Faculty Bios

On this page you can get to know more about the Kennesaw State University faculty who will be leading your Civic Engagement Institute.


Dr. Lance AskildsonDr. Lance Askildson
Vice-Provost & Chief International Officer
Professor of Linguistics

Dr. Lance R. Askildson serves as Vice-Provost and Chief International Officer at Kennesaw State University where he also holds a tenured faculty appointment in the Department of First Year & Transition Studies.

Previously, Dr. Askildson was the founding Director of the Center for the Study of Languages & Cultures at the University of Notre Dame, where he also served as the founding Assistant Provost and an Associate Professor of Second Language Education. Dr. Askildson is an interdisciplinary scholar of second language acquisition, language program administration & assessment, language learning technology and international studies. He has published numerous books, articles and edited volumes within these areas of research and has served as the managing editor of multiple academic journals and a contributing editor for many more.

Dr. Askildson has also been an active member and leader of many academic and professional organizations throughout his career. He is the former Executive Secretary of the International Association for Language Learning Technology as well as a current trustee and board member of the Center for the Advanced Study of International Education, and an advisory board member of the federally funded Title VI National Foreign Language Resource Center on Language Assessment & Evaluation based at Georgetown University. He is a frequent invited speaker and consultant on campus internationalization, language program assessment and higher education leadership and an active member of local community organizations, philanthropic societies and chambers of commerce.

Dr. Nuru AkinyemiDr. Nurudeen Akinyemi
Center for African and African Diaspora Studies
Associate Professor of Political Science

Dr. Nurudeen Akinyemi serves as the Director of the Center for African and African Diaspora Studies, and is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs.  The Center for African and African Diaspora Studies supports Kennesaw State University’s Strategic Plan for Internationalization, through innovative academic programing, partnership with academic institutions in Africa and the Americas, scholarly research, creative activity, workshops, conferences and community engagement.  The Center also collaborates with other divisions and academic programs across the university.

Dr. Akinyemi has taught courses on Comparative Political Systems, International Relations, International Political Economy, International Relations of Africa, the Middle East, and American Politics.  His research areas include International Resource Management, Regional Economic Cooperation, International Water Resource Management and International Migration and Refugee Settlement.  He has traveled extensively in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Dr. Linda JohnstonDr. Linda Johnston
Executive Director
Professor Emeritus of Conflict Management

Dr. Linda M. Johnston is the former Executive Director of the Siegel Institute for Leadership, Ethics, and Character and a Professor Emeritus at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her research interests include sports-related violence, ethics, bullying, racial and ethnic conflict, health-related conflict, narrative and discourse theory, and world view theory.

Dr. Johnston is a trained mediator, negotiator, ombuds, and facilitator who works both domestically and internationally. She has received grants from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Endowment for the Arts, and had a Fellowship to begin a dialogue between Egyptians and Americans. She has also done work in Ukraine, Republic of Georgia, Barbados, Nigeria, Egypt, Mongolia, Ecuador, Zambia, and in the U.S.  

Dr. Johnston is the President of the International Peace Research Association Foundation, serves on the Peace Research Grants Committee, and administers the Senesh Fellowship Program.  She currently serves on the Nobel Peace Prize committee for the American Friends Service Committee, teaches at the UN School of Peace in Costa Rica, as well as the Dag Hammarskjöld Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies in Zambia. She served on the Board of Hands Along the Nile. 

Her new book “Sports, Peacebuilding, and Ethics” was published in 2014.

Dr. Pamila DemblaDr. Pamila Dembla
Associate Professor of Information Systems

Dr. Pamila Dembla is the former Director of the India China America Institute. Dr. Dembla has spearheaded a number of initiatives in India which have resulted in significant partnerships in business education and corporate trainings. She has previously held positions at University of New Hampshire.

Dr. Dembla is Associate Professor of Information Systems in the Coles College of Business. She has acted as a consultant to a number of startup technology firms and non-profit organizations. She has a number of state department grants including Model UN exchange programs and an NSF grant totaling approximately $1 million. She is a certified TMC Cultural Orientation Approach (COA) Corporate Practitioner and her interests lie in training global organizations in intercultural competency.

Her research interests include working on cross cultural issues related to global IT projects, specifically with respect to gender. To that effect, her research extends across many cultures including the United States, India, Russia, Ukraine and Mexico.

She has published papers in several journals, including Journal of Global Information Technology Management, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, Journal of Information Science and Technology, Journal of Information Systems Research and Communications of Global Information Technology. Dr. Dembla has also published many book chapters and presented at multiple regional, national, and international information systems conferences.

Mazida KhanMazida Khan
Instructor of Peace Studies
Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Mazida Khan teaches Peace Studies at Kennesaw State University. She specializes in helping students transform their peace ideas from inspiration to action- in their everyday lives and the world around them. The peace education she offers emphasizes the need to think, speak and act for peace. In training students on how to engage in peacebuilding initiatives, her mottos are to ‘Think big, start small’ and ‘Before going global, to think and act local’. She believes in building world peace, one relationship at a time.

Chris YoungChris Young
Executive Director
CIFAL Atlanta

Chris Young, a native of Fitzgerald, Georgia, serves as the Executive Director of CIFAL Atlanta, an arm of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and is a Fellow with UNITAR. The center focuses on capacity building for local governments and civil society leaders, with programmatic emphases on economic and infrastructure development and fair trade, as well as good governance. Its work largely targets emerging democracies and economies throughout the world.

Mr. Young also holds an appointment as a Limited Term Assistant Professor of International Policy at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. There he concurrently serves as Special Assistant to the Chief International Officer and Vice Provost for Global Affairs.

Mr. Young is a sought-after keynote speaker and trainer, featured presenter, and subject-matter expert in leadership and organizational dynamics, international protocol, cross-cultural literacy, and global business etiquette. His clients include Fortune 500 companies; major universities; national, state, and municipal governments; chambers of  commerce and economic development agencies; professional associations; and global  sporting events.

For seven years, he led Protocol & Diplomacy International–Protocol Officers Association (PDI-POA), the worldwide professional organization for those in those related fields, as its elected president. Today he serves as the past president and chair of the committee on governance and ethics.

In August 2014, he was honored by his peers from around the world with the PDI-POA Ann Beard Achievement Award, the highest in his profession.

Mr. Young’s career also includes service as the Executive Director of The Protocol School of Washington and Chief of Protocol and Director of International Affairs for the State of Georgia, the latter of which he held for two successive administrations.

In 2010, Georgia Trend magazine tapped him as one of the State’s “40 Under 40,” Georgia’s forty rising stars and influential leaders under the age of 40.

Mr. Young graduated with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology,
entering as a President’s Scholar and earning a BS degree in History. He also studied at Oxford University (Worcester College) in the United Kingdom. He received his law degree (Juris Doctor), with honor, from the University of Georgia. In 1999 he was appointed as a nationally prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholar. In March 2006, Mr. Young was named as the recipient of Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen Alumni Legacy Award.

An inveterate traveler and avid pianist, he attends Mt. Paran Church in Atlanta and is a member of their choir.