Leanne Erdberg is the director of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) at the U.S. Institute of Peace where she directs USIP’s CVE program that includes work focused on CVE Research (focused on the RESOLVE Network where Leanne also serves as the interim executive director of RESOLVE); CVE Practice (including pilot projects on various CVE topics that convene workshops, and build capacity of civil society actors and institutions); and CVE Policy (provides recommendations and coordination on policy responses and CVE strategies and frameworks).

Prior to joining the Institute, from 2009-2017, Leanne held several positions in the U.S. government including senior advisor to the deputy assistant to the president and deputy homeland security advisor on the National Security Council staff at the White House, counterterrorism advisor for the undersecretary of state for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, director of African Affairs for the National Security Council staff, regional counterterrorism advisor in the State Department's Bureau of Counterterrorism where she covered issues related to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq, and as a special assistant at the Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Leanne most recently comes from Accenture Federal Services, where she consulted on developing responsible uses of artificial intelligence for the federal government. Prior to federal government service, Leanne held policy and legal positions at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the World Health Organization, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and on a U.S. congressional campaign. Previous to her work in foreign and public policy, Leanne co-founded an independent record label.

Leanne holds a J.D. with honors in the concentration of international law and a B.S., magna cum laude in mass communication studies, both from Boston University. In 2017, Leanne was profiled in Forbes about working in national security.

Publications By Leanne

Leanne Erdberg on Violent Extremist Disengagement and Reconciliation

Leanne Erdberg on Violent Extremist Disengagement and Reconciliation

Thursday, August 1, 2019

By: Leanne Erdberg

While some will face criminal trial, many of those who traveled to live with ISIS but have disavowed its ideology will have to reintegrate into their communities. “We need to encourage a way to talk about them so that they can form new bonds with their communities,” says Leanne Erdberg. “Language has a very important role to play.”

Type: Podcast

Violent Extremism; Reconciliation

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.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

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.

Type: Podcast

Violent Extremism

Grading Counterterrorism Cooperation with the GCC States

Grading Counterterrorism Cooperation with the GCC States

Thursday, April 26, 2018

By: Leanne Erdberg

This testimony covers the following questions: (1) How have GCC countries addressed violent extremism and terrorism within their own national borders; (2) How have GCC countries addressed violent extremism and terrorism regionally and internationally; and, (3) What recommendations can enable future GCC efforts to go beyond eliminating today’s terrorists and prevent terrorism from emerging in the first place?

Type: Congressional Testimony

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Civilian-Military Relations; Violent Extremism

To Defeat Terrorism, Use 'People Power'

To Defeat Terrorism, Use 'People Power'

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

By: Maria J. Stephan; Leanne Erdberg

As governments and communities seek the right combination of methods to halt terrorism, one that we too often miss is nonviolent resistance. It’s not that we haven’t seen the power of protest movements that use mass marches, sit-ins, boycotts and other forceful but nonviolent tactics. To the contrary, people worldwide have been moved by watching such movements sweep aside the walls of apartheid, the tanks of dictators or the impunity of kleptocracies...

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Nonviolent Action; Violent Extremism

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