Rachel Hon

In the spring of 2022, Rachel earned MA degrees in English and Political Science with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies from Drury University. She is now completing her Advanced MSc in International Relations and Diplomacy at the Institute of Global Affairs, Leiden University, located in The Hague. Much of Rachel’s research has examined the role of social and political inclusion of Islamist organisations in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, and Palestine. Additionally, she has spent considerable time investigating the role of third-party mediation in longstanding MENA conflicts, especially where negotiation has proven unsuccessful. Rachel is also an intermediate-level Arabic speaker, having taken four years of courses taught by native speakers.

Graig R. Klein is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) at Leiden University. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor of security studies at New Jersey City University and served as an Academic Primary Investigator at the World Bank. His research is published in leading international peer-review journals, including, International Organization, Conflict Management & Peace Science, and Terrorism & Political Violence. At the core of his research is investigating and analysing complex socio-political phenomena and threats of violence using a variety of statistical and big-data analytical tools. Graig obtained his PhD in Political Science from Binghamton University, holds an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University, and a BA in Political Science from Binghamton University.


Flavie Curinier holds a BA in International Studies with a focus on the MENA region from Leiden University. She is currently completing her MSc in Crisis and Security Management: Governance of Radicalism, Extremism, and Terrorism at the Institute of Global Affairs, Leiden University. Her main research interests include radicalization, extremism, and terrorism, with a focus on understanding the structural and psychological factors leading to violent actions. She is also interested in the MENA region, specifically its international relations and the vacuums of power that create opportunities for violent armed groups to gain control. Her interest further focuses on France in the context of Islamophobia and extremism. Born and raised in France, Flavie is fluent in French, English, and Spanish, as well as a beginner in Arabic.

Seran de Leede works on the topics of women, gender, and political violence as an independent researcher. Her research interests include the involvement of women in violent extremist groups and the relevance of gender in understanding and countering/preventing violent extremism. In her recent publications, she explored the motivations of women joining far-right extremist groups and lessons learned from German exit/prevent programmes aimed at far-right extremist women; the role of women in De Rode Jeugd (The Red Youth, a violent radical Left group active in the Netherlands in the 1970s); the position of Afghan women towards the Taliban; the relevance of adopting a gender perspective in efforts aimed to counter/prevent violent extremism; the motivations and roles of Western women supporting the Islamic State (ISIS); and the roles (and relevance) of women in jihadist groups from a historical perspective. Most recently, she co-edited a special issue for the Central Asia Program on the effect of gender structures and dynamics on violent extremism in the Central Asia region, and she co-authored a toolkit for professionals working with Islamist radicalised women and girls.

Caitlin Masoliver is the administrative processes and systems staff member and contact for the DRIVE project. Prior to joining Leiden University, Caitlin worked for three years in the non-governmental sector on the themes of peacebuilding, conflict analysis/prevention, and the advancement of SDG16+. She holds a master's degree in International Conflict Studies from King's College London with a focus on transitional justice and gender, and a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Maastricht University. Caitlin's prior experience lies in project management, academic research, publication, and lobbying, and advocacy.

Tessa has completed a BA in Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University, including minors in International Relations and Conflict Studies and extra courses at the University of Sydney. Currently, she is completing a MSc in Crisis and Security Management: Governance of Radicalism, Extremism, and Terrorism at Leiden University. Her interest is in the interactions between security, society, and politics. Moreover, she is focused on the interplay between exclusion and (online) inclusion of people. This interest extends to the way in which this interplay plays a role in polarisation within societies. Apart from having a keen interest in polarisation within societies, she is also focused on the relevance of this interplay of exclusion and inclusion in understanding and countering or preventing radicalization and extremism. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Tessa speaks Dutch and English. In addition, she is currently learning French.

Richard McNeil-Willson is a postdoctoral researcher in the field of terrorism and political violence at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), Leiden University. He was formerly based at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence (Italy), as a Max Weber Fellow (2021–2022) and Research Associate (2019–2021) and holds a PhD from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter (UK). His work critically analyses the interplay between groups labelled "extremist" and counter-extremism legislation and the tensions between counterterrorism, human rights, and state violence in Europe. As well as working on the European Commission H2020-funded DRIVE project, Richard has also been Main Researcher for the H2020-funded Building Resilience against Violent Extremism and Polarisation (BRaVE) project, and Project Co-instigator for the Erasmus+ project Counterterrorism and Safeguarding in response to Islamic State (CASIS). He has also conducted research for the European Commission on several project-based collaborations between EU Member States. He holds a PhD from the University of Exeter (UK), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (2019), additional degrees from the universities of Edinburgh, Durham, and Exeter (UK), and visiting fellowships from the universities of Aarhus (Denmark) and Scuola Normale Superiore (Italy).

Lianne Vostermans is a postdoctoral researcher in the field of Terrorism and Political Violence at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), Leiden University. Her research focuses on (violent) social and political mobilisation, paying particular attention to the interplay between emotions, identity, ideology, religion, organisational networks and opportunity structures. Lianne has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Middle East, collecting, amongst others, testimonies of militants. At Leiden University, Lianne works on the European Commission H2020 funded project DRIVE, looking at the dynamics behind the reciprocal radicalisation between Islamist and Right-Wing extremist movements in North-Western Europe.

Lianne obtained her PhD from the Durham Global Security Institute at Durham University (with an ESRC scholarship), holds a MSc in Defence, Development and Diplomacy at Durham University, a PCG in the Psychology of Religion at Cambridge University and a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from University College Utrecht. Previously, Lianne was an affiliate at King’s College London.

Tobias worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the Drive project from 1 January-31 December 2021. He is presently an associate fellow. Tobias’ work looks at how various social, religious, and political groups challenge political institutions, as well as how modern nations react to these challenges. He is interested in applying ethnographic approaches to learn about the realities and meanings of disputed politics on the ground, as well as rethinking political notions and theories. His most recent publications include articles in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Political Theory, Social Compass, Review of Faith & International Affairs, and Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft / Comparative Politics and Governance. He co-edited an issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies entitled, ‘Rethinking Islam and Space in Europe: Governance, Institutions, and Performance’, as well as an issue of American Behavioural Scientist entitled, ‘Strictly Observant Religion, Gender, and the State in the Twenty-First Century’. Tobias was the senior researcher on the project Strictly Observant Religion, Gender, and the State at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge from 2018 to 2020. The research looked at how religious groups who profess to be rigorous adherents of their faith engage with the state on issues of gender and sexuality. Tobias’ study was funded by a Junior Research Fellowship at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge as well as a Vice-Award Chancellor’s from the Cambridge Trust. Tobias has an MPhil in Politics and International Studies from Cambridge, as well as an MA in Religion and Culture Studies and a BA in Politics from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

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