Marshall Center Alumni Program Makes History in Jordan
The Alumni Program at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies conducted its first ever Alumni Outreach Networking Event held Mar. 8 in Amman, Jordan.
The ONE coincided with the Marshall Center’s Levant Counterterrorism Outreach event also held in Amman, part of the Program of Terrorism Security Studies that goes back 18 years with a network of over 2,300 alumni.
Participants at the ONE included representative of the U.S. and German Embassies in Jordan and nearly three dozen Jordanian and regional alumni who discussed the changing face of terrorism for 2023 and beyond.
Attending Jordanian alumni represented the Jordanian Armed Forces, the Jordan National Center for Security and Crisis Management, the Jordanian Ministry of Interior, and private enterprises. Regional alumni attended from Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, and from the Brazilian Federal Police Attaché to the Brazilian Embassy in Jordan.
“Working closely with our sister regional center, the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, we were also able to welcome six NESA alumni to our event and inform them of Marshall Center activities and programs,” said Frank Lewis, Alumni Relations Specialist and main event organizer.
Col. Frank Chawk, Marshall Center Director of Transnational Programs, welcomed the audience. “The Marshall Center is all about the connections that we make,” he said. “It’s all about the cooperation, the collaboration and the trusted network that the Marshall Center sustains and increases every year.”
Both U.S. Ambassador Henry Wooster and German Ambassador Bernhard Kampmann participated in the event and provided opening remarks.
In his speech, Kampmann recognized the Marshall Center’s 30th anniversary this year as a U.S.-German generational promise to the next cohort of security professionals. Germany as the second largest international donor to Jordan after the United States, he said, adding that “Germany is currently working closely with Jordanian authorities in the counterterrorism field with a focus on prevention and risk identification.” He went on to speak of the ongoing counter-radicalization efforts and the strengthening of Jordanian cyber space.
Dr. Tova Norlen, Marshall Center Professor of Counterterrorism and International Security Studies and PTSS Academic Advisor, gave the keynote presentation, discussing the new strategic environment and the current threat landscape, including hybrid threats and terrorist use of cyber, AI and advanced technology.
“Terrorist groups will exploit the new security landscape to their advantage, finding vulnerable populations for recruitment, radicalization and poorly governed spaces for training and mobilization,” Norlen said. “They will also take advantage of our weaknesses and use all the technologies and means available to stage attacks, including cyber capabilities, online encrypted communication and advanced technology.”
The keynote presentation was followed by questions from the alumni audience with discussions on preventing root causes of terrorism, the perceived gradual U.S. withdrawal of support from the region due to a shift in priorities to Ukraine and strategic competition with China, the role of women in counterterrorism, the threat of a new generation of terrorism in Iraq, and the differences between fragile states, failed states and rogue states.
The George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies, founded on June 5, 1993, is a renowned international security and defense studies institute. A bilateral partnership between the U.S. and Germany, it is a lasting cooperation that promotes dialogue and understanding among the nations of North America, Europe and Eurasia. In 2023, the Marshall Center marks its 30th anniversary, re-emphasizing its commitment to carrying Marshall’s vision, an enduring legacy that continues through the security education initiatives of the Center.