Board of Directors

Barbara Adams (bio to come)


Kate Blackwood (on leave) works as a writer and editor for Cornell University Alumni Affairs and Development. She worked previously as a reporter and then features editor of the Livingston County Daily Press and Argus in Howell, Michigan and as a writer for the Ithaca Times. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she has published short stories and poetry in a variety of publications and is at work on her first full-length play. Kate is also an actor, appearing most recently in the Ithaca Fringe Festival and as the geneticist Barbara McClintock in the 2018 debut of MAIZE. Kate likes exploring the Ithaca area by hiking, cycling, and skiing. She has served on the ICOA board since 2013 and was chair during the 2017-2018 year.

Cory Brown (secretary) studied literature and philosophy at Oklahoma State University before taking an M.F.A. in poetry writing in 1984 from Cornell University. He just published his fourth book of poems, from Cayuga Lake Press, and publishes personal and academic essays as well, mostly on topics related to modernism and modernity, such as the effects of technocracy on modern literature, the pursuit of happiness in contemporary America, and the history of attitudes about the self in Western culture since the Renaissance. His latest essay is an analysis of attitudes toward sex and love in the West and the effects of those attitudes on our health. He’s been teaching theory and creative writing at Ithaca College since 1990.

Meryl Bursic (treasurer) is a privacy and cybersecurity professional working at Cornell University. She is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (CIPP/US and CIPP/E certifications obtained) and the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (CISSP certification obtained). Although Meryl attended Rochester Institute of Technology for Computational Mathematics, the humanities and a love of languages (French, Persian, Russian, Chinese) have never been far removed from her daily life and studies. When not reading the fine print of “terms and conditions,” she can be found tinkering in everything from music composition and production to farming and fermentation projects to cameras that still take 120 film. Meryl has served on the board since August 2018.

Robert Colley is retired from Syracuse University andownload-1d lives on a farm in Fabius, NY, with his family and various animals and gardens. He is the founding editor of Stone Canoe, A Journal of Arts, Literature and Social Commentary, and publisher of Standing Stone Books. He is a published writer and photographer and has served on various arts-related boards, including the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, The Y Arts Board of the Greater Syracuse YMCA, and the Community Folk Art Center. His other interests include sailing, tennis, and music.

guaspari-current-croppedDavid Guaspari (vice chair) has a PhD in pure mathematics from Cambridge University. He has taught in the math departments of Cambridge, SUNY Buffalo, Texas Tech, and Cornell. At St. John’s College he also taught music, literature, and philosophy. In addition to technical papers on mathematics and computer science, he has published short fiction, essays, and reviews in a wide variety of literary and political journals, and his short plays have been performed in theaters throughout the US and in five foreign countries. He first joined the board of ICOA in 2004.

gailGail Holst-Warhaft is a poet, journalist, broadcaster, prose-writer, academic, musician, and translator. Among her many publications are Road to RembetikaTheodorakis: Myth and Politics in Modern Greek MusicThe Collected Poems of Nikos KavadiasDangerous Voices: Women’s Laments and Greek LiteratureThe Cue for Passion: Grief and its Political UsesI Had Three Lives: Selected Poems of Mikis Theodorakis, and Penelope’s Confession. She has published translations of Aeschylus and a number of Greece’s leading novelists and poets. Her poems and translations of Greek poetry have appeared in journals in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Her Kavadias translations won an award from Columbia University. Her latest book, The Fall of Athens, a collection of poetry, essays and stories about Greece, was published by Fomite Press in 2016.

downloadEdward Hower has published eight novels, a book of stories, a compilation of personal essays, and a volume of folktales he collected while on two Fulbright grants to India. The National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts have also awarded him fellowships. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Smithsonian, American Scholar, Ithaca Times, and elsewhere.  He is a co-founding editor of Cayuga Lake Books, a local imprint with a list of over 25 titles. He has taught at Cornell, Ithaca College, Duke, the University of North Carolina, and colleges in East Africa and India. An Ithaca native since 1974, he has served on the ICOA board for 15 years.

IMK HeadshotIan Matthew Kysel is a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, where he co-directs the Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic and is a founder and directs the International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative. He has published academic work in a number of U.S. law review journals as well as peer-reviewed journals and has written several human rights reports; his opinion articles have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. He previously held appointments at the University of Oxford and at the Georgetown University Law Center. He has argued or participated in litigation before U.S. immigration, federal, and state courts as well as international tribunals. He currently also serves as a Trustee of the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), sits on the advisory committee of Human Rights Watch’s Children’s Rights Division, and is a co-organizer of the ACLU’s national Youth Justice Network.

2015.08 JM Turkey headshotJonathan Miller (chair) is a freelance print and radio journalist and executive director of Homelands Productions, a nonprofit journalism collective specializing in radio features and documentaries. From 2106 to 2018 he served as  associate director at Cornell University’s Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. As a journalist he has worked in more than 20 countries in Asia, the Americas, Africa, Europe, and the Pacific. His features, news reports, and commentaries have been broadcast on NPR, Marketplace, PRI’s The World, BBC, CBC, PBS NewsHour, and other radio and television outlets. He has also written for The New YorkerCondé Nast Traveler, Parents, Christian Science Monitor, and many other publications. He has won several awards for his writing and radio projects. He has a degree in English Literature from Swarthmore College.

Catherine Porter, 2009 President of the Modern Language Association, received her doctorate in French literature from Yale University in 1972. She is Visiting Professor at the Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, and Professor of French Emerita at the State University of New York, College at Cortland. A freelance translator in the humanities and the social sciences, she has published a number of essays and some four dozen books in translation from the French, including most recently Elisabeth Roudinesco, Freud in His Time and Ours, and Bruno Latour, Facing Gaia and Down to Earth; forthcoming titles include Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre, Enrichment, and Claire Zalc, Denaturalized. She served previously on the ICOA board from 2001 to 2007.

Susan Tarrow received her MA in French and German from Oxford University, and her PhD in French and Italian from Cornell University, after stints at UC Berkeley and Yale. She has taught courses in advanced composition, on Camus and contemporary French fiction, on French and Francophone cultures, and Francophone literature of the Maghreb. She has published on Camus, on Maghrebian and “beur” literature, and on Primo Levi. From 1985-2005, she was associate director of Cornell’s Institute for European Studies. In her retirement, she works on translation from French, writes articles for a local newsletter, and travels widely. In addition to her work for ICOA, she organizes volunteer translators and interpreters working for Ithaca Welcomes Refugees, a non-profit group coordinating resettlement of refugees under the umbrella of Catholic Charities.

Cherie Wendelken (bio to come)



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