18 janvier 2015

Paris attack creates challenges for universities

By Jan Petter Myklebust. The mobilisation of policy-makers and people at large marches through Paris last week is a significant manifestation of the impact of the Paris terrorist attack. The question now is how these events will affect university life in general and international recruitment at European universities in particular.
In the aftermath of the mass murder of 77 people in Oslo in 2011 by Anders Behring Breivik, universities and research organisations have sought further understanding of the event and undertaken research on the effectiveness of the government’s response and preparedness to deal with political terrorism.
But senior researcher Thomas Hegghammer of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment has raised the question: “Who is going to fund research into political extremism?” Hegghammer argues there is a strong imbalance in the kind of research that had been financed after the events in Oslo.
“Much funding has been allocated to research,” he says “But the majority of the projects have been on the consequences of and the readiness for terror attacks. Only minor amounts have been allocated to research on the actors doing the terror acts.”
In fact, only two out of 46 projects listed on the web-page of the coordinating group for research on July 22 are devoted to investigating Breivik himself or other right-wing extremists.
Hegghammer notes that in the Norwegian Research Council’s strategic programme for ”social security” the aim is to increase knowledge of the threats, dangers and vulnerability, and how unwarranted events might be prevented and crisis management improved while observing basic human rights. He says the word “readiness” is used 24 times, while “Islamic” is mentioned only once and the prefix “right-” is not to be found at all. Read more...
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