Online | 26 May 2020

Understanding Career Foreign Fighters


Examining how career foreign fighters can impact current conflict dynamics to help future prevention efforts

Understanding and addressing the foreign fighter phenomenon, particularly the wave of foreign fighters that joined violent extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, has become a key policy priority in recent years. Currently, research focuses on why individuals travel outside of their home countries to join armed groups, as well as the prospective security threat they pose after they return. But what about those who do not return but go on to join new groups or new wars?

A recent RESOLVE Network Research Report, Career Foreign Fighters: Expertise Transmission Across Insurgencies, examines this question and explores how policymakers can incorporate lessons learned into future prevention efforts.

Join USIP for a virtual conversation with the report’s authors as they explain their findings and share insights on the unique challenges that career foreign fighters pose, what we know about their “career” trajectories, their impact in local conflicts, and the implications for current policy and programmatic challenges. They will also highlight recommendations for future efforts to address violent extremism and conflict and to prevent conflict careerists based on their pioneering study. 




Leanne Erdberg Steadmanintroductory remarks

Director of VE, USIP and Interim Executive Director, RESOLVE Network

Chelsea Daymon

PhD candidate, American University; Associate Fellow, Global Network on Extremism & Technology

David Malet

Associate Professor of Public Affairs, American University; RESOLVE Research Advisory Council Member, RESOLVE Network

Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn

Researcher, Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University; Research Fellow, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague

Colin P. Clarkemoderator

Senior Research Fellow, The Soufan Center; RESOLVE Research Advisory Council Member, RESOLVE Network


Take part in the conversation on Twitter with #CareerForeignFighters.

You will be able to participate in the live Q&A using the YouTube chat box function on the YouTube page.