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SUNY Plattsburgh Professor to Visit Israel for Intensive Study on Defeating Terrorism

SUNY Plattsburgh’s Sharon Melzer will have a special opportunity to research efforts to defeat terrorism this summer.

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a non-partisan policy institute headquartered in Washington, D.C., recently announced that the assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice was named an Academic Fellow for 2011-2012. As part of this fellowship, the organization will pay for her to travel to Israel in June for an intensive course in terrorism studies.

“Terrorism is the greatest threat today to the world’s democracies, including the United States and our allies around the globe,” Foundation President Clifford May said. “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.”

The FDD Academic Fellows program provides a 10-day learning experience to U.S.-based teaching and research professionals, offering them what it calls cutting-edge information about defeating terrorist groups.

Taking place at Tel Aviv University from June 11 to 22, the program will include lectures by academics and military and intelligence officials, as well as diplomats from Israel, Jordan, India and the United States. It will also include visits to police; customs and immigration facilities; military bases and border zones to learn the practical side of deterring and defeating terrorists.

“I’m looking forward to seeing first-hand how countries cope with various terrorist threats and security issues,” Melzer said. “Field experience and interacting with practitioners are imperative to the understanding of terrorism and its complexities. In addition to taking field trips and meeting with officials, I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas with scholars from various disciplines, perspectives and countries.” 

Melzer is currently teaching a course on terrorism, crime and public policy and will be teaching it again in the fall.

“I will incorporate the knowledge gained on the trip in my course next fall, and I’m sure I will have a story or two for my students,” she said.

She is also looking forward to the experience helping with her research. Her current research addresses topics like sentencing guidelines; the crime-terror nexus; smuggling; the link between counterfeit purses and terrorism; environmental crimes; and human exploitation. Her work was recently featured in the CNBC special "Crime Inc.: Counterfeit Goods."

For more information on the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies or the Academic Fellowship program, contact Dana Murphy, campus programs coordinator, at 202-207-0190.

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