Grassroots networks

ISD’s networks include practitioners, youth, women, community influencers, former extremists and survivors of violent extremism.

Extremism is a global phenomenon that is ill served by top-down approaches. We work to empower and facilitate civil society, fostering networks of independent, community groups and influencers to take the lead at the front lines, applying their expertise and credibility in a way that delivers impact at scale.

These networks provide expert knowledge and context to help create effective counter-extremism programmes. Find out more about our grassroots networks:

Against Violent Extremism Network
ISD’s Against Violent Extremism (AVE) network leverages the experiences and insight of former violent extremists and survivors of violent extremism. The network empowers them to work together to push back against extremist narratives.

YouthCAN
ISD’s Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) is the leading global youth counter-extremism network, uniting over 1,500 young activists, creatives and tech entrepreneurs in more than 130 countries.

Women and Extremism (WaE)
ISD’s Women and Extremism network (WaE) pioneers new research and initiatives to address the presence of women within violent extremist organisations and develop new ways for women to counter extremism globally.

ISD’s Civil Society Networks team

Zahed Amanullah
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Zahed Amanullah

Resident Senior Fellow, Networks & Outreach

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Zahed Amanullah
Zahed Amanullah

Resident Senior Fellow, Networks & Outreach

Zahed Amanullah is a Resident Senior Fellow at ISD and leads on ISD’s civil society engagement, communications, and partnerships, coordinating the public and private sectors with activists, frontline workers, and relevant civil society networks to counter disinformation, hate speech, extremist propaganda and recruitment. Zahed has worked recently on research and capacity building for NGOs in Kenya, Europe, and the Middle East. He recently co-authored The Impact of Counternarratives, a cross-platform study on counternarrative messaging impact and Between Two Extremes, a study of extremist messaging during the 2017 Kenya elections. Along with Google.org, he has helped oversee a £1m innovation fund for UK civil society organisations. He has given testimony to the UK and European parliaments and has been featured at the BBC, NPR, Channel 4, Sky News, the Guardian, CNN International, The National, The Daily Star, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Newsweek, among others.
Kelsey Bjornsgaard
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Kelsey Bjornsgaard

Senior Youth Advisor

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Kelsey Bjornsgaard
Kelsey Bjornsgaard

Senior Youth Advisor

Kelsey Bjornsgaard is a Manager, Technology, Communications & Education at ISD focusing on counter-narrative development and delivery as well as youth engagement and education. Kelsey is responsible for running the Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) and organising ISD’s Youth Innovation Labs. Kelsey is developing new strategies for enhancing peer-to-peer messaging and works closely with young activists internationally to develop innovative youth-led initiatives to prevent and counter violent extremism. Kelsey also works closely with the Strong Cities Network to amplify youth voices amongst government and policy-makers at a city level. Kelsey previously managed marketing and social media strategy for an independent US-based IT company. She holds a Masters in International Conflict Studies from King’s College London and a Bachelors in European Studies from the University of Oklahoma.
Cooper Gatewood
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Cooper Gatewood

Manager, Digital Research

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Cooper Gatewood
Cooper Gatewood

Manager, Digital Research

Cooper is a Manager within ISD’s Digital Research Unit, focussing on quantitative research into the spread of hateful and polarising narratives online, and how they are leveraged by extremist actors. Cooper also develops monitoring and evaluation frameworks to measure the impact of a number of ISD’s intervention projects. Cooper is currently contributing to ISD’s research on disinformation campaigns, particularly those aimed to influence and disrupt election processes. He also manages on the Online Civil Courage Initiative in France, coordinating activities to support civil society’s response to hate and extremism online. In addition, Cooper conducts ongoing evaluation of a number of ISD’s programmes, including Be Internet Citizens and Young Digital Leaders. Prior to joining ISD, Cooper worked at Portland, where he advised clients from the non-profit and government sectors on their media engagement and social media strategies. Cooper holds a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University and a Masters of International Security from Sciences Po. He has a background in quantitative research and data visualisation. He also speaks fluent Spanish and French, as well as proficient Japanese.
Anisa Harrasy
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Anisa Harrasy

Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

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Anisa Harrasy
Anisa Harrasy

Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

Anisa Harrasy is a Manager at ISD, where she works across ISD’s youth empowerment projects, including the Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) and Young Cities. Through these projects, Anisa delivers capacity-building workshops, oversees youth-led campaigns and initiatives and facilitates dialogue between youth and policymakers. Anisa also helps lead ISD’s strategic development in Sub Saharan Africa and specializes in promoting peace in East Africa specifically. Anisa has conducted significant research on the influence and effect of non-state actors in global affairs and politics. 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.
Jennie King
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Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

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Jennie King
Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

Jennie King is a Senor Policy Manager, supporting programme design, policy outreach and strategy across the organisation. Before joining ISD, Jennie served as MENA Regional Director Arts, Assistant Country Director Egypt and Co-Director Hungary for the British Council, the UK’s international body for cultural relations. In Egypt she coordinated a system reform programme with the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, including the most extensive policy dialogues in recent decades, and organised the country’s first ever Social Enterprise Week with 400+ stakeholders from the public, private and third sectors. In Europe she spearheaded the People-to-People Central Europe programme, an initiative to foster cohesion in the most deprived and marginalised regions of Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic, designing activities to promote inclusive economic growth and youth-based social action. Jennie read Arabic and Spanish at Pembroke College, Cambridge, receiving a Foundation Scholarship and the Marie Shamma’a Frost Prize for Oriental Studies. She was awarded the Idle Scholarship on graduation, joining Occidental College’s Oxy-at-the-UN Programme in New York. At UNHQ she completed courses in Conflict Resolution and Human Development and led a task force for the Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Change. She also served as an Attaché for the Guatemalan Diplomatic Mission, covering modalities for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, COP 20, and resolutions passing through the Security Council on ISIL.
Charlotte Moeyens
Charlotte Moeyens

Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

Josh Phillips
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Josh Phillips

Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

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Josh Phillips
Josh Phillips

Manager, Technology, Communications & Education

Josh is a Manager working on the ISD’s Education Programme, where he supports the development, delivery and evaluation of key digital citizenship projects, Be Internet Citizens and Young Digital Leaders. Through these projects, he has written unique, accredited curricula, which have been used to teach thousands of students across the UK and Europe, as well as to train hundreds of teachers. Josh has also supported the Education team’s policy engagement, including having briefed the UK Home Secretary on ISD’s digital citizenship programming. He has co-authored and published impact reports, as well as a toolkit for NGOs to design their own digital citizenship projects. Previously, he developed his research and project management skills on Chatham House’s US and Americas Programme. A former teacher holding a PGCE, Josh also has an MSc in International Politics from SOAS University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Leeds University.
Jasmeet Sahotay
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Jasmeet Sahotay

Coordinator, Technology, Communications & Education

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Jasmeet Sahotay
Jasmeet Sahotay

Coordinator, Technology, Communications & Education

Jasmeet Sahotay is a Coordinator working jointly on YouthCAN and Young Cities projects, including supporting the delivery of the Youth Innovation Labs, managing the YouthCAN communication strategy, and developing new project activities and strategies. Jasmeet was previously a programme coordinator at PATRIR, an internationally recognised peacebuilding think tank which is based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. There he developed and managed a series of projects focussed on countering violent extremism, hate speech and polarisation. He also has extensive experience in training and implementing campaigns centred around youth empowerment. 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.