POMED Is Pleased to Announce Its Ninth Policy Seminar:

Failed Governance, Authoritarianism, and Salafi Jihadism in the
Middle East and North Africa: Exploring the Connections

Fall 2017

An eight-week evening seminar geared toward young professionals in foreign policy, NGOs, research institutes, journalism, etc.

Course Description:  
Countering Salafi jihadist terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and Al Qaeda that inflict violence upon Arab countries and far beyond remains the overwhelming focus of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa. Yet after 16 years of the “War on Terror,” and the expenditure of billions of dollars and countless U.S. military engagements in the region, these groups have gained followers, expanded their influence, and increased their lethality. The drivers of Salafi jihadism and related violence are complex, and how to address the underlying factors behind the problem is the focus of great deal of debate among experts. This seminar will explore one set of factors exploited by terrorists—state repression; unaccountable, corrupt, and failed governance; and political exclusion and alienation in the Arab world. The course will examine the ideology and evolution of Salafi jihadist groups; delve into case studies of several Arab countries representing U.S. counterterrorism priorities; and discuss the role of promoting democratic governance and human rights in U.S. counterterrorism strategies in the region. Speakers will include former U.S. officials, scholars, and other experts.

Tuesdays from 6:00pm – 7:30pm
September 19 – November 7
(class 7 will be held on Wednesday, November 1 due to Halloween)

1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Suite 617
Washington, DC 20036

To Apply:
Space in this seminar is limited and admission is selective.
To apply, submit this form by September 12, 2017.

POMED Deputy Director for Research Amy Hawthorne will lead the seminar.  Each class will begin with remarks by guest speakers—scholars, experts, and former U.S. government officials—followed by a moderated discussion. The seminar will be limited to a small group. Recommended background readings will be provided for each session.



Class 1 – Tuesday, September 19, 6:00-7:30 PM
Introduction and course overview: What is Salafi jihadism, and what role has repression/authoritarianism played in its rise in the Middle East and North Africa?

Guest speaker:
Hassan Hassan, co-author of the New York Times best seller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror (2015) and Senior Fellow, Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy


Class 2 – Tuesday, September 26, 6:00-7:30 PM
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

Guest speakers:
Faysal Itani, Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center, Atlantic Council
Sarah Margon, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch


Class 3 Tuesday, October 3, 6:00-7:30 PM
Wilayat Sinai/the Islamic State in Egypt’s Sinai

Guest speakers:
Andrew Miller, former director for Egypt, National Security Council
Evan Hill, former MENA researcher, Human Rights Watch


Class 4 – Tuesday, October 10, 6:00-7:30 PM
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen

Guest speaker:
Katherine Zimmerman, Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Luke Hartig, Fellow, New America Foundation, former senior director for counterterrorism, National Security Council


Class 5 – Tuesday, October 17, 6:00-7:30 PM
Tunisia: the Islamic State and Other Groups

Guest speakers:
Anouar Boukhars, Nonresident Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Scott Mastic, MENA Regional Director, International Republican Institute


Class 6 – Tuesday, October 24, 6:00-7:30 PM
Human Rights and U.S. Counterterrorism Policies in MENA

Guest speakers:
Rose Jackson, former chief of staff, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, US Department of State
Daniel Mahanty, Senior Advisor, Center for Civilians in Conflict; former director of the State Department’s Office of Security and Human Rights


Class 7 – Wednesday, November 1, 6:00-7:30 PM
(NOTE: This class will take place on Wednesday instead of Tuesday due to Halloween)
Prisons and Radicalization

Guest speakers:
Former political prisoners from Bahrain, Egypt, and Syria


Class 8 – Tuesday, November 7, 6:00-7:30 PM
Final Class: Summary and Wrap-Up

Guest speaker:
Peter Mandaville, Professor, George Mason University; nonresident senior fellow, Brookings Institution; former senior adviser in the Secretary of State’s Office of Religion & Global Affairs