November 13 @ 6:30 pm8:15 pm

The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street NW
Room 113
Washington, DC

(Refreshments and Dinner will be served)

Copy of May 2019 1 - How to Counter Violent Extremism

The 21st Century is still in its infancy, but has unfortunately seen the evolution and presence of various forms of violent extremism – from lone wolves on the domestic front, to organized insurgent and international terrorist groups that operate on all corners of the globe, from the Far East and Horn of Africa, to South America, and the Middle East, extremism has no boundary.

In this most recent Rise to Peace Speaker Symposium, our distinguished group of experts will examine how violent extremism has evolved over the past 20 years and discuss what programs and policy initiatives must be implemented to stop this violence.  Guns, Butter or Diplomacy – which policy is most effective?  Are there alternative solutions?  With experts from the government, academia, and the field, this symposium will provide in-depth analysis of the problems related to countering violent extremism, and tools that have both worked and failed to check this threat.


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Oliver Wilcox

Deputy Director of Countering Violent Extremism, Bureau of Counterterrorism within the United States Department of State

Oliver Wilcox is Deputy Director of Countering Violent Extremism at the Bureau of Counterterrorism within the United States Department of State. Prior to his time at the Department of State, he served a number of roles at USAID, including Senior Country Coordinator for Tunisia and Senior Peace and Security Advisor for the Middle East. He holds Master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and Georgetown University.

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Leanne Erdberg

Director of Countering Violent Extremism, U.S. Institute of Peace

Leanne Erdberg is the director of Countering Violent Extremism at the U.S. Institute of Peace as well as the interim director of RESOLVE. Prior to USIP, she held positions in the U.S. government including senior advisor to the deputy assistant to the president and deputy homeland security advisor on the National Security Council staff at the White House, counterterrorism advisor for the undersecretary of state for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, among others. She holds a J.D. with honors in the concentration of international law from Boston University.

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Jesse Morton

Founder, Parallel Networks

Jesse Morton is founder and head of Parallel Networks. As co-founder and chief propagandist of Revolution Muslim, he advocated for Al-Qaeda and Salafi-jihadist ideology within the United States. Once a prominent radicalizer in the West, he is now research coordinator of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s Against Violent Extremism Network in North America. He holds a Master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University.

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Ahmad Shah Mohibi

Founder, Rise to Peace

Ahmad Shah Mohibi is the founder of Rise to Peace. Ahmad previously spent over a decade assisting the US mission to rebuild Afghanistan. First, he aided the United States Army in various capacities to train and equip the Afghan forces. He later acted as an advisor with the State Department in the establishment of the Justice Center in Parwan and facilitated the transfer of detainees set to face the special tribunal. Ahmad retains links with the US and Afghan governments to provide expertise and insight on all Afghan-related subject matter, primarily the peace process with the Taliban. He is often consulted to provide analysis in the media. Ahmad remains an active human rights campaigner through his support for community engagements around the world and his involvement with diverse humanitarian causes. President Obama and President Karzai have recognized his achievements. He holds a Master in International Policy and Practice from George Washington University and a BA in Government and International Politics from George Mason University.



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Michael Sherwin

Board Chair

Michael R. Sherwin, Chair Board of Rise to Peace, is a seasoned lawyer at Kobre and Kim, providing strategic counsel on international government investigations across the Americas, Middle East, and Asia. As the former Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Mr. Sherwin led his office in groundbreaking cases, including major seizures of illicit Iranian petroleum and digital currency linked to terrorist groups. He also oversaw the prosecution of Abu Agela Masud, the alleged bomb-maker responsible for the Pan AM 103 attack. Notably, Mr. Sherwin played a pivotal role in prosecuting the criminal cases related to the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots, resulting in over 400 filed cases and 500 executed search warrants nationwide within a short period. With an extensive background in national security matters, including advising the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Sherwin’s expertise spans complex areas such as counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and financial crimes. Prior to his legal career, he served in the United States Navy, demonstrating his commitment to public service.

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