A student’s perspective: Attending the Deakin Law School’s ‘Learning from Recent Terror Attacks’ conference

Learning from Recent Terror Attacks

Blog post by Brody Wons, Officer of Education

“The solution to terrorism is education not bombs” – Greg Mortenson.

On the 1st of December, I had the pleasure of attending Deakin’s “Learning from Recent Terrorist attacks: How to counter terror for a secure society” conference at Deakin downtown.

Conference chair, Professor Sandeep Gopalan commenced the conference, welcoming everyone and outlining the benefit of bringing together both domestic and international experts from a variety of fields to discuss the ways in which Australia has responded to terrorism and lessons which can be learned from comparisons to responses to attacks in other countries.

Professor Sandeep Gopalan and Brody Wons; Brody Wons with Michele McPhee

The conferences first speaker, Dr Ali Khadem of Deakin Law School, spoke about the use of a doctrinal framework for differentiating extremist movements. Dr Khadem’s speech was followed by a speech given by Professor James Forrest of the University of Massachusetts, who contented that no further legal reform is necessary. Instead he argued that the focus should be shifted to nominal and behavioural patterns with the goal of creating greater resilience within communities. The third speaker, former senior Obama Counterterrorism official at U.S. DHS & U.S. Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, Nate Snyder, spoke about the changing paradigm of violent extremism and how it can be mitigated.

After a short morning tea break, Ms Maria Panos and Mr Michael Sullivan of Norton Rose Fulbright gave a detailed presentation on the Lindt Café Incident and the lessons which can be learnt from it.

Over the lunchtime break keynote speaker and renowned investigative journalist Michele McPhee gave a thorough overview of the Boston Marathon attack, which formed the basis of her recently published book “Maximum harm, The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing. The major take away from Ms McPhee’s speech was the importance of institutional integrity and transparency.

Professor Sandeep Gopalan presenting; James Forest talking via live stream

Photos via Deakin Law School

The conference then provided an insight into the US experience, with David Sterman of the New America Foundation, Eric Rosand of the Prevention project and Brian Nussbaum of Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and the University of Albany, providing an extensive analysis of America’s efforts to combat terrorism in the past and present, while also providing an insight into the future.

After a short afternoon tea break the conference continued with Dr Shiri Krebs of Deakin Law School giving an insightful analysis of “intelligence as evidence and risk assessment in targeted-killing”. Dr Krebs speech was followed by Dr Anna Brennan of the University of Liverpool, who provided insights into combating terrorism under International Law. This was followed by Dr Lindsey Bell of Royal Holloway University of London who gave overview of “The Prevent Duty” policy and how it has been implemented in universities in the UK.

The final panel of the day, saw Rebecca Zimmerman of the RAND Corporation give a presentation providing an analysis on “Improving monitoring and the Evaluation of Security Cooperation Programs”. This was followed by Zoe Marchment of the University College London who provided insights into the spatial decision making of terrorist actors. The final speaker of the conference was professor Martin Innes of Cardiff University who provided insights into how we can learn more effectively from terrorist attacks and the role of social media in this process.

Overall, the conference provided attendees with an extremely detailed overview of terrorism and how to counter terror from multiple perspectives. However, the conference did not just provide the latest detailed insights into a particular area of the law, but also provide a plethora of opportunities to network and connect with professionals in the industry. Furthermore, conferences provide a guilt free break from studying. Better still, most conferences run by Deakin Law school are completely free for students to attend.

For more information on future Deakin Law School events, please visit: http://lawnewsroom.deakin.edu.au/tags/events


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