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About the participants

Michael Ivan Schwartz | Filmmaker and Panelist

Michael Ivan Schwartz is a storytelling maestro who has been honing his craft for over 20 years at the helm of Loud Communications. From his humble beginnings at the age of ten, capturing his mother’s priceless expression during her surprise 50th birthday party, Michael Ivan’s passion for capturing the essence of people in their natural element has only grown stronger. With a documentary-style approach that is as inquisitive as it is artistic, his unique perspective shines through in every project he takes on. He thrives on learning from others and uncovering their hidden beauty. Read more here

Matthew D. Taylor, Ph.D. | Researcher and Panelist

Matthew D. Taylor, Ph.D., is a Senior Scholar and the Protestant Scholar at ICJS, where he specializes in Muslim-Christian dialogue, Evangelical and Pentecostal movements, religious politics in the U.S., and American Islam. His book, Scripture People: Salafi Muslims in Evangelical Christians’ America (Cambridge University Press), offers an introduction to the oft-misunderstood Salafi movement in the U.S. by way of comparison with American Evangelicalism. He is also the creator of the acclaimed audio-documentary series Charismatic Revival Fury: The New Apostolic Reformation, which details how networks of extremist Christian leaders helped instigate the January 6th Insurrection. His next book, The Violent Take It By Force: The Christian movement that is threatening our democracy (Broadleaf Books)will be published in Fall 2024. Read more here.

Ann Duncan, Ph.D. | Panelist

Ann Duncan, Ph.D., is Professor of American Studies and Religion at Goucher College in Baltimore. Her research and teaching focus on intersections of religion and public life including religion and politics, new religious movements, the religious “nones,” and motherhood and American religion. Her courses often integrate community-based learning and interfaith dialogue as well as exploration of the religious diversity within the Baltimore area through field work projects and site visits. 

Heather Miller Rubens, Ph.D. | Moderator

Heather Miller Rubens, Ph.D., Panelist, is the Executive Director and Roman Catholic Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS). She is responsible for advancing the organization’s vision to build an interreligious society in which dialogue replaces division, friendship overcomes fear, and education eradicates ignorance. Rubens is an experienced teacher, public speaker, facilitator, and practitioner of interreligious learning and dialogue. She develops educational initiatives that foster interreligious learning and conversation for the public in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and online. Read more here