Who Gets Radicalized? What I Learned from my Interviews with Extremist Disciples

In my capacity as a Senior Research Scientist at Columbia, I constructed a scientific study to collect data from radicalized individuals themselves – on how, why, and who gets radicalized. I gained exclusive access to a community that rarely opens its doors to outsiders. Here is a peek into what I learned:

Who Gets Radicalized? What I Learned from my Interviews with Extremist Disciples

More to come in my forthcoming book.

Favor reciprocation theory in education: New corruption typology


Embedded in a systemic and chronic process, corruption in education is a pervasive element that exacerbates developing countries’ efforts to educate their citizens. Understanding the cumulative impact rests upon exposing key features of educational corruption and bringing to light the varied forms in which corruption emerges within institutions of higher education. Classifying educational corruption may be elusive in the developing settings due to the acceptability and prevalence of the phenomenon; yet, it is imperative that more attention is focused on this area. Based on the empirical research conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s higher education, this paper broadens current understanding of typologies of educational corruption by incorporating the novel forms emerging in the post-war and developing environment of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In particular, the study surprisingly finds that elites gravitate towards and benefit from non-pecuniary corruption while the poor tend to bribe. The study places the onus on the lack of accountability of elite power maneuvers and aims to aid in creating further awareness to combat corruption.


Development; Corruption; Non-pecuniary; Favor reciprocation; Higher education; Corruption typology


Merit Matters: Student Perceptions of Faculty Quality and Reward (2016)

International Journal of Educational Development

Lead Article, 2016

Abstract: This empirical research explores a role that the quality of teaching and students’ competence play in shaping students’ views about the upward mobility opportunities in their higher education institutions. In the absence of meritocracy, this study finds, students are likely to label the educational system as corrupt. When the merit-based competition does not determine who moves up within higher education, one’s belonging to the political, social, and economic elites tends to become the alternative basis for the upward mobility. Moving away from the merit-based mobility can have broad social consequences particularly in developing countries that are poorly equipped to react to such digressions, underlining the relevance of this work cross-nationally.

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Acting and Reacting: Youth’s Behavior in Corrupt Educational Settings (2014)

Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations 
Lead Article, 2014

Abstract: With its broader employability to the issues of underperformance that may emerge in educational system internationally, this empirical study redefines and expands Albert Hirschman’s theory of voice, exit, and loyalty within higher education. The article formulates a new education-embedded theoretical framework that explains reactionary behaviors of students in corrupt educational systems.

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When Corruption Gets in the Way (2013)

European Education Journal
Lead Article, 2013

Abstract: This article investigates the encounter of EU-unionization with a domesticated practice of corruption in Bosnian higher education. Relying on primary data collected in Bosnia’s public higher education system, the study surprisingly finds that the Bologna process—despite its partly failed adaptation in Bosnia—is still perceived as potentially transformative for the country’s corruption-prone higher education system.

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William Russell on Schools in Bulgaria (2013)

Bulgarian Comparative Education Society

This is an article that looks at the role of William Russell on educational system in Bulgaria. At the time of his first visit to Bulgaria, an American scholar, William Fletcher Russell (1890–1956), was a Professor of Education and the Associate Director of the International Institute of Teachers College, Columbia University. His book on Schools in Bulgaria was completed in the autumn of 1923 as the first in a series published by the International Institute of Teachers College.

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School Uniform Cost Reduction in Mongolia: Standardization, Simplification and Supply Policy (2013)

Asian Development Bank and Mongolian Ministry
of Education Culture and Sports, 2013

The paper provides insights into the school uniform related issues and informs the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (“MECS”) in Mongolia on the ways to lower the school uniform cost in the Mongolian market. This study drew on the data collected via 20 interviews and focus groups with students, teachers, parents, manufacturers, and educational officials, as well as data gathered by surveying 462 teachers, students, and parents in Ulanbaataar, Dornod, and Bayan Ulgh provinces. The data analysis provides 28 cost simulation scenarios and recommendations aimed at improving the school uniform quality, supply, and pricing throughout the country.

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Powerful Friends: Educational Corruption and Elite Creation in Post-War Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011)

International Research and Exchange Board

Though corruption as a topic can lure one into a potentially vast area of research, this analysis geographically gravitates towards examining corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s higher education. In doing so, this study analyzes a set of structural elements, procedures, and behaviors within the country’s higher education that have jointly created an encouraging space for the increasing and self-serving utilization of higher education by the country’s post-war elite. Of the particular interest is this elite’s impact on the forms of educational corruption, which have shifted away from standard bribing processes and moved towards more complex favor reciprocation networks.

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Internationalization in the Educational System of a Weak State: Examining Multiple Identities of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Higher Education (2009)

Intercultural Education Journal

Abstract: Higher education has often acted as the nucleus of progressive thought, the instigator of societal transformation, and the center of cultural exchange and understanding. However, in conflict‐ridden societies, higher‐education systems have shown a proclivity towards the multiple personality syndrome: their ability to solidify, connect and unite diverse communities within a society is almost always juxtaposed with higher education’s tendency to separate, regionalize and exclude. This analysis scrutinizes the globalizing and ‘EU‐nionizing’ forces and values as they collide with the local tensions, traditions and identities presently existing in the higher education of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Transitional Justice and DDR: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2009)

International Center for Transitional Justice, Research Unit

The Bosnian war left a legacy of horrific crimes and human rights violations committed mainly against civilians. As part of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), and in an effort to assure a peaceful transition out of violence, the ethnic armies in Bosnia and Herzegovina were scaled down, with the demobilization of nearly 300,000 soldiers. This study discusses DDR process, highlighting the demobilization of the armies and the involvement of the international community in creating unified and multiethnic armed forces. With a focus on international courts, vetting and reparations programs, the paper goes on to explore the transitional justice measures in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Finally, the analysis looks at the lacking linkages and absent coordination between the DDR and transitional justice initiatives and ends by providing a few viable recommendations for bridging the existing gap between the two arenas in Bosnia and beyond.

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