2016 Sam Nunn Bank of America Forum to Focus on Addressing Extremism

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One of the nation’s premier dialogues on critical foreign policy issues, Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn Bank of America Policy Forum, will take place 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center. Access the event’s live webstream at

 The Policy Forum is funded by a generous endowment provided by Bank of America who is the principal sponsor. This year marks 13 years of partnership in the Forum, which will convene the nation’s leading experts on terrorism. The discussion will go beyond current debates on the efficacy of military solutions against ISIL to shed light on the underlying causes of violent radical extremism in the Middle East, which will continue even after ISIL is defeated on battlefield. The keynote speaker is General John R. Allen, USMC (ret.), President Obama’s former special envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. He will join Senator Nunn and a roster of distinguished panelists and Nunn School faculty for the discussion. Press and public are encouraged to attend.

Organized by Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, the forum will explore what the U.S. can do to prevent radical extremism from emerging and spreading.

The distinguished panelists include: 

  • John Alterman, senior vice president, Brzezinski Chair in global security and geostrategy and Middle East program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
  • Ambassador Gerald Feierstein, recently retired. He spent part of his 41 years in foreign service in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Tunisia, Israel and Lebanon.
  • William McCants, senior fellow at Brookings’ Center for Middle East Policy and director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World.
  • Lorenzo Vidino, director of the Program on Extremism at the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.
  • Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld (USN, ret.), former vice chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff and distinguished professor, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs

Drawing on the insight of distinguished speakers and panelists, 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.

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 purpose of the Sam Nunn Bank of America Policy Forum is to bring Georgia Tech, the Atlanta community and the nation, into a conversation 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.



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    Lance Wallace
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    Fletcher Moore
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