Photo by Tony Cece

Friday, July 6, 2012

Professor Gets Firsthand Look at Impact of International Terrorism

Dr. Caleb Verbois stands in front of the Sea of Galilee
Dr. Caleb Verbois stands in front of the Sea of Galilee.

By Rachel Judy
July 6, 2012

The study of terrorism and its implications for countries around the world is becoming increasingly important. So important, in fact, that the Foundation for Defense of Democracies created the Academic Fellowship program for university professors titled "Defending Democracy, Defeating Terrorism."
Earlier this summer, Regent University School of Undergraduate Studies assistant professor, Dr. Caleb Verbois, was selected for this prestigious academic fellowship which allowed him firsthand access to the top practitioners and latest research in the field.

The 10-day program was based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and featured both lectures and excursions designed to help scholars and teachers. Verbois and the rest of the group traveled to Israeli military installations, observation points and also saw a demonstration in which a bomb squad set off explosions and then investigators "practiced" dealing with the scene.

One of the highlights for Verbois, however, was a visit to a maximum security prison where the scholars were permitted to interview some of the prisoners Hamas and Fatah terrorists. "One of the most interesting things was seeing the expressions on the prisoners faces when they got the questions because they clearly thought some of the questions were very naïve," Verbois recalled.

Although terrorism is a problem around the world, studying its practices and implications in Israel provided a frontline experience for many of the fellows. "It wasn't anything that should be a surprise to anyone who studies terrorism, but it's very different to see it in person," he explained.

Verbois' research interests lie primarily in the areas of presidential powers and foreign affairs. He knows the opportunity to participate in the fellowship program will only enhance his teaching. "I thought it would give me a lot of examples to use in courses," he said. "Many of my students were 10 years old when 9/11 happened so they may barely remember it or, for some of them, it may be their first political memory &. For many of them, terrorism is very distant. But," he added, "Because we have a large military population at Regent, for some it's very real."

While the study of terrorism and its effects can be difficult, Verbois is convinced that understanding it is necessary to dealing with it in the future. "Terrorism of all sorts, but especially religious and ethnically motivated terrorism, is here to stay," he said. "One of the best ways to deal with it is to see what other countries have done."

Learn more about Regent's School of Undergraduate Studies.
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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