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Speaker Bios

Centre on Hate Bias and Extremism

Plenary Experts

Dr. Heidi Tworek

Heidi Tworek is Canada Research Chair in Health Communications and an Associate Professor in History and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. She is an award-winning researcher of the history and policy of hate speech, media, and communications. Some of her latest research pertinent to this panel has examined online abuse of political candidates in Canada and legislation around social media platforms in Germany. Tworek is also a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Dr. Ryan Scrivens

Ryan Scrivens is an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. He is also an Associate Director at the International CyberCrime Research Centre at Simon Fraser University and a Research Fellow at the VOX-Pol Network of Excellence. He conducts problem-oriented interdisciplinary research with a focus on terrorists’ and extremists' use of the Internet, right-wing terrorism and extremism, and hate crime. His recent work appears in Terrorism and Political Violence, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, New Media & Society, and Deviant Behavior. 

Dr. Robert McGray

Robert McGray, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Brock University. His research examines austerity and adult learners and informal pedagogical spaces that address social injustice such as hate speech. He is also the president elect for the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE).

Dr. Erin Saltman

Dr. Erin Saltman is the Director of Programming at the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). She was formerly Facebook’s Head of Counterterrorism and Dangerous Organizations Policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa; working with multi-sector stakeholders and building out CVE programs for Facebook in partnership with international NGOs. Dr Saltman’s background and expertise includes both far-right and Islamist extremist processes of radicalization within a range of regional and socio-political contexts. Her research and publications have focused on the evolving nature of online extremism and terrorism, gender dynamics within violent extremist organizations and youth radicalization. Previous roles include Senior Research and Programs positions at Quilliam Foundation and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD Global), where she remains a Research Fellow. Dr. Saltman is a graduate of Columbia University (BA) and University College London (MA and PhD).

David O'Brien

David O'Brien has over 25 years of experience working in the field of child, youth, and young adult mental health within various front-line and managerial roles. David has co-founded several inter-organizational network system delivery services programs for child and youth mental health including; 'what's up' walk-in, H.I.P.S. (Human. Trafficking, Prevention. Strategy) and supported the development of YouthCan IMPACT, pathways between emergency departments and community mental health and trauma treatment programs for survivors of violence. David co-leads a national complex care case consultation group and supports organizations with program design, program implementation, and clinical model implementation. David has co-designed a program that uses psychosocial interventions to support people away from violent extremism. His formal education background is in the areas of Child and Youth Worker (CYW), Child and Youth Care (CYC) Masters in Counselling Psychology (MACP) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). David is a media resource for CTV News, CBC News, and various mainstream news outlets.

Alexander Corbeil

Alex Corbeil is the Canadian Content Policy Lead and Violent Extremism Policy Lead for US and Canada at TikTok. He develops and supports the implementation of policies to address violent extremist activity on platform. Prior to joining TikTok, Alex was with Public Safety Canada where he focused on countering violent extremist and terrorist use of the internet. This included working on the Christchurch Call to Action and the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), among other initiatives. He has also taught courses on terrorism and intelligence at Carleton University's Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. Alex is a graduate of the University of Toronto (MA and BA).

Dr. Tanner Mirrlees

Tanner Mirrlees is an Associate Professor in the Communication and Digital Media Studies program at Ontario Tech University. Mirrlees researches: the economics and geopolitics of the digital technology and cultural industries, war and new media, the far right and social media platforms, work in the digital age, and technology and society. 

Dr. Natasha Tusikov

Natasha Tusikov is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Science at York University. Her research examines the intersection among law, crime, technology, and regulation. She is the author of Chokepoints: Global Private Regulation on the Internet (University of California Press, 2017). She is the co-editor of Information, Technology and Control in a Changing World: Understanding Power Structures in the 21st Century (Palgrave, 2019) and Power and Authority in Internet Governance Return of the State? (Routledge, 2021). She has also published in the areas of internet governance, the Internet of Things, smart cities and data governance, and regulating hate speech on social media. Prior to her academic work, Natasha was an intelligence analyst at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa. 

Nuzhat Jafri

Nuzhat Jaffri is the Executive Director (ED) of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) and has served as President and long-time national board member and volunteer with the Council. She also serves on the board of directors of The Pluralist Foundation and has served as chair and member of several other non-profit boards, including the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, ACCES Employment, and South Asian Family Support Services. Nuzhat has wide-ranging leadership experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.  She served as the Executive Director of the Office of the Fairness Commissioner from 2007 to 2017. Her experience spans leardership roles in policy, communications, human resouces, and legislative and regulatory compliance. She is an untiring advocate for human rights, equity, inclusion and accessibility.  She has a B.A in French language and literature from the University of Toronto and a Master’s from the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Western Ontario. She lives in Toronto and enjoys being a grandmother among many of her occupations.

Dr. Ashley Mattheis

Ashley holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work explores the use of online platforms to promote and mainstream extremist ideologies and divisive practices; particularly through discourses predicated on gendered logics. Her research brings together Cultural and Media Studies, feminist theory, and rhetoric to approach topics such as masculinities and online misogyny in the Manosphere, the linkages between the Manosphere and the Far/Alt-Right, and Alt-Right women’s discourses about negotiating submission and action in extremist groups. Her paper “Shieldmaidens of Whiteness: (Alt)Maternalism and Women Recruiting for the Far/Alt-Right,” recently published in the Journal for Deradicalization, led to a collaboration with Sr. Fellow Charlie Winter at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College with Ashley as the lead author on their report “’The Greatness of Her Position’: Comparing Identitarian and Jihadi Discourses on Women.” She has also coauthored two encyclopedia entries: “Understanding Hate Speech,” in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication (OREC), and “Gendered Hate Online,” in the International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication, currently in press.

Her current work uses feminist informatics theory to pose motherhood as a type of cultural infrastructure through which mothering practices and discourses are used socially, and by women themselves, to divide women along multiple vectors of identity. This theoretical framing enables her study of ways that women use motherhood as a mechanism of recruiting other women into extremist ideologies. Other current projects include understanding the coherence of Manosphere and Far/Alt-Right groups online through intimate publicity characterized by the twin framings of precarity and nostalgia and mobilized through misogynist and anti-feminist rhetoric as well as a collaboration to develop a humanities-driven computational method to enable better understanding of the global spread and local specificities of extremist narratives and discourse.

Erin Talyor

Erin Taylor is the Public Policy Programs Manager at Meta Canada.

Alexander Schafer

Alexander Schäfer is head of division for consumer policy in the information society, telecommunications and media law at the German Federal Ministry of Justice. His division is responsible e.g. for the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) that obliges social networks to install a complaint management for illegal content. His division is also involved in the negotiations in the Council of the EU on the Digital Services Act.

Dina Hussein

Dina Hussein is Head of Counterterrorism and Dangerous Organizations Policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Meta. Ms Hussein leads the team’s work on expert partnerships, strategic network disruption and Meta’s work with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). Ms Hussein’s expertise include processes of radicalisation, counterterrorism policy and counterinsurgency operations in the MENA. Her previous research focused on the evolving utilisation of communication platforms by violent extremists, tribal dynamics within terrorist organisations and securitisation of civilian space. Prior to Joining Meta, Ms Hussein worked with the United Nations, Foreign Commonwealth Office, Amnesty International, the Middle East Institute and the US Institute for Peace, amongst others.


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Irfan Chaudhry

Irfan Chaudhry has been working in the area of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) since 2011. He currently works as Director, Office of Human Rights, Diversity, and Equity at MacEwan University and in this capacity, he leads the development of human rights, diversity, and equity initiatives within the institution. He has held numerous roles within the EDI space including project leadership positions with the City of Edmonton’s Racism Free Edmonton project and the Edmonton Local Immigration Partnership; advisory positions with the Edmonton Police Service Chief of Police Diversity Recruitment Committee and Chief of Police Community Advisory Committee; the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee, as well as committee roles with Public Safety Canada’s Expert Committee on Countering Radicalization to Violence. Chaudhry has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and master’s in criminal justice from the University of Alberta. He serves as Vice President for the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee and is a current appointee to the Edmonton Police Commission. 

Daniel Cohen-Collier

Daniel Cohen-Collier is a Researcher with the Online Hate Research & Education Project at the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Education Center.

Jakob Guhl

Jakob Guhl is Research Manager at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), where his research focuses on the far-right, Islamist extremism, hate speech, disinformation, and conspiracy theories.

Dr. Michael Loadenthal

Michael Loadenthal, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy, within the School of Public and International Affairs, at the University of Cincinnati. He concurrently serves as the founder and Executive Director of the Prosecution Project, tracking cases of felony political violence occurring in the United States. Dr. Loadenthal has been investigating the far-right for twenty years, and often trains researchers, journalists, and high-risk activists in the areas of digital-operational security, methods of surveillance and infiltration, open source intelligence techniques, threat modeling, and risk analysis. He serves as a Research Affiliate with George Mason University’s Movement Engaged Research Hub, an Associate Fellow with the Global Network on Extremism and Technology, and is an Advisory Board member for the Accelerationism Research Consortium.

Rita Jabri Markwell

Rita Jabri Markwell is an Australian lawyer and policy advocate concerned with both protections and freedoms. Through the Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (AMAN), she has problem-solved in the areas of content moderation and regulation, counter terrorism law, online extremism, hate crime, free speech, hate speech and disinformation.  Bringing practitioner experience, she has published with researchers in a number of disciplines. She is a current member of the Christchurch Call Advisory Network and Legal Frameworks Working Group for the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). Her public policy career began in Australian federal politics as a ministerial advisor in the Rudd-Gillard Governments.

Gabriel Lariviere

​​Gabriel is currently a Research Advisor at the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, where he provides scientific support for program and tools content. He holds a Master’s degree in Islamic Studies from McGill University and worked previously as a researcher with the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) on a project documenting religious violence and repression in the Middle East.

Melody Devries

Melody Devries is a PhD candidate in the Communication and Culture Department at Ryerson University. Devries' research uses ethnographic methods alongside theories of material relations and performativity to examine how far-right and conspiratorial politics become compelling through everyday practices. She has recently published with the Canadian Journal of Communication (March 2022), acted as lead editor for Rise of the Far-Right: Technologies of Recruitment and Mobilization (2021), and contributed to the SSRC Items series Beyond Disinformation.

Zeinab Farokhi

Zeinab Farokhi  is an award-winning doctoral candidate at the Women and Gender Studies Institute and Diaspora and Transnational studies. Farokhi mixed-methods dissertation focuses on right-wing extremism, gender, and online radicalization. Her current doctoral work compares the usage of Twitter by Islamophobic right-wing extremists in India, Canada, and the US, focusing on anti-Muslim rhetoric in Hindu nationalist and white nationalist discourse.

Etienne Quintal

Étienne is an Online Hate Researcher with the Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre. He is completing a Master’s in Political Science at the University of Ottawa.

Daniel Panneton

Daniel Panneton is the Manager of the Online Hate Research & Education Project at the Sarah & Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre.

Jordan Etherington

Jordan Etherington is an OntarioTech alumni with an MA in Criminology. He is currently a student in the Cultural Studies PhD program at Trent University, where his research focus is on right-wing extremism and deradicalization with an emphasis on affect theory.

Laise Barbosa

"Laíse Milena Barbosa. Master’s student in Law at Paraná Federal University, Brazil, with CAPES scholarship. LL.B. in Law at Ponta Grossa State University. Founder and Scientific Editor of Antinomias Journal (ISSN 2675-9608). Integrant at the Rio Institute of Technology and Society (ITSRio). Volunteer of the Caritas Internationalis. Researcher's areas of interest: Theory of Law, Law and Technologies and Human Rights"

Jade Hutchinson

Jade Hutchinson is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Security Studies and Criminology at Macquarie University (Australia) and the Research Centre for Media and Journalism Studies at Groningen University (The Netherlands). Jade’s research is focused on understanding Australian and Canadian far-right violent extremism in the context of an ‘online eco-system’ and in what ways social media platforms and websites shape far-right extremist disposition and engagement in terrorism.

Felipe Freitas De Souza

Doctoral student in Social Sciences at the Faculty of Science and Letters of Araraquara - Paulista State University "Júlio de Mesquita Filho" (since 2020), Master in Technological Education at the Federal Center for Technological Education of Minas Gerais, in Belo Horizonte (2009-2011), graduated in Pedagogy at Faculty of Science and Letters of Araraquara - Paulista State University "Júlio de Mesquita Filho" (2003-2007), Promoter of Islam at the Latin American Institute of Islamic Studies in Maringá - PR (2016-2018). Teacher of Early Childhood Education at the Municipality of Araraquara -SP (since 2019) and has a scholarship from Virtual University of the State of São Paulo (since 2020). Researcher linked to GRACIAS (Group of Anthropology in Islamic and Arab Contexts) of University of São Paulo in Ribeirão Preto - SP and to NAIP (Nucleus for Anthropology of Image and Performance) of  Faculty of Science and Letters of Araraquara - Paulista State University "Júlio de Mesquita Filho".

Dr. Davut Akca

Davut Akca, (Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology, M.A. in Criminology) is a senior fellow at the Orion Policy Institute and an Assistant Professor in Criminology at the Interdisciplinary Studies department of the Lakehead University. He worked as Research Officer at the Centre for Forensic Behavioral Science and Justice Studies for 2 years (2019-2021). Dr. Akca's research interests fall within the domains of investigative interviewing, missing persons, gangs, program evaluation, radicalization, and hate crimes. Before his graduate studies, he served as a ranked police officer and crime analyst at the Anti-Organized Crimes Department of the Turkish National Police for five years.

Dr. Barbara Molas

Bàrbara Molas, Ph.D., is an expert in far-right ideology and radicalisation (1930s through COVID-19). She teaches at York University (Canada); conducts postdoctoral research at UNB under TSAS funding; is a leading member of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR); and consults on right-wing extremism with British law enforcement at Academic Consulting Services.

Dr. Bethan Johnson

Bethan Johnson, Ph.D., is an expert in postwar violent nationalism and the contemporary far right. She is a leading member of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR); an expert witness in cases of right-wing terrorism; and a consultant with British law enforcement and courts at Academic Consulting Services.

Dr. Matthias J. Becker

Dr Matthias J. Becker is a postdoc researcher at the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at the Technical University in Berlin. Furthermore, he is affiliated to CENTRIC, Sheffield Hallam University and to the Vidal Sassoon Center at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He read Linguistics, Philosophy and Literature at the Free University of Berlin, and has worked with several research projects on the use of language in political and media campaigns. His research lies within the disciplines of (cognitive and pragma) linguistics, critical discourse analysis, research on prejudice and nationalism, as well as internet studies. In his studies, he focuses on the construction of implicit hate speech. His doctoral dissertation, published with Nomos in 2018, analyses the linguistic construction of antisemitic stereotypes and demonising historical analogies in British and German discourses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An English version of the book (with the title “Antisemitism in Reader Comments: Analogies for Reckoning with the Past”) was published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2021. In his postdoc project, he examines various forms of antisemitic and racist hate speech on British news websites in the context of Brexit. Since 2020, Dr Becker leads the international research project “Decoding Antisemitism,” funded by the Alfred Landecker Foundation. In this 3-year pilot project, researchers analyse antisemitism on mainstream news websites and social media platforms in Germany, France, and in the UK based on a mixed methods approach, also integrating AI technology.

Dr. Laura Ascone

Laura Ascone’s research focuses on computer-mediated communication, on the expression of emotions, as well as on hate speech. She defended her PhD in Linguistics at the Université Paris-Seine. Her thesis on “The Radicalisation through the Expression of Emotions on the Internet” dealt with the rhetorical strategies used in both jihadist propaganda and institutional counter-narrative. She then conducted postdoctoral research at the Université de Lorraine on online hate speech against migrants. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at the Technische Universität Berlin in the international project Decoding Antisemitism: An AI-driven Study on Hate Speech and Imagery Online. She is also part of various research networks dealing with social issues, such as R2DIP (Research Network on Institutional and Political Discourse), R2S (Risks, Society and Security), and Draine, a research group established as part of the Horizon 2020 European project PRACTICES (Partnership against violent radicalization in the cities).

Dr. Ahmed Al-Rawi

Dr. Ahmed Al-Rawi is an Assistant Professor of News, Social Media, and Public Communication at the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, Canada. He is the Director of the Disinformation Project that empirically examines fake news discourses in Canada on social media and news media. His research expertise is related to social media, news, and global communication with emphasis on Canada and the Middle East.

Nathan Worku

Nathan Worku is a first-year Master of Public Health Student at Simon Fraser University. He currently works as a research assistant at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Research and Innovation for Black Survivors of Homicide Victims and is a part of The Disinformation Project at Simon Fraser University. His areas of research include health equity, communication and knowledge translation.

Carmen Celestini

Carmen Celestini PhD (University of Waterloo) areas of research are the overlapping belief systems of Christian apocalyptic thought and conspiracy theories and how they impact the North American political systems, right-wing extremism and social media, and social movement analysis. Currently a post-doctoral fellow with The Disinformation Project at Simon Fraser University, Carmen is also a former post-doctoral fellow with the Centre on Hate, Bias, and Extremism.

Nicole K. Stewart

Nicole K. Stewart is a PhD Candidate in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Canada. Her research focuses on the social formations that emerge with the assemblage of publics and platforms within various institutions. In 2021, Nicole taught the first higher education class on Clubhouse and is now teaching Canada’s first fully immersive virtual reality university course using the Oculus Quest 2. Nicole is a Research Assistant on the Disinformation Project, a graduate fellow with the Community-Engaged Research Initiative at SFU, and a PhD Ambassador with the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).

Abhishek Roy 

Abhishek Roy Associate Principal, Trust & Safety Research Abhishek leads user research efforts on extremism, misinformation and user harms in Google’s Trust & Safety team. In this role, he leads quantitative and qualitative research studies focused on gaining insights into user behavior, perceptions and preferences in order to drive actionable changes that promote user protection, and advocate for changes with product and policy teams. He has worked at Google for over 8 years and has a passion for advocating for at-risk users and solving complex problems in the field of human computer interaction. Previously, he led user research and policy enforcement efforts for products like Google News, Google Discover and Google Search. Abhishek earned his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from VIT University, Vellore in India.