Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Exploring Violent Extremism in Africa
Exploring Violent Extremism in Africa

Exploring Violent Extremism in Africa

  • Date / Time:
  • April 12, 2021
  • 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

With news of another terrorist attack in Mozambique, continued kidnappings in Nigeria, and new terrorism designations by the U.S. throughout the continent, concern over the rise of violent extremism in Africa is growing. The effects of this extremism are far reaching – both geographically across Africa and economically. Last year alone, a United Nations report estimated that African Nations lost nearly $97 billion in informal economic activity due to extremism and terrorism. What influences the growth of extremism in Africa? How can violent extremism and terrorism be combated on the continent? To answer these questions and more, FPRI’s Africa Program Chair, Ambassador Charles A. Ray, has assembled a panel of experts on extremism and terrorism in Africa. Ray will be joined by Dr. Yonah Alexander, Dr. Emma Boyle, and Samuel Ramani.

Professor Yonah Alexander is a Member of the Board of Regents, Senior Fellow, and Director of the International Center for Terrorism Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. In addition, Professor Alexander is the Director of the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies and Director of the Inter-University Center for Legal Studies (in Washington, D.C.). Both academic institutions are consortia of universities and think tanks throughout the world. Previously, Dr. Alexander served as Professor of International Affairs and Director of Terrorism Studies at the George Washington University as well as Professor of International Studies and Director of the Institute for Studies in International Terrorism at the State University of New York system, totaling 35 years of service.

Dr. Emma Boyle is an Assistant Professor at LaSalle University. Her research interests include the geography of violence in civil war, peace and conflict in Africa, the resource curse, and terrorism and counter-terrorism. She is the co-editor of Globalizing Somalia: Multilateral, International, and Transnational Repercussions of Conflict (Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2013) and has previously published in Terrorism and Political Violence and Security Studies.

Samuel Ramani recently completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations. Samuel’s research focuses on post-1991 Russian foreign and security policy. He is a regular contributor to media outlets, such as Foreign Policy and the Washington Post Monkey Cage, think tanks, such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, FPRI, RUSI, and the Middle East Institute, and broadcast media stations, such as Al Jazeera English and the BBC World Service. He is currently writing a book on Russia’s foreign and security policy towards Africa since 1985, which will be published by Oxford University Press and Hurst and Co. next year. 

Ambassador Charles A. Ray, a member of the Board of Trustees at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of Zimbabwe. In addition, he was the first U.S. Consul General to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, opening the Consulate General there in 1998. From 2006 to 2009, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs, responsible for DoD efforts to account for those missing in combat from World War II to the then current conflicts and for policy related to the rescue of personnel who become isolated, missing, or taken in service abroad. Ray is currently a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Diplomacy, communications director for the Association of Black American Ambassadors, chair of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation Advisory Council, and a member of the board of the Cold War Museum.


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