Conference on Security in the Maghreb-Sahel

Organized  by the Maghreb Center in partnership with the Global Affairs Program at George Mason University

When: 02/09/17, 1:00PM – 5:00PM

Where: FOUNDER’S HALL 134, George Mason University-ARLINGTON 3351 North Fairfax Drive (within walking distance of the Virginia Square-GMU Metro station on the Orange Line). Free and Open to the Public.

The conference objective is: 1) to assess, and provide keys for understanding the ideological, social, political, economic, and geopolitical dynamics at play in the current increase of instability, illicit trafficking, and the influx of refugees and displaced persons, as well as the intensification of terrorist activity in the Sahara-Sahel strip; and 2) to examine and analyze counterterrorism policies developed by local and international actors, as well as potential preventive measures from a social and economic development perspective.


1:00 pm – 1:30pm:   Welcome and conference introduction: Profs. Niklas Hutlin & Nejib Ayachi (George Mason University, Global Affairs Program)

Opening RemarksHis Excellency Tièna Coulibaly, Ambassador of Mali 

1:30 -2:35 Panel 1: The Regional Setting         
 Click -> here to listen to the panel presentations

Moderator: Larry Velte (Near East South Asia Center, National Defense University (NDU); and Maghreb Center (MC))

  •  Nejib Ayachi (Maghreb Center, and Global Affairs Program at GMU) 

Maghreb’s social, economic, political and geo-strategic situation

  • Larry Velte (NDU, and MC)

The development of insecurity and terrorists activities, and the main actors

  • Claire Metelits (American University)

Indigenous groups and non-state actor dynamics

Question and Answer Session

2:35 – 2:50 – Coffee break


2:50 -  4:20 Panel 2:  Facing the Challenges  
 Click -> here  to listen to the panel presentations

Moderator: Néjib Ayachi (Maghreb Center; George Mason University, Global Affairs Program)

  • Chris Chivvis (RAND)

Counterterrorism policies

  • Michael Yaffe (United Sates Institute of Peace)

Countering the threats, focusing on security sector reform.

  • Professor Hassana Alidou (Ambassador of the Republic of Niger)

Mitigating insecurity in the region, internal tensions, and the risk of violent extremism from a political, diplomatic, security, and development perspective.

  • Paola Ridolfi (World Bank)

Strategies and development programs in Chad, Mali and Niger. Introduction to the on-going reflections on prioritizing and delivering development solutions in insecure areas.

420 – 5:00 – Question and Answer Session, and Concluding Remarks