STAFF AND CONSULTANTS
Dr. Sousan Abadian, Executive Director
Sousan earned a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University, an M.A. in the Anthropology of Social Change and Development, also from Harvard, as well as an M.P.A. in International Development from Harvard’s Kennedy School. In 2022, she was a Fulbright Scholar in the Specialist Program in Canada consulting with First Nations on curriculum, “Indigenous perspectives in a changing world.” Her earlier research on generative cultural renewal and addressing the effects of long-standing collective trauma and cultural damage in Indigenous communities was described by Nobel laureate in economics Amartya Sen as “pioneering” and “highly original.” She teaches, speaks, and consults internationally on leadership, personal and cultural renewal, healing intergenerational collective trauma, and integrating indigenous knowledge and wisdom. She builds on her earlier work at Cambridge Leadership Associates facilitating workshops and speaking on Adaptive Leadership. Between June 2017 to June 2019, Dr. Abadian served as a Franklin Fellow at the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Her portfolio included preventing violent extremism, rights of religious minorities in the Middle East and South Asia, gender-based violence, and cultural restoration following atrocities. She has also served as a Fellow at M.I.T.’s Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values as well as at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. She is the author of Generative Cultural Renewal: An Effective Resource in Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting & Other Harmful Practices (Waterside, Oct 2022) which offers ethical and culturally-sensitive means of evolving traditional cultural practices.
Symi Rom-Rymer, Outreach Director
Symi has worked for the IFC since 2016 running a number of initiatives including, the Unity Walk, the Washington Interfaith Response and Outreach Coalition, and the DMV Interfaith Leadership Summit. She is also the creator and producer of Beyond the Shoah, a video storytelling project about young contemporary Jewish life in Central Europe. She has been published in a variety of publications including Moment Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor and The Huffington Post focusing on minority religious communities in the United States and Europe. In 2012, she was the recipient of The New York Jewish Week’s 2012 ’36 under 36’ award for her work with the online interfaith group, the Global Muslim Jewish Friendship Forum. When she’s not working on religious issues, she is singing opera.
Ann Delorey, Project Consultant
After 15 years on IFC’s staff, Ann is now serving as a project consultant. In this role she provides content, strategy and oversight for various IFC initiatives. She previously worked in publishing for Sojourners magazine and in legislative advocacy and grassroots education for Church Women United. Ann received her Master of Theological Studies degree with a focus on social and political ethics from Wesley Theological Seminary. In addition, she has a professional certificate in Faith and Social Impact Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work to help bring about positive social change is inspired by her faith. Ann attends Langley Hill Friends Meeting (Quaker) in McLean, VA.
Communications and Publicity Intern
Melia Hawthorne Klingler is originally from Wheaton, IL and is an undergraduate student at American University in Washington, DC. Her major is International Studies with a focus on peace and conflict resolution, specifically faith-based peacebuilding.
Linus Glenhaber is a recent graduate from Columbia with a degree in history and a current master’s candidate in the University of Bonn’s Ecumenical Studies program. There, in addition to studying taking classes focusing on a broad range of interfaith issues, he has focused on nineteenth century religious charity and its relationship to the growth of liberal theology. He is particularly interested in the settlement house movement, the social gospel, and the intersections of religions and religious studies that occured within them. In addition to interfaith work, Linus enjoys learning new board and card games such as Doppelkopf and Bridge.
Interns come to us from universities and colleges around the United States including, American University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, University of Portland, Skidmore College, University of Maryland, Catholic University of America, Baylor College, and more.
Past interns have called their time at IFC “a meaningful experience that cemented [her] interest in interfaith work and propelled [her] to study abroad and keep studying both religion and language.” Another said, “never before had I worked in a place that is this genuine and thoughtful.”
We are so proud of all of our interns who continue their commitment to bridging divides between cultures and faiths by taking on new challenges including volunteering for Peace Corps, winning Fulbright grants, working on religious issues overseas, and more.
Would you like to join us? We have internships available year round! If you’re interested, please email Symi Rom-Rymer at: [email protected].