Dr Chamila Liyanage

Email: chamila.s.liyanage@gmail.com

Positions:

Researcher/Content Developer, Radical-R: Radicalisation Research, UK

Member, Radicalism and Violence Network, the Council for European Studies, Columbia University, USA

Specialist Research Areas: Radical Right in Europe, the Americas, and in South Asia; ancient origins of radical right symbolism; narratives, pseudo-mythical belief systems, pseudo-religions, spiritual mysticism, and conspiracy theories of the radical right; radical right in the era of the 4th industrial revolution; virtual communities in the dark web; the role of ‘virtual-self’ in defining the contemporary radical right identity; challenges of counter-extremism policy

Available for consultation in the following areas: workshops, presentations, awareness building campaigns, community projects, public, private, community educational initiatives, training programmes, research initiatives, and community empowerment programmes.

Profile:

Chamila Liyanage specialised violent extremism and has experience working primarily in three focus areas: post-Cold- War separatist conflicts, post-9/11 religious extremism, and the current radical-right social movements. She conducted research on Palestinian conflict, civil war in Sri Lanka, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Post-Conflict Peace Building concerning military demobilisation and re-integration, organisational changes of transnational terrorism, classical British counterinsurgency, community-based approaches to counter-radicalisation, the UK Prevent counter-radicalisation strategy, counter-narratives, and radical right movements and their narratives.

She taught political science and international relations in three main universities in Sri Lanka: the University of Peradeniya, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, and the University of Colombo, where she was the course coordinator of the Strategic Studies Programme. Her research on Palestinian conflict is a major Sinhalese language publication that is widely used by university students and military officers as a textbook. She also engaged in extensive empirical research analysing civil war in Sri Lanka. For these studies, she conducted field research with Tamil communities, LTTE members, government officials, military commanders, and international organisations that worked in rebel-held territories. Parts of these studies were funded by the Kodikara Award for South Asian Strategic Studies and a grant from the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

She carried out extensive research both in the UK and Australia, analysing organisational changes of transnational terrorism. The study also focused on examining how the governments tried to address the issue, creating policies and programmes to involve a range of stakeholders to fight extremist indoctrination at the grass-roots. She developed a study on community-based counter-radicalisation and conducted extensive community outreach to examine the UK Prevent counter-radicalisation strategy under the Labour government. This study also analysed the learning curve of classical British counterinsurgency to examine the idea of counter-radicalisation in the British context. It examined how this learning curve behaves within the current organisation, policy, and practice—as well as within the ‘mindset’ of counter-radicalisation that contributes to forming a specific and accepted style in terms of policy formulation and practice. She also conducted a study analysing social media profiles of radical right virtual actors and their narratives. Her current research focuses on transnational radical right social movements on the internet and their resonating narratives in terms of ideas, beliefs, myths, and symbolism.

She has published several research papers and a book as the outcome of her past research: ‘Global Terrorism: Post-9/11’, in Counterterrorism: From the Cold War to the War on Terror, ed. Frank Shanty (Praeger 2012); ‘Lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq’, in Counterterrorism: From the Cold War to the War on Terror, ed. Frank Shanty (Praeger  2012);  ‘Coping with Vulnerability among the Families of Soldiers in a Context of Demobilisation: Perspectives on Post-Conflict Peace Building’, in Poverty and Social Conflict in Sri Lanka: Integrating Conflict Sensitivity into Poverty Analysis, ed. Ronnate Asirwatham. (Centre for Poverty Analysis 2004); Palestine Problem: Dilemma of Peace. (Godage Publishers 2002).