Marshall Center Alumna asks ‘Is Al-Qaeda relevant or on the rebound?'

Alumna, adjunct professor asks ‘Is Al-Qaeda relevant or on the rebound’ to #PTSS16_6 participants

Marshall Center Alumna asks ‘Is Al-Qaeda relevant or on the rebound?'

By Christine June
Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (March 7, 2016) – Dina Al Raffie, alumna and adjunct professor for the Program on Security Studies 16-06 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, talks about whether Al-Qaeda is relevant or on the rebound to the 76 participants from 45 countries attending PTSS 16-06 March 7 at the Marshall Center.

Al Raffie is one of five alumni adjunct professors who are working as seminar co-leaders and lecturers.

“One of the greatest strengths of the Marshall Center is the network of professionals that we built here,” said retired U.S. Marine Col. James Howcroft, who is the director of the Marshall Center’s Program on Terrorism and Security Studies. “It’s extremely important, I believe, to demonstrate to people as they are going through the courses the value and utility of this network.” 

For that reason, Howcroft chose PTSS graduates as adjunct professors for PTSS 16-06, which started Feb. 24 and will end March 23. He said that this was a first for the Marshall Center’s premier counterterrorism course, and a direction he plans to continue for future PTSS courses and community of interest workshops.

“My plan is to bring back graduates as adjuncts to show the people sitting in the seats that ‘look, this network that we talk about is a very real thing, it’s a very useful thing, and it’s something you can and should be a part of,” Howcroft said. “So it’s walking the walk and not just talking the talk as far as the value of the network.”

Held twice a year, PTSS is a functionally focused program that draws in civilian, law enforcement, and military counterterrorism professionals from around the world and improves their capacity to counter terrorism's regional and transnational implications. It aims to combat terrorism in all of its manifestations: nationally, regionally and globally. PTSS 16-06 has 76 participants from 46 countries.

Howcroft added that this particular class will mark more than 1,500 graduates from PTSS, which began at the Marshall Center in 2004.

“I have included topics in the PTSS this time that do indeed utilize the skill and experience of these adjuncts as a means to keep up with the growing trends and to use their particular expertise in case studies and issues that are relevant to terrorism today,” Howcroft said.

“If the course defines itself on its graduates as its ‘crown jewel’ than surely, the validity of the course is proved by bringing back graduates in order to facilitate the conduct of the next course,” Al Raffie said. “It makes it far more real for the participants knowing that some of the professors in front of them have previously sat in their position.”

Al Raffie’s fellow alumni adjunct professor, Ugandan armed forces Col. Tingira Omero Irumba agrees, “The greatest beauty of being PTSS graduate and then coming back as an adjunct is that we bring back current trends, policies and best practices that have been formulated from the conceptual framework of the PTSS school of thought.”

The other alumni adjunct professors are: Dr. Anita Peresin from Croatia; Lt. Col. Tibor Kozma from Hungary; and, Capt. Tom John Egan from Ireland.