News From TRI’s National PhD Writers Networks

Compiled by Alex P. Schmid

The Terrorism Research Initiative maintains a dozen national (and in some cases regional) networks of post-graduates working on their doctoral dissertations. Their members collaborate with each other to varying degrees, with some networks being more active than others. If you are a PhD student and want to join one of these networks, contact the country coordinator. If you are from a country without a network, contact the Coordinator of TRI ‘s national networks at [email protected] . He will try to get you in touch with TRI scholars residing in your country.

Country Coordinators:

News from TRI Country Chapters


The Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI) has established its Pakistan chapter at the University of Management and Technology in Lahore. The UMT’s School of Governance and Society (SGS) is collaborating with TRI in its projects. Recently, a five-day international workshop was held in Lahore where renowned national and international guests including UMT Rector Dr Hasan Sohaib Murad, SGS Director Rahatulain, TRI Country Coordinator Muhammad Feyyaz, Dr Neville Bolt (UK), Dr Richard Jackson (New Zealand) spoke on various aspects of terrorism. The workshop, which lasted from 19 – 23 January 2015, was titled ‘Understanding Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism’. It was attended by members of the armed forces, intelligence services, universities, think tanks, academia (incl. UMT students) as well as representatives from civil society organizations. The training curriculum comprised 22 lectures and three hands-on exercises, supervised by a group of scholars harnessed from nine different countries (UK, USA, Turkey, India, Switzerland, Romania, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan). Addressing the conference, Dr Hasan Sohaib Murad emphasized that terrorism was now a global issue of concern which needed to be addressed not only on the political and military levels, but also needs to be tackled theoretically, i.e. academically, and ideologically. The Rector applauded TRI for opening up its Pakistan chapter at UMT.


The Norwegian National TRI network remains a small-knit group, mainly consisting of the few PhD-candidates at the Norwegian Police University College (PHS) and the Norwegian Defence Research Facility (FFI). The level of activities has been good, including participation in domestic and international conferences, as well as several publications. In addition, some of the PhD candidates from the TRI network have been lecturing at various institutions. Several PhD candidates have also spent time as visiting researchers abroad. While the number of PhD-positions is very limited in the field of terrorism research in Norway, the government has announced that it will create several new research positions in the area of right-wing extremism. The national Research Council is tasked with finding the most suitable institution for this. It is quite likely that this will lead to the creation of new PhD-positions. It should also be mentioned that the Norwegian node has benefited by good assistance from the Spanish TRI network group in one of its ongoing projects. This illustrates the intention, the value and the usefulness of the TRI network.

South Africa Plus

There has been little activity in this part of the world during 2014 but it does not mean that the regional TRI chapter has been dormant. Two PhD students completed their studies and obtained their doctorates in 2014 while two others are awaiting results following submission. Two more are expected to complete by the end of the third quarter of 2015. Two new students have joined the network, one Zimbabwean and one Mozambican. While neither has registered at a university yet, then in South Africa this only has to be done by the end of March. The South Africa Plus country coordinator has completed and submitted her PhD thesis and is now awaiting the verdict of the external examiners.

United States

The national coordination has passed from Neil Shortland to Matthew Sweeney, who is also studying at the University of Massachusetts’ Lowell Campus School of Criminology and Justice Studies. He is currently going through the major journals in the field of terrorism research to identify more PhD thesis writers and their supervisors. So far he has identified over 60 professors supervising thesis writing. After completing his review of individuals, he will be contacting the major organizations to identify additional PhD thesis writers in the United States and invite them to join the network.


TRI’s Nigerian network was started in July 2014 by Wale Adeboye, University of Ibadan. As country coordinator he has been in discussion with various groups and individuals in academia as well as policy institutions in an effort to explore how TRI can facilitate cooperative efforts among Nigerian scholars from a broad range of disciplines and diverse backgrounds. The conflict escalation by the Boko Haram insurgent group has increased the urgency for such collaboration. While the Nigeria government continues to spend very large sums of money on countering terrorism, such measures have not been properly evaluated; there is a need for this since some of the counter-measures taken so far might well have been counter-productive. Through TRI Nigeria, a strong case is now being made to engage academia in evaluating policies in terms of their effectiveness. TRI Nigeria is also attempting to bring policy-making and political and social science research come closer together, not only to lessen the threat of terrorism, but also to minimize misguided responses to it. TRI Nigeria currently has seven PhD thesis writers and is on a drive to increase this number in the near future.


The Brazilian branch of the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI) is hosted at the Department of International Relations, PUC Minas, Belo Horizonte. Recently the Country Coordinator, Dr. Jorge Lasmar, and his colleague Dr. Danny Zahreddine–who also collaborates with the TRI network–received a two-year grant from the Minas Gerais State Government through its Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa da Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG) for risk analysis by means of mapping the vulnerabilities of major national events to possible international terrorist attacks. Both academics have been invited to give guest lectures and are frequently appearing in the media to discuss terrorism and related subjects. Jorge Lasmar, who is professor of International Law at Brazil’s Milton Campus, also acted as a guest lecturer in a Counter-Terrorism Workshop for the Special Operations Unit of the Military Police of Minas Gerais. He has also been lecturing at a short course on terrorism at the State District Attorney School. Recently, two new PhD students joined the Brazilian PhD network: Ms. Patricia Prado is investigating “The Pedagogy of Martyrdom in Shia Narratives” while Ms. Suzane Vasconcelos is starting a comparative study on the vulnerabilities of airports to terrorism. This year, TRI’s Brazilian network is organising a conference on Transnational Terrorism and Political Violence; it is scheduled for late 2015. Members of the Brazilian network are currently also setting up a blog as well as an online forum to promote Terrorism Studies and the exchange of information on the subject in Brazil.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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