Emmanuel C. Ogwude, Ph.D.

Emmanuel Ogwude is founder and Executive Director of WVCPC. His professional experience spans over 20 years of developing and overseeing private non-profit and for profit businesses. With over 12 years in higher education, teaching in the humanities and coordinating international student and scholar programs. Dr. Ogwude specializes in business communication and documentary film and video production. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing communication from DePaul University, a master’s in film and video from Columbia College, Chicago, and Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. His research focus is on the human costs of war and conflict with particular interest on the war on terror, the radicalization and militarization of youths. Dr. Ogwude spent time in Kabul Afghanistan with Afghan humanitarian aid workers to understand the impacts of the war on terror in the lives of Afghans. He is a strong advocate for the eradication of structural violence and conditions that frustrate and deny individuals abilities to provide their basic needs, for international education and diversity, and reversing the consequences of brain drain, which disadvantage less developed nations and create conditions that lead to insecurities around the world.

Areas of Expertise

  • Narrative Mediation
  • Conflict management and assessment
  • Facilitating in conflict environments
  • Organizational conflict
  • Business Mediation
  • Culture and conflict
  • Dialogue Processes: National, community, and group dialogues
  • Visualizing Peace: Using digital communication to build peace

Gina E. Ogwude, M.S., CRC, LPC, LSW

Gina profile 2Gina Ogwude is co-founder and Director at WVCPC, and the CEO and founder of West Virginia Family Support and Rehabilitation Services (WVFSRS). She is a certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and Licensed Social Worker (LSW). Ms. Ogwude holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Roosevelt University and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from West Virginia University. She has over 20 years experience working and advocating for individuals with disability, for at-risk children and families, and making sure that the interests of children are well represented and protected in judicial and state protective services. Her direct expertise spans the states of Illinois, Texas, Arkansas, and West Virginia.

Areas of Expertise

  • Gender concerns in decision-making processes
  • Case Management and training
  • Developing programs for at-risk youths
  • Domestic violence
  • Child Protective Services
  • Adoptions and foster placements for troubled youths
  • Developing job coach/skill programs for individuals with disability
  • Evidence-based mental health programing

Eshanda James Nwamara, Ph.D. 

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Dr. Eshanda James Nwamara, a Senior Associate at WVCPC, is a holistic family therapist, educator, author and dispute resolution consultant specializing in international peace and conflict resolution. Dr. Nwamara received her Doctorate of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and her Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern University. Her undergraduate work was completed at the University of North Florida at Jacksonville, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Dr. Nwamara’s prime focus and general research interest is in family development– she has a special interest in the advancement of African families against the ravaging effects of abject poverty and other social conflicts. Dedicated to her research and passionate about family progression in Africa, Dr. Nwamara spent five years traveling through Nigeria to learn the different cultures, the people and the real issues experienced by families living in developing countries. Dr. Nwamara continues to actively work with community leaders and non-profit organizations in Nigeria to assist in identifying pressing conflict issues to alleviate the effects of environmental stressors on families.

Areas of Expertise

  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Family Poverty and Social Conflict
  • Family Progression in Africa
  • Parenting Coordination
  • International Peace and Conflict Resolution
  • Mediation
  • Group Facilitation
  • Conflict Assessment
  • Monitoring and Evaluation

Solomon Losha, Ph.D.  

Dr. Solomon Losha is a Senior Associate at WVCPC and former State Advisor for the U.S. State Department’s Conflict Mitigation and Stabilization Initiatives project for South Sudan. Dr. Losha earned a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. Upon completing his doctoral studies, he became an adjunct professor in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at NSU. Prior to studying in the United States, Dr. Losha held several positions with the Ministry of Education in Cameroon – he was Provincial Inspector of Education and later became National Inspector of Education from 2000 to 2005. He taught Comparative Education and Education Policies in Cameroon. His research interests are focused on African civil wars and military coups.

Areas of Expertise

  • Mediation
  • Facilitation
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Inter-community peace building

Toran J. Hansen, Ph.D.

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Dr. Toran Hansen is a Senior Associate at WVCPC and Assistant Professor in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution at Salisbury University. He was previously an Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University’s Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, in Florida. He earned his PhD in Social Work from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. Toran has worked as a mediator and facilitator for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, the Palm Beach County Courthouse, and Nova Southeastern University. In addition, he has provided conflict resolution training in Suriname for parties involved in natural resource disputes. He was also a Research Associate for the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking and the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota, as well as the Institute for Child Health Policy at Nova Southeastern University. Previously, he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea, West Africa, and a bail supervisor for medium to high-risk juveniles for the Focus Foundation of Canada. He is the author of The Generalist Approach to Conflict Resolution (Lexington Books). He is currently a Board Member for the Perspectives of Freedom Foundation. He has written articles and chapters on a variety of subjects including: restorative justice, victim-offender mediation, truth and reconciliation commissions, critical approaches to conflict resolution, narrative mediation, facilitating inter-organizational networks, community organizing in social movements, social capital, the concept of holistic peace, and evidence-based practice.

Areas of Expertise

  • Restorative, transitional, and social justice
  • Conflict transformation
  • Approaches to dialogue
  • Nonprofit management
  • Reflective conflict resolution practice
  • Social conflict in Ireland
  • Victim-offender mediation
  • Truth and reconciliation commissions
  • Critical approaches to conflict resolution
  • Narrative mediation
  • Facilitating inter-organizational networks
  • Community organizing in social movements
  • Social capital, the concept of holistic peace, and evidence-based practice.

T.Y. Okosun, Ph.D.

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T.Y. Okosun is a Senior Associate at WVCPC and Associate Professor at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago. His areas of focus are Social Justice, Social Change, and Conflict Transformation. Okosun posits that social conflicts are most often tied to interpersonal and inter-group dynamics and understanding them is crucial for the construction of peaceful contexts. He has done extensive work on the pervasive and persistent nature of social conflicts, and different options for working through them. Dr. Okosun’s professional experience spans several countries and cultures. He is an advocate for integrating the efficacies of cross-cultural connections with focus on the justice of compassion and the transformation of conflicts. T.Y. Okosun holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, Italy and M.A. in Religious Studies from Catholic University of Leuven in Louvain, Belgium. Professor Okosun was past president of the Justice Studies Association, and member of the Editorial Board of Contemporary Justice Review.

Areas of Expertise

  • Mediation
  • Negotiation
  • Policy development
  • Transformative and restorative conflict resolution options
  • Community integration
  • Conflicts in Schools and Higher Education.

Bekeh Utietiang, Ph.D.

Bekeh UtietiangDr. Bekeh Utietiang is a Senior Associate at WVCPC and teaches history at Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, WV. Bekeh holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; a Master’s Degree in Religion and Culture from the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC and a doctorate degree in history from West Virginia University, Morgantown. Bekeh’s research focuses on late colonial and postcolonial African development. He also studies the rise of Islamic and Christian movements in Africa and their impact on peace, security and development. He has published peer-reviewed scholarly articles and books in his research area and blogs regularly on the Huffingtonpost. He is the author of the forthcoming book, The Second Colonial Occupation: Development Planning and the Legacies of British Rule in Nigeria (Lexington Books). Dr. Bekeh is also a Digital Humanities Scholar and he is the architect of the crowdsource digital project, DevelopmentSchemes.com.

Areas of Expertise

  • Development History
  • African Religious Movements
  • Muslim – Christian Relations in Nigeria
  • History of Social/ Religious Movements
  • Modern African History
  • British Imperial History
  • Digital Humanities

Tori Arthur, Ph.D.

Dr. Tori Arthur is an Associate at WVCPC. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University with a focus on Critical Studies in Media and Film. Dr. Arthur’s research focuses on the transnational movement of people through migration and tourism, and how media/popular culture represents and influences that movement.

Areas of Expertise

  • Media and Migration
  • Cultural Tourism
  • Nigerian Film
  • Digital Media and Journalism
  • Digital Humanities

George Cole, Jr., M.S. 

Picture1George Cole is a Senior Associate at WVCPC with over thirty-five years of professional experience in community development, both as practitioner and executive administrator. Mr. Cole, holds a bachelor’s degree in Imaging Science with a minor in Journalism from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Community Development. He also holds a certificate in Project Management from the Illinois Institute of Technology School of Applied Technology. Mr. Cole’s community development career integrates academic training and real world field experience, giving him a grounded perspective for launching successful citizen-driven community development initiatives.

Upon completing undergraduate studies, Mr. Cole worked for a major Chicago advertising company as a production manager. He later joined the US Peace Corps and served as rural development volunteer, stationed in Lesotho – where he learned to speak Sesotho, and worked with local communities to launch community development projects focusing on education/job training, youth development and empowerment, the environment, and rural business development. Mr. Cole’s volunteer work in Lesotho was noted in a 1975 United Nations Industrial Development Organization study on rural development in Lesotho, by Stanley Gross. Upon completing graduate studies Mr. Cole joined Chicago City Colleges, Urban Skills Institute, teaching and managing General Education Development (GED) classes in Chicago’s inner-city communities. He later worked for the Chicago Urban League, where he planned, organized and conducted workshops for Local School Councils (LSC) for the purposes of assessing issues related to education reform. Mr. Cole later joined the American Red Cross as Director of Field Services and oversaw community health training and disaster response operations – including working on disaster relief campaigns during the National African Famine Relief campaign. George Cole left the American Red Cross to accept position as Executive Director of Chicago’s Cook County’s South Suburban Housing Center, which developed affordable housing programs for emerging non-profit housing/community developers. He later served as the Executive Director of the Citizens Information Service of Illinois. The non-profit, under Mr. Cole’s leadership provided technical assistance and training for community non-profit organizations in areas of capacity building, leadership development, strategic planning and civic education. He also directed a team of educators and elected officials to establish a “Future Voter” curriculum used in Chicago high schools, which received the Illinois Independent Voters Association Award for Civic Education and High School Community Service, and awarded Chicago’s respected Marcy Newberry Association award for providing community economic programming opportunity for low-income and at risk families.

Mr. George Cole, Jr. has authored various articles on Southern Africa for the African-American press as well as being featured speaker on developments in Southern Africa for several community-based forums. He was founder and past president of the InDuna Society for Returned African-American Peace Corps volunteers, and volunteer ESL instructor for the Chicago Literacy Project. His past volunteer and consulting activities have been with the Illinois Attorney General Gang Crime Prevention/Program, University of Illinois Chicago-Neighborhood Initiatives Council and the University of Illinois Chicago/South Campus Development Initiative, Community Advisory Council and Chicago’s Woodlawn Community Service Center.

Areas of Expertise 

  • Community and neighborhood development initiatives
  • Project management
  • Youth empowerment and development
  • Disaster response operations
  • Disaster relief campaigns
  • Capacity building
  • Crime prevention programing
  • Community health training
  • Strategic planning and leadership development
  • ESL instructions
  • General Education Development (GED) and reform
  • Southern African studies