Training & Capacity Building

We create and deliver programmes that empower everyone to engage in the fight against extremism, hate and disinformation.

Extremism, hate and disinformation are global phenomena that cannot be solved by governments alone. These threats to democracy can only be overcome in collaboration with a wide array of groups from across society. ISD works to provide training and build the capacity of actors from across societies in order to build safe, free and resilient communities.

ISD designs and delivers programmes which empower frontline practitioners and foster civic action. We work with charities, practitioners, educators, governments, the private sector and young people.

Our on-the-ground activity is informed by our sector-leading data and insight, creating programmes that respond to emerging and evolving threats. Our training and capacity building is delivered through the following key programmes and channels:

Strong Cities Network
Through the Strong Cities Network, we deliver training and support in order to build the capacity of cities to respond to extremism, hate and disinformation in their communities.

YouthCAN Network
Our global YouthCAN network unites over 1,900 young activists, creatives and tech entrepreneurs in more than 130 countries to amplify their efforts worldwide. The online YouthCAN network engages young people and provides them with the tools they need to create effective content aimed at challenging hate speech and extremism. Offline, our Youth Innovation Labs provide young activists with the resources and expertise to develop and deliver counter-speech campaigns for tackling issues affecting young people in their communities.

Young Cities
Combining the Strong Cities Network’s capacity building with YouthCAN’s empowerment of young activists, Young Cities is the first project of its kind to bring together young people and policy makers to address local-level issues on a global scale. In partnership with city leaders, Young Cities supports and amplifies youth-led efforts through training workshops, seed funding and ongoing mentorship, giving young people the tools to develop and implement initiatives that respond to the needs of their communities.

 

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ISD’s Training & Capacity Building team

Daniel Hooton
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Daniel Hooton

Head of Strong Cities Network International Programmes

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Daniel Hooton
Daniel Hooton

Head of Strong Cities Network International Programmes

Daniel Hooton is Head of ISD’s Strong Cities Network (SCN) International Programmes, with responsibility for strategy and delivery of international cities programmes. This includes current projects to develop institutional approaches to long-term governance, human security and social policy challenges in cities across Africa, Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East. He has advised and worked with numerous international governments, UN agencies and mayors on international counterterrorism and counter-extremism strategy, briefing senior ministers and leaders and shaping multilateral cooperation on grassroots practice in cities around the world. Daniel previously served as policy advisor to the Shadow Minister for Communities in the UK Parliament, developing opposition policy and scrutiny on community cohesion, social exclusion and public services reform. He is the co-author of the ISD report Community Resilience Study: Kumanovo, North Macedonia. He holds a Master’s degree with Distinction from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Bristol.
Rashad Ali
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Rashad Ali

Resident Senior Fellow

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Rashad Ali
Rashad Ali

Resident Senior Fellow

Rashad Ali is a Resident Senior Fellow at ISD. Rashad is a counter terrorism practitioner who works on deradicalisation initiatives alongside Prisons, Probation Services, Police and community groups. He was formerly a national leadership member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the revolutionary Islamist organisation and has been actively involved in undermining its extreme ideology and perversion of Muslim faith since his departure. As a researcher he has given testimony and contributed submissions to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Radicalisation, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Intelligence and has briefed the London Mayor's office on Counter Terrorism and has been consulted by think tanks and governments in Germany, Denmark, the EU and the US. He is an external lecturer for Derby University’s Master Class courses on Radicalisation and Counter Terrorism. He has written for The Observer, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Times, Dissent Magazine, Birlingske in Denmark, Conservative Home, and given commentary for Newsnight, BBC News. He is the author of Islam, Shariah and the Far Right published by Demoqratiya journal, A Guide to Refuting Jihadism published by HJS and EFD, and the author of the ISD report Blasphemy, Charlie Hebdo, and the Freedom of Belief and Expression. He is classically trained in Islamic theology and jurisprudence and Modern studies in Islam. He studied at al-Azhar University, Cairo, and the Markfield Institute.
Dominic Pkalya
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Dominic Pkalya

Senior Programme Manager

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Dominic Pkalya
Dominic Pkalya

Senior Programme Manager

Dominic Pkalya is a Senior Programme Manager at ISD, working across ISD’s counter-extremism initiatives in Kenya and the Eastern Africa region, including the PROACT Community Based Interventions Program and supporting the Strong Cities Network (SCN) and Young Cities initiatives in Kenya. He was previously the Chief of Party for the Strengthening Community Resilience against Extremism (SCORE) and worked with the United Nations Development Programme in Kenya, providing technical support in addressing armed violence reduction efforts amongst pastoralists communities in Kenya. He is the co-author of Why Al-Shabaab Attacks Kenya: Questioning the Narrative Paradigm.
Kelsey Bjornsgaard
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Kelsey Bjornsgaard

Senior Manager, Campaigns & Capacity Building

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Kelsey Bjornsgaard
Kelsey Bjornsgaard

Senior Manager, Campaigns & Capacity Building

Kelsey Bjornsgaard is a Senior Manager at ISD, where she leads on counter-narrative development and delivery as well as youth engagement and education through the Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) and Young Cities programmes. Kelsey has developed strategies for enhancing peer-to-peer messaging, working closely with young activists internationally to develop innovative youth-led initiatives to prevent and counter violent extremism. Kelsey also has worked, through Young Cities, to amplify youth voices amongst government and policy-makers at a city level. She is the co-author of the ISD reports YouthCAN: The Many States of Activism and No Platform for Old Men, Barriers to Online Youth Civic Engagement and P-CVE in Europe. She holds a Masters in International Conflict Studies from King’s College London and a Bachelors in European Studies from the University of Oklahoma.
Anisa Harrasy
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Anisa Harrasy

Manager, Young Cities and Sub Saharan Africa

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Anisa Harrasy
Anisa Harrasy

Manager, Young Cities and Sub Saharan Africa

Anisa Harrasy is a Young Cities and Sub Saharan Africa Manager at ISD, where she works across the Strong Cities Network and Young Cities Sub Saharan Africa programming. This work entails designing and delivering project activities with both youth and local government stakeholders. The activities range from capacity building workshops, grant management and supporting locally-led PVE initiatives. Anisa also helps lead ISD’s strategic development and networking in Sub Saharan Africa and specialises in promoting peace in East Africa. She is the co-author of the ISD reports Between Two Extremes: Responding to Islamist and tribalist messaging online in Kenya during the 2017 elections and No Platform for Old Men, Barriers to Online Youth Civic Engagement and P-CVE in Europe. Anisa holds an MA in International Security from the University of Sussex and a BA in International relations with Arabic. She is bilingual Swahili and English, with basic Arabic proficiency.
Charlotte Moeyens
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Charlotte Moeyens

Networks and Civic Action Manager

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Charlotte Moeyens
Charlotte Moeyens

Networks and Civic Action Manager

Charlotte Moeyens is a Networks and Civic Action Manager at ISD, sitting in the central Resources and Methods team to support with the collation and distribution of counter-extremism best practice, leading much of ISD’s practitioner and civil society capacity-building work, overseeing the development and international delivery of training modules, materials and resources. She has supported the delivery of the Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety in Europe, Africa Online Safety Fund and Mayor of London’s Shared Endeavour Fund. Most recently, she is working with the McCain Institute to develop and build the capacity of a US Prevention and Intervention Practitioners Network. Charlotte also assists with ISD’s and the Strong Cities Network’s research efforts to better understand the scale and scope of extremist content online. She is co-author of the ISD reports YouthCAN: The Many States of Activism and Women, Girls and Islamist Extremism.
Lama El-Awad
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Lama El-Awad

Regional Manager at ISD for the Strong Cities Network (SCN)

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Lama El-Awad
Lama El-Awad

Regional Manager at ISD for the Strong Cities Network (SCN)

Lama El-Awad is a Regional Manager at ISD for the Strong Cities Network (SCN) in Lebanon and Jordan, working across both countries to provide support to SCN, subnational entities and local prevention networks to prevent and counter violent extremism. Lama is also responsible for managing member engagement in the Middle East region, including through city exchanges, practitioner workshops, and direct city consultations on local P/CVE strategy and practice. Lama is also a founding member of “Dawaer,” a Lebanese NGO committed to increasing the resilience of children and youth. Lama is also a trainer on child rights and peacebuilding, advocating for issues related to human rights, gender, diversity and peace, and has contributed to several campaigns such as the “Campaign against Child Marriage”, the “Petition and Complaint” campaign, and the reform of the civic education curriculum in Lebanon.
Simeon Dukic
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Simeon Dukic

Programme Manager, Strong Cities Network, Balkans & Central Asia

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Simeon Dukic
Simeon Dukic

Programme Manager, Strong Cities Network, Balkans & Central Asia

Simeon Dukic is a Programme Manager for the Strong Cities Network (SCN) in the Western Balkans and Central Asia. In his role, he strengthens national to local coordination and cooperation in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE), including helping set up multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary Local Prevention Networks (LPN) in SCN member-cities so that they can draft and implement tailored Local P/CVE Action Plans. Simeon was previously a Project Associate at the National Committee for Countering Violent Extremism and Counter-Terrorism (NCCVECT) of the Republic of North Macedonia where he helped draft the first National CVE Strategy. He is co-author of the ISD report "Community Resilience Study: Kumanovo, North Macedonia.
Emir Hasanovic
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Emir Hasanovic

Western Balkans Coordinator

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Emir Hasanovic
Emir Hasanovic

Western Balkans Coordinator

Emir Hasanovic is the Western Balkans Coordinator at ISD, responsible for Young Cities and Strong Cities coordination in the region, research and analysis, communications, and expansion. He is a strategic communications professional and project manager with international experience in consultancy, government, and non-profit sector. He has worked for communications agencies in the Middle East and the US, advising premier clients in government, environment, corporate social responsibility, human rights primarily. Emir has also served as Special Adviser to Deputy PM and Minister of Defence of North Macedonia for Communications and International relations. He has also been Program Development Officer for the USAID/OTI North Macedonia Support Initiative. Emir is a graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and is fluent in Albanian, Macedonian, Bosnian, and English, and he speaks conversational French.
Ghida Elassaad
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Ghida Elassaad

Project Coordinator, Strong Cities Network, Lebanon and Jordan

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Ghida Elassaad
Ghida Elassaad

Project Coordinator, Strong Cities Network, Lebanon and Jordan

Ghida Elassaad is a Project Coordinator for the Strong Cities Network (SCN) in Lebanon and Jordan. She is responsible for coordinating the implementation of community based activities and capacity building activities for local stakeholders and partners. Ghida has been engaged previously in prevention of violent extremism, dialogue, peace building, relief, education and civic engagement programs in various projects in Lebanon.
Isel van Zyl
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Isel van Zyl

Project Coordinator, Civic Action and Capacity Building

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Isel van Zyl
Isel van Zyl

Project Coordinator, Civic Action and Capacity Building

Isel van Zyl is a Civic Action and Capacity Building Coordinator at ISD. Her work entails assisting the Strong Cities Network and McCain Institute with implementing project activities and capacity building workshops. Her interests are concentrated on the different ways in which conflict manifests on the African continent, as well as the preventative measures taken by African states. Her research focus has been on the prevention and countering of violent extremism (P/CVE), border security management, and rehabilitation and reintegration (formerly known as DDR). Prior to joining ISD, Isel worked as a Research Officer for the Institute for Security Studies in the Complex Threats in Africa programme. Isel holds a Masters degree in Advanced European and International Affairs at the Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE) in Nice, France.
Jasmeet Sahotay
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Jasmeet Sahotay

Project Coordinator

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Jasmeet Sahotay
Jasmeet Sahotay

Project Coordinator

Jasmeet is a Project Coordinator at ISD, working on the YouthCAN and Young Cities projects. Jasmeet supports the delivery of the Youth Innovation Labs, manages the Communications for youth-related programming, and supports the development of new project activities and strategies. He is the lead author of the ISD report Voices of Pakistani Youth: Lessons for Civil Society in the Development of Effective Counter-Narrative Campaigns. He holds a Masters in International Law, Security and Terrorism from the University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy & Politics from the University of Leeds.
Martina Lappo
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Martina Lappo

Project Coordinator, Young Cities

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Martina Lappo
Martina Lappo

Project Coordinator, Young Cities

Martina Lappo is a Project Coordinator at ISD, working on the Young Cities programme in the West Africa region. Previously, Martina worked with NGOs and UN agencies in the Caribbean, and Central and West Africa. She has experience in project Monitoring and Evaluation, and in the implementation of sexual and reproductive health development programmes. She holds a Masters in Humanitarian Action from University College Dublin and a Bachelors’ Degree in Interpreting and Translation Studies from the University of Salford.
Shirley Otube
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Shirley Otube

Coordinator, East Africa

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Shirley Otube
Shirley Otube

Coordinator, East Africa

Shirley Otube is a Coordinator for ISD in East Africa.
Akyar Maalim 
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Akyar Maalim 

Associate, East Africa

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Akyar Maalim 
Akyar Maalim 

Associate, East Africa

Akyar Maalim is an East Africa Associate at ISD, working under the PROACT program. Her work entails supporting the PROACT program by implementing project activities, conducting background research and coordinating communication for the project. Akyar hold a Masters degree in International Peace, Conflict and Development studies from Universitat Jaume I in Castellon, Spain under the UNESCO Chair of Education and Philosophy and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the United States International University-Africa. She has previously worked as Communication and Knowledge Management Intern at the United Nations Development Program and as a communications intern at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.