About me


Research Interest

My teaching and research interest is located at the intersection between communications, peacebuilding, development, and change in contemporary society. How are communication technologies enabling social movements to achieve the change they seek? How do we use communication technologies to challenge extremism, solve social, political, developmental, and environmental problems in contemporary society? How are communication interventions localized, encountered, and contested in divided societies - particularly in Africa? What are the cultural, social, and political impacts of new communication technologies in contemporary society? My work revolves around finding answers to these questions.  I am presently a Visiting International Scholar in the International Studies program at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA.  I am also the Director of the Dickinson College Bridge Program - a college-preparation initiative that provides an educational opportunity to young people from regions of the world experiencing conflict and natural disasters—and for whom higher education would otherwise be impossible. 

Other Positions held & Recent/Ongoing Projects 

  • Member, Research Advisory Council, RESOLVE Network - a countering violent extremism research program housed within the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

  • Consultant for the World Bank on the project: Using micro-data to inform durable solutions for conflict-related displacement in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

  • Research Advisor, RESOLVE Network - on the project Campuses and Conflict in the Lake Chad Basin: Violent Extremism and the Politics of Religion in Higher Education

  • Lead Technical Advisor for Nigeria's North East Regional Initiative (NERI)/USAID on the project, Women Action to Combat Violent Extremism and Radicalism in Northeast Nigeria - a project that empowers local women to use smartphones and digital tools to assess violent extremism risks in northeast Nigeria and provide early warnings.

  • Co-Recipient - The Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council's Partnership Development Grant for the project, Boko Haram, Islamic Protest, and National Security.

  • Postgraduate course author and professor: The United States Army War College/Dickinson PG collaboration. Courses: The Media in War and Peace; Influence Operations in the Age of Networks.


In 2017,  I started the Religious Identity, Belonging, and Violent Extremism project at New York University's Center on International Cooperation.  The project seeks to develop an evidence base on the connections between religious identity, radicalization, and violent extremism to inform international policy and directions on Counter-Terrorism, Countering/Preventing Violent Extremism programs.   


In 2016 I led the implementation of the US Embassy Nigeria’s CVE project on Peace Journalism that provided training for Nigerian journalists covering the Boko Haram insurgency.  From August 2015 to December 2016 I led the Interactive Radio Instruction component of the USAID-funded Technology Enhanced Learning for All (TELA) project that reached over 22,000 mainly out-of-school-children displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast Nigeria.  The project was nominated for the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of ICT in Education.


Awards and Honors

I was awarded the prestigious Community Service award at the American University of Nigeria (AUN).  In Fall 2016, I led students in my 'Public Diplomacy & Strategic Media Intervention' class to win first place in the maiden edition of the Africa Regional finals of the P2P Challenging Extremism program, funded by Facebook, US State Department and Edventure Partners.  The following semester, I led another set of students on the same course to develop and implement a digital movement that went on to win second place in the Spring 2017 P2P Facebook Global Digital Challenge out of 160 universities in some 70 countries. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). 


Education and Academic Career

I earned my Ph.D. in Communications Studies, with a focus on strategic communications, from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. I was the last Ph.D. supervision and TA of the eminent propaganda historian, Professor Philip M. Taylor.  Prior to Leeds, I studied at the Richardson Institute for Peace and Conflict Research, Lancaster University, UK, and at the University of Uyo in Nigeria.


I started my academic career as a Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow at the Institute of Communications Studies, the University of Leeds.  I have held visiting positions at New York University's Center on International Cooperation and at Cardiff University's School of Journalism, Media and Culture.  Prior to Dickinson College, I served as Dean of Arts and Science and Chair of the Communications and Multimedia Design program at the American University of Nigeria.


© 2020 by Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob