Skip links

Dr. Tova C. Norlen

Tova Norlen joined the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (GCMC) as a professor of Counterterrorism and International Security Studies in January, 2020. She currently serves as the academic advisor to the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies in the department for Transnational Security Studies.

Dr. Norlen holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and Conflict Management from the Johns Hopkins University School of international Studies. She also has a M.A. in Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a M.A. in International Relations from the University of Stockholm.

Dr. Norlen’s research is inter-disciplinary and located in the intersection between scholarship, policy, and practice in the fields of security, conflict research, negotiation, and counterterrorism globally, but with an emphasis on the Middle East. Her early research explored the impact of ethnic and religious extremism, territoriality and conflict intractability on negotiation outcomes in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. She has maintained the focus on religious radicalization and violent extremism in subsequent work, especially as it relates to global counterterrorism efforts. Her more recent publications examine the link between militant religious extremism and terrorism, with an emphasis on Salafi-Jihadi groups; and the link between increased global fragility and violence, with an emphasis on the MENA region.

She is currently engaged in several research projects, including an exploration of the growing link between religious nationalism, populism, and extremism on a cross-section of global cases; the role of proxies in the Pakistan-Afghanistan security environment; and the potential impacts of non-state actors and illicit market structures on Ukraine’s post-conflict security.

Dr. Norlen has served in several academic and administrative roles at a number of colleges and universities around Washington, D.C. and Southern California. She has developed and taught courses in a wide variety of international affairs and security-related topics, including Introduction to International Relations, War and Peace Studies, Global Security and Conflict Resolution, Peace Operations and Humanitarian Intervention, Comparative Government, American Government, Middle East conflict and Politics, Counterterrorism, and International Bargaining and Negotiation. Previously, she served as a faculty member at the American University’s School of International Service, where she taught both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Prior to her teaching role at AU, Dr. Norlen served as the Assistant Dean for Research at George Washington University’s Elliott School for International Affairs. Additionally, she has served as a research fellow at several think tanks, including the EU Institute for Security Studies in Paris, the Center for Security Studies in Zurich, and RAND in Washington, DC.

Dr. Norlen has received several awards and scholarships for her research, including the Transatlantic Postdoctoral Fellowship for International Relations (TAPIR), the USIP Peace Dissertation Research Scholarship, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis’ Peccei Award.

Twitter: @tovact


Tova Norlen