Karin von Hippel

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Karin von Hippel is codirector of the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project and senior fellow with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.[1]. She has recently discussed the challenges of not violating US law on separation of church and state, while carrying out peace operations and counterterrorism in Islamic countries. [2]

She is currently on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Fragile States and has direct experience in over two dozen conflict zones, especially Somalia and Kosovo. Von Hippel has been a senior research fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College London.

In 2004 and 2005, she participated in two major studies for the United Nations—one on UN peacekeeping and the second on the UN humanitarian system. Also in 2004, she was part of a small team funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development to investigate the development potential of Somali remittances. In 2002, she advised the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on the role of development cooperation in discovering the root causes of terrorism.

Von Hippel directed a project on European counterterrorist reforms funded by the MacArthur Foundation. She was a member of Project Unicorn, a counterterrorism police advisory panel in London.


Rather than emphasizing that the US is fair to Islam, she and a collaborator have commented that it would be far more valuable to emphasize the message that jihadists regard their own constituency as "collateral damage".

The "argument" that "Allah decides who is innocent" must be relentlessly exposed as cruel, inhumane, anti-Muslim and against Sunni traditions of argument about what constitutes a just war justly waged....Surgical counterterrorism (which need not be militarist) should instead focus on opportunities to generate revulsion and change minds when al Qaeda attacks "its" people. The jihadists, like other utopian revolutionists throughout history, eat their own. This central fact should be constantly highlighted by Western democracies and the new Iraq democracy.[3]


  • Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics
  • M.St. from Oxford University
  • B.A. from Yale University.


  1. Experts: Karin von Hippel, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  2. Colum Lynch (30 July 2009), "In Fighting Radical Islam, Tricky Course for U.S. Aid: Separation of Church and State at Issue", Washington Post
  3. Brendan O'Leary & Karin von Hippel (2 December 2005), "Winning the War of Ideas", Washington Times