Meet your Professors - Pathfinder

Meet your Professors

The professors you see below are friends of The Philos Project and are distinguished diplomats, theologians, and writers. They have spent the majority of their professional careers dedicated to work surrounding the courses they teach. We are excited for you to learn from them!


Alberto Fernandez

Alberto M. Fernandez (@AlbertoMiguelF5) is Vice President of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a position he held from 2015 to 2017. He previously served as President of Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN), a US-funded Arabic-language news organization, from 2017 to 2020.  Prior to joining MEMRI, Ambassador Fernandez was a Foreign Service Officer from 1983 to 2015 and served as the State Department’s Coordinator for the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications from 2012 to 2015. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea and U.S. Charge d’Affaires to Sudan. He held senior public diplomacy positions at the U.S. embassies in Afghanistan, Jordan, Syria, Guatemala, Kuwait, and in the Department’s Near East Affairs (NEA) Bureau. He speaks fluent Spanish and Arabic in addition to English.


Dr. Steve Cochrane

Steve Cochrane has a PhD in the History of Christian-Muslim relations from the University of Middlesex in the UK. He has been teaching and involved in inter-faith relations in Asia, particularly India, for the past 40 years, working with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). His particular area of interest is the 9th century in Asia, and the networks across Asia at that time including the Near East. He is a lecturer with the University of the Nations (Hawaii, USA) and is based half the year in Asia and half the year in the United States. Steve has written three books and eleven articles particularly on Christian history in Asia. 


Dr. Gerald McDermott

Gerald McDermott is an Anglican priest and the recently retired chair of Anglican divinity at Beeson Divinity School. He is the author, co-author, or editor of 23 books. Three of those have been on the theology of Israel: Israel MattersThe New Christian Zionism, and Understanding the Jewish Roots of Christianity. He and his wife Jean have three grown sons and twelve grandchildren.


Walter Russell Mead

Walter Russell Mead is the Ravenel B. Curry III Distinguished Fellow in Strategy and Statesmanship at Hudson Institute, the Global View Columnist at The Wall Street Journal and the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College in New York. He is also a member of Aspen Institute Italy and board member of Aspenia. Before joining Hudson, Mead was a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations as the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy. He has authored numerous books, including the widely-recognized Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World(Alfred A. Knopf, 2004). Mead’s next book is entitled The Arc of A Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Future of the Jewish People


Robert Nicholson

Robert Nicholson is President and Executive Director of The Philos Project. He holds a BA in Hebrew Studies from Binghamton University, and a JD and MA in Middle Eastern​ history from Syracuse University. A former U.S. Marine and a 2012-13 Tikvah Fellow, Robert founded Philos in 2014 to stimulate a new generation of religious and cultural exchange between the Near East and the West. Robert serves on the Board of Directors of Passages and the advisory board of In Defense of Christians. His written work has appeared in the Wall Street JournalNew York PostJerusalem Post, Newsweek, Providence, First ThingsThe Hill, and The American Interest. 


Col. Darren Duke

Darren spent 30 years as a Marine Corps officer, serving in both military and diplomatic assignments in the Near East, Africa, and the Far East. He served as a military attaché to Israel during the Second Lebanon War (2006) and later as a member of the U.S. Roadmap for Peace security sector negotiating team (2008-2009). He also led a U.S. special operations task force in support of African Union counter-insurgency operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army in 2014-2015. He holds a BS in Political Science from the U.S. Naval Academy and a MA in National Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School. His work focuses on strengthening the identity of Near East Christian communities and deepening Western Christian awareness and interest in Near East issues.


Dr. Habib Malik

Habib C. Malik is a Senior Research Fellow at The Philos Project, where his work focuses on mapping out Lebanon’s current challenges and the best path forward for reform. He holds a BA degree in history from the American University of Beirut and a MA and doctorate from Harvard University in modern European intellectual history. He has taught in universities in Lebanon and in Washington, DC for over 3 decades; and is currently an Associate Professor of History at Lebanese American University (Byblos campus) where he teaches history, cultural studies, and occasional graduate seminars in political science. Habib also researches his late father, Dr. Charles Malik’s archives at the Library of Congress in Washington and works on preparing for publication a massive unpublished diary by same. His books include: Receiving Soeren Kierkegaard, The Early Impact and Transmission of his Thought (1997); Between Damascus and Jerusalem: Lebanon and Middle East Peace (1997, second edition 2000); Islamism and the Future of Christians in the Middle East (2010); edited and published the hitherto unpublished work by Charles Malik entitled The Systems of Whitehead’s Metaphysics (2016).


Dr. Ghaidaa Hetou

Ghaidaa Hetou has PhD in Political Science with a focus on Middle East Foreign Policy, an MS in Economics and an MA in Global Affairs. Ghaidaa is fluent in Arabic, English and German. She teaches graduate courses at the United Nations and Global Policy Studies program at the Political Science Department, at Rutgers University. She is also the founder of I-Strategic LLC, a political risk advisory firm specializing in the Middle East and North Africa region. Ghaidaa is a published author of a book and several peer reviewed articles appearing in the Journal of Peace and Development, The Strategy Bridge, and the Journal of Risk Analysis and Crisis Response among others.