PICTURE ME AN ENEMY made its theatrical debut in Philadelphia on Thursday, October 3rd at 8:00 PM at the International House (3701 Chestnut Street) in West Philadelphia. This free event was made possible in part by a Harmony grant from the Leeway Foundation for projects that promote racial, ethnic and religious tolerance. The event was also officially co-sponsored by several local organizations (click here for a full list of sponsors). For more on the documentary, click here.

The documentary was followed by a panel discussion on "The Creation of the Enemy in Times of Conflict."

Because the documentary is in many ways, a window into more complex issues, the panel played an important role in connecting these issues with what the United States and the world is experiencing today with our current "war on terror." The panel also touched on the conflicts in the Middle East and in Africa.

Participants: "The Creation of the Enemy in Times of Conflict"

Ashok Gangadean, Ph.D. - Moderator

As co-founder/co-director of the Global Dialogue Institute, Ashok works to promoting deep-dialogue through intercultural, inter-religious understanding and creative collaboration. Ashok Gangadean is Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College (Haverford, PA) where he has taught for the past thirty years. He was the first Director of the Gest Center for Cross-Cultural Study of Religion at Haverford beginning in the late l970's. Throughout his career he has been concerned with testing and clarifying the dynamics of deep dialogue between worlds. One primary concern has been to clarify the universal logos or common ground out of which diverse worldviews are generated and held in mutual relation and interaction. He finds that this primal logos is at the heart of the dynamics of human reason and deep dialogue whenever diverse perspectives engage each other. His book, Meditative Reason: Toward Universal Grammar (Peter Lang, Revisioning Philosophy Series, l993) attempts to open the way to global reason, and a companion volume, Between Worlds: The Emergence of Global Reason (Peter Lang, l997) further opens the way to global philosophy and the dialogical common ground between diverse worlds. He is also the Co-Convener of the World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality, which brings eminent global leaders together in sustained deep dialogue.


Giandomenico Picco, Ph.D.
Former Under Secretary General and Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the United Nations

From 1972 to 1992, Mr. Picco was a UN official (Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs being his last position). He led the operation that brought about the liberation of the Western hostages from Beirut; was the chief negotiator for the UN Secretary General on the conclusion of the Iran-Iraq war and was member of the UN team that negotiated the Geneva agreement on Afghanistan. In 1999 he was appointed Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary General (at the level of Under-Secretary General) for the UN year of Dialogue among Civilizations (2001). His own personal account of the end of the Iran-Iraq war and the liberation of the Western Hostages from Lebanon was published in May 1999, under the title: "Man without a gun", by Random House-Times Books. He is also president of "non-Governmental Peace Strategies Project" Geneva, Switzerland, a non-profit institute aimed at devising new vehicles for the private sector to support peace efforts.

Giandomenico Picco is currently Chief Executive Officer of GDP Associates, Inc. (New York), a consulting company to corporations seeking to operate or expand their market share in emerging economies, particularly in the Middle East, and the Balkans. GDP has also consulted with governmental and research institutions on the economic situations and political risks of Central Asia and the Middle East. GDP further consults on economic matters pertaining to countries under sanctions and/or high political risk, in addition to oil, gas, and pipeline issues. Educated in Italy, the US, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, Mr. Picco has also received honorary Doctorates from various Universities in the US and Europe. For his work in Lebanon he received awards from the Head of States of the US, the UK, Germany, Italy and Lebanon.

Al-Hassan Conteh, Ph.D.
Research Fellow - Solomon Asch Center for study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh is a native of Liberia, West Africa. His research interests are in conflict, population and health, regional science, and social-psychological issues. He is currently a research fellow at the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethno-political Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania. He is writing a book on population, identity and group Dynamics as factors in the Liberian civil war to be published by the Edwin Mellen Press. He is currently the president of the Liberian Studies Association and the editor of the Liberian Studies Journal, which is produced at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also collaborating with colleagues on a number of research projects, including conflict prevention in Africa and education in emergencies. Dr. Conteh was the Team Leader, for the United Nations Development Program Country Study Team on the Liberian Conflict, November, 1997 to November, 1998. He was also the Project Director, United States Institute for Peace, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Curriculum for Post-war Liberian Institutions (A joint project implemented by the University of Liberia and Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution, California State University). February 1997 - 2000. He designed an ADR Curriculum jointly with U.S. colleagues for Liberian colleges and high schools and provided community involvement and support through workshops and focus group discussions to collect data on the causes of conflict for the achievement of post war reconciliation and reconstruction efforts in Liberia.

Susan Koscis
Vice President of Arts and Culture - Search for Common Ground

Search for Common Ground in Washington, DC works in partnership with The European Centre for Common Ground in Brussels, to help societies in conflict find non-adversarial, non-violent solutions to divisive community, national, and international problems. Our basic operating principle is to "understand the differences and act on the commonalities."

Susan Koscis is the Vice President of Arts and Culture for where she directs the Common Ground Film Festival. Previously she was the Vice President of Operations at SCG during 1994-2000. She is an arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau and a certified mediator in the State of Virginia. During 1989-1994, she was the Director of International Projects for the American Management Association in New York, designing and implementing management training programs and products for organizations and corporations world-wide. Ms. Koscis has held a variety of positions in arts management, including: the San Francisco Opera, the New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, London Records, and CBS Masterworks (now Sony). While at CBS Records, she produced a classical music radio program that was heard in the NYC metropolitan area. Ms. Koscis has an undergraduate degree in music from the Hartt College of Music at the University of Hartford, and an M.A. in Psychology from George Washington University.

Recent Presentations include:
2002 Univ. of Missouri School of Journalism: "Conflict & Journalism"
2002 Peace, Human Security, & Media Conference, New York: "Common Ground Media"
2002 US Embassy sponsored tour in India: Role, responsibility, & impact of media on conflict
2001 Artists for Peace Conference, Stockholm, Sweden: Keynote Speaker
2001 Brandeis University: "Media and Conflict"
2000 Gernika Gogoratuz, Basque Spain: "The Role of the Arts in Conflict Resolution"; & "The Role of the Media in Conflict Resolution"
2000 Columbia University: "Planning a Career in Conflict Resolution & Peacebuilding"
1999 SPIDR-International Conference: "Peacemaking Here and Abroad: Using Search for Common Ground Principles" - Panel Leader
1999 NCPCR - National Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution: "Applying Shuttle Diplomacy Techniques to Domestic Policy Issues"

Jack Shaheen, Ph.D.
Author and Media Critic

"Harmful stereotypes do not exist in a vacuum. Continuously repeated, they denigrate peoples, narrow our vision and distort reality." -- Jack G. Shaheen, Ph.D.

Internationally acclaimed author and media critic, Dr. Jack G. Shaheen, is a committed internationalist and a devoted humanist. A Pittsburgh native and former CBS news consultant on Middle East Affairs, Dr. Shaheen addresses stereotypical images of racial and ethnic groups. His writings and lectures illustrate that stereotypes of Native Americans, Asians, blacks, Latinos and others, injure innocent people. He explains why such crude caricatures persist, and provides workable solutions to help shatter misperceptions. Among Dr. Shaheen's awards recognizing his "outstanding Contribution towards a better understanding of our global community" are the University of Pennsylvania's Janet Lee Stevens Award, and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of "his lifelong commitment to bring a better understanding towards peace for all mankind." Shaheen is a recipient of two Fulbright teaching awards. He holds degrees from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Missouri. He regularly discusses Media stereotypes on national programs and networks such as CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio, Nightline, Good Morning America, 48 Hours, Hardball, and the Today Show.

Dr. Shaheen is the author of four books, the award-winning Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People; Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture; Nuclear War Films, and The TV Arab. His writings include more than 300 essays in publications such as Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post to chapters on media stereotypes in 40-plus college textbooks.

Professor Shaheen has given over 1,000 lectures in nearly all the 50 states and three continents. Oxford, Amherst, Harvard, Kenyon, the University of Southern California, Emory and Northwestern, are among those universities which welcome him, as well as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has consulted with the United Nations, the Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, and New York City's Commission on Civil Rights. In cooperation with the United States Information Service, he conducts communications seminars throughout the Near East. Shaheen, a Professor of Mass Communications Emeritus at Southern Illinois University, serves as a consultant with motion picture and television companies such as DreamWorks, Warner Brothers, Hanna-Barbera Productions, and Showtime.

Length: 30 minutes
Format: shot on mini DV and super 8 film, plus archival footage.

For more information please contact:

© vis à vis productions 2003
All photographs and images on this site are the property of vis à vis productions
and may not be used or reproduced in any way without written permission.