IDEAS Speakers Forum

The IDEAS Speakers Forum is a community of professional practitioners who speak and teach on transformative international development topics and issues. They offer their expertise and experience through speaking engagements, classes, lectures and webinars.

To inquire about a speaker at your church, group, or organization, please contact Barb Larson at

speaking iconUpcoming Online Events:

    • Topic: "Christians & Muslims: Building Peace in a Climate of Hostility"
    • When: Aug. 7th, 6:30-8:30pm ET


Register for Webinar


speaking iconJayson Casper photo Jayson Casper (MA, Islamic Studies; BS, Economics) has received awards and nominations from the International Center for Journalists, the Religion Newswriters Association, and the Evangelical Press Association. Serving as Middle East correspondent for Christianity Today, his position provides the unique opportunity not only to interpret the news to American evangelicals, but also to live a gospel witness as he faithfully represents and honors local actors of all religious persuasions. He and his wife (MA, Music) have lived in the Middle East region for 15 years and have 4 children.


  • Lebanon: A Nation in Crisis and the Family That Lives Through It

Merrifield headshot

speaking icon Dr. Bill Merrifield served cross-culturally in Beirut, Lebanon for 17 years. He holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from George Fox University, an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University of Beirut, an MA in Religion from Trinity International University, and a BA in Theology from Wheaton College. His experience includes roles in educational leadership and teaching in higher education, secondary education, and theological education. Dr. Merrifield’s research interests focus on the development of contextual critical thinking and refugee education. His dissertation examined the impact of socio-contextual, cultural, and linguistic variables in the critical thinking processes of multilingual students. His post-doc examined refugee education and employment in contexts of protracted displacement. Dr. Merrifield currently lives in Wheaton, IL and works as a Research Associate/Education Advocate with IDEAS.


  • Making Sense of Islam
    This webinar examines Islam through a religious, historical, and cultural lens. It investigates Islamic beliefs and practices; addresses common misconceptions; explores the Christian-Muslim divide; and outlines practical steps for how to engage with Muslim neighbors and coworkers. With questions about the Muslim world at center stage politically, religiously, and socially, come discover how to demonstrate the redemptive message of Jesus by showing the world a response to Islam that is worthy of His name.

  • Critical Thinking and the Church

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speaking icon Tami Brown (MA, Public Health; BS, Human Biology), President/CEO of IDEAS, has been a hands-on practitioner for international, transformational development through small business, health initiatives, and adult education since the early 1980s. Along with her husband, Tami has invested skills and resources in Pakistan, Kenya, and Central Asia. She has been with IDEAS since its inception in 1997 and was appointed President/CEO of IDEAS in March 2018. Tami is currently working on her doctorate in Faith, Work, and Economics.    


  • The Holy Calling of Work

speaking iconBarb headshot 2017 Barb Larson  (BS, Biological Sciences) has served with IDEAS in various capacities for nearly 10 years, after living and working in Bermuda, Cote d’Ivoire and France for 15 years. She is the Director of Community Life where she focuses on helping IDEAS Associates thrive in community throughout the life cycles of their overseas work. She has spoken at conferences and retreats nationally and internationally for the past 17 years.


  • Streams in the Desert (Based on passages in Isaiah)
  • With Christ in the Heavenly Places (Drawn from the book of Ephesians)
  • Draw Near (Tracing the Biblical history of God drawing near to his people in the Tabernacle, the Temple and Jesus Christ)
  • Pursuing Peace (Discussing peace with God and others in the present and future, and becoming a peacemaker)

speaking iconDeirdreHarlow_websize Deirdre Harlow (MA, Biblical Studies; BS, Business Management) is the Executive Support Specialist and Onboarding Mentoring Manager at IDEAS and has served as Associated Faculty at Denver Seminary since 2014 as a Hebrew Professor and Training and Mentoring Professor. She has 15+ years of combined experience in graduate-level teaching, international nonprofits, publishing, and spiritual direction. Deirdre grew up as a military kid and loves traveling, running, and silent retreats.


  • How Ancient Communities Speak Outrage Against Rape (Judges 19; 2 Samuel 13)
  • Celebrating the Jewish Holidays
  • The Valiant Woman: How Ancient Israelite Women Represent "Life, Wisdom, Sustenance, and Strength"
  • The Jewish Roots of Christianity