April 24, 2013

Giblin, Behan earn fellowships to study terrorism

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two Southern Illinois University Carbondale faculty members will travel to Israel in June for an intensive course in terrorism studies and how democracies can defeat the worldwide terrorist threat.

Matthew J. Giblin, an associate professor and undergraduate program director in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Christopher W. Behan, an assistant professor in the SIU School of Law, are Academic Fellows with The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies for 2013-2014.  Based in Washington, D.C., the non-partisan policy institute’s program gives U.S.-based teaching and research professionals the opportunity to receive “cutting-edge information about defeating terrorist groups,” according to the organization.

“Terrorism remains the greatest threat today to the world’s democracies, including the United States and our allies around the globe,” said Clifford May, the organization’s president.  “To win the war against terrorism we must win the war of ideas by promoting democracy and defeating the totalitarian ideologies that drive and justify terrorism.”

Giblin said he and two department colleagues have spent a majority of the past five years studying homeland security and critical incident preparedness within American police agencies and on college campuses.

“The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies is providing a unique opportunity to travel and interact with 30 other scholars, enter the field in Israel, and learn from experts in terrorism and counterterrorism,” Giblin said.  “The program will not only greatly enhance my own understanding of terrorism and counterterrorism beyond local agency preparedness, it will allow me to complement and strengthen course material by sharing the experience with students.”

The program will be at Tel Aviv University for 10 days in mid-June.  The fellowship will include lectures by academics, military and intelligence officials, and diplomats from Israel, Jordan, India and the U.S.   There will also be visits to police, customs and immigration facilities, military bases and border zones “to learn the practical side of deterring and defeating terrorists,” according to the organization.

Giblin has been with SIU Carbondale since 2005, first as an assistant professor before becoming an associate professor in 2010. 

Behan has been with SIU since 2006.  Prior to that, he was on active duty for nearly 11 years with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, including as associate professor with the Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, Va.