Jessica Stern

Jessica talks at TEDx Amsterdam 2011 “A Powerful Tool to Prevent Future Terror”

In Interview on January 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

Jessica gives a presentation at the 2011 TEDx Amsterdam Women Conference. She reveals a revolutionary idea with the potential to transform counterterrorism. The project is aimed at amplifying the voices of former terrorists who have left their terrorist organizations.

In Interview, News on January 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Nieman Scholar cites “Denial: A Memoir of Terror” as a must read narrative. Septmeber 9, 2014. 

Appearance on PBS NewsHour on foreign fighters in the Islamic State. 

Interview with Gluck Radio on the realities of PTSD.  August 1, 2014.

Interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin on the meaning of Al-Qaeda’s split with the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria. February 9, 2014.

Keynote lecture at the Symposium on Guilt and Shame in Amsterdam, Netherlands. January 15, 2014.

Appearance on the BBC’s NewsHour program discussing Al Qaeda’s revival and the extent to which it is linked to the Arab Spring. January 3, 2014.

The War Against Terror Must Be Fought With Words Too

In News on September 26, 2013 at 9:19 am

Margaret Thatcher famously referred to publicity as the oxygen on which terrorists depend. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced Osama bin Laden as the leader of al-Qaeda, agrees, claiming that his organization and its enemies are “in a race for the hearts and minds of our umma [the Muslim community]” and that more than half the war is taking place on the “battlefield of the media.” Their goal is to spread a false narrative — that the West aims to humiliate Muslims and destroy Islam. We who aim to stop them have been slow to respond with a counternarrative — that jihadists are killing innocents, the vast majority of whom are Muslim; that they are exploiting vulnerable youth as cannon fodder; that jihad is not an adventure; and that our goal is to fight terrorists, not to harm Muslims or disrespect Islam.

So it was long overdue when the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) announced it would be launching a media campaign called “Think Again” aimed at English speakers considering joining jihadist groups. An earlier effort in Arabic, Punjabi, Somali and Urdu appears to be successful. Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, involved in developing the original campaign, says, “We could see that the bad guys were watching and were concerned” that the videos could harm their recruitment drives. The new campaign signals the CSCC’s recognition that they must also target American or European would-be jihadists with Western passports.

Read Jessica’s article on Time Ideas: The War Against Terror Must Be Fought With Words Too 

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