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Making Sense of Syria: ISIS, Russia, and What Comes Next

Nov 19, 2015 12:00 pm - 1:45 pm

SOLD OUT: To be added to a wait list, please call 412-281-7970.

Global Engagement and Leadership Luncheon on the occasion of the 84th Annual Meeting
John T. Ryan Memorial Lecture

Dr. Colin P. Clarke, Associate Political Scientist, RAND Corporation

iStock_000006380388_LargeAs Syria continues to be shattered by its civil war, the U.S. and Russia are at odds about the best strategy to stabilize this nation. Neighboring states are sharing the brunt of the ongoing crisis and there is the need to reach negotiations quickly.

Much is at stake in Syria. The growing number of refugees fleeing the country continues to increase daily. The Islamic State and other violent extremist organizations add to the complexity of the conflict. These groups have diversified their sources of revenue and successfully adapted to measures designed to counter them, using social media to elevate and distribute violent propaganda.

What are Moscow’s short and longer term goals in Syria? Should the U.S. play a more active role in shaping the conflict, or is Washington’s current stance the proper one, given events on the ground? Will a negotiated settlement be reached? What is the range of possible futures in Syria?

Online registration for this event is closed. For information about this event, please call Melanie Gulasy at 412-281-7970 or email

World Affairs Council Member: $50
Non-Member: $75
Table of Eight (8): $400

Call 412-281-7970 or email

clarke-tDr. Colin P. Clarke is an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation, where his research focuses on insurgency, counterinsurgency, unconventional, irregular, asymmetric warfare (including cyber) and a range of other national and international security issues and challenges. In 2011, he spent three months embedded with Combined Joint Inter-agency Task Force Shafafiyat – commanded by Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster – in Kabul, Afghanistan, working on anti-corruption efforts and analyzing the nexus between terrorists, drug traffickers, and a range of political and economic power brokers.

Dr. Clarke is an affiliated scholar with research interests related to transnational terrorism and violent non-state actors at the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches courses on international organized crime and threat finance. At Carnegie Mellon University, Clarke teaches contemporary comparative political systems and diplomacy and statecraft. He recently completed Terrorism, Inc.: The Financing of Terrorism, Insurgency, and Irregular Warfare, published in 2015 by Praeger Security International.

Dr. Clarke received his Ph.D. in international security policy from the University of Pittsburgh.

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