Dr. Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of Middle Eastern Studies, is a fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy and Middle East Analyst for CBS News. He is also a featured blogger for Anderson Cooper 360. Aslan has graduated from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. He serves on the board of directors for the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues, Abraham’s Vision, a conflict transformation organization, and PEN USA. Aslan’s first book is the New York Times Bestselling, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award in the UK, and nominated for a PEN USA award for research Non-Fiction. His second book, How to Win a Cosmic War, was published and released by Random House in April 2009, followed by an edited anthology, Words Without Borders: Contemporary Literature from the Muslim World, scheduled to published by Norton in 2010. Aslan is co-founder and creative director of BoomGen Studios, a hub for creative content from and about the Middle East, as well as the Editorial Executive of Mecca.com, an on-line community for Muslim youth. Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles where he is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at University of California, Riverside.
Dr. Aaron J. Hahn Tapper is the Founder and Co-Executive Director of Abraham's Vision, a conflict transformation organization founded in 2003 and based in San Francisco that works within and between the Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, and Palestinian communities. Currently an Assistant Professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department of the University of San Francisco, holding the Swig Chair of Judaic Studies, he is the founding Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, the first academic program in the country formally linking these two fields. Hahn Tapper also co-founded and co-runs the Center for Transformative Education. Fluent in Arabic and Hebrew, Hahn Tapper previously lived in the Middle East for five years—four years in Jerusalem and one year in Cairo—and traveled extensively in Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, and Syria. He received a BA from Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Psychology, a Master's degree from Harvard Divinity School, focusing on World Religions, and a PhD in Comparative Religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where his doctoral dissertation, “From Gaza to the Golan: Religious Nonviolence, Power, and the Politics of Interpretation,” explored the relationship between the socio-political context of Israel and Palestine, religious law, and power. He studied previously at Bir Zeit University while serving as a Harvard University Frederick Sheldon Fellow, and served as a Legal Intern with the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He has also been a Fulbright-Hays scholar and a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Hahn Tapper has been involved in Jewish education for two decades, shifting his focus towards Jewish-Arab, Jewish-Muslim, and Israeli-Palestinian education ten years ago.