Jessica Stern’s main focus is on perpetrators of violence and the possible connections between trauma and terror. She has written on terrorist groups across religions and ideologies, among them neo-Nazis, Islamists, anarchists, and white supremacists. She has also written about counter-radicalization programs for both neo-Nazi and Islamist terrorists. Her current research is focused on evaluating initiatives to reduce recidivism among released violent extremists. This research project is funded by the National Institute of Justice. Stern has also worked on evaluations of countering violent extremism (CVE) programs in Colorado, Canada, Sweden and Macedonia – a research project funded by NATO and the Department of Homeland Security.
Jessica Stern is a research professor at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies. Stern has taught courses on counter-terrorism for 20 years – at Boston University, Harvard, and CIA University. She is a Member of the Homeland Security Experts Group and a fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. She is currently offering courses at the Pardee School on mapping dangerous speech online and on the psychology and history of terrorism. She has participated in several DHS, NATO, and DOD-funded countering-violent extremism projects at Boston Children’s Hospital and at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Stern is the coauthor with J.M. Berger of ISIS: The State of Terror; and the author of My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide; Denial: A Memoir of Terror; Terror in the Name of God; and The Ultimate Terrorists. Stern served on President Clinton’s National Security Council Staff in 1994-95. She was included among seven “thinkers” in Time Magazine’s 2001 series profiling 100 innovators. She was selected as a Guggenheim fellow in 2009, a World Economic Forum fellow from 2002-2004, an International Affairs fellow in 1994, and elected to Sigma Xi, an engineering honors society, in 1986. Stern advises a number of government agencies on issues related to terrorism. She has a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College in chemistry, a master’s degree from MIT in technology policy, and a doctorate from Harvard University in public policy. She is a 2016 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis.
Professor Stern’s areas of expertise include terrorism, trauma, rape, atrocities, and post-traumatic growth.