Ardian Shajkovci, Ph.D., Nichols College adjunct professor and director of research at the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE), visited Qatar in January to shed light on the recently imposed sanctions on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, citing the Qatari government’s alleged support for terrorism. As part of a delegation of researchers and academics from U.S. think-tanks and non-profit organizations—which included ICSVE Director Dr. Anne Speckhard—Professor Shajkovci met with the minister of foreign affairs, minister of defense, governor of the Central Bank of Qatar, academics, and other high-level and leading figures of Qatar.
The trip served to better understand the impact of the blockade against Qatar posed by the quartet of powerful Gulf States. The goal was to also understand how the blockade against Qatar and the ongoing feud between the Gulf States is impacting United States and coalition efforts to fight Daesh in Syria and Iraq. Despite the loss of their territory, they are still active in parts of Iraq. A visit was also paid to major U.S. AirBase in Doha, Al- Udeid (CENTCOM). Dr. Shajkovci also had a chance to visit Georgetown University’s campus in Doha, Qatar, where he participated in a roundtable discussion with a group of students from the Center of International and Regional Studies (CIRS).
As part of ICSVE research on “Breaking the ISIS Brand: Counternarrative Project,” Dr. Shajkovci also spent several days in Iraq. He and Dr. Speckhard met with U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq Douglas A. Silliman.
ICSVE researchers have thus far interviewed 71 ISIS defectors, prisoners, and returnees. Professor Shajkovci hopes his research will help inform anti-radicalization and anti-terrorism efforts. Professor Shajkovci, who teaches in the Nichols College Counterterrorism Studies Graduate Program, strives to bring firsthand research and experience on violent extremism and terrorism to Nichols College students.
Lorraine U. Martinelle
Director of Public Relations and Social Media
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