How to Counter Violent Extremism

November 13 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

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

(Refreshments and Dinner will be served)

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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


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


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


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 S. Mohibi


Ahmad Shah Mohibi is the 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 peacebuilding efforts. 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.

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Michael R. Sherwin


Michael R. Sherwin, an Assistant United States Attorney with the U. S. Department of Justice, has extensive experience in national security investigations and counterterrorism cases. Prior to becoming a federal prosecutor, Michael was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy, where he served throughout the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Elections, Extremism, and the Path Forward for Afghanistan

At the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) located in Kabul, Rise to Peace aims to conduct a panel discussion on the causes of violent extremism and how to address them. Specifically, Rise to Peace aims to bring together leaders from a variety of sectors, and institutions in Afghanistan to address the topic.
This panel will take into account the recent outreach of the current government to the Taliban, the policy of the current U.S. government towards South Asia, and the upcoming elections in Afghanistan. Additionally, the panel will address how all of the aforementioned challenges play into the hands of those seeking to radicalize youth, the active spoilers to the emerging peace process.

The Global War on Terror

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The Global War on Terrorism: Myths, Realities & Solutions

On Wednesday, December 6th, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Rise to Peace hosted a seminar at the Elliott School of International Affairs entitled The Global War on Terrorism: Myths, Realities & Solutions. On the panel was the founder of Rise To Peace and GW Master of International Policy and Practice (MIPP) student, Ahmad Mohibi. Ahmad spoke about his life growing up in Afghanistan and his mission to reduce terrorism through education.

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The panel was moderated by Michael R. Sherwin, an Assistant United States Attorney and included Dr. Gawdat Bahgat, Ambassador Limbert and former MIPP Director Dr. Christopher Kojm.

The event was exceptionally well attended with many individuals standing in the back of Lindner Commons just to watch the panel speak on this complex yet important issue. Current MIPP Director, Dr. Matthew Levinger, spoke before the event stating the importance of this topic and his pleasure in seeing one of his students, Ahmad, address this in a proactive way.

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After the event, students and faculty stayed to discuss the global war on terrorism and its implications on U.S. foreign policy and global stability. Ahmad was thrilled with the turnout for Rise To Peace’s inaugural speaking series event, the next of which will be in Turkey.
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He said “I am thrilled that the MIPP program supported me and my organization, Rise To Peace, to host the Global War on Terrorism panel. The panel speakers were incredible, but what made the event most memorable was the energy and enthusiasm of the student audience, which shows the spirit of inquiry and justice runs strong throughout the Elliott School.”
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Article by, Masters of International Policy and Practice, George Washington University.
Rise to Peace