Plenary Presentation:
Anne Speckhard: Psychosocial Aspects of Radicalization (60 min)

Abstract: After conducting over 800 in-depth interviews with terrorists and close associates from militant jihadist, white supremacists, anti-government militia, and other groups, four key factors emerge as sufficient and necessary to make a terrorist/violent extremist. Speckhard’s model – the Lethal Cocktail of Terrorism will be discussed as well as the pathways into and backout of violent extremism and terrorism.

Bio: Anne Speckhard, PhD, is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and served for over 2 decades as Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine and also served as an Affiliate in the Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University. She has interviewed over 800 terrorists, violent extremists, their family members and supporters around the world, including in Western Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East. Over the past five years, she has conducted in-depth psychological interviews with 273 ISIS defectors, returnees, and prisoners, as well as 16 al Shabaab cadres (as well as family members and ideologues,) studying their trajectories into and out of terrorism, and their experiences inside ISIS and al Shabaab. Speckhard developed the ICSVE Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Project from these interviews, which includes over 250 short counter narrative videos that mimic ISIS recruitment videos but contain actual terrorists strongly denouncing ISIS as un-Islamic, corrupt and brutal.

Dr. Speckhard is the author of five books: Homegrown Hate; Talking to TerroristsBride of ISISUndercover Jihadi; and ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate. She has appeared on CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, CBC, and in the New York TimesWashington PostLondon Times, TIME Magazine, NewsweekDaily Beast and more. She regularly writes a column for Homeland Security Today. Her research has been published in Global Security: Health, Science and PolicyBehavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political AggressionJournal of African Security, Journal of Strategic Security, the Journal of Human SecurityBidhaan: An International Journal of Somali StudiesJournal for Deradicalization, Perspectives on Terrorism and the International Studies Journal. Her academic publications are found at and