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In mid-April, Professor Steve Corman, Director of the School’s Center for Strategic Communication (CSC) was an invited speaker at the 10th Asia Pacific Programme for Senior National Security Officers (APPSNO). The week-long conference was sponsored by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and gathered national security policymakers from 23 countries in Asia, Africa, North and South American, Europe and the Middle East.
The theme of this year’s APPSNO was National Security Revisited, and included a review and revisit of domains discussed at previous APPSNOs that have a continued impact on national security, especially counterterrorism. Corman returned to topics addressed in his previous appearance at APPSNO 2008. That presentation discussed CSC work on an outdated model of strategic communication used by many governments at the time, which emphasized communication as a transmission process that can be optimized by repetition and control.
In this year’s talk, Professor Corman noted progress since 2008, especially in terms of viewing strategic communication for counter-terrorism as a process of dialog and engagement. However, he concluded there was still a long way to go especially in terms of focusing on experimentation and tolerating its associated risk. “Governments have essentially been using the same talking points against violent extremism for 15 years, and still people are joining terrorist groups,” he said. “It’s time to try something new.”
As one of the invited speakers at the conference, Corman was also interviewed by Channel News Asia.