On June 19th, United States Institute of Peace Director for Middle East and Africa Programs, Dr. Elie Abouaoun and former United States Ambassador to Iraq, Ambassador James Jeffrey discussed the future of Mosul, and Iraq, after its hopeful liberation
On May 18th, United States Institute of Peace Vice President of Asia Programs Dr. Andrew Wilder and former Senior Adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan to DoD Leadership Chris Kolenda discussed the next steps toward a political settlement to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan
On March 20th, Partnership for a Secure America and American Academy of Diplomacy hosted a bipartisan, private dinner to discuss American perspectives on foreign policy and national security priorities today. Ambassadors Robert Beecroft, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt (2014-2017), Iraq (2012-2014), Jordan (2008-2011); Ronald Neumann, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan (2005-2007), Bahrain (2001-2004), Algeria (1994-1997); and Tom Pickering, Under Secretary for Political Affairs (1997-2000), U.S. Ambassador to Russia (1993-1996), India (1992-1993), United Nations (1989-1992), Israel (1985-1988), El Salvador (1983-1985), Nigeria (1981-1983), Jordan (1974-1978) joined the dinner discussion. This off-the-record event was a conversation focused on helping the American Academy of Diplomacy’s retired diplomats hear the perspectives of different constituencies as part of a larger effort to assess U.S. voter priorities.
On March 13th, Partnership for a Secure America, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted an experts briefing on future trends in extremism and policy responses. Panelists included Hassan Hassan, Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy; Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; and Frederic Wehrey, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This off-the-record briefing focused on the findings of a recent report dissecting the world’s deadliest movements, their strategies, future scenarios and policy considerations.
On November 3rd, The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) celebrated the 35th event in the Congressional Briefing Series – Topics on International Conflict Resolution and Prevention. This series is an educational program that is designed to provide congressional staff with opportunities to engage leading experts and fellow Capitol Hill staffers in bipartisan forums.
This series has been very successful in providing an opportunity for staff to receive fact-based updates on conflict around the world and discuss opportunities for bipartisan consensus. It has featured events on conflict resolution in countries including Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, Tunisia, and Pakistan. The series has also focused on how to prevent conflict by hosting briefings on issues including countering violent extremism in Africa and civil nonviolent resistance.
Notable speakers include General John Allen, Ambassador Bill Taylor, Congressman Jim Kolbe, Dr. Andrew Wilder, and Ambassador Thomas Pickering. Over the lifetime of the program, this briefing series has hosted hundreds of congressional foreign policy and national security staffers.
On August 22, His Highness Prince Abdullah Al-Saud, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States and Mr. Nawaf Althari, Counter-Terrorism Adviser for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Permanent Mission to the United Nations joined participants in the Congressional Partnership Program for an off-the-record discussion on Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism efforts. Also in attendance was Prince Musab Al Saud, Director of the Office of Political and Congressional Affairs at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.
His Highness Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah Al Saud
Ambassador Abdullah Al Saudis the nephew of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. He received his education in Saudi Arabia and studied engineering in the United Kingdom. He started his professional life as an engineer with the newly established Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, where he held technical and managerial positions and supervised key studies for the two industrial cities and for the industrial security and safety sector. In the 1980s, he assumed the duties of Acting Secretary General of the Royal Commission, a post he held until 1987, when he was appointed Secretary General. In January of 1991, he was promoted to the position of Chairman, a role in which he also served as Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Commission and Chairman of its Board of Directors.
He presented his credentials to U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Jan. 28, 2016.
Mr. Nawaf Althari
Mr. Althari is the Saudi Arabian Counter Terrorism expert at the United Nations. Nawaf served as the Head of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) during the Kingdom’s chairmanship of the organization in 2014/2015. As chair of the organization, he was responsible for negotiating several resolutions that served the 56 state membership and elevated the status of the organization by facilitating the resolution of cooperation between the UN and the OIC.
He is currently the coordinator of the OIC for all Counter Terrorism matters at the UN and has represented the OIC in the review of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, The discussion of the Secretary General’s plan on Preventing Violent Extremism in Geneva, and many other relevant legal and CT resolutions.
He currently serves as the Counter Terrorism and Counter Piracy Focal Point, heading the expert advisory board of the UNCCT (United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre) where he oversees the projects of the centre that cover multiple dimensions of the CT field, including capacity building, countering violent extremism, preventing online radicalization and dealing with foreign terrorist fighters directly. He has engaged major players in the private sector such as Google and Facebook to help foster dialogue and provide a unique perspective to the field of online radicalization.
On June 29, four experts from the United States Institute of Peace discussed the current situation in Iraq and examples of reconciliation in ISIS-cleared areas.
On June 6th, Matt Olsen, former Director of the National Counter Terrorism Center, joined participants in the Congressional Partnership Program for an off-the-record dinner discussion on counter-terrorism strategies.
Matt Olsen has served as a leading government official on a range of national security, intelligence, and law enforcement issues.
Mr. Olsen served for three years as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Created by Congress in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, NCTC is responsible for the integration and analysis of terrorism information and strategic operational planning.
Prior to joining NCTC, Mr. Olsen was the General Counsel of the National Security Agency, serving as the agency’s chief legal officer.
Mr. Olsen worked at the Department of Justice in a number of leadership positions. He served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General, responsible for national security and criminal cases. He also was Special Counselor to the Attorney General and Executive Director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force, where he led the review of individuals detained at Guantanamo. Mr. Olsen served as acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security and helped establish the National Security Division.
For twelve years, Mr. Olsen was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., prosecuting violent gang members, terrorists, and white-collar criminals. Mr. Olsen served as Special Counsel to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He began his public service career as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
Mr. Olsen currently is an executive at a cyber security technology firm, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, and ABC News analyst. He graduated from the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School.
On May 23, Ambassador Alberto Fernandez, Former State Department Coordinator for the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and Imam Suhiab Webb, founder of CenterDC, joined alumni and current participants in the Congressional Partnership Program (CPP) and discussed methods currently being used to counter Islamic extremism. This off-the-record round table discussion focused on how the government and local organizations are countering extremist recruitment and fundamentalist ideology.
Ambassador Fernandez is the Vice President, Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Amb. Fernandez served as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer from 1983 to 2015, and as the State Department’s Coordinator for the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications from March 2012 to February 2015. He has served as ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (2009-2012), Charge d’Affaires to the Republic of Sudan (2007-2009), and held senior public diplomacy positions at the U.S. Embassies in Afghanistan, Jordan, Syria, and Guatemala. Fernandez was the director of the office of press and public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department from 2005 to 2007.
Imam Webb is an American Muslim Scholar based out of Washington DC. He is a Graduate of University of Central Oklahoma with a background in Education & Azhar University from the College of Shariah (Islamic Law & Jurisprudence). He was named as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, which is an international Islamic non-governmental, independent institute headquartered in Amman, Jordan.
Nancy Lindborg, President of the United States Institute of Peace, and General (Ret.) John Allen, former Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL