The Global Center on Cooperative Security (Global Center) was born out of a recognition that effectively addressing violent extremism requires innovative approaches that are equitable, non-violent, and shaped by those who are most affected by violence and injustice. Since our founding in 2004, we have delivered over 250 projects in more than 50 countries, working with thousands of government, private sector, and civil society partners. We have an unparalleled reputation for serving as a critical partner to governments and multilateral institutions like the United Nations, maintaining rich networks in the places where we work, and consistently delivering excellence. Our significant growth over the last 17 years and a nearly unheard-of donor reinvestment rate of 97% are testaments to this reputation.

Our Impact to Date

Some of our most notable recent achievements include:

  • Collaborating with judicial actors in the Sahel to develop guidelines on handling terrorism cases. Through this engagement, the chief justices of supreme courts of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal unanimously adopted recommendations in 2018 that brought their treatment of terrorist cases in line with international legal standards.
  • Training over 12,000 prison officers across Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco, and Trinidad and Tobago to ensure they have the skills and expertise to manage violent extremist offenders and to support their rehabilitation and reintegration.
  • Delivered a six-year program with Ethiopia’s Financial Intelligence Center and federal attorney general that contributed to the arrest of several senior officials for corruption. As a result, Ethiopia received international recognition for its progress in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

Why We Matter Now

With last year marking the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the mission of the Global Center has never been more urgent.

Violent extremist attacks and recruitment continue to rise in much of the world, and the pandemic is exacerbating many of the root causes of violence and conflict. Repressive governments have exploited the public health crisis to curb basic freedoms, invoking extraordinary powers that enable them to act without proper accountability. New technologies are proliferating to support emergency responses, but they perpetuate enormous power asymmetries that favor those who control information. Such responses are highly discriminatory as securitization and surveillance tactics are used disproportionately against racial, religious, and ethnic minority groups. These practices are not new—in fact, many mirror the restrictive measures in place since the dawn of the so-called “war on terror,” which has resulted in untold numbers of causalities and massive violations of civil liberties.

If unmitigated, these developments foreshadow increased instability across the world.

Two decades into the failed war on terror, we must move beyond a militarized approach, confront the systemic injustices that pollute national and international security and criminal justice sectors, and tackle interconnected threats in tandem. These realities require truly unprecedented cooperation. The Global Center is uniquely positioned to lead collaborative responses that restore human rights and rebuild trust at a moment when our work is more pressing than ever.

Our Four Strategic Priorities for 2021–2023

To rise to these challenges, the Global Center’s 2021–2023 Strategic Plan sets out four priorities for our next phase of growth and development:

  1. Expand our programming to apply our expertise to the issues that matter today.
  2. Establish a strong foundation of unrestricted funding that supports growth, independence, and agility.
  3. Enhance governance through the expansion of our Board of Directors.
  4. Build an increasingly global team by investing in our collective diversity, professional development, and sustainability.

Expand our programming to apply our expertise to the issues that matter today.

The pandemic, rising authoritarianism, and climate destruction illuminate the urgency of new solutions to global challenges. While we continue to focus the majority of our investment on our core portfolio of programs that address the root causes of violent extremism, the Global Center is broadening its programming to ensure we remain responsive to evolving security dynamics. This involves addressing violent right-wing extremism and racialized policing practices alongside risks including ecological threats, public health crises, disinformation, and cyber insecurity.

In order to meet our goals for expansion, we will drive innovative public-private and multisectoral partnerships—capitalizing on the possibilities offered by these synergies. We will continue to position ourselves as a key contributor shaping policy, notably at the United Nations and among multilaterals institutions, while guaranteeing that civil society remains at the center of our efforts.

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Establish a strong foundation of unrestricted funding that supports growth, independence, and agility.

The Global Center has an efficient business model that draws on a steady pipeline of government grants, a small core team, and a wide network of experts. It is critical that we continue to increase and diversify our unrestricted funding sources through substantial private sector investments.

The bulk of our funding comes from project grants from security and development divisions within ministries of foreign affairs, which has permitted us to create a strong methodology and wealth of success stories. Yet traditional models of foreign assistance simply do not meet the needs of conflict prevention organizations like ours. Due to austere funding restrictions and unrealistic expectations, these grants rarely cover the full operating costs to realize programming. This reality is captured by the “starvation cycle” that precludes nonprofit institutions from properly investing in basic infrastructure, let alone the flexibility to innovate and experiment.

The Global Center therefore aims to raise at least $250,000 in unrestricted funds annually by 2024 from a varied funding pool of corporate, foundation, and individual supporters, in addition to its government grants. A flexible revenue portfolio will position the Global Center to achieve greater independence and agility long-term.

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Enhance governance through the expansion of our Board of Directors.

We will enrich the governance of the Global Center through continued growth of our Board of Directors, from seven members in early 2021, to twelve in 2022, and fifteen in 2023. Recruitment will prioritize diversity and global representation to ensure our Board reflects the communities where we work. We will bring on additional Board members from across the private sector, particularly in the fields of tech, finance, and media. This will strengthen the Global Center’s influence, fundraising capacity, and long-term development.

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Build an increasingly global team by investing in our collective diversity, professional development, and sustainability.

As an organization that is anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-sexist, anti-ageist, and anti-prejudice, we are committed to ensuring that our staff, management, and Board of Directors are comprised of individuals of unique lived experiences and expertise that support these core values.

Recognizing that the Global Center’s staff and network of experts are its most valuable resource, we will commit significant investment to the professional development of all staff. We also maintain four staff-led committees to address racism, power, and privilege in our recruitment and retention, culture, external communications, and policies and operations.

Lastly, we will further globalize our operations by growing our presence in Nairobi and opening an office in Southeast Asia, run by experts from these regions.

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We welcome you to join us in these efforts.

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