From time immemorial natural and man-made disasters have become permanent fixtures of human life. The latest alarming reports on the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa and its reach elsewhere as well as the grave humanitarian crisis resulting from the Islamic State (IS) blitzkrieg in the Middle East have raised an urgent question whether the international community is adequately prepared to cope with these security concerns. The International Center for Terrorism Studies hosted a seminar on “Health Security Challenges and Responses: From Ebola to Terrorism” on October 31, 2014. General (Ret.) Alfred Gray (Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the United States Marine Corps; Senior Fellow and Chairman of the Board of Regents, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies) made opening remarks and Professor Yonah Alexander (Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies) moderated the event. The panel included Dr. Robert Kadlec (Former senior official at the White House, Pentagon, and U.S. Senate), Dr. Rashid A. Chotani (The George Washington University, and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies), and Professor Larry Velte (Former Deputy Chief of the Middle East Division in the Joint Staff's Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate and Associate Professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA) at the National Defense University). Professor Don Wallace, Jr. (Chairman, International Law Institute) made closing remarks. This panel of experts from the public and private sectors focused on current and future health related disasters. They also provided “best-practices” policy recommendations both on national and global levels.

Is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) emerging as a new terrorist “super power”?  According to its publicized projected “Five-Year Plan,” a Sunni Caliphate will be established over the Middle East, Africa, and Europe by 2019.  Should the international community be concerned about these potential expansionist plans, and what can be done to defeat ISIS?

The International Center for Terrorism Studies hosted a seminar on "Post-Europe's Parliament Elections 2014: Political, Social, Economic, and Security Implications" on July 30, 2014. Topics discussed at the seminar included employment and migration policies, combating racism and terrorism, the Ukraine crisis, Middle East challenges, and transatlantic relations. Professor Don Wallace, Jr. (Chairman, International Law Institute) and Eric Fusfield (Deputy Director of the B'nai B'rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy) made opening remarks. Professor Yonah Alexander (Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies) moderated the event. The panel included Dr. Robert A. Pollard (Senior Foreign Service Officer with 30 years of international experience, including service in Europe and Visiting State Department Fellow, Europe Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies), Peter Roudik (Director, Global Legal Research Center, Law Library of Congress), Professor Amit Kumar (Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University) and Geoffrey Harris (Deputy Head of the European Parliament's Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress and formerly Head of the Human Rights Unit within the Secretariat General of the European Parliament (Directorate General for external policies DGEXPO)).

The ICTS at the Potomac Institute hosted a forum on “The Middle East Crisis: Updates on Strategic Challenges and Opportunities” on July 25, 2014. General (Ret.) Alfred Gray (Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the United States Marine Corps; Senior Fellow and Chairman of the Board of Regents, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies) made opening remarks and Professor Yonah Alexander (Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, and Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies) moderated the event. The panel includes Brigadier General David Reist, USMC (Ret.) (Operation Iraqi Freedom, Deputy Commanding General for Governance and Economics in Anbar Province from February 2006-February 2007 and Vice President, Strategy and Planning Division, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies), Oren Marmorstein (Counselor for Public and Academic Affairs, Embassy of Israel), and Dr. Judith Yaphe (Former senior analyst on Near East Persian Gulf issues in the Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA, currently, a professor at the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University). This panel of experts provided political and military updated assessments clarifying the complex security situation in the region and beyond.

The controversy over the US-Taliban prisoners deal has once again focused attention on the threat posed by the Taliban in Afghanistan post US and NATO troops withdrawal at the end of the year. Given the security and political realities in South Asia, what are the strategic implications for the region and beyond? Topics to be discussed by a panel of experts will include assessments related to crime, terrorism, insurgency, cyber security and WMD as well as governmental and intergovernmental efforts to reduce future risks.

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The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.

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