Countering Violent Extremism: A Peacebuilding Lens :
Countering Violent Extremism: A Peacebuilding Lens :
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Countering Violent Extremism: A Peacebuilding Lens

July 8, 2014 @ 9:30 am - 11:00 am

Johns Hopkins University – SAIS
1740 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington DC

Thanks for attending the forum. See below for the video.

meeting overview:

Violent extremism is one of the leading threats of the twenty-first century, threatening world stability, and prompting state and international-level interventions. Faced with this growing threat, many governments and international organizations have created strategies based on the immediate priority of maintaining state security and the long-term goal of addressing the core causes that contribute to violent extremism, which involve an array of socio-economic and structural factors, individual experiences, as well as emotional and psychological drivers.

Over the past decade, the understanding of how and why individuals engage in violent extremism and terrorism has evolved and become more nuanced, as have the tools to prevent these threats. Countering violent extremism (CVE) refers to the policies, programs, and interventions designed to prevent individuals from engaging in violence associated with radical political, social, cultural, and religious ideologies and groups. Peacebuilders, through their broader agenda of conflict prevention, also focus on countering extremist violence. Violent extremism is a driver of conflict, and violent extremists are often spoilers in peacebuilding efforts. Peacebuilding and CVE work increasingly intersect, though approaches and practice in the two domains often differ.

Our speakers will discuss:

  • Three myths of CVE/peacebuilding programs
  • Best practices in designing peacebuilding CVE programs in difficult places
  • The role of the middle class
  • How international peace building efforts can inform domestic peace building efforts
  • Violent extremism in the U.S. and peacebuilding efforts across the U.S.
  • Examples of CVE programming and a case study from Northern Nigeria
  • Where and how peacebuilding fits in CVE programs and how peacebuilding can inform CVE practice
  • The risks for peacebuilders engaging in CVE work


Georgia Holmer is a Senior Program Officer in the Center for Gender and Peacebuilding at the U.S. Institute of Peace. She leads the Women Preventing Extremist Violence (WPEV) project, which seeks to identify and strengthen the roles that women play in building community resilience to violent extremism, and is being piloted in Nigeria and Kenya. Since 1996, Holmer has worked on programs to understand and prevent violent extremism, terrorism, radicalization, and conflict, to include CVE, counter narrative, and community policing programs. She served as an analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for ten years, assigned long-term to the U.S. Embassies in Athens and Copenhagen, and spent four years working as an analytic advisor at the US Department of Homeland Security. She holds a master’s in International Relations, with an emphasis in International Law, from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree from the School of International Service at American University.

Mike Jobbins is the Senior Program Manager for Africa at Search for Common Ground. He supports the management, design, and development of programming in 22 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. Mike previously worked for SFCG in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Burundi, where he supported the start-up and management of projects on elections, sexual and gender-based violence prevention, refugee reintegration, security sector reform, and postwar governance. He led field missions in humanitarian and emergency settings and established SFCG’s offices in North Katanga, North Kivu, and Equateur Provinces of the DRC. Previously, Mike worked on African affairs at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He holds a Masters in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and a BA in Political Science from Harvard University.

Irfan Saeed is a Senior Policy Advisor at the US Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Mr. Saeed advises DHS leadership on policy issues at the intersection of civil rights and homeland security, developing and coordinating activities relating to countering violent extremism. Prior to joining Homeland Security, Mr. Saeed worked as a Criminal Prosecutor, at the state and federal levels. Mr. Saeed worked as an Assistant United States Attorney, US Department of Justice, in the Eastern District of Louisiana, as well as an Assistant District Attorney, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He served as Resident Legal Advisor at US Embassies in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. While deployed to the US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, he was tasked to develop the Community Engagement Office, the first of its kind in U.S. Embassies worldwide, to use traditional public diplomacy tools to counter violent extremism (CVE) in Pakistan.

Haroon K. Ullah is an international scholar, US diplomat, and field researcher specializing in South Asia and the Middle East. Haroon is on Secretary Kerry’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. State Department, where he focuses on public diplomacy and countering violent extremism. He grew up in a farming community in Washington State and was trained at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he served as a Senior Belfer Fellow and completed his MPA. He has a PhD from the University of Michigan and was a William J. Fulbright Fellow, a Harvard University Presidential Scholar, a National Security Education Program Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Public Service Fellow. Haroon is author of Vying for Allah’s Vote (Georgetown University Press, 2013) and Bargain from The Bazaar (Public Affairs Books, 2014).


Melanie Cohen Greenberg is President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. Previously she was the President and Founder of the Cypress Fund for Peace and Security, a grant-making foundation in peacebuilding and nuclear nonproliferation. She was a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and was the Director of the Conflict Resolution Program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She previously served as Associate Director of the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation and Deputy Director of the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation. Before beginning her work in international peacebuilding, Melanie practiced bankruptcy law at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Houston. She is a member of the International Advisory Board of the United States Institute of Peace and is on the board of the Institute of World Affairs. She served as Board Chair of Women in International Security and the Alliance for Peacebuilding and has sat on the boards of Dispute Resolution Magazine, Partners for Democratic Change, and the Lawyers Alliance for World Security. Melanie holds an AB from Harvard and a JD from Stanford Law School.

About This Forum:

Since 1999, the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum (CPRF) has provided a monthly platform in Washington for highlighting innovative and constructive methods of conflict resolution. CPRF’s goals are to (1) provide information from a wide variety of perspectives; (2) explore possible solutions to complex conflicts; and (3) provide a secure venue for stakeholders from various disciplines to engage in cross-sector and multi-track problem-solving. The CPRF is co-sponsored by a consortium of organizations that specialize in conflict resolution and/or public policy formulation.

For more information on the CPRF, including links to forum principals, click here.


July 8, 2014
9:30 am - 11:00 am
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Kenney Auditorium, Johns Hopkins University SAIS
1740 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036 United States
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