Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob, PhD, FRSA

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My teaching and research interest is located at the intersection between communications, war, and peace in contemporary society. I am particularly interested in how communication interventions are localized, encountered and contested in extremist and violently divided societies.  The applied area of my work involves developing and deploying contextually relevant strategic communication solutions to local and national crises and working with civil society and social movement organizations to achieve social and cultural change.

Research on UN Media & Peace Processes
Assistance or Hinderance? Policies, Practices, Coordination and Impacts of Foreign Media Intervention in Conflict-Affected Societies
 
Date: April 20, 2021
Virtual Event: The Hub for Hybrid Communications in Peacebuilding, Centre for Freedom of the Media, University of Sheffield, UK
Congressional Forum to mark the 5th Anniversary of the Chibok Schoolgirls Kidnapping 
 
(Hosted by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson)
 
Boko Haram and the attack on Education in Nigeria since Chibok
 
Date: April 9, 2019
Venue: 2020, Rayburn House Office Building, 
Capitol Hill, Washington DC, USA 
 

 UPCOMING AND RECENT  SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

University of Oxford 
Media Policy Summer Institute
(Programme in Comparative Media Law & Policy) 
 
Technology & Policy at the Margins
Inciting Peace in Times of War: Principles, Practices, and Ethics of Peace Journalism
 
Date: August 9, 2019
Venue: Pembroke College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Fallout from the American Military Withdrawal from Northern Syria
 
Public Lecture/panel discussion
Clark Forum for Contemporary Issues
 
Date: November 14, 2019
Venue:  Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA
USA
 
ROUNDTABLE CONSULTATION
United Nations Department of Peace Operations (DPO)/Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI)/DDR Section 

 “Research perspectives on Public Information and Strategic Communications during

Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) processes”

Date: June 25, 2020
A joint virtual event between the UN's DPO/OROLSI/DDR Section and the Research Group on UN Media and Peace Processes (RUNMAPP), at the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM), University of Sheffield, UK
 
Thabo Mbeki Foundation
 
Peacebuilding and Prevention: The Theory and Practice of Silencing the Guns in Africa
 
Date: April 29, 2021
Virtual Event: Thabo Mbeki African School of Government & Public Affairs, University of South Africa, South Africa

PERSONAL NEWS

A New Master’s Program in Managing Complex Disasters at Dickinson College

Dickinson College has launched a new Master's Program in Managing Complex Disasters.  Building on Dickinson's long-standing partnership with the US Army War College, the program is the first of its kind in the world.  It provides those in government, public health, disaster response organizations, humanitarian and military service the knowledge and experience to understand the causes of complex challenges and develop strategic and innovative solutions to meet those challenges.

I am excited to be on the program's highly esteemed faculty. This spring, I will teach Influence Operations in the Age of Networks. Working through various case studies and scenarios, students will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to plan and analyze influence operations and counter their threats.  Visit here to learn more.

USAID and World Bank adopt the Transactional Radio Instruction model to support COVID-19 education continuity in West Africa
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The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank have adopted the Transactional Radio Instruction (TRI) model to support distance learning for 500,000 children in northeast Nigeria.  The project is part of USAID's Strengthening Education in Northeast Nigeria (SENSE) activity implemented by the American University in Nigeria (AUN) in coordination with the World Bank’s Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) activity and the State Universal Basic Education Boards of Adamawa and Gombe States. Both states have experienced significant educational deprivation and disruption due to extremist violence and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The TRI model of radio instruction weaves problem-based lessons into radio drama along with synched workbooks to help learners overcome cognitive and cultural barriers to their learning. I led the development of TRI at AUN as part of a USAID-funded Technology Enhanced Learning for All (TELA) project.  Visit here for a transmedia narrative of the first TRI deployment.

The Cognitive Crucible Podcast
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I recently dropped by the Cognitive Crucible - a podcast of the Information Professionals Association - to talk about my work and some critical topics in strategic communication.  I argue that while messaging is important in any counternarrative or broader strategic communication campaign, greater attention should be paid to understanding the networked influences that drive long-term changes to social norms. Follow this link to listen in: https://information-professionals.org/.../cognitive.../ 

 

The Public Information and Strategic Communication Module of the UN's Integrated DDR Standards
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On Thursday, June 25th, 2020, I facilitated a joint virtual roundtable consultation by the DDR Section of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), Department of Peace Operations at the UN, and academic experts. The roundtable brought scholars together with UN policymakers and DDR practitioners from the field to discuss how public information and strategic communication can contribute to the DDR process.

Continue reading.

 

Transactional Radio Instruction: Improving Educational Outcomes for Children in Conflict Zones
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My new book with Dr. Margee Ensign has just been released! 

Schools are one of the first institutional casualties of war. It is a lot worse when the principal belligerent is ideologically opposed to education. Pupils and teachers, school buildings, laboratories, and libraries, all become the targets of a senseless war. This has been the tragic case with the Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast Nigeria—a war that has been going on since 2009, and for many years largely ignored by Western media, governments, and policymakers. It took an attack on a girls’ secondary school in the sleepy rural town of Chibok to arouse short-lived international outrage and interest in the violence. Chibok has since remained a byword for the Boko Haram insurgency, and the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by the insurgents have become the poster-casualties of the war. But beyond the sad faces of the Chibok schoolgirls lies a much more bizarre story.

Continue reading.

 

On the 'VIP Show' with Linord

I recently sat down with the VOA's Linord Moudou in her VIP Show to talk about a range of issues and how my background and upbringing has influenced my work.

RESOLVE Network Research on Secularism and Politics of Religion in the Lake Chad Basin

The third Annual Researching Solutions to Violent Extremism (RESOLVE) Network Global Forum at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) explored new approaches in Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) research.  I facilitated a salon discussion featuring RESOLVE Network Country Fellows and Principal Investigators from the Lake Chad region. We discussed findings from our three-country study on secularism and the politics of religion in higher education spaces.  The project covered Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria.

To find out more and watch the entire Forum visit https://www.usip.org/events/resolve-network-2018-global-forum   

Working with women to prevent extremism using a Community Extremism Risk Assessment and Early Warning app: Lessons Learned
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The participation of local women in peacemaking and conflict prevention (in line with UNSCR 1325) should be given higher priority. My work, along with a continually growing body of research, has shown the importance of women's involvement in peace and security issues.  In my work on this project, I was amazed at how incredibly informed, engaged, and committed women were in finding solutions to the problem of radicalization in their communities.  

 

Using a community-based participatory action process, I worked with 60 women leaders from 60 communities in Northeast Nigeria to develop a new community extremism risk assessment (CERA) tool. The tool is used to systematically identify individuals at risk of joining Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs). The 60 women all had one thing in common: a known person from their community had joined Boko Haram.  


Over three days, the women worked together in teams to discuss the common characteristics demonstrated by the persons they knew who had joined Boko Haram, the timelines in which certain behaviors were observed, their families, their close associates and influencers, and various other push and pull factors. After identifying the risk factors and their indicators, the women then ranked them by order of gravity and assigned weights for each factor.  I should add that the risk factors they identified and ranked high were different from those prevalent in literature on risk factors associated with radicalization. The variance can be explained in many ways. Still, for me, it confirmed the need for researchers, international organizations, national governments, and civil society organizations to give local women a louder voice and more robust agency in the research and interventions that affect their lives and communities.  CERA was built based on the risk factors and indicators the women identified. 

CERA, which has been developed into a mobile app, is used as part of the project, Women Action to Combat Violent Extremism and Radicalism in Northeast Nigeria (WACVERN). WACVERN is supported with funding from the USAID's Nigeria Regional Transition Initiative and Nigeria's North East Regional Initiative (NERI).