and professionals in the basics of conflict prevention and resolution. He has facilitated large public meetings and smaller organizational problem solving sessions. And he has consulted with the government of Thailand on increasing its public participation efforts during environmental decision-making.
Mr. Engelbert has a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters Degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. He was formerly the President of the Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia Mediation Service, a non-profit, community dispute resolution center, and is on the Board of Directors of the Earth Sangha, an environmental organization that raises native trees and shrubs for forest and watershed restoration in the Potomac River Region. He also serves on the Arlington County Multicultural Advisory Commission. He s the co-author of the article, “Evaluating Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making,” published in the Journal of Environmental Management in 2005.
Dr. Borislava Manojlovic is currently working with Kommon Denominator as the Director of Research on Fetzer Institute funded projects Leaning from Experience – Love and Forgiveness in Governance and Learning from Experience- Forgiving Prisoners.
Borislava is a Professor and the Director of Research at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University. She also serves as the Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and she is a member of IAGS Executive Board. Before joining the School for Diplomacy and International Relations, she has been the Director of Research with the Genocide Prevention Program at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University. Prior to that, Borislava has been working with the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Croatia and Kosovo for more than seven years.
As the Director of Research, she led and implemented numerous research projects that focus on dealing with the past, genocide prevention, forgiveness in governance, conflict management, peacemaking, education in post-conflict contexts, assessment and evaluation of peace programs and plans. She designed original narrative workshops for mitigating violence among youth and taught numerous courses on conflict analysis and prevention, post-conflict reconstruction, international relations and education in conflict and post-conflict settings. She also conducted study abroad courses and workshops focusing on memory, trauma healing, conflict and dealing with the past in the aftermath of mass violence. These workshops and courses involved travel to the post-conflict areas where participants had the opportunity not only to learn, but also to practice and experience conflict resolution and peacebuilding on the ground.
As a research fellow at the Georg Eckert Institute in Germany, she explored how memory of atrocities and genocide influence relationships among different ethnic groups in the Balkans. Borislava also serves as the Associate Editor of the Global Studies Journal and Beyond Intractability Collaborative.
Ms. Gay Rosenblum-Kumar is an Associate with Kommon Denominator, Inc.. She has worked with the United Nations for the past 25 years, most recently leading the Secretariat of the UN Framework for Preventive Action (FT), an informal, interagency mechanism that supported UN Headquarters agencies and Country Teams to deepen their work in conflict prevention and transformation. In that capacity, she played a major role in developing new conceptual and operational approaches to early conflict transformation policy and practice in the UN system.
Gay formulated numerous country-based conflict transformation projects, programs and strategies and co-led the development of the UN’s first cadre of peace and development/conflict transformation advisers, creating a multi-disciplinary support system including induction programs, global retreats, online support, thematic knowledge products, learning events, and information-sharing vehicles including the first online UN Conflict Prevention Community of Practice. She has been involved in early warning, conflict analysis and response development, facilitation, capacity-building for mediation and dialogue, support to electoral violence prevention campaigns, and promoting conflict-sensitive policy and practice.
Gay has conducted numerous training workshops on conflict subjects at UN Headquarters, in field offices, for Pearson Peacekeeping Center in Canada and at a number of schools and universities including, most recently, at New York University. Her current research work includes: examining reconciliation activities in the Western Balkans and developing resource material on atrocity prevention and dealing with the past.
Gay has a Masters Degree in International Administration from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. She serves on the Boards of the New York Peace Institute and George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution and is part of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Network. Prior to joining the United Nations, Gay worked with several international NGOs on anti-apartheid, refugee and development issues.
Pinar Akpinar is a scholar at the Conflict Resolution and Mediation Program and Academic Coordinator of the Project on the Middle East and the Arab Spring (POMEAS) at Istanbul Policy Center (IPC), Sabanci University. She is currently adjunct lecturer for the MA Program on African Studies and International Relations at Istanbul Commerce University.
Pinar received her PhD from the School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE) at Keele University. Her dissertation was titled, 'An emerging mediator on the periphery: Turkey's mediations in the Syrian-Israeli talks in Somalia'. Her research interests lie in the intersection between conflict resolution and foreign policy with a particular focus on mediation and peace building. She is also interested in the role of non-governmental organizations in peace building and their impact on foreign policy. She has field experience in a number of countries including Turkey, Uganda, the Philippines, Israel, India, and Kyrgyzstan.
Previously, she was the Vice Director for the Center for International Conflict Resolution, and lecturer in the Department of International Relations at Yalova University between 2010 and 2014; and a visiting scholar at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in 2013. Pinar has given seminars on Conflict Resolution and Mediation to junior foreign diplomats at the Diplomatic Academy of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, a program hosting by IPC, and given training seminars on Conflict Resolution and Mediation at the Model Organization Islamic Cooperation Conferences in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, she was a sessional tutor at Keele University, SPIRE, where she also coordinated Keele Seminars on Modern Turukey at SPIRE, a program sponsored by the Center for Strategic Research at the Turkish Foreign Ministry. In 2011, she was the Vice Coordinator of the Intellectuals Forum at the 4th UN Conference on the LDCs.
Ms. Ala Ali currently represents Kommon Denominator in Irbil, Iraq. She is a member of the Iraqi al-Amal Association since 1995, and was elected to the board of trustees in 2008. With over twenty years of experience working in the field of civil society in Iraq, Ala has substantial experience managing and administering programs funded by UN agencies and other international donors. Ala is a specialist in organizational democracy, peace and conflict, and the logical framework approach. In addition to her work at IAA, Ala has served as Iraq Program Coordinator with the Olof Palme International Center, Senior Regional Program Officer with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Peacebuilding Consultant with the UN Development Program, and Country Manager of Women in Technology. Ala holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and MBA and is working toward her Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation from the Eastern Mennonite University.
Laila Abdul-Hadi Jadallah is Senior Grant & Programs Manager at Kommon Denominator, Inc. and manages Kommon Denominator's online presence. She develops and oversees all grant and administration policies for current grant and program projects, including the Fetzer Institute funded projects Leaning from Experience – Love and Forgiveness in Governance and Learning from Experience- Forgiving Prisoners.
She has a Masters Degree in Photography from SPEOS Photographic Institute in Paris and received her Bachelors Degree from George Mason University's New Century College in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Art as Social Action. She serves as Exhibitions & Exhibitions Development Manager at International Arts & Artists, an arts organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally. She has curated co-curated several exhibitions in Washington at various institutions including All Art All Night DC, Adah Rose Gallery, The Smith Center for Healing and The Arts and Studio Gallery and presented her work and research in art as a tool for social change at the Arts Council of Fairfax County and the Palestinian Arts & Festival, DC.
Laila has taught photography courses in Bethlehem for children at Al-Rowwad Cultural Center in Aida Refugee Camp as part of a European Union funded initiative, Images for Life; at Sitar Arts Center, Washington, D.C. and a course in Visual Culture & Society at her alma mater, George Mason University.