For 20+ years, I have worked in the fields of international relief, development, and conflict resolution, building capacity in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, South Africa, Rwanda, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as educating students in the U.S., Europe, and other countries who aspire to work in these fields.

Academics & Film
I've worked as an academic and filmmaker, creating educational documentaries on liberation movements around the world, which I've then used with university students in my classrooms. I've had several programs distributed by the Discovery Channel, which has been rewarding, but what has been especially remarkable to me is the response of my students. I've come to appreciate the power of narrative and immediacy of film to transform students' perceptions of the world and their place in it.

Learning Design
Along with an emphasis on narrative and immediacy, I've built interactive programs that draw students into learning through exploration and discovery - with a dynamically shifting experience based on student choice and response. I've also developed learning programs featuring advanced multiplayer simulations with both live and online interaction.

I've taken this work to scale. In my work for the U.S. Government and international humanitarian organizations, I've created courses that have been completed by tens of thousands of students and practitioners, not only at the State Department, USAID, relief agencies, and universities in the U.S., but also at comparable institutions in other countries, and even in internet cafes and refugee camps around the world. I've earned about a dozen awards for these various efforts and have delivered presentations on it for the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, the 57 countries of the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe, the 35 countries of the Organization for American States, and others.

Virtual Exchange & "Wicked" Global Problems
I am continuing this work here at Stanford. My focus now is on using new media and technology to bring university students in the U.S. and other high-income countries into extended contact with counterpart students in fragile states and zones of conflict to address complex problems that no single country can solve on its own. As students work collaboratively to address these "wicked" problems, we measure advances in learning and shifts in attitude through qualitative and quantitative methods.

This is an extraordinary time for those who use media and technology in teaching and learning. Blended in smart combinations, especially with traditional in-person learning, the new tools we have are powerful:

- Visual narrative, through its expression in digital cinema
- Expanding and interconnecting networks of lifelong learners
- Complex human interaction, including multiplayer games and simulations
- Complex machine interaction, including generative AI, dynamically responsive to learner needs
- Statistical data analysis, upon which to base informed, iterative human-centered design
- Worldwide electronic distribution, especially to inexpensive mobile devices

If we do this right, the world will be much better for it.

Honors & Awards

  • Best Practices Award, U.S. Distance Learning Association
  • Award of Excellence, Technology & Learning Magazine
  • Telly Award, 26th Annual Telly Awards
  • Gold Award, National Educational Media Network
  • Communicator Award, International Academy of Visual Arts
  • Best of the Best Award, Compaq Computers
  • Omni Award, Omni Intermedia
  • Aurora Award: Education, The Aurora Awards
  • Aurora Award: Training, The Aurora Awards
  • Bronze Award, National Educational Media Network
  • Selection, Columbus International Film Festival
  • Golden Eagle Award, CINE


  • Confronting the Refugee Crisis: Virtual Exchange in Global Health, Stanford University (September 24, 2018 - Present)

    Using high-bandwidth videoconferencing and virtual reality technology, this program connects aspiring global health professional in two university courses: Humanitarian Relief and Health (PCH 402) at the Modern University for Business & Science in Beirut, Lebanon, and Discussions in Global Health (MED 232) at Stanford University in Stanford, California, USA. This Virtual Exchange program is designed to help university students confront complex, severe humanitarian problems, build productive relationships with international partners, and engage in deliberate and collaborative problem-solving. The program structures advanced yet affordable digital technologies around a challenging real-world curriculum.


    Stanford University

  • Interrogating Stereotypes: Virtual Exchange in Education, Stanford University (February 15, 2015 - Present)

    Also a part of the Virtual Exchange program that I've developed at Stanford, this exchange links the course Child & Adolescent Development (ChAD 195) at San Jose State University to Child Development & Education (ECE 304) at the Modern University for Business & Science in Beirut, Lebanon. The Virtual Exchange program is designed to help students overcome negative stereotypes, build professional relationships on firm foundations, and engage in productive collaboration. The program structures advanced yet affordable digital technologies around a thoughtful and challenging problem-based learning curriculum.


    Stanford California

  • Reporting from Zones of Conflict: Virtual Exchange in Journalism, Stanford University (December 1, 2013 - Present)

    Building on the Stanford Online learning platform, I've developed the Virtual Exchange program at Stanford to help link university courses in countries around the world to share the profound benefits of educational exchange more widely. This exchange links Global News Studies (COMM1224) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, to International Journalism (JMC 423) at the University of Peshawar in Peshawar, Pakistan. Journalists serve important roles in every society, as professionals who chronicle events, investigators who ferret out truth, watchdogs who check facts, and thought leaders who write editorials. Improving understanding and cooperation among young journalists in different societies not only improves reporting, but also contributes to beneficial generational change.


    Stanford California

2023-24 Courses

Work Experience

  • Program Director & Lecturer, Stanford University


    Stanford University

  • Director of Training, Relief International


    Washington, DC

  • Senior Instructional Designer, U.S. Institute of Peace


    Washington, DC

  • Lecturer, Hunter College


    New York City

All Publications

  • Virtual Exchange in Global Health: an innovative educational approach to foster socially responsible overseas collaboration. International journal of educational technology in higher education Bowen, K., Barry, M., Jowell, A., Maddah, D., Alami, N. H. 2021; 18 (1): 32


    Educators who design and manage study abroad programs face a series of ethical responsibilities. Meeting these responsibilities is critical in the field of global health, where study abroad programs are often designed to provide healthcare services in under-resourced communities. Leaders in global health have thus formed working groups to study the ethical implications of overseas programming and have led the way in establishing socially responsible best practices for study abroad. Their recommendations include development of bidirectional programming that is designed for mutual and equitable benefits, focused on locally identified needs and priorities, attentive to local community costs, and structured to build local capacity to ensure sustainability. Implementation remains a key challenge, however. Sustainable, bidirectional programming is difficult and costly. In the present study, authors questioned how technology could be used to connect students of global health in distant countries to make socially responsible global health programming more accessible. Drawing on empirical research in the learning sciences and leveraging best practices in technology design, the authors developed a Virtual Exchange in Global Health to connect university students in the U.S. with counterparts in Lebanon, who worked in teams to address humanitarian problems in Syrian refugee camps. Early results demonstrate the value of this approach. At dramatically lower cost than traditional study abroad-and with essentially no carbon footprint-students recognized complementary strengths in each other through bidirectional programming, learned about local needs and priorities through Virtual Reality, and built sustaining relationships while addressing a difficult real-world problem. The authors learned that technology could effectively facilitate socially responsible global health programming and do so at low cost. The program has important implications for teaching and learning during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s41239-021-00266-x

    View details for PubMedID 34778528

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8189728

  • Virtual Exchange in Journalism: Collaborative Reporting Through New Media and Technology Australian Journalism Review Bowen, K., Khan, A., Wake, A. 2019
  • Validation of the first Arabic version of the life skills scale among university students COGENT EDUCATION Maddah, D., Hallit, S., Kabbara, W., Akel, M., Bowen, K., Hasan, Z., Khasholian, T., Alami, N. H., Salameh, P. 2023; 10 (1)
  • The Use of Virtual Reality for Public Health Education with Reference to Syrian Refugee Camps Alami, N., Bowen, K., Dawson, H., Maddah, D. 2019
  • Global Assignments: Virtual Exchange in Preparing Australian and Pakistani Students for Cross-Cultural, Collaborative Journalism 5th World Journalism Education Congress Bowen, K., Khan, A., Wake, A. 2019