Unable to attend? Watch live at 12:30 pm EST on Wednesday March 14. Follow the conversation on Twitter: #CounteringExtremism.
Violent extremism is a problem that crosses national, ideological, and cultural boundaries. Violent extremist groups are able to recruit internationally and present a threat to the stability of states and the well-being of their citizens at home and abroad. Since the Obama administration unveiled Countering Violent Extremism as a national paradigm for fighting terrorism in 2011, countries and civil society groups around the world have increasingly embraced the concept as an essential component of any response to the threats posed by extremists.
What attracts young men and an increasing number of women from all over the world to leave their homes and communities and join the ranks of violent extremist groups? What kind of solutions do CVE programs present to policymakers and civil society groups? How do these programs differ in their approach to violent action versus extremist ideology? Is there effective international cooperation on CVE? And what type of support is available to smaller countries struggling with violent extremism?
AGSIW is pleased to host a conversation on these issues and more.
A light lunch will be served.
Seamus Hughes is the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at the George Washington University. He is an expert on terrorism, homegrown violent extremism, and countering violent extremism. Hughes has authored numerous reports including “ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa” and “The Travelers: American Jihadists in Syria and Iraq.” He regularly provides commentary to media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC, PBS, and CBS’ “60 Minutes.” He has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions.
Hughes previously worked at the National Counterterrorism Center, serving as a lead staffer on U.S. government efforts to implement a national CVE strategy. He regularly led engagements with Muslim American communities across the country, provided counsel to civic leaders after high-profile terror-related incidents, and met with families of individuals who joined terrorist organizations. Hughes created a groundbreaking intervention program to help steer individuals away from violence through non-law enforcement means, and worked closely with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Fusion Centers, and U.S. Attorney Offices.
Hughes additionally served as the senior counterterrorism advisor for the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He organized over a dozen congressional hearings on the threat of homegrown violent extremism, and led fact-finding delegations to various European and Middle Eastern countries. He authored two reports for the Senate: “A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government’s Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack” and “Zachary Chesser: A Case Study in Online Islamist Radicalization and Its Meaning for the Threat of Homegrown Terrorism.”
Hughes has authored numerous legislative bills, including sections of the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act and the Special Agent Samuel Hicks Families of Fallen Heroes Act. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, and a recipient of the National Security Council Outstanding Service Award and two NCTC Director’s Awards for outstanding service. He teaches classes at George Washington University and Georgetown University.
H.E. Maqsoud Kruse has served as the executive director of Hedayah, the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, since its establishment in December 2012. Based in Abu Dhabi, Hedayah is an independent, international “Think & Do Tank” focused on Countering Violent Extremism in all of its forms and manifestations by conducting dialogue, capacity building, and research. In addition to his executive role, Kruse serves as a steering board member of the Policy, Think and Do Tanks Constituency for the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, which is a public-private partnership dedicated to supporting local initiatives to counter violent extremism. Prior to joining Hedayah, Kruse served as the head of Planning Section and later as the psychological affairs advisor at Global Aerospace Logistics, a subsidiary of the Emirates Advanced Investments Group. Prior to joining GAL, Kruse served in the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces working in a variety of settings related to military psychology, strategic planning, and leadership development.
Kruse received a master’s in organizational psychology from the University of Melbourne in Australia, where he also conducted training and research in mediation, negotiation, political psychology, and peace studies at the former International Conflict Resolution Center. He also holds a bachelor’s in psychology from the United Arab Emirates University. Kruse has broad and interdisciplinary intellectual and academic interests including: political communications and propaganda, political Islam, and contemporary Arabic thought. His paper “Countering Violent Extremism Strategies in the Muslim World” appeared in “The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science” as part of the November 2016 issue on “The Middle East and Regional Transition, Terrorism, and Countering Violent Extremism: What the Next President Will Face.” Kruse is an international public speaker, a writer, and a regular guest on a variety of media outlets and for publications including CNN, Phoenix TV, Abu Dhabi TV, Al Hurra TV, SBS Radio, Sharjah Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The National.
Ambassador Stephen A. Seche is the executive vice president of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He spent 35 years as a career U.S. foreign service officer. From 2011-13, he served as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State, with responsibility for U.S. relations with the GCC states and Yemen. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 2007-10. At the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria he served as chargé d’affaires and deputy chief of mission. He additionally served as counselor for public affairs and director of the American Cultural Center in Damascus. Seche also spent two years as director of the Office for Egypt and Levant Affairs at the Department of State in Washington, DC.