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Diversity Equity & Inclusion

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 around those facets of identity that cannot be buried, ignored or left behind. I have worked extensively on 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 management skills and vision or longitudinal change.

I bring wide-ranging expertise in the creative and academic industries,  and in recent years, 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 serve on 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 Emory, GW, and Yale on a series of events on access and inclusion, and co-coordinate the Critical SWANA Diaspora Studies section of the Association for Asian American Studies. 

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

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