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About the Director

Charles Lister

Lister is the author of “The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency” (Oxford University Press, 2016). His research focuses on terrorism and insurgency across the Levant. As a senior consultant to the Syria Track II Dialogue Initiative, he managed nearly three years of intensive face-to-face engagement with the leaderships of over 100 Syrian armed opposition groups.

Full Biography

Countering Terrorism and Extremism Program Experts


Resolving the Detainee Crisis

Resolving the Detainee Crisis is an initiative launched by MEI and King's College London's International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) in early-2022. It seeks to determine how best to resolve the crisis associated with the 65,000 men, women and children held in various forms of detention in northeastern Syria, resulting from the territorial defeat of ISIS. Specifically, MEI and ICSR aim to sustain an acute and concentrated level of policy attention on the issues at hand; to maintain active efforts to repatriate and return; and to facilitate closed-door multinational discussions on how to make such efforts far more efficient and effective. Since launching, we have convened major closed-door multilateral gatherings involving at least 30 governments, as well as multilateral institutions, counterterrorism, humanitarian, human rights and law enforcement practitioners and experts in London, Washington D.C., Malta and Vienna, in close coordination with the U.S. Department of State and other partners. So far, these efforts have borne clear and meaningful policy change, in support of international efforts to resolve this unprecedented crisis.

Advisory Council

The Countering Terrorism & Extremism Program’s Advisory Council is a body of venerable individuals committed to supporting the program’s mission to generate a more locally-rooted understanding of the threats and challenges of today and tomorrow - grasping where they come from and why they come about, and most importantly, how to more effectively and sustainably defeat them.

Saud al-Sarhan

Tricia Bacon

Richard Barrett

Barbara Bodine

Joseph Brandifino

Chris Costa

Edmund Fitton-Brown

Danny Glaser

Karen Greenberg

Jane Marriott

John McLaughlin

Nick Rasmussen

Tom Sanderson

Karin Von Hippel


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