Australia-Indonesia partnership builds capacity in terrorism policy

Research news
12 December 2017

ADI is working with Indonesian public and civil society organisations to provide insight into policy responses to terrorism.

Researchers from the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) have developed a course with Indonesian civil society organisations and public institutions to offer insights into policy responses to terrorism for people within Indonesia.

The course has been funded through a partnership between Australia Awards in Indonesia and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is being undertaken in Australia and Indonesia over a three-month period by 32 Indonesian leaders.

Entitled “Understanding contemporary terrorism and developing policy responses,” the course was developed by ADI Associate Research Fellow Dr Matteo Vergani and led by Professor Greg Barton, who holds a chair in Global Islamic Politics at ADI and leads research on countering violent extremism in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Other leading academics in the field collaborated in course development, including ADI Professor Michele Grossman and Victoria University researcher Dr Debra Smith.

Dr Vergani is an expert in political psychology, particularly factors which expose people to the risk of radicalisation and violent extremism or protect them; as well as the evaluation of countering violent extremism policies.

Dr Vergani noted that the course has a strong practical focus and allowed participants to meet with Australian professionals working in countering violent extremism and counter terrorism.

“A key aspect of the course is the multidisciplinary approach and the dialogue between practitioners and academics to understand topics such as terrorist recruitment, community policing and the role of mothers and sisters in countering violent extremism,” Dr Vergani said.

Other aspects of the course will help participants understand contemporary international terrorism, with a focus on ISIS, al-Qaeda and affiliates, foreign fighter flows, terrorism financing and implications for regional security.

“One of the aspects we have looked at has been the development of Salafi jihadism in Southeast Asia and the new challenges in the post-ISIS caliphate environment because of the re-energisation of existing jihadi networks, recruitment and returning foreign terrorist fighters,” he explained.

Dr Vergani said participants will apply their knowledge to a “real world” scenario from their own backgrounds, as well as gaining insights from the lessons learned at a global level and in Southeast Asia in countering violent extremism.

“Ultimately, we want the participants to go away with new practical insights that they can apply in their activities as members of civil society and government organisations,” he said.

“For instance, they will get new ideas about how the legal framework and other mechanisms such as evaluations of CVE programs in Indonesia can be strengthened to respond to the threat posed by returnees from Syria and Iraq.”

Participants are also looking at evolving cyber security efforts and techniques in Australia, and community policing and intelligence, as well as front-line policing of youth in culturally diverse communities.

By Deakin Research

For all media enquiries please contact Deakin’s media team.

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From top: ADI Associate Research Fellow Dr Matteo Vergani and Professor Greg Barton.

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From top: ADI Associate Research Fellow Dr Matteo Vergani and Professor Greg Barton.

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