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Thinking About Terrorism: Taking Stock Four Years After September 11th
Presented by USIP and the Social Science Research Council

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Keynote Speaker Frances Fragos Townsend Conference keynote speaker Frances Fragos Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism. Read her bio.

September 19 - 20, 2005
9:00 AM–10:30 AM

Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
Colonial Room
1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

The United States Institute of Peace, together with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), held a two-day conference in Washington focusing on terrorist organizations and how they work. Participants, most of whom were Institute grantees or members of the SSRC project on political violence, addressed four essential questions to discern what we know and still do not know about terrorist organizations.

Frances Fragos Townsend, assistant to the President for homeland security and counter-terrorism, was the keynote speaker at the conference.

  • How do terrorist organizations communicate with the world?
  • How do they finance themselves?
  • How do they learn and change?
  • In what ways should governments and international organizations respond to terrorism?

Driven by the belief that better policy responses to current and emerging threats require a better understanding of how violent political organizations operate, participants discussed an integrated combination of theoretical perspectives and detailed case studies, ranging from al Qaeda to the Irish Republican Army. The analysis and rich historical context will be summarized in a forthcoming Institute Special Report.

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