The Fractured Middle East: Connecting to the Next Generation

TRAVERSE CITY — NMC’s International Affairs Forum continues its regular lecture series at 6 p.m. Feb. 16 with “The Fractured Middle East: Connecting to the Next Generation,” presented by Humaira Wakili, Executive Director of the Gen Next Foundation.

During his first weeks in office, President Donald Trump will face a critical issue that commanded the attention of Barack Obama as he closed out his presidency: how to counter the vicious and violent use of the Internet by extremist groups like ISIS. Social media, so widely used in the free world, has also become a weapon of terrorists to manipulate public opinion, spread propaganda, recruit foreign fighters and plot acts of terror on five continents.

Humaira Wakili, executive director of the Gen Next Foundation, is at the center of developing projects to counter the extremist narrative and brings to the International Affairs Forum an authoritative knowledge of what the new president might do to prevent social media from becoming the norm of extremist groups around the world.

The Gen Next Foundation is a dynamic, high-tech foundation that funds projects aimed at breaking the cycle of radicalization. Wakili’s venture philanthropy draws funds from the private sector and non-profit business partners to seed such projects as:

  • Confronting online radicalization by redirecting potential extremist recruits toward YouTube videos and targeted advertising that debunks ISIS recruiting themes.
  • Bringing together former extremists and survivors of violent extremism to work together in a program called Against Violent Extremism.
  • Supporting the development of an animated YouTube cartoon series called Abdullah-X, which was created by a former extremist. The series seeks to counter online propaganda of groups like ISIS through themes of young Muslim identity in society.

Release date: January 16, 2017

For more information:

Karen Segal
International Affairs Forum co-chair
(231) 715-6064


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