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Profs & Pints DC: How Terrorist Groups Are Led

Little Penn Coffeehouse
801 E St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

Profs and Pints DC presents: “How Terrorist Groups Are Led,” with professors Elizabeth Grimm of Georgetown University and Tricia L. Bacon of American University, co-authors of Terror in Transition: Leadership and Succession in Terrorist Organizations.

Religious terrorist groups, just like other organizations such as businesses or sports teams, are profoundly influenced by the decisions made by those at the top. The terrorist groups’ founders create a base from which their successors operate, but the successors can find themselves with the power and perceived need to remake the organizations.

Gain insights on religious terrorist groups and how they manage and adapt to major shifts in leadership with Elizabeth Grimm, associate teaching professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Leadership Studies, and Tricia Bacon, a former federal counterterrorism expert who now directs American University’s Policy Anti-Terrorism Hub. Their book, Terror in Transition, drew on extensive field research in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Pakistan in looking at groups such as al-Shabaab, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State in Iraq. It has been praised as essential reading for those seeking to understand the leadership of violent groups.

Dr. Grimm and Dr. Bacon will discuss how the leadership of religious terrorist organizations matters throughout the duration of those groups. They’ll look at the founders’ work in creating the groups and how successors can carry out small changes that evolve the groups’ fundamental goals and means or embark on disruptive overhauls that significantly upend the groups’ tactics, mobilization of resources, and framing of its own mission.

Why does this matter? Understanding more fully the leadership realities of a religious terrorist organization and the types of successors to the founder offers opportunities for the disruption, denial, and, perhaps, even the defeat of the group. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)

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