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Hedayah

Our leadership

With our diverse leadership model and oversight mechanism, we retain global expertise and guidance from over 20 countries.

Chairman

H.E. Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi is a Member of the UAE Federal National Council for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Defense Affairs, Interior & Foreign Affairs Committee at the Council.

H.E. Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi

Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi is a leading international expert on Extremism and Education. He has more than thirty years of outstanding academic and professional achievements in Government, Non-Government, and Private sectors within the United Arab Emirates and abroad.

As a pioneer of educational reform and policy in the UAE, Dr. Al Nuaimi served as the Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University [UAEU] and the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge [ADEK] in his capacity as a Member of the Executive Council of the Government of Abu Dhabi.

As a prominent advocate of Global Peace, Tolerance, and Coexistence, Dr. Al Nuaimi is currently serving as the first Chairman of the International Steering Board of Hedayah, The International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism based in Abu Dhabi. He also founded and currently Chairs the World Council of Muslim Communities and was the first Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Elders.

International Steering Board

The Steering Board is comprised of 12 members of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and is represented through local ambassadors or governmental entities. Its purpose is to ensure Hedayah reflects the insights of GCTF members.

Members

Algeria

Australia

Canada

Egypt

EU

Indonesia

Morocco

The Netherlands

Turkey

UAE

United Kingdom

USA

Executive Leadership

H.E. Ahmed Al Qasimi

H.E. Ahmed Al Qasimi

H.E. Ahmed Al Qasimi was nominated as the Executive Director of Hedayah, the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism. He brings significant public sector experience to t…

H.E. Ahmed Al Qasimi

H.E. Ahmed Al Qasimi

Executive Director

H.E. Ahmed Al Qasimi was nominated as the Executive Director of Hedayah, the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism.

He brings significant public sector experience to this position, including almost a decade of service in the U.A.E. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, where he worked in a variety of settings prior to joining Hedayah. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, H.E. Al Qasimi most recently served as the Deputy Director of International Security Cooperation from 2017 to 2019. He also served as an acting Council General in the UAE consulate in Houston Texas, and for several years at the UAE Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. In that capacity, he regularly engaged with the UN Security Council, and actively participated in debates related to UN Security Council as well as provide insights a key Security Council resolutions one of which was, Resolution 2178 on the flow of foreign terrorist fighters adopted at the Security Council by the President of the United States in 2014.

He was also heavily invested in discussions involving the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Counter Violent Extremism. Prior to this, H.E. Al Qasimi served as an analyst in the Ministry’s Policy Planning Department from 2010 to 2014, following peace and security issues regionally and globally. During his time in the Policy Planning department he led efforts with global stakeholders towards establishing the Syria Recovery Trust Fund, a multi-donor fund that was established to help rebuild Syria.

H.E. Al Qasimi’s current research interests include global violent extremism, terrorism, and strategies to prevent violent extremism in fragile states. He is particularly interested in understanding the threats and challenges posed by the online indoctrination of young people into violent extremist ideology.

He graduated from the American University of Sharjah with a B.A. in International Relations. He has a M.A. in Diplomacy and International Affairs from Zayed University in Abu Dhabi which he completed with Distinction, and has taken postgraduate courses at New York University’s College of Law in New York City, which he completed with honors. He was awarded a masters honors certificate from NYU's college of Law in New York. He is fluent in Arabic and English.

Ivo Veenkamp

Ivo Veenkamp is the co-founder and first Deputy Executive Director of Hedayah, The International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, since January 2013. He is responsible for the da…

Ivo Veenkamp

Deputy Executive Director

Ivo Veenkamp is the co-founder and first Deputy Executive Director of Hedayah, The International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, since January 2013. He is responsible for the day-to-day lead of the organization.

Ivo has more than twenty-five years of experience at the crossroads of international, national and local strategy, policy and programming. He has been working on counterterrorism, countering violent extremism (CVE), social cohesion, and civic integration. Throughout his life Ivo has lived in the Netherlands, Indonesia, India and the United Arab Emirates. He has worked in government, the private sector and a multilateral organization.

Prior to joining Hedayah, Ivo was the Dutch Director for Counterterrorism Policy and Strategy reporting directly to the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security for more than five years. In this capacity he was responsible for the development and implementation of the first National Counterterrorism strategy, Dutch counterterrorism- and CVE policy, and coordinating bilateral and multilateral cooperation (UN, EU, GCTF).

The past fifteen years he was involved in strategic international stakeholder engagement and frequently acted as an expert speaker, moderator and representative at international conferences and meetings on CT and CVE.

Before this, Ivo was the Program Director for Modernizing Civic Integration Policy and the Project Director for the preparation of the Constitutional Reform of the Netherlands Antilles at the Ministry of Security and Justice. He was also the Deputy Head and Head of the Urban Policy Division and the Secretary of the Government Committee on Oversight/Inspection at the Ministry of the Interior. He started his career as a Management Consultant at the Government and Non-Profit group of KPMG Consulting. One of his last assignments was interim Chairman and Director of the Foundation for Youth Work of the city of Amsterdam.

Ivo was selected for the two-year Leadership Development Program of the Senior Executive Service of the Dutch government and joined the Senior Executive Service shortly after. When he started at Hedayah he had been a member of the Dutch Senior Executive Service for more than eight years.

Until summer 2018 he was an Associate Fellow for Counterterrorism and Extremism of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Until mid-2019 he was also a member of the Steering Committee of the RESOLVE Network (Researching Solutions to Violent Extremism), a global consortium of researchers and research organizations on CVE.

Ivo has master degrees in both Political Science and Psychology (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

International Advisory Board

The International Advisory Board (IAB) is comprised of international independent experts, practitioners, and academia that serves as an advisory body to the Steering Board and Hedayah’s leadership team.

Michele Grossman

Professor Michele Grossman has led academic research on preventing and countering violent extremism for over a decade, in particular through her roles as Director of the Centre for Resilient and Inclu…

Michele Grossman

Professor Michele Grossman has led academic research on preventing and countering violent extremism for over a decade, in particular through her roles as Director of the Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies (CRIS) and Convenor of the AVERT (Addressing Violent Extremism and Radicalisation to Terrorism) Research Network at Deakin University in Australia. Professor Grossman conducts qualitative research focused on understanding how best to engage communities in preventing violent extremism, and on building resilience to violent extremism for both communities and governments. She is widely published in the area of resilience to violent extremism and on issues related to working with communities to foster better awareness and understanding around early intervention in radicalisation trajectories.

She earned her PhD in Cultural Studies in 2005 at Monash University in Australia. She has led a range of national and international research projects on areas including understanding community reporting thresholds on violent extremism to authorities by close friends and families; the roles of women in both supporting and opposing violent extremism; building youth resilience to violent extremism, and reintegrating women and children returning from violent extremist foreign conflict zones. She is the author of over 80 journal articles and book chapters, and partners with a wide range of international and national community organisations and government agencies through her research. Her work has been supported by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) in the UK, the National Institute of Justice in the USA, Public Safety Canada, the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 and a range of Australian Government agencies and funding schemes.

She is a Robert Schuman Distinguished Scholar Fellow at European University Institute in Florence, Italy, in connection with her role on the Horizon 2020 GREASE project, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Huddersfield’s School of Education and Professional Development. Her ground-breaking research on community reporting thresholds for sharing information with authorities about violent extremism has been replicated in multiple countries, and her work with colleagues on assessing youth resilience to violent extremism, the BRAVE measure, has also been used in a variety of national and regional contexts. She is a member of the Commonwealth CVE Secretariat Pool of Experts and has contributed to national parliamentary inquiries as an expert witness on extremist movements and radicalism in Australia.

Professor Grossman is a passionate believer in the importance of providing a robust, collaboratively developed and research-informed evidence base through which strong policy and practice outcomes can be achieved to help identify and harness innovation in countering violent extremism in a swiftly evolving and volatile global landscape.

Paul Spoonley

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley was, until 2019, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand. He retired from Massey University in Ap…

Paul Spoonley

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley was, until 2019, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand. He retired from Massey University in April, 2021. He gained an MSc in Race Relations from the University of Bristol and his PhD was on the politics of the extreme right in New Zealand. He is the author or editor of 28 books, the most recent being The “New” New Zealand. Facing Demographic Disruption (2020, new edition, 2021). He is one of the editors of a forthcoming book on the far right in New Zealand. He was a Programme Leader of a research programme on the impacts of immigration and diversity on Aotearoa/ New Zealand (2014-2021). He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2011 and was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of California Berkeley in 2010. Since 2013, he has been a Visiting Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany. He is a Fellow of the Auckland Museum and Research Affiliate of Koi Tū : The Centre for Informed Futures at the University of Auckland.

Paul Foley

Distinguished former Australian diplomat with extensive experience in national security and foreign policy issues, including counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism. As Ambassador for C…

Paul Foley

Distinguished former Australian diplomat with extensive experience in national security and foreign policy issues, including counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism.

As Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism from 2016 to 2020, Paul led the Australian international engagement CT mission with extensive experience in bilateral, regional and multilateral CT and CVE.

He co-chaired the CVE Working Group of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum and served on the Governing Board of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF)

Paul also served as Ambassador to Iran from 2013 to 2016, Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012 and Timor-Leste from 2002 to 2004. Paul was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2013 for services to diplomacy.

Professor Murat Yeşiltaş

Professor Murat Yeşiltaş completed his BA and MA at the Department of International Relations of Sakarya University, in 2003 and 2009, respectively. He earned his PhD at the Department of Political …

Professor Murat Yeşiltaş

Professor Murat Yeşiltaş completed his BA and MA at the Department of International Relations of Sakarya University, in 2003 and 2009, respectively. He earned his PhD at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Marmara University in 2012 Yeşiltaş was a visiting researcher at the Department of European Studies and International Politics of Lancaster University between 2008 and 2009. He was a visiting researcher at Virginia Tech’s Institute of Government and International Relations in 2010-2011.

Professor Yesiltas current researches are on international security, terrorism, military studies, ethnic and religious radicalization, non-state conflicts, and Kurdish politics. He is currently working on the following research projects The Rise of Kurdish Geopolitical Space, Border Security in the Middle East and The New Regional Security Project in the Middle East (NRSP). His recent books are Türkiye Dünyanın Neresinde Hayali Coğrafyalar, Çarpışan Anlatılar (koç Ünivesitesi Yayınları, 2015) Jeopolitik Zihniyet ve Türkiye’de Ordu(Kadim, 2016), Non-State Military Actors in the Middle East: Geopolitics, Ideology and Strategy (Palgrave McMillan,2017), Küresel Dönüşüm Sürecinde Türkiye’nin Büyük Stratejisi (SETA, 2020) (with Ferhat Pirinççi), Ortadoğu’da Güvenlik Savunma ve Silahlanma (with Rıfat Öncel) (SETA, 2021), Savunma Politikalarına Giriş (Edit, Ferhat Pirinçi), (SETA, 2021).

Peter Knoope

Peter is an expert on counter-terrorism. During his work in diplomatic missions, he has led on conflict resolution, security, counter-terrorism. humanitarian assistance, migration patterns and grass-r…

Peter Knoope

Peter is an expert on counter-terrorism. During his work in diplomatic missions, he has led on conflict resolution, security, counter-terrorism. humanitarian assistance, migration patterns and grass-root level development work.

Peter has worked as a spokesperson to cabinet Ministers and has more than fifteen years of work experience in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Whilst Peter's professional experience over the last ten plus years is at the strategic level, he has also worked in curriculum development, higher education institutions and also in poverty alleviation and development work.

Since its creation in 2005, Peter was part of a team that created the office of the National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism in the Netherlands; where he held the responsibility for the international aspects of national security related to terrorists’ threats. Peter was also the initiator and former Director of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism the Hague.

Since 2014, Peter has been involved in country-specific analyses of drivers of radicalization and training and capacity building efforts in a variety of countries; including Iraq, Cameroun, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Mali, Sudan and Nigeria. I also work on conflict resolution (Truth and Reconciliation) in the Central African Republic and on referral systems in Iraq.

Peter is also an Associate Fellow at ICCT, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Clingendael Institute, Associate fellow at Human Security Collective and a Senior Visiting fellow at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

Edit Schlaffer

Edit Schlaffer

Andrew Glazzard

Andrew Glazzard

Laila Bokhari

Laila Bokhari

Ilwad Elman

Ilwad Elman

Raffaello Pantucci

Raffaello Pantucci

William Braniff

William Braniff

Spotlight

Meet International Advisory Board member: Paul Foley

A distinguished ambassador with over 35 years of experience, Paul Foley has represented the Australian Government in Afghanistan, Iran and Timor Leste.

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