Dr Richard McNeil-Willson is a Research Associate at the Global Governance Programme, the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, in Florence. He works primarily on the BRaVE Project, a European Commission (Horizon 2020) project which explores issues of extremism, polarisation and counter-extremism in Europe. He is also an International Advisor for the CHAMPIONs Project on polarisation in Central and Eastern Europe, at the Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR), Cluj-Napoca.
Richard has a PhD from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, as an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) scholar, exploring the impact of counterterrorism programmes, policy and policing on activism by ‘Islamist’ organisations in Britain and Denmark, supervised by Professor Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Dr Willian Gallois, and examined by Professors Sajjid Rizvi and Tahir Abbas. He holds additional degrees from the universities of Edinburgh, Durham and Exeter (UK) and has been a Visiting Researcher at Scuola Normale Superiore (Italy) and the University of Aarhus (Denmark).
He has had intensive Arabic language training from top private institutes in the Middle East, and has conducted fieldwork throughout Europe and the Middle East and North Africa. This has resulted in academic publications on extremism, political violence and counterterrorism policies, published with Palgrave Macmillan, Manchester University Press and Edinburgh University Press, among others.
The QAnon conspiracy emerged on 28 October 2017, when a user named “Q” posted what were purported to be highly classified government secrets on 4chan’s /pol/ (politically incorrect) discussion board, contributing to a thread discussing the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States (US) elections. Notably, Q’s claim of having special access to […]
This report looks at journalism and social media reporting in Nigeria. The author raises key implications in journalistic reporting by looking at the 2014 #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign. This study importantly takes both a local and a global perspective on Nigeria’s media reporting. This report is part of a wider project, led by the International […]
The casualties caused by armed violence in Mali have increased fourfold between 2016 and 2019, with young people being among the most affected by the situation. Insecurity, lack of economic opportunities, limited mobility and poor governance place youths at risk of engagement into violent extremism. Although many initiatives have been developed to prevent and counter […]