In partnership with Emory University, George Washington University, and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Strategic Partnerships with Colleges and Universities—and with feedback from state and federal policymakers—graduate students in the College of Law and Maxwell School will share findings from their research on international terrorism and violent extremism.
- The role of the UN in crafting international counterterrorism policy.
- Women’s leadership role in terrorist organizations.
- The importance of anti-extremist K-12 educational programs, such as Holocaust and atrocity education.
- Cross-cultural perspectives on what works in other settings (e.g., Israel, Egypt, Indonesia, Belgium, etc.).
- The experience of vulnerable communities with CVE in the United States (e.g., Somali communities in Minnesota).
- The challenge of implementing counterterrorist and counter-extremist laws and statutes.
- The role of “hard” and “soft” power CVE mechanisms, including drones.
This capstone research has been developed under the guidance of INSCT Director of Research Corri Zoli and INSCT’s National Security and Counterterrorism Research Center (LAW 822), a working laboratory for contemporary national and international security law and policy challenges.
Graduate Student Contributions to Policy Solutions
Both professors William Banks and Corri Zoli were tapped by DHS as subject matter experts, along with Emory Law Professor Laurie Blank and George Washington Center for Cyber and Homeland Security Deputy Director Seamus Hughes, to provide recommendations to DHS Secretary John F. Kelly for improving strategic partnerships with colleges, universities, and the K-12 communities in fostering CVE-related academic research and programming. Students conducted the grounding research to develop these recommendations, which have been submitted to the DHS Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) and to Secretary Kelly.
DHS & Countering Violent Extremism
While the subject of important social science debate, DHS draws on federal law to define a “violent extremist” as “individuals who support or commit ideologically-motivated violence to further political goals,” and “violent extremism” as “an unpredictable threat from a range of groups and individuals, including domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists.”
On this issue, DHS’s priority is on countering violent extremism (CVE)—building stronger, safer, resilient communities; addressing all forms of violent extremism, regardless of ideology; and preventing violence by focusing not on radical thought or speech, but on educating communities about the threat of recruitment, radicalization to violence, and innovative community responses.
Much of this work has been initiated by the US Office for Community Partnerships, whose mission is to develop and implement a full range of partnerships to support and enhance efforts by key stakeholders to prevent radicalization and recruitment to violence by terrorist organizations. Engaging the higher education community is part of these efforts in preventing violent extremism and strengthening community partnerships for addressing violent extremism. The Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) and the Academic Subcommittee on CVE are designed to help leverage academic expertise for these efforts.