Terrorism and violent extremism; digital technology; disinformation; authoritarianism; national security; emergency management and countering violent extremism; crisis and natural disasters; radicalisation; counterterrorism; policy; Middle East; US national security
Lydia Khalil is a Research Fellow on Transnational Challenges at the Lowy Institute. She manages the Digital Threats to Democracy Project and convenes the Lowy Institute’s partnership with the Global Network on Extremism and Technology.
She has a broad range of policy, research and private sector experience, and has a professional background in international relations, national security and strategic intelligence analysis. Lydia has spent her career focusing on the intersection between governance, technology and security — examining the rationales behind terrorism and counterinsurgency, how to create governance systems that lead to functioning societies, the role of effective policing strategies and the effects of new technology.
Lydia serves as an editorial board member of the academic journal Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. She is also an Associate Research Fellow at Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute, where she is the Coordinator of the Addressing Violent Extremism and Radicalisation to Terrorism (AVERT) Research Network and serves as liaison to the Research and Evaluation Working Group (REWG) of the Countering Violent Extremism Sub-Committee (CVESC) of the Australia–New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee.
Lydia is a research member of the Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies (CRIS) where she leads the Crisis Points project on the intersection of disasters, extremism and disinformation. She is also a member of the US-based Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group and the United Nations Security Council’s Global Research Network (GRN). Lydia is a member of the Victorian Government Countering Violent Extremism Expert Advisory Committee, among other government advisory appointments.
Lydia has held previous appointments as an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Macquarie University. Prior to moving to Australia, she served as a political adviser for the US Department of Defense and as a senior policy adviser to the Boston Police Department. She has also worked as a senior counter-terrorism and intelligence analyst for the New York Police Department.
Lydia is a frequent media commentator and conference speaker and has published widely in both popular and academic publications on her areas of expertise. She holds a BA in International Relations from Boston College and a Master’s in International Security from Georgetown University.
She is the author of the book Rise of the Extreme Right: The New Global Extremism and the Threat to Democracy (Penguin, 2022).