Former UN anti-terror officer to chair in IR

Wednesday 31 May 2006

The University of St Andrews has appointed Professor Alex P. Schmid to a Chair in International Relations and the new Director of its Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence.

Prof Schmid (62), an internationally renowned scholar in Terrorism Studies and former Officer-in-Charge of the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations, succeeds Professor Paul Wilkinson who established the CSTPV in 1994 and is now Chairman of its Advisory Board.

Prof Schmid is widely known in international academic and policy circles.

Prior to his appointment to St Andrews, Dr. Schmid served as Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations’ Terrorism Prevention Branch in Vienna, where, from 1999 to 2005, he held the position of a Senior Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer.

Before joining the United Nations, he held the Synthesis Chair on Conflict Resolution at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He also taught International Relations at the Department of Political Sciences of Leiden University where he acted as Research Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Research Programme on Causes of Human Rights Violations (PIOOM).

He was an Einstein Fellow at the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, and served on the Executive Board of the International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council (ISPAC) of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme.

Dr. Schmid is a Member of the World Society of Victimology and a Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences of the Netherlands. He also is a Member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Violent Radicalisation.

Alex P. Schmid has authored and edited more than 150 reports and publications, including the award- winning ‘Political Terrorism’. He is currently working on a Handbook of Terrorism Research.

He said : “In its research programme, CSTPV will place more stress on the propaganda side of terrorism, since terrorism is a combination of violence and propaganda. The University of St. Andrews has allocated funding for three PhD students and a datamanager to chart how terrorists use the media and the internet, and how and why radical rhetoric translates into violent action. “Nobody is born a terrorist and very few dissatisfied young people become terrorists. Yet the process of radicalization that ends in the use of terrorist violence is ill- understood and so is the process of disengagement from terrorist groups. This will be another focus of our research. “St. Andrews, in partnership with Informa, will soon launch an E- Learning Course in Transnational Terrorism, which will enable students from all over the world to profit from the expertise assembled here.”

Issued by Beattie Communications on behalf of the University of St Andrews. Contact : Niall Scott, tel 01334 462244, mobile 07711 223062, Claire Grainger 01334 462530, mobile 07730 415015.

A jpeg of Prof Schmid is available on request from the University Press Office, contact Allison Irvine, [email protected], tel 01334 462529.

Notes to Editors.

The Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), established in 1994, is an independent academic research centre within the School of International Relations of the University of St. Andrews.

CSTPV is dedicated to the study of the determinants, manifestations and consequences of terrorism and other forms of political violence. In addition, CSTPV investigates the responses of states, civil society and international organisations to violent modes of waging conflict.

As a basis of its work, CSTPV maintains databases, collects and analyses documents of militant and terrorist groups, and engages in the systematic evaluation of responses to terrorism.

Furthermore, the Centre conducts contract research for foundations as well as national and international bodies and organizations. In doing so, it is committed to rigorous, evidence- based scientific analysis that is policy-relevant but not supporting any particular partisan policy.

CSTPV seeks to provide, within its area of expertise, high-quality education to students at the University of St. Andrews and, beyond that, through its training sessions, conferences and its new E-Learning Programme, to a wider public. In their teaching, CSTPV staff seek to familiarize students with the latest research findings, ensure that they acquire a sound basis in scientific methodology, and foster critical thinking.

CSTPV’s research and teaching are grounded in a belief in public service, global responsibility and the desire to contribute to the enhancement of human security.

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