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Posted June 4, 2012


University of Waterloo partnering on project to combat terrorism

WATERLOO – International efforts to fight terrorism are taking a leap forward now that the University of Waterloo and its research partners have launched a major project that will bring together experts from every aspect of the issue.

Called the Canadian Research Network on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS), it is a partnership between Waterloo, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. This new network will provide Canadian experts on terrorism and security an unprecedented opportunity to meet and share their expertise.

“Waterloo is proud to be a partner in this groundbreaking project,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president & vice-chancellor of Waterloo. “Not only are Waterloo researchers assisting with counterterrorism efforts through work, but the immeasurable benefits of facilitating dialogue between experts are far-reaching and will have an international impact.”

Professor Lorne Dawson, chair of Waterloo’s Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, is an expert on the study of the process of radicalization leading to violence, especially for so-called homegrown terrorists. He is one of the key experts involved in setting up the network. He says while TSAS is comprised of independent researchers, one of the most innovative elements of the project is that high-level government officials will be involved in every aspect, listening, interacting and learning from the experts.

“This network will include lawyers, criminologists, geographers, psychologists, sociologists, religious studies scholars, political scientists, experts in immigration and refugee matters, and others,” said Professor Dawson. “This work spans disciplines, and could have immediate policy implications.”

TSAS recently received a grant for $460,000 as part of the Kanishka project, the Government of Canada’s funding initiative focusing on counter terrorism research. The institutional partners also received a Partnership Development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) worth $200,000.

Plans over the next 18 months include three specialized workshops on terrorism, security, and societal responsibilities pertaining to terrorism. The network will commission literature reviews, and post them on a public website it plans to launch. The project will involve internships in government departments for graduate students. There will also be a week-long summer institute for leading scholars, graduate students and government employees involved in counterterrorism efforts.

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