L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



Center for Public Policy to host symposium April 14

Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs news and events
Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs news and events

The Wilder School’s Center for Public Policy will hold a symposium on Thursday, April 14, that will explore terrorism and radicalization in an open society.

 “Terrorism and Radicalization in Open Society” will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Student Commons Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

 “In the modern world open societies are being confronted by a rising number of incidents of violent terrorism and the spreading radicalization of disenfranchised and disillusioned young people,” said Henry Brownstein, Ph.D., the center’s director and the Wilder School’s associate dean for research.

 “The challenge is to address these problems in a society founded on principles of democracy and freedom. This symposium is intended to be an open, informative and constructive conversation to push the boundaries of how we think about and respond to terrorism and radicalization in open society,” he said.

Natalie Baker, Ph.D., assistant professor of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in the Wilder School, will moderate. The speakers are as follows:

  • Pete Simi is an associate professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and director of radicalization and violent groups research in the Center for Collaboration Science at the University of Nebraska Omaha. For nearly 20 years, Simi has been interviewing current and former members of various types of violent groups.
  • Frank Smyth of Washington, D.C., is executive director of Global Journalist Security, a private consulting and training firm, and senior advisor for journalist security at the nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists. He is also an independent, award-winning investigative reporter specializing in covering armed conflicts, organized crime and human rights.
  • Scott Sayare is an American writer and reporter living in Paris. He is a graduate of Stanford University and worked as a reporter for The New York Times. He recently wrote “The Charlie Hebdo I Know” (The Atlantic, January 11, 2015) and “The ultimate terrorist factory — Are French prisons incubating extremism?” (Harper’s Magazine, January 2016).
  • Omar Adullah was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, until he immigrated to the U.S. in 2008 at the age of 21. He is a student at VCU, double majoring in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and Political Science. Additionally, he has worked at the National Defense University as a part-time translator as well as at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, D.C., as a news analyst.
  • John Wyman is an award-winning, supervisory special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with almost 20 years of counterterrorism experience, including assignments with the Washington Field Office, FBI Headquarters and the Richmond Field Office.

This is the second symposium sponsored by the center this spring. “Race and Policing in Communities” took place on Thursday, March 24.