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Talks, Lectures, and Events

Recent Talks, Invited Lectures, and Conference Panels on Extremism, Conflict, and Disinformation. Podcasts and Media available below or on video sharing platforms

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AI, Disinformation, and Parliament Conference
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

Broderick McDonald will speak at the CPA Secretariat's Conference on AI, Disinformation, and Parliament next week. Register below to join online or in-person at Richmond House: https://www.cpahq.org/conference-on-the-4ir-2023/?utm_source=partner&utm_medium=social_organic&utm_campaign=4ir_conference_2023

 

Broderick McDonald (Oxford / International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation)

Jack Hardcastle (CPA Secretariat)

 

4-6 December 2023

Learn more

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Oxford Generative AI Summit 
University of Oxford

Broderick McDonald spoke about Generative AI, Disinformation, and Extremism at the Oxford GenAI Summit on October 21-22 2023 at the Cheng Kar Shek Digital Hub, Jesus College, University of Oxford.

 

The OxGenAI Summit is a multi-stakeholder expert convening hosted at Jesus College, University of Oxford to dive deep into the use cases, implications, and future of generative AI & society. Insights from business and AI leaders, technical experts, & policy experts from the UK and beyond

Broderick McDonald (Kings College London, Associate Fellow)

Dina Hussein (Meta, Head of Counter Terrorism)

Adam Hadley (Tech Against Terrorism, Director)

Rayhan Asat (Atlantic Council, Senior Fellow)

Watch the full panel presentation below on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spkyFDcCQ0Q

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Broderick McDonald will facilitate an Aspen Institute UK discussion with Darren Boyling, Senior Advisor at the FCDO's National Security Directorate. 

 

What are the implications of what governments say publicly and what happens behind the scenes? What is the UK’s relationship – and impact – in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States, China, and NATO? What is the balance of power between public and private infrastructure? What is the effect of the press on foreign policy? How does AI play into all of this? How does good leadership affect foreign policy? These are just some of the areas that this discussion will explore. 


Leadership & National Security will be led by Darren Boyling, a Senior State Threats Adviser working for the Joint Funds Unit and is currently attached the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s National Security Directorate. Darren provides advice on programming and understanding state threats and is building the FCDO’s global state threats network. He was previously Head of Strategic Communications in the HMG Russia Unit in the FCDO. Over the past 20 years he has worked on various international development and national security issues including whilst posted in Ethiopia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia. 

Learn more

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Counter-Terrorism in the Sahel Podcast 
Orion Policy Institute, Washington DC

In this episode of OrionTalks, Broderick McDonald and Guy Fiennes join host Suat Cubukcu to discuss the Wagner Group's expanding relations in the Sahel region and its potential impact on the security and stability of the region.

 

They delve into the specific roles undertaken by the Wagner Group, examining their economic and political motivations, as well as the implications of their involvement in countering rebels and insurgency in the region. Additionally, they assess the Russian government's interest in Wagner's activities and explore potential measures the international community can take to address these concerning developments.

Listen to the podcast here: https://www.orionpolicy.org/orionforum/193/broderick-mcdonald-guy-fiennes-wagner-groups-expanding-footprint-in-sahel

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Peace, Conflict, and Terrorism Seminar
CCSF / Canada House

The CCSF hosted its online seminar on Monday, 28th March 2022. Three CCSF scholars gave inspiring overviews of their research on governing on/offline extremism. You can watch the speakers here on YouTube. If you would like to be invited to future CCSF events, please Contact Us.

Brody McDonald (CCSF Scholar 2021-22), DPhil Student at University of Oxford gave a fascinating talk on “Rebel Competition: How Non-State Actors Consolidate within Civil Wars”, highlighting how extremist rebel groups compete, govern territory, and exploit new technologies within a multi-party civil conflict.

Isabelle Lemay (CCSF Scholar 2021-22), DPhil student in International Development, University of Oxford, talked about her timely research on the politics of refugee reception in countries of the Global North -“Theorizing moments of openness towards refugees: The case of Germany during the 2015-2016 refugee crises”, noting how similar politics could be extended to the current Ukrainian refugee crisis.

Yannick Veilleux-Lepage (CCSF Scholar 2015-16, 2016-17), Assistant Professor of Terrorism and Political Violence, Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University, discussed “Women on Online Extremist Forums” explaining how the creation of online narratives and propaganda fosters or normalizes terrorism.

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Terrorism & Social Media Conference 2022
Hilary Rodham Clinton School of Law

The Impact of Studying Online Extremism on Researchers’ Mental Health: Mitigating and Overcoming the Challenges

•Broderick McDonald (University of Oxford)
•Stevie Voogt (Moonshot CVE)
•Dr Lizz Pearson (Royal Holloway, University of London)

•Olivier Cauberghs (University of St Andrews)

Researchers who face repeated exposure to extremist content are at significantly higher risk of developing symptoms of generalized anxiety and depression. While these symptoms become more acute the more time a researcher spends exposed to this content, complete avoidance of this material is often not an option, especially for early career researchers. To address this issue, this breakout session will facilitate a discussion of the mental health challenges associated with researching extremist content, as well as offer practical insights and advice from clinical psychology to mitigate these risks.

 

The panel will explore new research on this topic and practical interventions to reduce the risks to researchers and practitioners, as well as the broader systemic issues involved. Broader systemic changes can include greater use of automated and quantitative methodologies to review and analyse content, allocating greater funding for mental health training, developing peer support networks, learning from other professions such as law enforcement who are required to view and analyse graphic content. All of these approaches are intended to work in tandem and the issue cannot be fully addressed with only one tool. Despite its importance for academics, think-tankers, and employees of technology firms, this issue is rarely discussed or even acknowledged. Ignoring or avoiding the mental health challenges associated with researching extremist content is dangerous and can lead to more severe symptoms and outcomes. As such, this breakout sessions seeks to tackle one of the most difficult but important challenges to studying terrorism on social media and provide real support to researchers in this field. This session addresses one of the most serious and limiting issues facing researchers studying online extremism from a variety of different angles and perspectives.

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