Meet Our Staff


Adam B. Seligman, Director


Seligman is a professor of religion at Boston University and a research associate at the university’s Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs. He has taught at universities in the United States, Israel, and Hungary, where he was a Fulbright Fellow from 1990 to 1992. He lived for close to 20 years in Israel, where he was a member of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in the early 1970s. His books include The Idea of Civil Society; Inner-Worldly Individualism; The Problem of Trust; Modernity’s Wager: Authority, the Self and Transcendence; Market and Community: The Bases of Social Order, Revolution, and Relegitimation (with Mark Lichbach); Modest Claims: Dialogues and Essays on Tolerance and Tradition; Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity (with Robert Weller, Michael Puett, and Bennett Simon); Rethinking Pluralism: Ritual, Experience, and Ambiguity (with Robert Weller); Religious Education and the Challenge of Pluralism; and Living with Difference: How to Build Community in a Divided World (with Rahel Wasserfall and David Montgomery). His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He founded the International Summer School on Religion and Public Life in Sarajevo in 2002 and facilitated its growth into CEDAR, and he received the prestigious Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize in 2020 for his work.

David W. Montgomery, Director of Program Development

montMontgomery is a research professor in the Department of Government and Politics and the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, and a former policy fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has conducted long-term anthropological field research in Central Asia and the Balkans, where his work focuses on the transmission of religious and cultural knowledge; the expressions of everyday religious life; and the social aspects of religious change. His books include Practicing Islam: Knowledge, Experience, and Social Navigation in Kyrgyzstan; Living with Difference: How to Build Community in a Divided World (with Adam Seligman and Rahel Wasserfall); Everyday Life in the Balkans; and Central Asia: Contexts for Understanding. He has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Emory University, and Boston University; worked as a legislative assistant for the U.S. House of Representatives; and served in the U.S. Peace Corps. He is an active member of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Rahel R. Wasserfall, Director of Evaluation and Training

wasserfallWasserfall is a resident scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. She has wide-ranging experience in the evaluation of educational programs in complex multilingual and cross-cultural settings. Her work in the world of evaluation focuses on the pragmatic approach to knowledge that continually queries: “knowledge for whom and for which purposes.” Previous assignments include: director of evaluation and liaison to schools of The Center for the Advancement of Hebrew Teaching and Learning, Inc. and senior research associate with Education Matters, Inc. and the Mandel Center for Jewish Education at Brandeis University. At CEDAR, she conducts the yearly evaluation of programs and is part of the leadership team. In the past year, she has moved into training and leading new program developments and evaluations internationally. An anthropologist with a PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Wasserfall has gained expertise on three continents. She has published in the area of the anthropology of gender, pluralism and qualitative methods. She is the editor of Women and Water: Menstruation in Jewish Life and Law; coauthor of Living with Difference: How to Build Community in a Divided World (with Adam Seligman and David Montgomery); and is currently working on a book titled Eating Together with Difference, based on her 14 years of evaluating the CEDAR network. As well, she is a committed yoga practitioner and certified teacher in the Iyengar tradition.

Directors of CEDAR Affiliate Programs

Dominggus Elcid Li, Director of the Nusantara School of Difference

Li is the executive director of the Institute of Resource Governance and Social Change (IRGSC), an Indonesian think tank based in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara. He holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Birmingham and is a lecturer at Pelita Hati University and Nusa Cendana University, and a former fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University. His research examines the political and sociological relationship between subsistence communities and human trafficking, corruption, and the weakening of the state.

Maximiano Ngabriano, Director of the Equator Peace Academy

Ngabirano is a senior lecturer at the Institute of Ethics and Development Studies at Uganda Martyrs University, where he also heads the Department of Good Governance and Peace Studies and teaches ethics, religion, and development. He holds a PhD in theology from the Catholic University of Leuven and is involved in various research fields. Currently, he is part of a team conducting research on diversity, marginalization, and pluralism in Uganda.

Maria Schnitter, Director of the Balkan Summer School on Religion and Public Life

Schnitter, a native of Velingrad, Bulgaria, studies, specializes, and teaches in Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Freiburg, Würzburg, and Berlin, Germany; Vienna, Austria; and Florence and Venice, Italy. Her main areas of research include the Middle Ages, the history of everyday life, the history of worship, cultural and religious interactions, contacts and conflicts in the Balkans during the pre-modern age, and the role of religion in the postmodern world. Her major publications are devoted to the Orthodox ritual practices and she is involved in a project connected with research and publication of the Glagolitic monuments, financed by the Austrian Science Fund. Schnitter is one of the founders of the Department of Ethnology (1995) and became the first dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and History at the Paissiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv in 2004. She has a son.