Counter Extremism Project

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The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) describes itself as a not-for-profit, 'non-partisan, international policy organization formed to combat the growing threat from extremist ideology.

Led by a renowned group of former world leaders and former diplomats it will aim to combat extremism by pressuring financial support networks, countering the narrative of extremists and their online recruitment, and advocating for strong laws, policies and regulations.

CEP's senior leadership includes former US envoy to the United Nations for management and reform issues Mark Wallace, former homeland security advisor Fran Townsend and former Sen. Joe Lieberman.


According to the organisation's website blurb, its mission is:

Modeled in part on advocacy efforts to counter Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, CEP will expose shadowy channels of financial support to extremist groups and bring to bear private and public sector pressure to disrupt them.
CEP is assembling the world’s most extensive research database on extremist groups and their networks of support, providing an indispensable resource to governments, media, NGOs and the public. We use the latest communications tools, including social media, to expose the threat of extremists and mount a global counter-narrative to directly counter extremist ideology. Our efforts are focused particularly on young people in communities across the globe vulnerable to extremist messaging and recruitment.
We assist lawmakers and policymakers in countries around the world to devise legislation and regulations that will effectively address the threat their societies face from extremists. [1]

Brussels office

CEP launched CEP Europe in June 2015 'to unite individuals and groups across Europe to combat extremism'.

CEP Europe’s operations in Brussels expands CEP’s mission of exposing the threat of extremism and countering extremist ideologies to Europe’s de facto capital. CEP Europe’s programs in Brussels bring together policy leaders, academics, and grassroots activists for policy briefings as well as research and analysis publications on timely counter extremism and radicalization issues.
CEP Europe’s Brussels team also works to monitor extremists’ social media accounts in various languages, including French, Italian, German, and Turkish. Brussels, along with other CEP Europe offices, ultimately strengthens CEP’s overall efforts to expose extremist financing; rally support for programs to counter the narrative of extremists; and advocate for smart laws, policies, and regulations that promote freedom, security, and tolerance.

The Brussels office is headed by Roberta Bonazzi, the founder of the think tank European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) and serves as its executive director. Bonazzi is a lobbyist who has 'worked for major public affairs agencies in Brussels on a range of issues relating to foreign relations, democratic reform, violent radicalisation and terrorism'.

Counter extremism database

In April 2015 the group launched a searchable database of the leadership and financiers of extremist groups around the globe'. See website.



CEP says that has a multi-million dollar budget and over 35 people “in our direct orbit,” encompassing both employees and consultants. However as a 501c3 nonprofit organisation in the US it is not required to disclose its donors.

This lack of disclosure over its financial backers was cited by Twitter when it declined to work with CEP or be involved in a high-profile Youth Summit and US state department sanctioned event in September 2015 that included other groups such as Facebook and Microsoft. CEP's Mark Wallace claimed in an interview with Buzzfeed however that 'it was “irresponsible” for Twitter to suggest that CEP should disclose its donors.'

Their being public, he argued, could put them at risk of being threatened. Fran Townsend, for example, has received death threats from ISIS-boosting Twitter accounts, he said. “We keep our donors confidential for security reasons.”[2]

Publications and submissions

  • Radicalisation: the counter-narrative and identifying the tipping point (U.K. Home Affairs Committee)






  1. About, Counter Extremism Project], website accessed 7 May 2015
  2. Rosie Gray, Anti-Extremism Group Gets State Department Support, But Twitter Remains Wary Buzzfeed News, September 2015