Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Members

 

Jose B. Alvarez

Jose B. Alvarez, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Operations (Taskforce Chair)

Born in Venezuela to a Venezuelan father and a Cuban mother, JBA was raised in a multicultural environment between his native country, Switzerland, and the United States. His Ph.D. in Cultural Studies emphasizes the study of Cuban culture, paying particular attention to the analysis of gender roles primarily in films and short stories of the Revolution. Due to a family relocation, he left his tenured job at the University of Georgia and moved to Italy 10 years ago. From an early age, he started questioning divisions based on race and social injustices. 

   
Kwame Phillips

Kwame Phillips, Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies (Taskforce Vice-Chair) 

Born in London and raised in Jamaica, Professor Kwame Phillips specializes in sensory media production, visual anthropology, and audio culture. His work focuses on resilience, race, and social justice and he is passionate about merging art, activism, and academia. An avid cinephile, his current work oscillates between experimental documentary and mixtape scholarship.  

   
Betselot Dejene

Betselot Dejene, Student Representative of the Student Government Diversity Committee

Betselot Dejene is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is majoring in International Affairs with a minor in Legal Studies. She believes in creating spaces for people to voice their opinions and share their identities and perspectives. She is a firm believer in the beauty that is created from diversity and hopes to work towards making that beauty more visible on campus. She took on the position of Vice Chair of the Student Government Diversity Committee in Fall 2021 and joined the task force to represent the committee and help foster diversity, inclusivity and representation on campus. 

   
Myriam Paola Villacres

Myriam Paola Villacres, Student Representative of the Organization of Latin American Cultures

Paola is an Ecuadorian junior at JCU doing a double major in History and Communications. Through her experience at an American high school in her own country and participation in different international camps, she believes that representation of Latin American cultures is necessary. Nonetheless, her priority is to make all communities at JCU feel represented and included in the University’s environment. 

   
Danah Alkhafaji

Danah Alkhafaji, Student Representative of the Women’s Leadership Initiative 

Danah is currently studying Humanistic Studies at John Cabot. She was born in America, to a Saudi mother and Iraqi father. Danah grew up living between the Middle East, America, and Europe. Throughout her life, diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality have been at the forefront of her passions and experiences. She represents the Women’s Leadership Initiative within the task force, and constantly strives to include intersectionality within discussions of diversity and inclusion, especially the intersections of gender and race.

   
Lorenzo Polverari

Lorenzo Polverari, Vice President of the Queer Alliance

Lorenzo (he/they) is a Junior student from Rome who is currently majoring in Communications with a minor in Gender Studies. As a firm believer in the power of representation of the immensely vast spectrum of queer lived experiences, Lore is the current Vice President of the Queer Alliance. As a Task Force member, Lore hopes to represent JCU’s queer individuals as well as making changes that will make JCU a comfortable place for anyone willing to explore their identity and sexuality.

   
Julia del Papa

Julia del Papa, Director of Community Service, Religious Life, and Multiculturalism (Staff representative)

Born in Rome, Italy, to a Japanese mother and American-Italian father, and attending an international school, Julia’s childhood was a daily celebration of diversity. While obtaining an MA in International Relations, Julia interned at a Disabilities Center and at Refugee Aid Organizations, which were eye-opening experiences on how diversity affects individuals in different ways. In her role at JCU, she has worked closely on issues of discrimination and marginalization with students and at-risk communities and has hosted workshops on Diversity & Identity. 

   
Giulia Ricci

Giulia Ricci, Student Cultural Programs and Activities Coordinator (Staff representative)

Born and raised in Rome, Giulia has always been attracted to foreign cultures, and through travel and empathy, this has allowed her to create deep human connections with people from all over the world. She believes that life is a kaleidoscope of many traditions and stories with different backgrounds, each of them containing something vital and precious that enrich our journeys. She particularly loves this quote from Paulo Coelho: “When a stranger approaches, and we think he is our brother, and all conflicts disappear, that is the moment when night ends and day begins.”

   
Peter Sarram

Peter Sarram, Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies (Faculty representative) 

Professor Peter Sarram studied Economics at Boston College and Film and Media Studies at Northwestern University's School of Speech. He has published extensively on popular culture, recorded music, and film, and his research is primarily involved in investigating the relationships between the construction of social subjectivities and popular and mass culture. His work revolves around questions of popular culture, social identities, and technology.

   
Isabella Clough Marinaro

Isabella Clough Marinaro, Associate Professor of Italian Studies (Faculty representative) 

Professor Isabella Clough Marinaro is a sociologist who does fieldwork research with people in Italy affected by discrimination and social exclusion. Among these are Roma communities, squatters, and people who work in informal economies. Her courses focus on diversity and, especially, on how structural inequalities impact people’s life chances and experiences in different ways. In her classes, students critically explore the mechanisms underlying disparities of treatment and opportunity and identify strategies for improving inclusion and equality.