World Leaders and Policy Makers Participate in Groundbreaking Global Town Hall on Countering Violent Extremism
September 12, 2013

Global Town Hall on Countering Violent Extremism Addresses Importance of Establishing Counter-Narratives

Event Held Simultaneously Across 4 Continents Provided Forum for World Leaders,
Government Officials, Counterterrorism Experts, NGOs, Community Groups,
and the Media to Discuss Tactics to Limit Terrorist Recruitment

The Qatar International Academy for Security Studies (QIASS), along with The Soufan Group, on Monday hosted a Global Town Hall to discuss the results of their groundbreaking yearlong investigation into the role of countering violent extremism (CVE) – an innovative event held simultaneously in New York, Belfast, Dakar, and Singapore, using real–time video to join all four locations. This global conversation was moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright and included top international voices such as former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Northern Ireland Chief Constable Matt Baggott, Senegal President Macky Sall, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean, First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson, Counterterrorism Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security John Cohen, Former FBI Special Agent and CEO of The Soufan Group Ali Soufan, along with other leading experts and officials.

Photos from the Global Town Hall are included below.

The Global Town Hall brought together world leaders, global counterterrorism officials, and experts for a frank conversation about CVE tactics in the face of an evolving global threat picture. The discussion centered on the importance of using counter-narratives to deter individuals from being swayed by extremist groups and ideologies – a key finding of the investigation. This unprecedented summit produced unique insights into the continuing struggle to combat violent extremism, featuring a diverse set of regional perspectives. In each city, there were also local panels, addressing specific regional challenges in combating extremism.

Request the full CVE report here. You can find more information about the Global Town Hall and the QIASS and Soufan Group investigation here.

The Qatar International Academy for Security Studies (QIASS) is a professional institute serving to raise security standards, knowledge, and cooperation within the Gulf region and across the world. Serving multiple market sectors around the world—including governmental, commercial, and non-profit groups—QIASS works collaboratively, often partnering with leading global education and strategic policy organizations to ensure the best product and result.

The Soufan Group is an international strategic consultancy that works with governments, companies, and institutions.  Ali Soufan, Chairman and CEO of The Soufan Group and Executive Director of QIASS was featured on Sunday’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” panel, as well in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, discussing the report and its implications.

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Ali Soufan, Executive Director of QIASS and Chairman and CEO of The Soufan Group, welcomes the international audience and introduces the Global Town Hall.1

Global Town Hall moderator and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Lawrence Wright (right), joined in New York by John Cohen, Counterterrorism Coordinator for the US Department of Homeland Security (left) and Karen Greenberg (center), Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law. 2

The Global Town Hall included, from Belfast, Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Matt Baggott CBE (left) and Stephen White OBE (right), former Senior UK police officer and current Vice President for Europe at The Soufan Group.3

(From left to right) Peter Knoope, Director of The International Center for Counter-Terrorism, The Hague; Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Democratic Unionist Party; Kieran McEvoy, Professor of Law and Transitional Justice, Queens University Belfast;  and Camila Salazar Atias, Director of the Center for Information on Destructive Subcultures, Fryshuset, discuss the role of community engagement and counter narratives in combatting extremist recruitment.4

The local New York panel discussing the role of government, moderated by former US Ambassador to Qatar (far right), featured (left to right) Andrew Arena, Executive Director of the Detroit Crime Commission and former FBI Agent In Charge; Vitaly Vanshelboim, Assistant Secretary General at UNOPS; General Douglas Stone (Ret.), Senior Advisor on Security Governance/Coutnerterrorism at the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute; and Chief Tom Smith, Chief of Police for the St. Paul Police Department.5

The local New York panel discussing the role of media featured, (from left to right) Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author; Erin Burnett, host of CNN’s OutFront with Erin Burnett; Dafna Linzer, Managing Director of MSNBC Digital; Jess Bravin, Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal; and Karen Greenberg, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law.6

The local Dakar panel focusing on the importance of economic development featured (from left to right), J. Peter Pham, Director of the Africa Center at The Atlantic Council; Amadou Tidiane Wone, former Senegalese Ambassador to Canada and former Minister of Culture; Malik Dechambenoit, CEO of Gumbi, Dechambenoit & Associates and former Senior Political Advisor to the UN; and Brian Mathis, Founding Partner of Pine Street Alternative Asset Management.