Joanna Mendelson Announced as 2018 Whittier College Feinberg Lecturer

January 15, 2018

Joanna MendelsonJoanna Mendelson, the senior investigative researcher and director of special projects for the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism, will deliver the 2018 Feinberg Lecture, The Normalization of Hatred and Bigotry – The State of Hate in California. The Feinberg Lecture will take place on Thursday, February 22, at 8 p.m., in Whittier College’s A.J. Villalobos Hall.

The ADL Center on Extremism combats extremism, terrorism, and all forms of hate in the real world and online. Mendelson, who has been with the ADL since August 2000, provides expertise, analysis and training that enable law enforcement, public officials and community leaders to identify and counter emerging extremist threats. 

To date, she has trained over 12,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, prosecutors, military personnel, judges and other public officials nationwide. 

Mendelson has testified in numerous court cases as a subject matter expert on the white supremacist and sovereign citizen movements. She has shared her expertise with national and international media outlets on topics related to domestic terrorism, including the Associated Press, National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times, the BBC and the History Channel. In 2015, she authored, testified and lobbied on behalf of California legislation addressing paper terrorism tactics used by sovereign citizens; Governor Brown signed AB 1267 into law in July 2015. Mendelson also testified in 2017 before the California Senate on the Judiciary addressing a special session on “Combatting Hate While Protecting the Constitution.” 

Under Mendelson’s leadership, ADL received the 2015 Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County’s Community Partners Award. Mendelson was recognized for her professional excellence with ADL’s prestigious 2014 Senn Award. 

A graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Citizens’ Academy, Mendelson served on both the FBI and California Highway Patrol’s Advisory Committees and spearheads ADL’s Law Enforcement Advisory Committee. 

She is a magna cum laude graduate of Emory University with a dual degree in Conflict-Resolution and Spanish. 

This event is open to Whittier College students, faculty, alumni, and staff or by invitation only. 

The Feinberg Lecture Series is made possible through an endowment established by the late Sheldon Feinberg, a former trustee of Whittier College, and his wife, Betty, in order to invite major scholars to the College to discuss broad historic, religious, and political issues encompassed by Judaism and its role in a changing world. Previous Feinberg Lecturers include author, speaker, and foreign affairs analyst Professor Kenneth W. Stein, journalist and author Robin Wright, Holocaust historian Deborah E. Lipstadt, former Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell, U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Egypt Daniel C. Kurtzer, Dr. Judea Pearl, and Justice Richard Goldstone, among other notable individuals.