In a relatively short time, ISIS has come to dominate the global jihadi arena, boasting its own state that incorporates parts of Syria and Iraq, spurring offshoots elsewhere in the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. At the same time, through sophisticated use of social media it has recruited foreign fighters from all over the world while inspiring others in the West to wreak havoc at home. Moreover, it has engaged in a deadly competition with its parent institution, Al Qaeda. Assessing the strengths and vulnerabilities of terrorist movements, and policy responses to them, is the main burden of FPRI’s Center for the Study of Terrorism.
The Center is chaired by Lawrence Husick, a specialist on technology and terrorism, and Edward Turzanski, a former member of the US intelligence community, each of whom appears regularly in local and national media, while lecturing to community groups around the country, including in 2015 the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council in Honolulu and the World Affairs Councils of Anchorage and Juneau (Alaska). The Center draws on scholars in our National Security Program and our Middle East Program, among them –
Barak Mendelsohn, author of The Al Qaeda Franchise: The Expansion of al-Qaeda and Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2015) and of numerous articles in Foreign Affairs
Clint Watts, a former FBI special agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force, now known for his work on tracking jihadis online; author of numerous blogs for War on the Rocksand FPRI’s blog Geopoliticus, and a guest on CNN
Lorenzo Vidino, heads the Program on Extremism at George Washington University which published his 2015 report “ISIS in America”
Vanessa Neumann, author of Blood Profits: How American Consumers Unwittingly Fund Terrorists (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and contributor to the OECD report “Illicit Trade: Converging Criminal Networks”
For 30 years, FPRI Senior Fellow Jim McGann has been studying think tanks – first, as a program officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts, then for his dissertation (Scholars, Dollars, and Public Policy), and then as the author of reports on trends in think tanks, initially in the US but later all over the world. Subsequently, he established a database on thousands of think tanks, and about 10 years ago created the Global Go-To Think Tank Index, which ranks think tanks all over the world – and which is covered by media all over the world. More recently, he initiated a series of think tank summits, and has held one or more summits on almost every continent. When you consider the entire evolution of this project since before its inception, it is a stunning trajectory – and it is not over. McGann is currently director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Project at UPenn’s Lauder Institute and has written a number of books on the subject.