Talat M. Othman is President of Grove Financial, Inc., an international investment management firm located in Long Grove, Illinois, specializing in managing investment funds and U.S.-Middle East business. Mr. Othman is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Amana Mutual Funds, Bellingham, Washington and President of Crescent Capital Management, LLC. Chicago, Illinois. From 1983 to 1995, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dearborn Financial Inc., Arlington Heights, Illinois. From 1978 to 1983, Mr. Othman was General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Arab Finance Corporation, Luxembourg, and General Manager of the Saudi Investment Group, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. From 1956 to 1977, Mr. Othman was associated with the Harris Trust and Savings Bank in Chicago, Illinois, as Vice President and Division Administrator of the International Money Management Division, including the International Economic Research Unit. Currently, he serves on the Board of Governors of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ALSAC, the hospital’s fund-raising arm. Additionally, he served on the boards of Trustees for the Illinois State Universities Retirement System and the Illinois State Finance Authority.
Scott Alexander's interest in Islam dates back to the early 1980s, when he was both witnessing the events of the Islamist revolution in Iran, and concentrating in comparative religion as an undergraduate at Harvard. After graduating from Harvard, Scott went on to Columbia University in New York where he earned the M.A. and Ph.D. in the history of religions, with a concentration in Islamic studies. From 1986 to 1990, Scott taught courses on Islam and the history of religions at Columbia, Fordham, and Princeton University, and in 1991 he took a position on the religious studies faculty of Indiana University in Bloomington where he taught as an assistant professor of Islamic studies from 1993 to 2000. He is currently Associate Professor of Islam at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where he is also director of the school’s Catholic-Muslim Studies Program.