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Keynote Address by former chief of staff to Tony Blair and CEO of Inter Mediate, Jonathan Powell, about his new book Talking to Terrorists, chaired by Ken Bush, Al-Tajir Lecturer in Post-War Recovery Studies.
Followed by a panel of discussion on Crime and Terrorism:Is Religion a Decoy? curated by Mina Al-Oraibi, Asharq Alawsat, and featuring Afzal Ashraf, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, and professor Sultan Barakat, the Founding Director and the Chair of Board of Governance of Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) and Jonathan Powell.
Mina Al-Oraibi is the Assistant Editor in Chief of Asharq Alawsat, the international pan-Arab daily newspaper. She assumed this position in November 2011, after completing her assignment as Washington DC Bureau Chief for the newspaper.
Mina often has assignments in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Among her recent work has been covering UN efforts for a ‘freeze’ to the conflict in Syria, along with high-profile interviews with senior figures including the US Special Envoy to Counter ISIS, General John Allen; the IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. She is also a regular guest contributor on radio and television news programmes, including the BBC World Service and CNN.
An Iraqi-Briton, Mina was born in Sweden and raised in Iraq, Australia and Saudi Arabia, before moving to the United Kingdom. She was awarded a Distinction for her MA History Dissertation on the 1958 coup d’etat in Iraq from University College London, where she also completed her Bachelors of Arts in History.
Mina has been a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Middle East since 2010; she was named by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, and is a Special Advisor to the board of Global Dignity.
Afzal Ashraf is a Consultant Fellow at RUSI leading RUSI's course in International Diplomacy. He is responsible for course design, delivery and assessment.
Afzal came to RUSI following a diverse career spanning defence, national security, diplomacy, rule of law and delivery of training and education. After a start in combat aircraft research and development in UK industry, he was commissioned as an Engineer officer in the Royal Air Force (RAF), retiring three decades later as a Group Captain. His tours of duty included counterinsurgency and policing focussed operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and a position in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he was responsible for political and military policy as well as security sector reform in Iraq.
While completing a PhD in terrorist ideology at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at St Andrews University in Scotland, he became Chairman of the Board of Advisors for CSTPV at a time when he was simultaneously head of training management for the RAF. He undertook an assignment as a Senior Advisor and analyst at a UK Government Counter Terrorism Centre. After retiring from the RAF he has been a business change and business development consultant to government and industrial clients, with a focus on developing technology and cyber security related organisations.
(BSc University of Jordan, Amman, MA and DPhil University of York, UK) is the Founding Director of the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU), which was established at the University of York in 1993. He is currently the Chair of its Board of Governance.
He is also internationally known for having pioneered both scholarship and practice in the field of post-war recovery. Among his principal achievements has been the shaping of a generation of academic and practitioner leaders, both in the UK and overseas, in the fields of post-conflict reconstruction, disaster management and recovery, humanitarian assistance, conflict management and foreign policy.
Sultan is also is director of research at the Brookings Doha Center and senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy. His current research focus is state fragility and recovery in the Middle East, as well as the role of Qatar in conflict mediation. He has been published widely, and has over 25 years of professional experience working on issues of conflict management, humanitarian response and post-conflict recovery and transition.
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