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Dr. Joana Cook is Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, and a Research Associate in the Department of War Studies. Her research more broadly focuses on women in violent extremism, countering violent extremism, and counter-terrorism practices. Her PhD examined women in relation to post-9/11 U.S. counter-terrorism responses in Yemen and the wider MENA region. 

Joana is also a Research Affiliate with the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS), and a Digital Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Concordia University. She has previously worked with Public Safety Canada’s Research Affiliate Program (Kanishka); as Editor-in-Chief of Strife based out of the Department; and as a journalist in Canada and southern Africa.

She has presented her research to senior government and security audiences in a number of countries, and at institutions such as the UN Security Council, NATO, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Oxford and Cambridge. She has also been featured in media such as Time, the Telegraph, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, the New York Times and on BBC World News, CNN, Sky News, BBC Radio, the National Post and CBC. In May 2019 she did her first TEDx talk on women in security today.

She holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Regina, an MA in Conflict, Security and Development, and PhD in War Studies (both from King’s College London). In 2016 she was a recipient of the Canadian Centennial Scholarship Fund (CCSF). 

Research Interests

Women in security (policy and practice)

Gender and security

Terrorism and counterterrorism

Extremism and countering violent extremism (CVE)

Al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIL, ISIS)

Regions: Canada, UK, US, Yemen, MENA



Cook, Joana. “A woman’s place: U.S. counterterrorism since 9/11.” Single authored monograph,  Hurst-Oxford University Press. August 2019.

Cook, Joana. “AQAP and ISIS after the war: eliminating the terrorist threat.” Book chapter in Post War Yemen (ed.) Noel Brehony and Saud al-Sarhan. I.B. Tauris (Bloomsbury). 2019

Cook, Joana. “Winning hearts and minds? The evolution of AQAP governance efforts in Yemen.” ICSR major report. Forthcoming 2019.

Cook, Joana. “Women and terror post-9/11.” Ed. Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency Post 9/11. Edited David Martin Jones, Paul Schulte &  M.L.R. Smith. Edward Elgar Publishing. Forthcoming 2019.

Cook, Joana. “Human Security: A contribution to countering violent extremism.” Book chapter in   Women and Human Security, edited by Richard Matthew, Gunhild Hoogensen and (the late) Patricia Weitsman. Ohio University Press. Expected 2019.

Cook, Joana and Gina Vale. “From Daesh to diaspora, tracing the women and minors of Islamic   State.” ICSR major report. July 2018. Includes first global dataset of women and minors from 80 countries that became affiliated with ISIS.

Cook, Joana. “Avoiding the Pitfalls of Prevent.” Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security (GIWPS), Georgetown University. Occasional paper series. December 2017. 

Cook, Joana. “Shifting Priorities: How International Terrorism and the ‘War on Terror’ Reconstitute Security Agendas – Women, Counterterrorism and the Case of Yemen.” Book Chapter in The Palgrave Handbook of Global Counterterrorism Policy, edited by Scott Romaniuk, et al. Palgrave MacMillan. June 2017.

Cook, Joana. “Analyzing the formal and informal roles of women in security and justice in Yemen: Reflections for future considerations.” Canadian Network for the Study of Terrorism, Security and Society, Working paper series. No. 16-08. May 2016.

Cook, Joana. “Our main concern is security.” Women’s political participation, engagement in the   security sector, and public safety in Yemen.” Book Chapter in Rebuilding Yemen: Political, economic and social challenges edited by Dr. Noel Brehony and Dr. Saud al Sarhan. Gurlach Press (Germany). September 2015.          

Cook, Joana. “Yemen’s Patronage Problem.” Sada series, “Why Arab States Need Security Sector Reform” on Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 30 July 2015.

Cook, Joana. “Women in Security Sector Reform.” The British-Yemeni Society Journal Vol. 23, 2015. P. 46-51.

Cook, Joana. “Recruiters, mediators, allies, fighters? A critical examination of the roles of women in both countering and perpetrating violent extremism in Canada and the UK.” Policy report for Public Safety Canada, Government of Canada. 96 pg. March 2015.