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Producers' Bios

Alexander Kronemer, Executive Producer
Michael Wolfe, Executive Producer

Alexander Kronemer, Executive Producer

Alexander Kronemer is the co-founder of Unity Productions Foundation and Executive Producer for Cities of Light. He is a writer, lecturer, and documentary producer focusing on religious diversity, Islam, and cross-cultural understanding. He has a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University, where his research concentrated on the philosophy of religion and comparative religion. In 1996, he was awarded a Joseph J. Malone Fellowship for Middle East and Islamic Studies, which funded him for a study tour of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Kronemer has published essays in numerous newspapers and journals, including The Southern Quarterly, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Beliefnet.com, and The Washington Post. His articles have been included in several book anthologies, including the September 11 memorial book, Up From the Ashes (2001) and Wilber Prize winner, Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith (2002).

His work has been supported by numerous grants, including the World Economic Forum, U.S. Institute of Peace, National Endowment for the Humanities, Packard Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Montgomery County Commission on the Humanities, and a Halberstam Writing Fellowship.

As a lecturer, he has delivered talks on religious diversity and Islam for the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of State, FBI, World Affairs Council and National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. He has also spoken at many universities, including the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Cornell, Yale, Princeton, and Penn State, and for numerous private corporations, including Nike, Aetna, and Walt Disney World.

He has appeared as a CNN commentator on several occasions, such as during CNN’s historic live coverage of the Hajj in 1998, which was broadcast to 400 million viewers. He has also participated in many radio interviews, such as on NPR and the Voice of America.

In 2000, Kronemer served a one-year appointment at the Bureau of Human Rights in the U.S. Department of State, focusing on the Middle East and Islam. During that year, Kronemer also served as a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.

He is the co-founder of Unity Productions Foundation, a non-profit corporation whose mission is to help bring peace through the media by creating better understanding of Islam and the world's other faiths and spiritual traditions. He was co-creator and co-producer of the popular PBS documentary, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet.

The film aired as a national broadcast on PBS and as subsequent international broadcasts on National Geographical International. It received a Cine Special Jury Award for Best Professional Documentary in the category of People and Places. With Unity Productions, Kronemer continues to produce documentaries for PBS and other broadcasters in the U.S. and abroad.

Michael Wolfe, Executive Producer

Michael Wolfe is the co-founder of Unity Productions Foundation and Executive Producer for Cities of Light. He is an author of books of poetry, fiction, travel, and history.

Wolfe’s writing has appeared in many magazines and has been recognized by the Academy of American Poets, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Commission, and American Travel Writers Association. He has read and lectured at Harvard, Georgetown, Stanford, SUNY Buffalo, Princeton, and many other universities. He has taught Writing and English at Phillips Exeter and Phillips Andover Academies, the California State Summer School for the Arts, and at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He holds a degree in Classics from Wesleyan University. For many years, he was the publisher of Tombouctou Books, Bolinas, CA.

Wolfe was a MacDowell Colony resident in poetry in 1968. He received an Amy Lowell Traveling Poets Scholarship in 1970, which was renewed for two more years. During this time, he traveled and wrote in North and West Africa. His first books of poetry (World Your Own, Threshold), fiction, (Invisible Weapons, Creative Arts Publishing), and travel (In Morocco, Sombre Reptiles) derive from this period. In the 1980s, he returned to North Africa several more times. In 1990, he performed the pilgrimage to Mecca.

For 15 years, Wolfe was sole publisher of Tombouctou Books, a small press enterprise located in Bolinas, CA, that published works of poetry and avant garde prose. These include: The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll; two books of fiction by the Moroccan storyteller Mohammed Mrabet; and American fiction by Douglas Woolf, Lucia Berlin, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Steve Emerson, and Paul Bowles's final collection of short stories, Unwelcome Words.

Wolfe's first works on Islam were a pair of books from Grove Press on the pilgrimage to Mecca: The Hadj (1993), a first-person travel account; and One Thousand Roads to Mecca (1997), an anthology of 10 centuries of travelers writing about the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

Shortly after September 11, 2001, he edited a collection of essays by American Muslims called Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith (Rodale Press, 2002). Taking Back Islam won the 2003 annual Wilbur Award for "Best Book of the year on a Religious Theme." He is currently working on a novel and translating a group of epitaphs from the Greek Anthology. He recently completed a fourth volume of poetry, entitled Digging Up Russia.

In April 1997, Wolfe hosted a televised account of the Hajj from Mecca for Ted Koppel's Nightline on ABC. The program was nominated for Peabody, Emmy, George Polk, and National Press Club Awards. It won the annual Media Award from the Muslim Public Affairs Council. In February 2003, Wolfe worked with CNN-International television news reporter Zain Verjee to produce a new half-hour documentary on the Hajj.

Wolfe has been featured on hundreds of regional and national radio talk shows. He writes an occasional column for Beliefnet, a web journal of the world’s religions.

In 1999, Wolfe helped found an educational media foundation focused on promoting peace through the media, Unity Productions Foundation. In 2002, UPF produced its first full-length film, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, a two-hour television documentary on the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad. Wolfe co-created, co-produced, and co-executive edited the film. It aired as a national broadcast on PBS and as subsequent international broadcasts on National Geographical International. The film received a Cine Special Jury Award for Best Professional Documentary in its category of People and Places. With Unity Productions, Wolfe continues to produce documentaries for PBS and other broadcasters in the U.S. and abroad.

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DISCLAIMER: This purpose of this website is to provide supplemental information to the Cities of Light film and is not intended as a scholarly or academic resource. For scholars' sources, see the Recommended Readings section on this site. Articles reprinted from other sources reflect the views and opinions of the authors, and may not necessarily mirror those of UPF.