Book Matters: The Theory of Being at Prairie Lights

October 16, 2023
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Prairie Lights, 15 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City

The office of the Vice President for Research is co-sponsoring a book reading and discussion with  Prairie Lights, to celebrate The Theory of Being: Practices for Transforming Self and Communities Across Difference, edited by a research team including Sherry K. Watt, Duhita Mahatmya, Milad Mohebali, and Charles Martin-Stanley II.

The book presents a state-of-the-art, robust, and adaptable process, the theory of Being, that offers strategies for working across Difference, and for embarking on constructive dialogue around the issues that drive us apart, both individually and collectively.

After the reading, the editors will be joined by Saba Ali, associate director of research in the UI College of Education, for a conversation and Q&A with the audience.

  • Sherry K. Watt, PhD, is a professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at the University of Iowa. Sherry is also a facilitator prepared by the Center for Courage & Renewal and the convenor of the Multicultural Initiatives Research Team (MCI Team).  Her research focuses on ‘ways of being’ in difficult dialogues that inspires thoughtful and humanizing action.
  • Duhita Mahatmya, PhD, is an associate research scientist in the College of Education at the University of Iowa. In her research and work as a methodologist, she explores sociocultural factors in education and positive youth development.
  • Milad Mohebali, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As an educator and educational researcher, Milad strives to facilitate collectively re-imagined spaces of belonging across difference.
  • Charles Martin-Stanley II, PhD, is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusivity at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In this role, he serves as a university leader responsible for advancing the University’s mission and goals by providing strategic vision and administrative leadership for programs, policies, and initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
  • Saba Ali, PhD, is a professor of counseling psychology and the associate dean for research in the University of Iowa College of Education. Her research expertise and publications focus on career development processes for rural and underrepresented youth as well as the role of poverty and social class in career development. Dr. Ali is also a licensed psychologist in the state of Iowa.

This event is free and open to the public. Appetizers and wine will be available.


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Dragana Petic at