The near-daily litany of violence perpetrated by violent extremist groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram illustrates the dearth of understanding about how these militant organizations successfully tap into social discord to advance their campaigns. On Thursday, September 29, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the RESOLVE Network convened researchers from around the world to help set priorities for policy-relevant research to identify effective responses.

Widespread destruction in Kobani, Syria, months after coalition airstrikes and Kurdish fighters repelled an invasion by the Islamic State group, Oct. 27, 2015. The recent Turkish intervention in northern Syria conjured for many Kurds memories of broken vows by Western powers dating back to World War I, when they were promised, then denied, their own state.
Photo Courtesy of The New York Times/Tyler Hicks

Violent extremism presents a number of puzzles: What motivates individuals or groups attracted to political rhetoric advocating violence to take the next step of carrying out violent action? How is this type of violence different from other forms of political violence? When and under what conditions do communities choose to support, abstain from or actively reject violent social movements and extremist groups?  

The Researching Solutions to Violent Extremism (RESOLVE) Network is a global consortium of researchers and research organizations launched in September 2015 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly’s annual opening sessions in New York. The primary goal of the network is to generate, facilitate, aggregate and synthesize sound, locally informed research on the drivers of vulnerability and sources of resilience to violent social movements and extremism. 

This inaugural RESOLVE Network Fall Forum featured discussions of preliminary recommendations from the network secretariat, which is based at USIP in Washington. The event included keynote remarks, panel discussions and opportunities for researchers, practitioners and policymakers to connect. Speakers and panelists included affiliated researchers, policy experts and guest speakers, with contributions from partner organizations in the Balkans, South and Central Asia, Horn of Africa, Europe and North America. Continue the conversation on Twitter with #RESOLVEForum.

Speakers

Amb. William Taylor
Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Mohammed Hafez
Chairman and Associate Professor, Naval Post Graduate School

Georgia Holmer, Moderator
Director of CVE, U.S Institute of Peace

Humayun Kabir
Vice President, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute

Richard Atwood
Director of Multilateral Affairs and Head of New York Office, International Crisis Group

Cheryl Frank
Head of Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, Institute for Security Studies

Beza Tesfaye
Conflict and Governance Research Manager, Mercy Corps

Cameron Chisholm, Moderator
President and Founder, International Peace &Security Institute

Eliza Urwin
Senior Program Officer, U.S Institute of Peace

Tahir Abbas
Senior Research Fellow, Royal United Services Institute

Imtiaz Gul
Executive Director, Centre for Research and Security Studies

Houda Abadi
Associate Director MENA Projects, The Carter Center

Candace Rondeaux, Moderator
Senior Program Officer and Director of RESOLVE Network Secretariat, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

How Civil Society Can Help Prevent Violence and Extremism

How Civil Society Can Help Prevent Violence and Extremism

Thursday, June 6, 2019

By: Leanne Erdberg ; Bridget Moix

Editor’s Note: Congress charged the U.S. Institute of Peace with convening the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States. Following the public launch of the Task Force’s final report, four groups of experts came together to discuss how to implement the report’s recommendations. This four-part series will discuss the findings from these strategy sessions. Part one summarizes expert discussion on how civil society actors are preventing violent extremism and building resilience in their communities and practical ways the U.S. and other international actors can more effectively interact with civil society to bolster its role in prevention.

Fragility & Resilience; Violent Extremism

Leanne Erdberg on the Psychology Behind Terrorism

Leanne Erdberg on the Psychology Behind Terrorism

Thursday, May 9, 2019

By: Leanne Erdberg

Nearly 20 years after 9/11, determining the profile of someone who is going to join a terrorist group remains a deeply challenging effort. For too long we have looked at simple explanations— like poverty or lack of education—for why people join violent movements. Erdberg discusses a new project to investigate the psychology and neuroscience that motivates people to resort to extremism.

Violent Extremism

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