In an effort to increase civic literacy in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election the First Division Museum at Cantigny, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and the Union League Club of Chicago will be offering a series of talks about issues related to U.S. foreign and defense policy. The first events will be on June 21 (Union League Club of Chicago) and June 22 (First Division Museum) and will address ISIS, al-Qaeda, and international terrorism. How big of a threat are these groups to U.S. national security in the present and the medium- and long-term? How will the next presidential administration deal with these threats? These questions, and more, will be addressed by FPRI Senior Fellow Barak Mendelsohn and Cole Bunzel.
Cole Bunzel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where his work focuses on the history of the Wahhabi movement in Saudi Arabia and the Jihadi-Salafi movement in modern Islam. He has written extensively on jihadi ideology, the Islamic State, and al-Qaida, and is the author of From Paper State to Caliphate: The Ideology of the Islamic State (Brookings Institution, 2015) and The Kingdom and the Caliphate: Duel of the Islamic States (Carnegie Endowment, 2016). He has lived in Syria and Saudi Arabia, held government and think tank positions related to Iraq and Syria in Washington, DC, and holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and an A.B. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University.
Barak Mendelsohn – an FPRI Senior Fellow – is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Haverford College, where he teaches courses on Jihadi movements and on the Middle East. He is author of The al-Qaeda Franchise: The Expansion of al-Qaeda and Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2016) and Combating Jihadism: American Hegemony and International Cooperation in the War on Terrorism (University of Chicago Press, 2009). He served in the Israeli army for five years and received his Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University.