DEI

A multicolored sky over a quiet sea at sunset
An image of Thomas with a mustache, streak of grey in black hair, and a small polka dot shirt

My life experiences help me understand what it’s like to struggle, especially in college, around those facets of identity that cannot be buried, ignored or left behind. I have worked extensively around issues of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Justice. Driving change requires more than “business as usual,” and I’ve worked to move institutions to welcome overlooked forms of diversity, drawing on project management skills and longitudinal strategies for organizational change. I bring wide-ranging expertise in the creative and academic industries, and see diversity as praxis. 

In recent years, I have worked as a dramaturg for theater and opera productions, and leader in a range of academic and service roles. For example, after producing and emcee-ing “I Am Not Your Terrorist: A MENASA Cabaret,” I led work  to add “MENA” (Middle Eastern and North African) to Actors’ Equity Association’s diversity initiatives. As an academic advisor to the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition, I helped edit the Casting Society of America’s MENA/MENASA Guidebook and recently participated in a panel on MENA representation for the Netflix Institute. I’ve also worked with a range of arts companies as a public speaker, consultant and grants reviewer, and in coming months, will join the SAG-AFTRA National MENA Committee, tasked with promoting “increased inclusion and more nuanced and realistic portrayals of MENA performers across all aspects of the media landscape.”

At George Washington University, I co-organized a department-wide conference on race and the body, and another on new materialism for the Institute for Middle East Studies. While at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, I researched Egyptian media attitudes toward the United States, and helped develop a new Global American Studies Masters program dedicated to studying the United States from abroad. More recently, I’ve worked with GW and Yale on a series of events on disability as co-chair of the inaugural Alumni Taskforce on Disability. Finally, in response to the exclusion of Middle Eastern Americans from the California Ethnic Studies curriculum, I co-founded West Asian Studies Now, work I've continued with the Arab American Studies Association and the West Asian section of the Association for Asian American Studies.

A group of 20 Middle Eastern/North African/South Asian performers smiling in a semicircle