She is a passionate human rights and rule of law-driven professional with a focus on understanding and countering violence-promoting extremism, using methods and tools that support young people in living better with difference and disagreement. She is also an advocate for seeing and promoting the relatives of youth in violent extremist milieus as critical resources in the work to counter violence promoting extremism.
Together with colleague Sacharias Wiren and in partnership with the University of Cambridge, Umeå University, and Uppsala University, Malena supports the work of IC Sweden, an evidence-based intervention for young people at the intersection of public mental health promotion and prevention of black-and-white thinking, extremism, and polarization. Her interests lie in understanding how to better support young people towards living well with difference and disagreement, and developing interventions based on these understandings.
Malena is a trained Middle East analyst with a focus on security policy. She has gained extensive operational knowledge of countering violence, promoting extremism and terrorism in her role as Chief Analyst for Counterterrorism at the Swedish Security Service. She has also investigated war crimes and crimes against humanity for the UN, headed the Swedish Red Cross in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, and worked on security sector reform for the EU in Afghanistan. Malena brings practical experience as well as operational and strategic perspective to the programme.
The destiny of the IS-families – the question the world is avoiding IS-familjernas öde – Frågan omvärlden duckar för. Världspolitikens Dagsfrågor, Feb 2020, Swedish Institute of International Affairs
Confronting Terrorism, chapter: Swedish Experiences: Countering Violent Networks, Kluwer Law International, 2003 (ed. Dr M van Leeuwen)
Responding to Terrorism Policy Options and Priorities: Swedish Perspectives, 2002