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The Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Terrorism and Peace (CISTP) at James Madison University (JMU) is academia engaged with the wider world in order to make a significant impact on the problem of terrorism and the challenges this poses for peace around the globe. CISTP brings academia, the U.S. Intelligence Community, and public policy officials into conversation with one another to rethink complex problems. The CISTP Faculty Fellows at JMU provide non-partisan subject matter expertise from the humanities, social sciences, education, and intelligence analysis, greatly increasing the breadth of academic expertise normally available to the intelligence and public policy arenas. This contributes to fresh, long-term, systemic thinking about the problems that terrorism poses, with the goal of effecting peace that encompasses the physical, psychological, cultural, economic, and ecological welfare of peoples. A key part of CISTP is its Student Research Interns, who work with the Faculty Fellows in a multi-disciplinary setting on a current issue related to the intersection of terrorism and peace studies.

CISTP is distinctive amongst U.S. academic centers for the study of terrorism in numerous ways:

CISTP Fellows contribute to the intelligence and public policy arenas not only by providing timely short-term feedback, but also by engaging in explorations of long-term strategies toward achieving peace in the context of the problem of terrorism. This approach pays due attention to the complex dynamics and systemic effects presented by terrorism as well as by counter-terrorism policies.

CISTP’s Faculty Fellows possess truly multi-disciplinary faculty expertise that includes voices from the humanities, social sciences, and intelligence analysis. The inclusion of the humanities in centers that study terrorism is a rare feature, lending depth in cultural expertise and a complement to other disciplinary perspectives.

CISTP offers non-partisan, collaborative faculty conversations that provide multiple and sometimes contrasting viewpoints on problems of terrorism. We view an occasional lack of consensus and an ongoing diversity of perspectives as one of our strengths.

CISTP facilitates workshops and conversations amongst academics from many disciplines, public policy officials, and intelligence analysts on a variety of complex and pressing topics related to terrorism and peace.

CISTP focuses not only on counter-terrorism, but also on short and long-term efforts at peace. We are invested in thinking about what is necessary for peace, which we define as including the physical, psychological, material, cultural, and ecological welfare of peoples.

CISTP offers a new model for a white paper that includes multiple perspectives from distinct disciplinary approaches, all centered on the same problem.

Our CISTP Student Research Interns form a focused group that produces in-depth student research on topics of pressing interest to current terrorism and peace studies.

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