Middle Eastern history is often portrayed as a succession of empires and political orders harassed and occasionally brought down by violent opponents--usually labeled as terrorists at the time. This was true in ancient times as well as modern. And today’s violent extremist groups resurrect historical narratives and grievances to fuel contemporary conflict.

How do 21st century socio-political and geopolitical trends interact with historical ethnic, sectarian, and anti-colonial narratives to fuel the rise of extremist movements? How can we understand these dynamics? How can this understanding contribute to better policy to counter violent extremism?

The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host a panel discussion on the ancient and modern dynamics of extremist transnational movements featuring Sandra Scham, author of Extremism, Ancient and Modern: Insurgency, Terror, and Empire in the Middle East. She will be joined by MEI’s senior vice president for policy research and programs, Paul Salem (author of “The Rise of Transnational Violent Movements in the Middle East”), and MEI Scholar Hassan Mneimneh. MEI’s director of the extremism and counterterrorism program, Charles Lister, will moderate the discussion.