This Israeli academic avant-garde in terrorism and homeland security vastly effected the development of the field and paved the way for the development of other centers of excellence not only in the U.S. but also in many countries in Europe, Asia, in Australia, Singapore and more. Israel earned its centrality in the academic field of counter terrorism, among other, due to its unique experience as a democratic state dealing with numerous and diverse types of terrorist attacks since its establishment and due to the special combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience. The interdisciplinary center in Herzliya emerged as one of the world leading academic institutions in this field due to the interdisciplinary nature of terrorism. Indeed, terrorism is one of the most interdisciplinary fields; almost every academic discipline is directly or indirectly related to the study of terrorism: sociology, criminology, political science, psychology, law, communications, economics, computers, medicine, chemistry, philosophy, and more. The analytical tools used in these research disciplines offer insight into the multiple layers of the phenomenon of terrorism and assist in the consolidation of effective strategies for dealing with it; strategies that will better maintain the delicate balance between the effectiveness of counter terrorism and upholding liberal-democratic values.
Experts estimate terrorism will continue to be an element of reality for the human race for years to come and will likely worsen as a result of the tectonic changes in the Arab world – civil wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya and additional countries. These processes are giving birth to the new generation of global and local jihadist mercenaries who earned extensive insurgency experience and practiced all types of terrorist tactics in these conflict areas and soon will return to their home countries. This new breed of terrorists are being motivated by extreme religious beliefs, armed with state of the art weapons, and maybe in the near future will also have non-conventional and cyber capabilities.
Educating the new generation of counter terrorism experts, scholars and professionals and equipping them with up-to-date comprehensive research and deep interdisciplinary understanding of this phenomenon is of upmost importance to world security. The centers of excellence for research and teaching of terrorism that were established in the past decade in various universities throughout the world are therefore an important building block in the global preparedness for dealing with this dangerous phenomenon.
Dr. Boaz Ganor
Ronald Lauder Chair for Counter Terrorism
Founder & Executive Director, ICT – The International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism
Deputy Dean, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy
The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel