AfP and Shift Host Countering Violent Extremism Summit

In August, AfP partnered with The Shift Network to host a summit discussing questions on countering violent extremism, as part of their 2016 Summer of Peace. Ongoing international conflicts bring into question how such conflicts arise and how they can be mediated. Countering violent extremism is a complex challenge that requires addressing fundamental social problems and political drivers to reach a comprehensive solution. What provides hope are the brilliant minds of individuals, both from governmental to non-governmental organizations, whose background experience can provide critical thoughts on effective ways to counter violent actions. The CVE Summit’s guest speakers share their expertise below on complex questions regarding terrorism.

Highlights From the Guest Speakers


Mustafa Akyol is a journalist, author, and professor based in Istanbul. He discusses the connection between Islam and extremism.





Souleyma Haddaoui is a visiting researcher for Georgetown University and doctoral candidate at EHESS in Paris. She emphasizes terrorism being nondiscriminatory and deconstructs the “us vs. them” dichotomy.



Dr. Rebecca Wolfe is the Director of Mercy Corp’s Peace and Conflict team. She focuses on why youths join violent extremist groups and why they resist.




Dara Katz is the Deputy of USAID’s interim Secretariat on Countering Violent Extremism and a co-chair on Violent Extremism and Insurgency Steering Committee. She presents the USAID’s strategy to CVE and how the agency can improve it’s efforts.




Michael Shipler is the Regional Director of Asia Programs at Search for Common Ground. He focuses on ways peacebuilding organizations can shift the mechanisms for addressing terrorism.






Saba Ismail is a feminist, peace-advocate for the empowerment of young women. She discusses the peer to peer education model to prevent young people from joining militant groups.






Paul Turner is the Senior Conflict Adviser at Creative Associates International and leads CVE projects with the USAID and State Department. He explains the approach of an international implementer of CVE projects and how to achieve a holistic approach.



Dr. David Alpher is the US representative to Saferworld on leading CVE advocacy efforts. He addresses the problems affecting the CVE agenda.






Jim Cason is the Associate Executive Secretary for Strategic Advocacy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. He provides the Quaker perspective on nonviolence and how ordinary citizens can influence US policy.




Mari Fitzduff is Founding Director of the Masters professional programs in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence at the Heller School at Brandeis University. She examines how neurology provides insight on how the brain creates conflict and peace.