Christian Picciolini was 14 when he became a Neo-Nazi skinhead. He denounced eight years later and dedicated himself to helping others disengage from extremist groups. Picciolini has done peace advocacy work for more than a decade and in 2018, he founded the Free Radicals Project, a nonprofit dedicated to transitioning former extremists. He has conducted more than 200 interventions with white supremacists, as well as with ISIS members and other types of violent extremists. Now an internationally-renowned speaker, author, and MSNBC contributor, Picciolini discussed the state of extremism in America and how to combat it alongside Lee-Or Ankori-Karlinsky, senior program officer at Beyond Conflict, a nonprofit research and consulting group that uses the behavioral and neuroscience of social conflict to create peace-building initiatives in dozens of countries around the world. Christina Couch, a science journalist who has written extensively about deradicalization and dehumanization research, moderated.
Christian Picciolini is a peace advocate and the author of White American Youth: My Descent Into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement — and How I Got Out. In 2009, he co-founded Life After Hate, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping communities and organizations implement long-term solutions that counter racism and violent extremism. Christian currently leads the Free Radicals Project, a global network of extremism preventionists who help people disengage from hate movements and other violent ideologies around the world.
Lee-Or Ankori-Karlinsky is the senior program officer for Beyond Conflict, a nonprofit research and consulting group that applies lessons from brain and behavioral sciences to address a range of racial justice and inclusion, conflict resolution and reconciliation, and other challenges.
Moderator: Christina Couch is a science journalist and coordinator for the MIT Communications Forum. Her work explores psychology, technology and the intersections of the two. Her bylines can be found in Nova Next, MIT Technology Review, Fast Company Co.Exist, Science Friday, and Wired Magazine.