START is excited to announce a new study abroad elective course, Singapore: Countering Violent Extremism and Deradicalization, for the summer of 2015. This is a unique opportunity for all students to receive a theoretical foundation in countering violent extremism and radicalization, while immersing themselves in a new culture. Singapore happens to be a world leader in deradicalization and countering violent extremism. The course will run from June 6 through July 10, and students will spend 10 of those days in Singapore engaging with terrorism experts and experiencing all that the country has to offer—including Ramadan celebrations.
The course begins with an online, four-week seminar that allows flexibility for busy students who want to study abroad. The course, taught by Dr. Kate Izsak, Associate Director for Education at START, provides students with a foundation of the theoretical concepts used in terrorism studies before taking students to engage directly with world leaders in deradicalization in Singapore.
While in Singapore, working with Rohan Gunaratna and his team from the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), students will engage directly with countering violent extremism through a series of seminars and field visits. The students will visit prisons, community groups, and religious organizations established to build community and enhance deradicalization efforts. With these organizations, students will meet with their leadership, ask questions, and apply the theoretical bases developed in the beginning of the course.
“The Singapore trip is an excellent hands-on research opportunity, because Singapore has many well established programs and centers that have worked with START before. The students can build upon their classroom knowledge with access to leading terrorism research experts and examples of the Singaporean deradicalization processes and programs,” says Marcella Morris, START Educational Coordinator.
Throughout the trip, students will participate in cultural activities, including a visit to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Ramadan celebrations, and a night safari. The students will stay in the heart of Singapore and will travel to reach the NTU campus and local sites for lectures, thus ensuring an authentic experience in the city.
After completing the study abroad portion of the course, students will return to their virtual classroom for final presentations and reflection upon their time abroad.
“We’re very excited for this program. The course was created to be flexible for students with internships or jobs over the summer who still want to study abroad. Instead of committing to several weeks abroad, the students only need to be available to travel for the 10 days of the trip, and the rest of the time, they’re participating in our online classroom,” Morris said.
The program does not require the participants to be University of Maryland-affiliated students or part of the START Global Terrorism Minor. Applications are currently being accepted online and will be open until March 1, 2015. For any questions regarding the class please contact Marcella Morris.