ICSVE

The International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) is an action based, interdisciplinary, research center working on psychosocial, cultural, political, economic, ideological, and technological topics impacting global peace and security. 

At ICSVE, our growing team of experts of diverse academic and professional backgrounds provides research, training, and strategic advice to government leaders, intelligence, defense, international organizations, and civilian communities, worldwide, to prevent and deter the threat of violent extremism in the core areas such as capacity building and programmatic support, countering extremist narrative, developing community resilience, managing intervention activities, understanding pathways into and back out of terrorism and countering violent extremism  training.

ICSVE is new. Started in July of 2015, it grew out of the work of Dr. Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. who has been working on these issues for two decades. ICSVE welcomes partners and donors interested in fighting violent extremism.

ICSVE is independent and non-partisan. We do not take part in classified research for governments or international organizations. All of our work is published in open source venues. 

Breaking the ISIS Brand - The ISIS Defectors Interviews Project

In 2015, Dr. Speckhard started the Breaking the ISIS Brand–the ISIS Defectors Interviews Project. Since then, she, along with ICSVE staff, have interviewed 43 ISIS defectors and returnees from Syria, Western Europe, Central Asia and the Balkans and 12 European parents of those who went to ISIS, and two terrorist ideologues, most captured on video. 

The ICSVE team has since been editing the videos of defectors denouncing the group into short video clips to upload on the Internet to fight ISIS’s online recruiting. The video clips are being subtitled in the 21 languages ISIS recruits in 24/7 and have been focus-tested with success in Central Asia, the Balkans, Western Europe, Jordan and the United States.  ICSVE research fellows are also currently focus-testing them for prevention and intervention purposes globally, specifically with ISIS endorsers on Facebook, Youtube and in Telegram chatrooms.

ICSVE is dedicated to breaking the ISIS brand and flooding the Internet with counter-narratives to fight with what ISIS is saying about the ISIS “Caliphate” and introducing alternatives to the narratives employed by the terrorist group to attract recruits.  The project has been lauded by the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. State Department and many foreign governments as well as been covered in the Washington Post, in Time magazine, on NPR and in many other news networks and print outlets.  

The Breaking the ISIS Brand counter-narrative project videos are being used in multiple countries to fight extremist recruitment in youth and adults and in targeted interventions with foreign fighter returnees and to monitor drivers of radicalization. Our hope is to offer powerful tools to delegitimize terrorist groups and their ideologies and diminish social support for them globally.  

Anne Speckhard
Allison McDowell Smith

Allison McDowell Smith

Senior Research Fellow
Ardian Shajkovci

Ardian Shajkovci

Senior Research Fellow - Director of Research
Ahmet S. Yayla

Ahmet S. Yayla

Senior Research Fellow
Zack Baddorf

Zack Baddorf

Video Producer
Grace Wakim

Grace Wakim

Research Fellow
Dennis Wecker

Dennis Wecker

Research Fellow
Louisa Tarras-Wahlberg

Louisa Tarras-Wahlberg

Research Fellow
Julie Papastamatelou

Julie Papastamatelou

Research Fellow
Marc-Andre Argentino

Marc-Andre Argentino

Research Fellow
Stefanie Mitchell

Stefanie Mitchell

Research Fellow
Lorand Bodo

Lorand Bodo

Research Fellow
Haris Fazliu

Haris Fazliu

Research Intern
Neima Izadi

Neima Izadi

Administrative and Research Intern
Claire Wooster

Claire Wooster

Research Intern

THIS IS WHAT WE DO

Affiliated with world-class researchers based around the globe (US, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East) who are themselves attached to top universities, ICSVE is involved in research projects and educational programs around the world.

ICSVE forms creative and flexible interdisciplinary teams for each of its projects, converging first-rate subject matter experts , each with linguistic, cultural and on-the-ground experience in a range of security matters.

In addition to research, ICSVE fosters the opportunity for in-depth and strategic dialogue for politicians, diplomats, leaders and scholars interested in security, peace studies and violent extremism.

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THIS IS WHY WE DO IT

ICSVE’s mission is to bring scholars and leaders, from politics to creative pursuits, together in the fight against violent extremism. Producing world-class research, educational materials and highly stimulating workshops, our aim is to educate the public and support policymakers and practitioners in their quest for practical and useful solutions in preventing and stopping violent extremism.