Course Director and Philosophy Professor
Professor Kittay teaches at Columbia University in the Department of Religion specializing in courses in Eastern and Western philosophy and religion, most recently, “Technology, Religion, Future,” “Interpreting Buddhist Yoga: Hermeneutics East and West,” “Law and Religion,” and “Contemporary Civilization.” Dr. Kittay is also a trial and civil rights lawyer, Federal Bankruptcy Trustee and a receiver for the United States Securities Exchange Commission. He has his M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University and his J.D. from Boston University, and is the President of the Tibetan Classics Translators Guild of New York, and serves on the Board of Trustees of the national Clemente organization and Tibet House US. Dr. Kittay also writes and lectures on legal ethics and compassionate lawyering.
Academic Director and Political Theory Professor
Charlene Floyd completed her Ph.D. in Political Science at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her research interest in religion and politics has taken her to the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico, where she studied the role of the Catholic Church in the process of democratization, and closer to home including the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Dallas, Texas, and the streets of Brooklyn, New York, where she considered the connection between faith and politics in contemporary American Protestantism. Charlene taught in the doctoral program at New York Theological Seminary, has been privileged to teach political science at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Baruch College. She is currently teaching in the John Jay College Prison to College Pipeline Program.
Katy Lasell is a fiction writer and educator based in Brooklyn. She previously worked as the Program Manager for the Writing and Speaking Fellows at Barnard College, where she partnered with over one hundred students each year to develop their writing skills and processes. In Fall of 2019, she’ll begin a Masters in Social Work at Hunter College. Her professional interests include harm reduction, criminal justice reform, and feminist and autonomous education.
History and Philosophy Professor
George Orwel is currently a PhD candidate in art theory, philosophy and aesthetics at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts in Portland, Me. His research is on new phenomenology, with special focus on ambiance. Specifically, he probes the poetics and aesthetics of space, theorizing a symmetrically structured human body and a relational philosophy of beings and their spaces, or sculptural experiences in atmospheric contexts, outside of museums. He has written essays on Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of perception, Walter Benjamin’s concept of aura and Lorenzetti’s political frescos.
Professor Orwel also teaches African Art and Modern Literature at New York City College of Technology, and has previously taught a course of Modern African History. He has been an award-winning journalist and author, reporting news across three continents for more than 20 years. He has conducted interviews with political and business leaders, including past presidents of Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He’s the author of Black Gold (Wiley, 1996) and editor of African and African American Art and Culture (Cognella, 2018). He is also writes for The Journalist, a South African website that is part of a project to rewrite the history of that country.
Orwel graduated from the University of Nairobi with a BA in Linguistics and Literature in 1992, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism with a masters’ degree in journalism in 1996 and from Brooklyn Law School with a J.D. degree in 2002. He also trained in global media law and policy at Oxford University in England.
American History Professor
Since retiring from the practice of law and working in the field of private investment, Professor Mann has taught Latin American History, US History and Global History at Pace University (Dyson College), Iona College, Empire State College (Harry Van Arsdale Labor Program) and the Harlem Clemente Program. He holds a B.A., Rutgers University (History, 1966); J.D. Rutgers Law School, (1969), LL.M. Harvard Law School (1970); M.A. Columbia (American Studies, 1999) and M.A. Columbia (History, 2003).
Counselor and Coordinator
Angela Maysonet-Cruz joined the Harlem Justice Community Program with the Children’s Village in 2015 where she provides counseling and educational services to young adults from the Harlem and Bronx Communities. Angela began her career in human services 10 years ago and has worked in various counseling and educational settings throughout New York City. She received a B.A. degree in Sociology and Psychology from Hunter College, as well as an MSED in School Guidance Counseling from Hunter School of Education.
G.D. Peters is a lawyer who closed his own trial practice to write fiction. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York, and has joined the faculties of City College, Lehman College, Gotham Writer’s Workshop, and most recently, the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities at Children’s Village.
JESSICA RODRÍGUEZ COLÓN
Art History Professor
Jessica Rodríguez Colón is a doctoral candidate in philosophy, aesthetics and art theory at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. Her research focuses on maternal politics and performances in the Americas, ranging from evaluating maternal politics and aesthetics in media, performance arts and in the visual arts. In her work, she questions the societal prescription of motherhood and how aesthetic representations of the maternal influences maternal performances. Jessica has participated at conferences in the United States and Europe, including the International Conference on Moving Image and Philosophy in Portugal. Jessica also has a creative practice that ranges from performance arts and video to installations, as an artist her work has been presented in the Americas, Europe and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tapei. As an educator, she has taught dance and performance to high school equivalency courses. She is currently a Hemispheric Institute Fellow and was recently awarded the Adam Smith Fellowship at the Mercatus Center.