2021 Agenda



October 12–14, 2021





8:00 am (DOH) | Registration


9:00 am (DOH) | Opening Ceremony

In-Person Session

  • H.E. Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, State of Qatar


9:05 – 9:15 am (DOH) | Welcome Remarks & Opening Commentary

In-Person Session

  • Michael Masters, President of the Board, The Soufan Center
  • Ahmad Hasnah, President, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)


9:20 – 10:00 am (DOH) | Fireside Chat with the President of the Republic of Rwanda

Resilience Building and Securing Development in Africa

Hybrid Session

This session will focus on building resilience and promoting socioeconomic development in Africa, amidst challenges of conflict, terrorism and COVID-19.

  • H.E. Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda
  • [moderator] Mr. Steve Clemons, Editor at Large, The Hill


10:05 – 10:45 am (DOH) | Panel Discussion

Afghanistan: Two Decades Reporting from the Ground

In-Person Session

  • Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent; Host, MSNBC’S “On Assignment With Richard Engel”
  • [moderator] Mr. Ali Velshi, Host of “Velshi”, MSNBC


10:50 – 11:30 am (DOH) | Fireside Chat with Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States

Protecting the U.S. Homeland from Diverse Security Threats

Virtual Session

This session will examine the increasingly diverse security challenges facing the world and the United States today, and the importance of global cooperation in tackling emerging threats.

  • The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, United States
  • [moderator] Mr. Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent, Yahoo News


11:35 am – 12:35 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

The Impact of COVID-19 on Security & Diplomacy

Hybrid Session

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaped not just the global threat environment, but also impacted international partnerships, caused a reallocation of resources and capacities, and heightened domestic socioeconomic dynamics that have challenged many states. This session will examine how states and international actors have had to adapt their international engagement and diplomacy in response to these developments.

  • Gilles de Kerchove, Former Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Council of the European Union
  • Ambassador Nathan Sales, Former Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (acting), S. Department of State; and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
  • Mark Power, Deputy Ambassador, British Embassy Israel, United Kingdom Foreign Office
  • Laila Bokhari, Board Director, Nordic Safe Cities; Senior Adviser, Yara International; and Former Deputy Minister/State Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office and Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway 
  • [moderator] Mr. Bobby Ghosh, Editor, Bloomberg


12:45 – 1:25 pm (DOH) | Fireside Chat

Qatar’s Political and Diplomatic Efforts on Afghanistan

In-Person Session

The session will focus on Qatar’s role in addressing the critical political challenges facing Afghanistan, and the importance of strengthening international and regional efforts to address them.

  • E. Dr. Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani, Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution, State of Qatar
  • [moderator] Mr. Peter Bergen, Vice President, New America


1:25 – 2:50 pm (DOH) | Lunch


2:50 – 3:00 pm | Remarks by Mr. John Godfrey, Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Acting Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Department of State Bureau of Counterterrorism, United States

Virtual Session


3:00 – 4:00 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

The Evolution of the Global Security Landscape

Hybrid Session

This session will reflect on the evolution of the international security landscape over the past year, given the impact of the global pandemic, severe climate events and an increasingly diverse terrorist threats that includes a confident Al-Qaeda, strong ISIS affiliates and emerging violent right-wing extremist networks.

  • Ambassador Edmund Fitton-Brown, Coordinator, United Nations Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban
  • Charles Spencer, Assistant Director of the International Operations Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States
  • [moderator] Mr. Peter Bergen, Vice President for Global Studies and Fellows, New America


4:05 – 4:45 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

Are We Equipped to Deal with Current Global Terrorist Threats?

Virtual Session

This session will examine changes in the terrorism landscape over the past year – from the emergence of a more potent transnational violent right-wing extremist threat, the potential instability in Afghanistan and strong regional al-Qaeda and ISIS affiliates exploiting local and regional grievances – alongside the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Colonel (Retired) Chris Costa, Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism, United States; and Executive Director, International Spy Museum
  • Bruce Hoffman, Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, Council on Foreign Relations
  • [moderator] Ms. Robin Wright, Columnist, The New Yorker; and Joint Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace and Woodrow Wilson Center


4:50– 5:50 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

The Transition from Counterterrorism to Great Power Competition: Challenges, Opportunities, and Strategic Impact

Virtual Session

This session will look at the implications of managing competition among near peers, or ‘great power competition’ for collective efforts to counter global threats and challenges; what are the costs, benefits and likely outcomes of a shift in states’ approaches.

  • Ambassador Bilahari Kausikan, Former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore; and Chairman, National University of Singapore Middle East Institute
  • John Brennan, Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, United States
  • [moderator] Mr. Mark Mazzetti, Washington Investigative Correspondent, The New York Times


5:55 – 6:35 pm (DOH) | Fireside Chat

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Impacts on Geopolitics, National Strategies, and Global Cooperation

Virtual Session

This session will examine the emergence of the unprecedented global pandemic and the impact on international cooperation, as states compete and cooperate to secure protective gear, vaccines, impose travel restrictions, and manage protective measures.

  • Matthew Pottinger, Former Deputy National Security Advisor, United States; and Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution
  • [moderator] Mr. Lawrence Wright, Author and Staff Writer for The New Yorker


6:40 – 7:40 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

The Evolution of Terrorist Groups: Adapting to Global Responses and Dynamics

Virtual Session

This session will explore the evolution of terrorist groups and how they have adapted in response to international dynamics and counterterrorism efforts, including an increased focus on the gender dimension and the different roles of women and girls.

  • Audrey Kurth Cronin, Distinguished Professor in the School of International Service and Director of the Center for Security, Innovation and New Technology, American University
  • Tim Wilson, Trustee, Airey Neave Trust
  • [moderator] Ambassador Umej Bhatia, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Offices in Geneva and Vienna, Singapore


8:00 – 11:00 pm (DOH) | Film Screening of “Totally Under Control,” Discussion, & Dinner

Hybrid Session

  • Alex Gibney, President, Jigsaw Productions
  • [moderator] Mr. Steve Clemons, Editor at Large, The Hill

8:15– 8:55 am (DOH) | Fireside Chat with Senior Minister of Singapore

Cooperation for Development and Security

Virtual Session

This session will examine the approach taken by Singapore to addressing a complex set of challenges over the past year, in particular the COVID-19 pandemic, and the potential for increased violent extremism with a focus on the importance of multilateralism and development for securing the future of the region.

  • E. Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Republic of Singapore
  • [moderator] Mr. Bobby Ghosh, Editor, Bloomberg


9:00 – 9:40 am (DOH) | Fireside Chat with Foreign Minister of Qatar

Strategic Cooperation in the Gulf and Beyond

In-Person Session

This session will reflect on Qatar’s role in mitigating regional crises and in responding to global challenges including the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.

  • E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar
  • [moderator] Mr. Ali Velshi, Host of “Velshi”, MSNBC


9:45 – 10:25 am (DOH) | Fireside Chat

Bringing Terrorists to Justice and Promoting Global Accountability

In-Person Session

Accountability for perpetrators of ISIS crimes remains low in many states, even as the evidence of ISIS’ atrocities continues to mount, and is evidenced by the work of the UN Investigative Team in Iraq. The prosecution of terrorists at the international level remains a complex challenge, and this session will reflect on some of important progress made and challenges remaining in this field.

  • Karim A. A. Khan QC, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court
  • [moderator] Mr. Bobby Ghosh, Editor, Bloomberg


10:30 – 11:10 am (DOH) | Fireside Chat with Minister of Justice of Greece

Towards Closer Judicial Cooperation to Tackle International Crime

In-Person Session

This session will examine Greece’s efforts to work with strategic and international partners to strengthen judicial cooperation at multiple levels to address international crimes, including transnational organized crime, terrorism, and others.

  • E. Kostas Tsiaras, Minister of Justice, State of Greece
  • [moderator] Mr. Steve Clemons, Editor at Large, The Hill


11:15 – 11:25 am (DOH) |Remarks by Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Nigeria

In-Person Session


11:30 am – 12:10 pm (DOH) | Fireside Chat

Afghanistan Evacuations and Humanitarian Challenges

In-Person Session

  • Dexter Filkins, Staff Writer, The New Yorker
  • [moderator] Ali Velshi, Host of “Velshi”, MSNBC


12:10 – 12:55 pm (DOH) | Lunch


12:55 – 1:55 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

The Crisis in Afghanistan and Future Paths

Hybrid Session

This session will reflect on the critical challenges facing Afghanistan today, including the preservations of gains made in education, politics, democratic governance and women’s rights and opportunities.

  • E. Ambassador Roya Rahmani, Former Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States and Non-Resident Ambassador-Designate to Mexico, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia; and Senior International Security Fellow, New America
  • Ioannis Koskinas, Senior Fellow, International Security Program, New America; and CEO, The Hoplite Group
  • Saad Mohseni, Chairman and CEO, MOBY Group
  • [moderator] Mr. Peter Bergen, Vice President, New America


2:00 – 2:10pm | Remarks by Ms. Michèle Coninsx, Assistant Secretary-General/Executive Director, United Nations Counter- Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED)

Virtual Session


2:10 – 3:10 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

The United Nations and Counter Terrorism: Examining Twenty Years of Security Council Engagement and Impact

Hybrid Session

Within days of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks the UN Security Council took swift and decisive action to develop a robust international legal and policy framework. Twenty years on, it is crucial to consider the impact of these efforts – on security, international cooperation, humanitarian action and human rights and – and what aspects will be critical to ensuring that the UN, and the Security Council, can respond effectively to future challenges posed by terrorism and violent extremism.

  • Majed Al-Ansari, President, Qatar International Academy for Security Studies (QIASS)
  • Eric Rosand, Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute
  • Irfan Saeed, Acting Deputy Coordinator, U.S. Department of State Bureau of Counterterrorism, United States
  • [moderator] Mr. Mark Power, Deputy Ambassador, British Embassy Israel, United Kingdom Foreign Office


3:10 – 3:20 pm (DOH) | Remarks by H.E. Ms. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ireland

Virtual Session


3:25 – 4:05 pm (DOH) | Fireside Chat

Domestic Terrorism in the United States

Virtual Session

As the United States focuses on the increasing threat posed by domestic terrorism, this session will examine the key issues raised by the new national strategy and the progress made on implementation, including the possibility of working with international partners to address transnational dimensions.

  • Joshua Geltzer, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, United States National Security Council
  • [moderator] Ms. Karen Greenberg, Director, Fordham Law’s Center on National Security


4:10 – 5:10 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

The Evolution of Right-Wing Violent Extremism and Terrorism

Hybrid Session

Over the past five years, the threat posed by violent extremists adhering to far-right or conspiracy-theory driven ideologies have burgeoned, and been exacerbated by the global pandemic and political partisanship, with violence materializing in both online and offline spaces. This session will examine this phenomenon in the context of a wider evolution of the global terrorist threat.

  • Kacper Rekawek, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oslo Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX)
  • Vidhya Ramalingam, Founder and CEO, Moonshot
  • Deeyah Khan, Filmmaker and Founder, Fuuse
  • Nicholas Rasmussen, Executive Director, Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism
  • Jason Blazakis, Senior Research Fellow, The Soufan Center
  • [moderator] Mr. Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent, Yahoo News


5:15 – 6:15 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

Emerging Trends and Dynamics in Global Terrorism

Virtual Session

This panel, hosted by the Global Research Network, will focus on emerging trends and dynamics in global terrorism, touching upon a range of issues, including repatriation and reintegration, justice and accountability, drivers of radicalization, and various CVE approaches and strategies.

  • May Salem, Program Manager, DDR & Preventing Radicalisation and Extremism, The Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping & Peacebuilding (CCCPA)
  • Gina Vale, Senior Research Fellow, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR)
  • Mohamed Sinan Siyech, Associate Fellow, Observer Research Foundation
  • Omar Mohammed, Historian; Founder of Mosul Eye; Research Fellow, Program on Extremism, George Washington University; and Lecturer, Sciences Po
  • [moderator] Mr. David Scharia, Chief of Branch, United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED)



9:15 – 9:25 am (DOH) | Remarks by Honourable Sheikh Imran Abdulla, Minister of Home Affairs, Republic of Maldives

In-Person Session


9:35 – 10:35 am (DOH) | Panel Discussion

The Future of CVE

Hybrid Session

Over the past two decades, efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism have increasingly focused on working with local communities, civil society, faith-based organizations, municipalities and others to craft context-dependent strategies. While efforts have been difficult to assess and evaluate, there has been widespread consensus that military means cannot alone fight extremism. This session will examine lessons learned, good practices and challenges derived from experiences in different regions.

  • Jeppe Albers, Executive Director, Nordic Safe Cities
  • Fatima Akilu, Executive Director, Neem Foundation
  • Qudus Malik, Esq., Executive Director, Global Lawyers for Refugees
  • [moderator] Michael Masters, President of the Board, The Soufan Center


10:45 – 10:55 am (DOH) | Remarks by The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Minister of State (Minister for Security and Borders), United Kingdom

Virtual Session


11:00 – 11:40 am (DOH) | Fireside Chat

Disinformation, Conspiracies, and the Role of the Internet

In-Person Session

This session will reflect on the emerging threats posed by disinformation and conspiracy theories, and the important roles and opportunities for governments and tech firms to contribute to mitigating the threats.

  • Max Rose, Former United States Congressman from New York
  • [moderator] Mr. Michael Masters, President of the Board, The Soufan Center


11:50 am – 12:50 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

Disinformation and Conspiracies: Assessing Threats and Risks Online

In-Person Session

This session will consider the risks posed by disinformation and conspiracies in the online space, and the potential offline impacts on social cohesion, politics, and security.

  • Marc Owen Jones, Assistant Professor in Master of Arts in Digital Humanities and Societies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • Zachary Schwitzky, Founder and CEO, Limbik
  • [moderator] Mr. Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent, Yahoo News


12:50 – 1:30 pm (DOH) | Lunch


1:30 – 2:10 pm (DOH) | Fireside Chat

Dynamics of Security & Development in the Middle East & North Africa

In-Person Session

Many Arab states have confronted sweeping social, political and economic challenges over the past year and this session will reflect on evolutions in the region over the past decade, in particular the development of non-military civil society action.

  • Rami Khouri, Director of Global Engagement, Adjunct Professor of Journalism, and Journalist-in-Residence, American University of Beirut; and Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School
  • [moderator] Dr. Colin P. Clarke, Senior Research Fellow, The Soufan Center; and Director of Policy and Research, The Soufan Group


2:15 – 3:15 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

Terrorism Threats and Responses Online: The Role of ICTs

Virtual Session

As the risks posed by disinformation and conspiracies online continue to increase, it is critical to address the role of the Internet and communications technologies, as well as social media companies, and consider the role of the government.

  • Dina Hussein, Head of Counterterrorism and Dangerous Organizations Policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Facebook
  • Irene Poetranto, Senior Researcher, The Citizen Lab
  • [moderator] Mr. Kevin Baron, Founding Executive Editor, Defense One


3:20 – 3:30pm | Remarks by Inspector General Boy Rafli Amar, National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT) Chief, Indonesia

Virtual Session


3:30 – 4:30 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

Security, Competition & Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific

Virtual Session

Throughout Asia, states are confronting complex and interlinked challenges relating to climate, Covid and the risks of violent extremism, from South to Southeast Asia, and the wider Pacific region. This session will examine developments in the subregions as well as their linkages to wider global dynamics.

  • Asfandyar Mir, Affiliate, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University; and Senior Expert, United States Institute of Peace
  • Shashi Jayakumar, Senior Fellow, Head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security, and Executive Coordinator of Future Issues and Technology, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Maya Mirchandani, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation
  • Waheguru Pal Sidhu, Clinical Professor, New York University School of Professional Studies
  • Ahmad El-Muhammady, Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, The Hague
  • [moderator] Mr. Bryan Bender, Senior National Correspondent, Politico


4:35 – 5:35 pm (DOH) | Panel Discussion

Dynamics of Security & Development in Africa

Virtual Session

Several states in the Middle East and Africa are witnessing the proliferation of regional affiliates of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, exacerbating existing security and development challenges and intersecting with local conflicts and grievances. Many states in the region contributed the highest numbers of foreign terrorist fighters to ISIS. This session will example the diverse challenges faced in the region and the impact of terrorism and violent extremism on security and governance, especially in light of COVID-19.

  • Peter Neumann, Professor of Security Studies at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London
  • Karima Bennoune, United Nations Special Rapporteur in Cultural Rights; Visiting Professor, University of Michigan Law School; and Homer G. Angelo and Ann Berryhill Endowed Chair, Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law, University of California Davis School of Law
  • Oluwole Ojewale, ENACT Regional Organised Crime Observatory Coordinator, Institute for Security Studies
  • [moderator] Ms. Josie Ensor, U.S. Correspondent, The Telegraph


5:35 – 5:40 pm (DOH) | Closing Remarks by Senator Joseph Donnelly, Former United States Senator from Indiana

Virtual Session


5:40 – 5:50 pm (DOH) | Closing Remarks by The Soufan Center