- Ahmad Shah MohibiPresident
- Kristyn HartwykDirector of Operations
- John WilsonDirector of Counter Terrorism Program
- Caitlyn RyanResearch Fellow
- Tim O’SheaAdvisor, Rise to Peace
- Kate KleinleAdvisor, Rise to Peace
- Meghan RahillRESEARCH FELLOW
- Danielle BodenActive Intelligence Intern
- Mike SalousBusiness Budget Analyst
- Billy BakerActive Intelligence Intern
- Kyle MyattResearch Fellow
- Alex SerebrinaCounter-Terrorism Research - MENA
- Kelly W.Research Fellow
- JulieAnn SickellActive Intelligence Intern
- Matthew TyrisCounter Terrorism Researcher
- Habiba AhmedActive Intelligence Intern
- Zaina Dkaidek
- Gerard Johansen
- Carola Angelino
- Shailene PimentelResearch Fellow
- Simone MatassaResearch Fellow
- Nick WebbResearch Fellow
Ahmad Shah Mohibi is the President and Director of Research, Counter-Terrorism. In this latter role, his contributions include field research and analyses of policy issues related to terrorism, violent extremism, human rights, national security, and peace building efforts. Impressively, the government, intelligence communities and international development organizations have relied on his research for decision-making. Ahmad regularly presents at symposiums, conferences and discussion panels, and has authored numerous articles and reports for national and international newspapers and magazines. He presented the ‘Special Report on Child Terrorists and Violent Extremism in Afghanistan,’ ‘The Afghan Peace Talks: Feasible, or Futile?’ and ‘How to Counter the Islamic State.’ Ahmad frequently provides news analysis and commentary to media outlets, including the Washington Examiner, Voice of America, Aljazeera, Ariana News, Mitra News, The Diplomat Magazine, and TOLOnews.
Prior to that, Ahmad worked for over 12 years supporting the United States government in various roles regarding counter-terrorism, diplomatic negotiations, peace processes, international development, and national security, including agencies such as the Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), to build the Justice Center in Parwan — a special tribunal where foreign and domestic terrorists were prosecuted in Afghanistan. Ahmad displayed his ongoing loyalty to democracy by faithfully assisting the troops in the war zones of Afghanistan to combat terrorism. Ahmad is fluent in five languages and holds an M.A. in International Policy and Practice from George Washington University. He graduated with Honors from George Mason University, where he earned a B.A. degree in International Affairs and Political Science.
Kristyn Hartwyk is an international professional who currently works at a leading international development institution in Washington, D.C., while simultaneously pursuing her Master’s in International Development Studies at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Kristyn is heavily invested in conflict and development, education development and preventing violent extremism. Her qualitative and quantitative analytic skills are unparalleled and she has an undeniable gift for grant and proposal writing. Kristyn has written detailed, concise feasibility analyses, business canvas models and financial projects for Rise to Peace that has led to successful award competitions and grant money. She has a love of culture and diversity, and a strong passion for the well-being of humanity.
John Patrick Wilson serves as the Director of the Domestic Counter-Terrorism Program. John started with Rise to Peace as a Research Fellow, concentrating in counter-terrorism and counter-violent extremism. John’s experience outside of Rise to Peace includes work as a law enforcement officer, as well as various roles in corporate risk management, security, and political research. John completed his first graduate degree in Homeland Security, where he concentrated in Counter-Terrorism Studies. His capstone project pertained to the Islamic State’s intelligence apparatus, the Emni, and their capabilities to conduct intelligence tradecraft both at their peak and in their current state. Upon completion of his first graduate degree, he began his second graduate level degree in Strategic Intelligence & Analysis, which he is still pursuing.
Caitlyn Ryan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College where she majored in Asian
Languages & Civilizations with a focus in Mandarin Chinese and U.S.-China relations. She is currently
pursuing a Master of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell concentrating in
International Security and Counter-Terrorism studies. She is also working as a research assistant at
UMass, working with her professor of terrorism studies to build a database of organized criminal
networks around the world. As a Rise to Peace Research Fellow, she hopes to expand her knowledge of
domestic counter-terrorism trends and hopes to learn strategies aimed at undermining the
Tim O’Shea is a student at Georgetown University Law Center, and serves as a an advisor to Rise To Peace’s database team. Tim previously served as R2P’s Database & Intelligence Manager, when he designed, built, and oversaw the Active Intelligence Database (AID) and Undercovered Attacks Database (UAD). He graduated summa cum laude from George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government with a BA in Government and International Politics
Kyle Myatt is a graduate student at Arizona State University. He is pursuing a Master of Arts in
Global Security, focusing on how technology is changing both war and conflict. Kyle graduated
from Campbell University in 2013 with a BA in Criminal Justice Administration. Along with
being enrolled at ASU, Kyle works in the criminal justice field providing forensic support
services to law enforcement agencies located in Raleigh, NC. His research interests include:
counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, transnational security, and intelligence analysis. Working
with Rise to Peace, Kyle hopes to gain knowledge and experience he can apply towards a career
in the intelligence field.
JulieAnn Sickell is currently a Junior at George Mason University majoring in Global Affairs with a concentration in Global Governance and minor in Chinese. She is a part of Mason’s Global Politics Fellowship, Honors College, and Admissions team. JulieAnn’s interests include security policy, U.S.-China relations, and humanitarian work. At Rise to Peace, Julie contributes to the maintenance of the Active Intelligence Database and writes blog posts.
Matthew Tyris graduated from York College of Pennsylvania in 2017 with a degree in International Relations. Throughout his college career, Mathew found an interest in terrorism and cyberspace. This led to him to conduct analysis on topics such as terrorism recruitment strategies and a study on international law in cyberspace. He involved in York Colleges National Model United Nations Team in New York City.
After graduating from York College of Pennsylvania Mathew decided to work for City Year AmeriCorps in Philadelphia. At City Year I assisted at-risk youth in subjects such as math, literacy, and Social Emotional Learning for over 1700 hours. I found the greatest sense of satisfaction when I was just talking with them, answering their questions and allowing them to speak their mind and expand their thoughts. This is why Rise to Peace’s mission to educate youth resonated with me so deeply, and was one of the many reasons I applied for the position.
Mathew works as a Counter Terrorism Researcher with Rise to Peace, focusing on Digital Extremism.The position will allow Mathew to research two topics of interest, terrorism, and cyberspace. “During my time here I plan to showcase the issue of digital extremism and share insight pertaining to propaganda and recruitment strategies through cyberspace”, Said Mathew.
Habiba is an Honors College junior at George Mason University majoring in Government and minoring in Intelligence Analysis. Her research interests include international security, terrorism, U.S nuclear doctrine, and trade relations. Before joining Rise to Peace, she was an intern with First Ask, a nonprofit focused on electing more women into office. She is also a member of the nationally ranked George Mason policy debate team as well as a consultant at the George Mason Communication Center. At R2P, she hopes to further explore counter-terrorism strategies with a focus on the Middle East.
Zaina Dkaidek is a recent graduate from Richmond the American International University in London with a B.A. Currently, she is pursuing an MSc in Security Studies at the University of College London. Her main area of research includes political violence in the Middle East, counter-radicalisation, and digital extremism. She is hopeful that through her work with Rise to Peace will help her further understand the radicalisation process and the different steps that can be taken to prevent it. With this knowledge, she would like to help develop programmes in the future to intervene in the early stages.
Carola Angelino is currently working on my M.sc. thesis in Terrorism and Political Violence at Kingston University London. The study will investigate the process of radicalization of Muslim inmates incarcerated in UK prisons, to find out what are the mechanisms behind the choice of following a path that may eventually lead to an act of violence. In 2017, she graduated in International Sciences, Development and Cooperation at the University of Turin, Italy. At Rise to Peace, Carola is a Counter-Terrorism Research Fellow supporting the “Women and Extremism” program. Through this opportunity, she hopes to deeply examine an issue that is often neglected or underestimated. Extremism between women can be the result of a background and a set of choices extremely different from those of men. Her ultimate goal is to find out what are the narratives behind a woman’s choice to follow extremist views, going beyond the stereotypes related to this gender. She strongly believes it is important to give them a voice to provide more efficient tools to governments and policymakers in the counter-terrorism field.
Simone Matassa is currently studying at the Technological University of Dublin in Ireland where she conducts research on the Western media’s representation of Islamic state terrorism. This research aims to show the significance of sensationalising certain terrorist attacks in the media and the effects of such on the general public and for terrorist organizations. Prior to this, she completed her Undergraduate Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology at The National University of Ireland where she carried out research on religious extremism and the social/psychological motivations of terrorism.
As a Counter-Terrorism Research Fellow with Rise to Peace, Simone will be focusing on women in extremism in order to highlight how women become involved in terrorism and to create a comparison between the processes of radicalization for women versus men. The issues surrounding women in extremism are particularly under-researched and she hopes through her work at Rise to Peace to help shed light on this complex dynamic and create something that could help educate people on the factors that may lead a person to become more susceptible to joining a terrorist organization.
Nick Webb recently graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Global Affairs, a minor in Middle Eastern Studies, and a concentration in Global Governance. At Rise to Peace, he is a Research Fellow, where he is focused on the Peace Talks in Afghanistan. He focuses on the weekly critical moments of these talks to secure a legitimate government and peace in the country. Nick updates the Rise to Peace Facebook page with articles with up to date information on the peace talks. He hopes that though his writings there can be a better understanding of the region, as well as a way forward to counter terrorism and to create peace. Nick has also served as an intern for Congressman Gerry Connolly in Washington D.C, where he worked closely with the Foreign Affairs liaison. He has also studied at Sciences Po in Reims, France and obtained a certificate in International Relations and Security.