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Writer from The New Yorker magazine to discuss Syrian crisis, jihadism as part of Forum talk

Oct 3, 2017

Ben Taub, a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine, will be speaking at Flagler College on Tuesday, Oct. 24 on migrant smuggling across the Sahara and the Mediterranean, jihadism in Europe and Syria and a war crimes investigation into Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. His talk, titled "Smugglers, Jihadis and Spies: A brief guide to fraught encounters," is part of Flagler College’s Forum on Government and Public Policy series and will be held in Lewis Auditorium.

The topics, said Taub, are significantly shaping the global political landscape, as migration, jihadism and state terror are affecting hundreds of millions of people around the world.

“Attendees (of the talk) will learn about how European efforts to control migration are contributing to a rise in jihadi recruitment and activity in the Sahel, a vast area in the northern half of Africa,” he said. “I’ll also discuss details about how the ISIS hostage crisis developed in 2013, with ISIS spies monitoring journalists and fixers at the Turkish-Syrian border and how jihadi groups subtly appeal to humanitarianism as a recruitment tactic.”

Also as part of his presentation, Taub will delve into the war crimes investigation against al-Assad.

“Investigators have collected more than 600,000 pages of documents from Syrian security and intelligence facilities, and used them to build the most comprehensive case since Nuremburg,” he said. “The case implicates Syria’s president as criminally-liable for directly overseeing a state apparatus that carried out the torture and murder of tens of thousands of detainees.”

Taub joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2017. He has written for the magazine about jihadi recruitment in Europe, war crimes in Syria, battlefield medicine and human trafficking along the trans-Saharan migration routes from Nigeria to Italy. In 2014, he received a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Princeton; the next year, he completed a master’s degree in politics at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. In 2017, Taub’s work on Syria, which was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, was short-listed for a National Magazine Award and won the Livingston Award for International Reporting, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for International Print reporting; and the Overseas Press Club Award for Investigative Reporting. Taub is also the recipient of the ASME Next Award for Journalists Under 30.

For more than 30 years, the Flagler College Forum on Government and Public Policy has invited nationally-recognized journalists and commentators to St. Augustine to discuss issues of importance in regional, state and federal government. All Forums take place in Lewis Auditorium, 14 Granada St., at 7 p.m. Forums are free and open to the public, but seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are a person with a disability and need reasonable accommodations, please contact Lynn Francisco at 904-819-6460. Sign Language Interpreters are available upon request with a minimum of three days’ notice.

Call (904) 826-8572 or visit here for more information.

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