Institute for Strategic Dialogue

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ISD, 48 Charles Street, London

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) brings together a range of the elite policy planning activites of Lord Weidenfeld. All but one of its trustees (Helena Kennedy) have connections with the banking and finance sector including with hedge funds. The Institute, however, focuses much of its activities on the question of Islam and its role in Western societies and on defence and intelligence matters. The Institute provides the home for a number of Weidenfeld's other initiatives, such as the Club of Three.


The Institute for Strategic Dialogue operates a series of programmes, covering five main areas: Civil Society Networks, Research & Insight, Communication & Technology, Education and Policy & Advisory.[1]

Grassroots Networks

Against Violent Extremism (AVE)

Against Violent Extremism was devised and launched by Google Ideas at the Summit Against Violent Extremism in Dublin in 2011. It is managed by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and is a unique private sector partnership between ISD, Google Ideas, the Gen Next Foundation and rehabstudio.[2] The programme aims to empower former extremists and survivors of extremism in order for them to work together to counter extremist narratives.[3]


Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund to Counter Hate and Extremism was launched in late 2017. Over the course of 2018, ISD managed this first-of-its-kind pilot programme, funded and supported by, and helped deliver innovative solutions to hate and extremism across the UK.[4]

Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN)

Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) is a global youth network dedicated to countering extremism, polarisation and hate speech. YouthCAN operates in more than 130 countries. In 2017, YouthCAN partnered with another ISD project – Strong Cities Network (SCN) – to develop the Young Cities project, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[5]


Women and Extremism (WaE)

Women and Extremism (WaE) facilitates an active network of female policy-makers, academics and activists to address the phenomenon of women in extremism.[6]

Research & Insight

Digital Research Unit

The Digital Research Unit combines ISD’s expertise and suite of data analytics capabilities to map and analyse networks promoting polarising and extremist content across fringe platforms, large platforms and media ecosystems online.[7]

Primary research & datasets

ISD is one of the world’s leading think tanks in the construction and analysis of primary datasets, including the largest database of social media profiles of women who have travelled from the West to support ISIS and their affiliates in Syria, Iraq and Libya, and the world’s largest database of those who travel to conflict zones to fight against ISIS. ISD was also a lead partner in the construction of Professor Jytte Klausen’s Western Jihadism Project, and in partnership with RUSI, Chatham House and Leiden University, constructed a database that details all of the lone actor terrorist incidents that have taken place in Europe since 2000. This dataset contains over 70 variables, including biographic information, on a group of 120 perpetrators.[8]

Digital Analysis

ISD and its strategic technology partners design tools and dashboards that are tailored to the challenge of understanding extremist movements and measuring the impact of strategic communications and interventions. ISD has formed key strategic partnerships with the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at the think tank Demos and the New York-based network mapping specialists Graphika.[9]

Monitoring & evaluation

ISD’s research team design and implement robust impact assessment strategies for offline education programmes, as well as online campaigns and interventions. ISD also seek to provide guidance to civil society organisations for how they can design and measure the impact of their campaigns.[10]


Extreme Dialogue

Extreme Dialogue centres on a series of short films telling the first-hand stories of former extremists and survivors of extremism from across Europe and Canada. Funded by Public Safety Canada via the Kanishka Project, and co-funded by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Union, Extreme Dialogue has brought together partners the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, film-makers Duckrabbit, and the educational charity Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace.[11]


Digital Resilience

ISD’s Digital Resilience project aims to help young people build resilience to extremist grooming and propaganda on social media, through the development and delivery of engaging educational workshops delivered in schools.[12]

Be Internet Citizens

ISD's Be Internet Citizen programme aims to increase young people’s digital resilience and citizenship skills by empowering them to stay safe online, as well as develop and build the norms and behaviour that can help to create positive and pro-social online communities. It covers topics such as fake news, filter bubbles, ‘us’ vs ‘them’ argument and scapegoating.[13]


Young Digital Leaders

Through interactive workshops, Young Digital Leaders teaches young people aged 12-15 to be critical consumers of information online, respectful and effective communicators online. Young Digital Leaders is a programme designed and delivered by Google (Brussels) and ISD.[14]

Communications & Technology

Campaign Toolkit

A collaboration between ISD and the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), the Campaign Toolkit is a free resource for individuals and organisations eager to learn more about online and offline campaigning for social good and community cohesion.[15]


Online Civil Courage Initiative

Launched in January 2016, the Online Civil Courage Initiative aims to "promote the civil courage displayed by organisations and grassroots activists carrying out valuable counterspeech work online."[16] It is a European initiative, founded by Facebook to challenge online hate speech and extremism.

On 23 June 2017 Facebook launched the Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI) in the UK, in partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. This follows OCCI launches in Germany in January 2016 and France in March 2017.[17]

facebook page:

One to One

Using digital tools which utilise publicly available information, ISD's One to One programme maps and locates users expressing extremist sentiment online. Following identification, ISD 'intervention providers' engage in constructive dialogue online with these individuals, offering a positive alternative and deterring them from joining violent extremist groups.[18]

Collaborating with to empower civil society

ISD has collaborated with through the and ISD Innovation Fund (2017-2018) and the Impact Challenge on Safety (2019-2020).[19]

Policy & Government Advisory

Strong Cities Network

Launched at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, ISD’s Strong Cities Network (SCN) is a global network of mayors, policy-makers, and practitioners. Comprising of more than 130 cities the programme aims to build "collaboration between mayors, political actors and frontline teams to tackle polarisation, hate and violence in local communities in every major global region."[20]


Policy Planners Network

The Policy Planners Network (PPN) is an intergovernmental network set up in 2008 and facilitated by ISD. The PPN aims to counter extremism through the sharing of information amongst its members. The PPN Network includes representation from 12 government agencies from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Norway and Victoria State (Australia). The network also cooperates with the European Commission and the Counter-terrorism Coordinator (CTC) at the Council of the EU.[21]

Global Counterterrorism Forum

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue is a partner of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). Launched in September 2011, the GCTF's goal is to strengthen capabilities in order to develop a strategic, long-term approach to counter terrorism and prevent the violent extremist ideologies that underpin it.[22]


The FREE Initiative

The Far-Right Extremism in Europe Initiative (The FREE Initiative) was founded on 1 September 2014. It was the first project endorsed by governments and funded by the European Commission solely on far-right extremism and radicalisation in the aftermath of the 2011 Norway attacks perpetrated by a far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. The aim of the FREE Initiative is the pooling and sharing of countries resources and knowledge of far-right extremism. The FREE Iniative has produced videos with former perpetrators of far-right extremism and survivors of far-right violence.



Correct as of January 2020[23]:

Sasha Havlicek - Founding CEO | Rashad Ali - Resident Senior Fellow | Zahed Amanullah - Resident Senior Fellow, Networks & Outreach | Amarnath Amarasingam - Senior Research Fellow | Dr. Sarah Ashraf - Consultant, Policy & Research | Moustafa Ayad - Deputy Director, Technology, Communications, and Education | Avni-Joy Bell - Events Manager | Jonathan Birdwell - Deputy Director of Policy, Research & Cities | Rose Beynon - Senior Communications Manager | Kelsey Bjornsgaard - Senior Youth Advisor | Iris Boyer - Deputy Head, Technology, Communications and Education | Annalise Burnett - Special Assistant to Farah Pandith | Joe Collenette - Head of Project Operations | Chloe Colliver - Head of Digital Analysis Unit | Milo Comerford - Senior Manager, Policy & Research | Patricia Crosby - Manager, Strong Cities Network | Jacob Davey - Senior Research Manager, Far Right & Hate Crime | Rosalind Czarnowska - Head of Operations (maternity cover) | Joe Downy - Coordinator, Strong Cities Network | Julia Ebner - Senior Research Fellow | Simeon Dukic - Programme Manager. Balkans & Central Asia, Strong Cities Network | Cooper Gatewood - Manager, Digital Research | Cécile Guerin - Coordinator, Technology, Communications & Education | Jakob Guhl - Coordinator, Policy & Research | Alexander Guittard - Fellow | Natasha Hanckel-Spice - Head of Partnerships & Delivery, Technology, Communications & Education | Anisa Harrasy - Manager, Technology, Communications & Education | Ben Holman - Project Finance Coordinator, Operations & Finance | Daniel Hooton - Deputy Head, Strong Cities Network | Tim Hulse - Coordinator, Monitoring and Evaluation, Strong Cities Network | Dilwar Hussain - Fellow | Emma Jones - Finance Coordinator, Operations & Finance | Duaa Khalid - Senior Grants Manager, Operations & Finance | Alex Krasodomski-Jones - Fellow | Marta Lopes - Manager, Strong Cities Network | Hannah Martin - Communications Manager | Hadiya Masieh - Fellow | Charlotte Moeyens - Manager, Technology, Communications & Education | Kelsey Mullen - Special Assistant to Farah Pandith | Farah Pandith - Head of Strategy | Josh Phillips - Manager, Technology, Communications & Education | Zuzanna Pogorzelska - Associate, Communications, Education, Networks and Technology | Zeenat Rahman - Fellow | Jan Rau - Associate, Policy & Research | Louis Reynolds - Fellow | Jasmeet Sahotay - Coordinator, Technology, Communications & Education | Erin Marie Saltman - Fellow | Rebecca Skellett - Head of Strong Cities Network | Melanie Smith - Fellow | Heather Tsavaris - Senior Fellow | Henry Tuck - Head of Policy & Research | Nayla-Joy Zein - Regional Coordinator, Strong Cities Network

Trustees, 2009

Lord Weidenfeld - President | Michael Lewis - Chairman | Professor Peter Baldwin | Stuart Fiertz CFA, CAIA (Club of Three Treasurer) | Sir Ronald Grierson | General the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE | Helena Kennedy QC | J. Adair Turner | Pierre Keller | Francis Finlay | The Lord Simon of Highbury CBE[24]

Trustees, 2012

Lord Weidenfeld - President | Michael Lewis - Chairman | Professor Peter Baldwin | Stuart Fiertz CFA, CAIA (Club of Three Treasurer) | Sir Ronald Grierson | General the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE | Helena Kennedy QC | J. Adair Turner | Pierre Keller | Francis Finlay | The Lord Simon of Highbury CBE | Prof. Dr. h.c. Roland Berger | Mathias Döpfner | André Hoffmann | Baroness Rawlings[25]

Board and Advisors, 2019

ISD Board

Professor Peter Baldwin | Prof Dr Roland Berger | Mark Bergman | Dr Mathias Döpfner | Stuart Fiertz (Treasurer) | Francis Finlay | Field Marshall the Lord Charles Guthrie | Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg | Sasha Havlicek (CEO) | Jim Hoagland | Baroness Helena Kennedy QC | Dr. Serra Kirdar | John Kremer | Michael Lewis (Chairman) | Shirley Lord Rosenthal | Lynn Nesbit | Farah Pandith | Baroness Patricia Rawlings | Carol Saper | Lawrence Saper | Gil Shiva

International Advisory Board

Timothy Garton Ash | Richard Barrett CMG OBE | Field Marshall the Lord Charles Guthrie | Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg | Dr August Hanning | Wolfgang Ischinger | Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones | Ana Palacio | Hella Pick | Jonathan Powell | Louis Schweitzer | Lord Adair Turner (Chairman, Policy Board)

Leitender Berator

Richard Barrett CMG OBE | Dr. August Hanning | Dilwar Hussain | Jytte Klausen | Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones | Hella Pick | Magnus Ranstorp[26]

Partners & Funders

The ISD lists the following as partners and funders of their work[27]:

Academic Institutions

Curtin University, Australia | George Washington University | Harvard Berkman Klein Center for the Internet and Society | Victoria University | Yale University

Private Sector

Ark Jammers | Facebook | Google | Twitter | Jigsaw | Love Frankie | M&C Saatchi | Microsoft | Roland Berger Strategy Consultants


Asia Foundation | British Council | Carnegie Corporation NY | Eranda Foundation | Gen Next Foundation | Open Society Foundations | Robert Bosch Stiftung | Vodafone Foundation

Governments & Intergovernmental Organisations

Australian Department for Home Affairs | Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs | Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration | Department of Premier & Cabinet, Victoria, Australia | Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs | Dutch Ministry of the Interior | European Commission | Finnish Interior Ministry | German Federal Agency for Civic Engagement | Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) | Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security | Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs | OSCE | Public Safety Canada | Swedish Ministry of Justice | Swedish Ministry of Integration | UK Home Office | UK Foreign Office | US State Department


The COVA Project | Empowerment & Human Development Society | Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) | IGAD Center of Excellence in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism | International Republican Institute (IRI) | Individualland Pakistan | International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) | Maldives Institute for Psychological Services | Terres des Hommes | United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) | Zanzibar Youth Alliance

Think Tanks

Brookings Institution | Bangladesh Enterprise Institute | Chatham House | ICSR | LSE Arena | RUSI

















Summary Reports

Contact, website


  1. 'Programmes', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  2. 'About Against Violent Extremism', Against Violent Extremism. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  3. Against Violent Extremism (AVE), Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  4. 'Collaborating with to empower civil society', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  5. 'Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN)', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  6. 'Women and Extremism (WaE)', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  7. 'Digital Research Unit', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  8. 'Primary research & datasets', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  9. 'Digital Analysis', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  10. 'Monitoring & evaluation', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  11. 'Extreme Dialogue', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  12. 'Digital Resilience', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  13. 'Be Internet Citizens', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  14. 'Young Digital Leaders', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  15. 'Campaign Toolkit', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  16. 'About Online Civil Courage Initiative', facebook. Accesed 6 December 2019.
  17. Victoria Woollaston, 'Facebook launches Online Civil Courage Initiative to tackle rising extremism in the UK', Wired, 23 June 2017.
  18. One to One, Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  19. 'Collaborating with to empower civil society', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  20. 'What is the Strong Cities Network?', Strong Cities Network. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  21. 'Policy Planners Network', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Accessed 6 December 2019.
  22. 'GCTF - About us', Global Counterterrorism Forum website. Accessed 14 January 2020.
  23. The Team, Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Last accessed 20 January 2020.
  24. Institute for Strategic Dialogue Trustees, originally accessed 31 March 2009. Retrieved from Internet Archive, 27 November 2019.
  25. Institute for Strategic Dialogue Trustees, originally accessed 13 August 2012. Retrieved from Internet Archive, 27 November 2019.
  26. Institute for Strategic Dialogue Board and Advisors. Accessed 27 November 2019.
  27. 'Partners and Funders', Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Last accessed 24 January 2020.