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Feb. 05, 2018

Voice of a Practitioner in Nigeria – Fatima Akilu

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Dr. Fatima Akilu is a university educator and an advocate for marginalized groups working in the area of psychology and health for more than two decades. She has had extensive experience working with forensic dually diagnosed mentally retarded women, violent offenders, and sex offenders.
Previously head of communication for the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals, she is currently Chairman Editorial Board Leadership Newspapers.

Dr. Akilu was until recently the director of the Behavioral Analysis and Strategic Communication unit that has developed a multi-pronged approach to countering violent extremism (CVE) that consists of prison deradicalization, counter radicalization geared at building community resilience, and a strategic communication effort including public diplomacy and messaging.

Nigeria’s CVE program, which she designed, also includes policy changes in the areas of education and mental health through the provision of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) counseling.

Akilu is also a children’s writer and hosts a weekly radio show Radio Psych, which discusses social and psychological issues. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s in research methods in psychology and Ph.D. in psychology from Reading University.

In this podcast episode from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Dr. Akilu discusses her role as the founder of the Nigerian government’s deradicalization program, the importance of psychological and social programming to provide youth with positive alternatives to violent extremism, and the nexus of development and security at the community level.

Her unique perspective as a psychologist – and as a woman in a field dominated by men – provides deeper insight into the future of countering violent extremism.
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