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The Role of Formers in P/CVE and Peacebuilding

The Centre for Global Security Challenges, University of Leeds and START, University of Maryland are delighted to welcome you to our online two-day workshop on the role of formers in P/CVE and Peacebuilding, 17-18th February 2022. This workshop aims to shed light on the role of former extremists and former combatants in P/CVE and peacebuilding initiatives across a range of contexts, bringing together academic and practitioner expertise. It will facilitate an exchange of evidence, ideas and experiences on what extent formers can contribute to P/CVE and peacebuilding, what the challenges are in their involvement and how these can be overcome. The workshop includes contributions from a forthcoming book – ‘Former Extremists’ – as part of the START-Oxford University Press Book Series, edited by Gordon Clubb, Ryan Scrivens and Md Didarul Islam.


17-18th February 2022


Keynote Speaker

Professor John Horgan, Georgia State University

John Horgan is a Distinguished University Professor at Georgia State University’s Department of Psychology where he also directs the Violent Extremism Research Group (VERG). Professor Horgan is one of the world’s leading experts on terrorist psychology. His work is widely published, with books including The Psychology of Terrorism (now in its second edition and published in over a dozen languages worldwide), Divided We Stand: The Strategy and Psychology of Ireland’s Dissident Terrorists; Walking Away from Terrorism, Leaving Terrorism Behind, and Terrorism Studies: A Reader.


Workshop Programme


Day 1 – Thursday 17th February 2022

Opening Remarks: The Role of Formers in CVE and Peacebuilding

14.00-14.30 (GMT) 9.00-9.30 (EST)

  • Dr Gordon Clubb, University of Leeds
    Professor Bill Braniff, Director of START, University of Maryland

Panel 1: Defining and Contextualizing the Involvement of Formers

14.30-16.00 (GMT) 9.30-11.00 (EST) Moderator: Md Didarul Islam When and how should they be engaged in CVE and Peacebuilding?
Do they need to be de-radicalised?

  • Virginie Andre, Victoria University; Onni Sarvela, Exit Finland; Fabian Wichmann, Exit Germany
  • Brad Galloway, Coordinator, Centre on Hate, Bias & Extremism
  • Marc Porret, Senior Legal Officer, CTED United Nations Security Council Tanja Nijmeijer, University of Basque Country
  • Dr Omar Ashour, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies

Keynote Talk

16.15-17.15 (GMT) 11.15-12.15 (EST) Moderator: Gordon Clubb

  • Professor John Horgan, Georgia State University

Panel 2: Does Former Involvement Work? Measurements and Evaluation

18.00-19.30 (GMT) 13.00-14.30 (EST) Moderator: TBC
Are formers effective in CVE, how do we know, what works and what doesn’t? How can programmes be designed to best utilise formers?

  • Dr Daniel Koehler, GIRDS
  • Sara Budge, Exit USA
  • Mubin Shaikh, Seneca College and Parents for Peace Dr Ryan Brown, RAND


Day 2 – Friday 18th February 2022

Panel 3: The Motivation of Former Involvement: The Ethical Imperative of Engaging Formers
11.00-12.30 (GMT) 6.00-7.30 (EST) Moderator: TBC
Why do Formers Become Involved in CVE/Peacebuilding? What are ‘unhealthy’ motivations? Should formers be encouraged to become involved in CVE/Peacebuilding?

  • Ross Frenett, Vidhya Ramalingam, and Meghan Conroy, Moonshot
  • Robert Orell, Radicalisation Awareness Network
  • Dr Orla Lynch, University College Cork
  • Dr Tina Wilchen Christensen, Aarhus University

Panel 4: Formers in Comparative Perspective

14.00-15.30 (GMT) 9.00-10.30 (EST) Moderator: Ryan Scrivens What are the experiences in different cases? What accounts for differences in outcomes across cases? CVE vs Peacebuilding, Right Wing vs Islamist etc.

  • Dr Julia Chernov Hwang, Goucher College
  • Dr Amar Amarasingam, Queen’s University
  • Christina Foerch, Fighters for Peace
  • Dr Christer Mattsson, Gothenburg

Panel 5: Formers in Comparative Perspective

15.45-17.15 (GMT) 10.45-12.15 (EST) Moderator: TBC
What are the experiences in different cases? What accounts for differences in outcomes across cases? CVE vs Peacebuilding, Right Wing vs Islamist etc.

  • Professor Rogelio Alonso, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
  • Dr Suraj Lakhani, University of Sussex
  • Dr Patricia Martuscelli, University of Sheffield


Workshop Programme: