Preventing the Extremism among Somali Youth

Identifying and Countering Early Risk Factors for Violent Extremism Among Somali Refugee Communities Resettled in North America

This project (led by Dr. HeidBoston Children's Hospitali Ellis of Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital) is supported by the US Department of Defense’s Minerva Research Initiative. Somalis have been one of the largest refugee groups to arrive in the U.S. every year over the past decade. While the vast majority of these refugees have adapted peacefully to life in America, a group of young Somali-American refugees have been targeted for radicalization and recruitment. Some have returned to Somalia as part of the al-Shabaab terrorist organization. This three-year project seeks to establish a theoretical, evidence-based framework to inform the prevention of violent extremism among refugees by building a longitudinal study of Somali-American young adults. This project is conducted in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital Center for Refugee Trauma and Resilience, of the Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School.

PI and Contact Person: John Horgan (

PI: Heidi Ellis, Harvard Medical School/Children’s Hospital, Boston