2016 Sam Nunn Bank of America Policy Forum

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How Does It End and What Can We Do? Addressing the Underlying Causes of Ideological Extremism

For the last two decades, United States security policy has been dominated by a series of crises within and emanating from the Middle East.  Almost every conflict within this region affects one or more of America’s national security interests including preventing terrorist attacks on the homeland and against American citizens abroad, security for U.S. allies and partners, and the promotion of universal values. 

On September 22, 2016, The Sam Nunn Bank School of International Affairs and The Honorable Sam Nunn will host its biennial policy forum and examine what lies ahead and what we can do to address the ideological extremism. This year’s Forum will feature constructive dialogue to address the intersection between underlying causes, national security interests, and tangible steps that governments — particularly, the United States — can pursue to mitigate these challenges.

Keynote Speaker:

General John R. Allen, UMSC (retired)
Co-director of the Center for the 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institute and former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL

Registration for the Forum, as well as a full overview and program listing on all participants, can be found at http://nunnforum.inta.gatech.edu/. 


7:30 - 8:30am
                 Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 - 8:40am                 Welcome Remarks      

Joseph R. Bankoff
Chair and Professor of the Practice, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology

Rafael L. Bras
Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs, K. Harrison Brown Family Chair, Georgia Institute of Technology

Wendy Stewart
Atlanta Market President, Bank of America

8:40 - 9:00am                 Introduction and Opening Remarks

The Honorable Sam Nunn
Distinguished Professor Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nuclear Threat Initiative

9:00 - 10:00am               Morning Keynote Address; Questions and Answers

Gen. John R. Allen, USMC (Ret)
Co-Director, Center for the 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institute and former Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL

10:00 - 10:15am             Break

10:15 - 11:30am             Panel 1: How Does It End? Understanding the Causes of                                                         Extremism

Moderator: Lawrence Rubin, Associate Professor, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology

Opening Remarks:

Jon Alterman
Senior Vice President, Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Middle East Program Director                                                                                   

Panel 1 Discussion Subtopics:

Mia Bloom, Professor, Department of Communication, Georgia State University                         

Hisham Melham, Analyst for Al Arabiya News Channel in Washington, D.C.                              

Lorenzo Vidino, Director of the Program on Extremism, George  Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security

11:30 - 11:45am             Break

11:45am - 1pm               Panel 2: What Should We Do About It?

Moderator: Lawrence Rubin

Opening Remarks:
Adm. James A. Winnefeld, Jr. USN (Ret)
Distinguished Professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology and former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Panel 2 Discussion

Ambassador Gerald Feierstein
Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, former Ambassador of Yemen

William McCants, Fellow, Center for Middle East Policy and Director, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, The Brookings Institution

Nadia Oweidat, Smith Richardson Fellow at New America

1 - 1:10pm                     Closing Remarks: Larry Rubin


More on the topic:

ISIL has attempted attacks on the homeland of the United States and its citizens abroad, and successfully attacked U.S. allies and partners. ISIL promotes and practices values that the United States and most of the world find morally repugnant.

The Forum will address key questions, such as:

What are some of the underlying causes of ideological extremism? How and why are youth radicalized?

Are longer term innovative approaches that addresses the fundamental causes of extremism possible?

What role, if any, should government(s) play in such innovative approaches?

The Sam Nunn Bank of America Policy Forum brings together Georgia Tech, the Atlanta community and the nation, for dialogue about these very important issues. Members of the academic, government, and private sector communities must gain a broader as well as granular understanding of how these complex issues affect the world and how our leaders seek to deal with them. 


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Anna Cathryn Finch
  • Created: 06/13/2016
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 04/13/2017