Conference On Security in The Maghreb-Sahel


The Maghreb-Sahel region sits at the center of some of the most significant challenges facing the world today, ranging from terrorism to refugees, from poverty to weak institutions. Please join experts from the United States Institute of Peace, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, RAND Corporation, the Embassies of Mali and Niger, the World Bank, and more, in a discussion of these challenges.



-FEBRUARY 9, 2017, 1:00 PM TO 5:00 PM

-FOUNDER’S HALL 134, George Mason University-ARLINGTON 3351 North Fairfax Drive (within walking distance of the Virginia Square-GMU Metro station on the Orange Line).

-Free and Open to the Public-

The conference objective is: 1) to assess, and provide keys for understanding the ideological, social, political, economic, and geopolitical dynamics at play in the current increase of instability, illicit trafficking, and the influx of refugees and displaced persons, as well as the intensification of terrorist activity in the Sahara-Sahel strip; and 2) to examine and analyze counterterrorism policies developed by local and international actors, as well as potential preventive measures from a social and economic development perspective.


1:00 pm - 1:30pm: 

Welcome and conference introduction: Niklas Hutlin (George Mason University, Global Affairs Program)

Opening RemarksHis Excellency Tièna Coulibaly, Ambassador of Mali.

1:30 -2:35 Panel 1: The Regional Setting

Moderator: Larry Velte (Near East South Asia Center, National Defense University; Maghreb Center)

 Haim Malka, (Center for Strategic and International Studies)

Maghreb's social, economic, political and geo-strategic situation, and the development of insecurity and terrorist activities

 Rene Ricardo Laremont (SUNY Binghamton; Atlantic Council Africa Center; Maghreb Center)

Profile of Jihadi groups active in the Sahel

 Claire Metelits (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

Indigenous groups and non-state actor dynamics


Question and Answer Session


2:35 - 2:50 - Coffee break


2:50 -  4:20 Panel 2Facing the Challenges

Moderator: Néjib Ayachi (Maghreb Center; George Mason University, Global Affairs Program)

 Chris Chivvis (RAND)

Counterterrorism policies

 Michael Yaffe (United Sates Institute of Peace)

Countering the threats, focusing on security sector reform.

 Professor Hassana Alidou (Ambassador of the Republic of Niger)

Mitigating insecurity in the region, internal tensions, and the risk of violent extremism from a political, diplomatic, security, and development perspective.

 Paola Ridolfi (World Bank)

Strategies and development programs in Chad, Mali and Niger. Introduction to the on-going reflections on prioritizing and delivering development solutions in insecure areas.


420 - 5:00 - Question and Answer Session, and Concluding Remarks