September 17, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Institute for Near East Policy is proud to announce that Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi has joined its staff as a visiting fellow. A world-renowned expert in community-based counter-radicalization programming, Mirahmadi’s research will focus on the U.S. government's domestic and foreign policies related to countering violent extremism in Muslim communities and around the world. She will work within the Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, named for Institute co-founder and former chairman Michael Stein.
“I am excited to join the Washington Institute’s staff, and I look forward to working with one of the capital’s premier centers for the study of the Middle East,” said Mirahmadi.
In addition to her new appointment, Mirahmadi is president of the World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE), an educational organization whose mission is to enhance communication and understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, and to strengthen moderate Muslim institutions worldwide to mitigate social and political conflict. She recently established the International Cultural Center, the first community center in the U.S. specifically focused on preventing radicalization through educational programming, community service, and community engagement with law enforcement.
“At this point in the struggle against radical Islamist extremism, studying the threat is not sufficient; we need to provide new ideas on how to defeat the threat,” said executive director Robert Satloff. “We are honored to have an expert of Hedieh’s caliber to contribute to this vital area of research.”
Mirahmadi has briefed countless policymakers both in the U.S. and abroad, and has presented at conferences organized by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the National Fusion Center, and the Director of National Intelligence. She currently serves on the LAPD’s Community Police Advisory Board, the Director of National Intelligence’s Heritage Council, and she was recently appointed to the Montgomery County Faith Community Advisory Board and the Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families.
She has also led several innovative programs to explore counter-extremism initiatives in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2010, she hosted a high-level delegation, including a Federal Minister of Pakistan, to inform U.S. policymakers about the potential role of traditional-cultural Muslim networks in countering radicalism. Since 2011 she has co-sponsored “The Project for Islamic Cooperation for a Peaceful Future in Afghanistan,” an initiative that has networked over 200 Afghan community leaders, social activists, and former Taliban commanders with internationally renowned moderate religious scholars. She is also the co-author of a ground-breaking study based on field interviews in over 35 cities and villages across Pakistan to examine initiatives led by traditional Muslim networks to decrease sectarian and communal violence and promote peace-building. The WORDE Report, “Pakistan’s Civil Society: Alternative Channels to Countering Extremism” and its supplementary 275 page directory of civil society organizations is the first study of this magnitude and will be replicated in Afghanistan between 2012-2014.
“Countering the ideology that drives extremism is a critical element in preventing and defeating the violence that emerges from it,” said Stein program director Dr. Matthew Levitt. “Hedieh's sharp analytical background, combined with her hands-on experience implementing community-based countering violent extremism programs both in the U.S. and abroad, make her uniquely qualified to work on these critical issues.”
Mirahmadi is the author of the monographs “Pakistan’s Civil Society: Alternative Channels to Countering Violent Extremism” (2012), “From Community Building to Countering Extremism: An A-to-Z Guide to Pakistan’s Civil Society” (2012), “A Community-Based Approach to Countering Radicalization: A Partnership for America” (2011) and “Traditional Muslim Networks: Pakistan’s Untapped Resource in the Fight against Terrorism” (2010).
With an undergraduate degree in history from UCLA, she earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California and a degree in Islamic doctrine from the As-Sunnah Foundation.
The Washington Institute is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) research organization whose mission is to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and to promote the policies that secure them.
Contact information: [email protected], 202-452-0650