Mehreen Farooq

WORDE Vice President & Senior Fellow

Mehreen Farooq’s areas of expertise include countering violent extremism (CVE) research, program design, and evaluation; Muslim community engagement; and grass-roots community development. At WORDE, she leads policy analysis, research, and programming to enhance the capacity of civil society organizations to promote peace and counter violent extremism.





At WORDE, Farooq joins a team of specialists who conduct extensive field-based research to help policymakers and communities support programs that build resilience against violent extremism. She has led field-based research in over 80 cities and villages across South and Central Asia to identify drivers of conflict and opportunities for building strong, resilient communities.

Applying international best practices, Mehreen Farooq has assisted in the development of WORDE’s Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism (BRAVE) program in Montgomery County. Currently, Ms. Farooq is advising and training non-governmental organizations and public agencies on developing holistic, multi-disciplinary violence prevention strategies that can be tailored to address terrorism.

In 2014-15, Farooq served as a mid-level CVE expert for a State Department funded evaluations assessment team to examine the efficacy of US government funded CVE programs, and has served as the CVE expert for the team’s Evaluability Assessments in Bangladesh and in Norway. As part of this project, she has assisted in the development of a framework for monitoring and evaluating CVE programs including how to develop a theory of change, and tools to identify CVE specific program objectives, relevant risk factors of violent extremism, and target program beneficiaries.

Mehreen Farooq also regularly advises government officials on engaging Muslim communities throughout the world. She recently completed working on developing a manual for US policymakers to engage communities in preventing homegrown violent extremism, drawing on best practices from abroad, and from WORDE’s BRAVE Model. In 2010, she co-authored A Community Based Approach to Countering Radicalization, a groundbreaking report on how Muslim American communities can tackle homegrown violent extremism and forge greater cooperation with the US government.

Farooq has co-authored several monographs, and has published op-eds. Her recent publications include “Untapped Potential: Afghanistan’s Traditional Civil Society,” Foreign Policy, “Equipping Pakistan’s Civil Society Against the Taliban” in the Congressional daily, The Hill, “Afghans Get Busy Helping Themselves,” in the Wall Street Journal; an exclusive five-part series for Foreign Policy Magazine on Pakistan’s efforts to counter terrorism; “Civil Society May Hold Key for Peace in Pakistan” in the Common Ground News Service; “How to Fight Jihad in America,” and “After Osama bin Laden’s Death, Time for a New Poster Child for Islam,” in the Christian Science Monitor; and “Defeating the Taliban in Pakistan,” in the Congressional daily, The Hill.

Prior to joining WORDE, Farooq worked with McGill University’s Institute for Health and Social Policy, the Center for Democracy and Election Management and the Middle East Institute. She has lived and traveled throughout Pakistan, including the frontier regions of Baluchistan. She is fluent in Urdu and has studied Arabic. She is a graduate of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, and in 2007 was selected as a Fulbright scholar to research democratic movements in Egypt. Farooq received her BA in Political Science and Leadership from Christopher Newport University and her MA in International Affairs from American University, focusing on the socio-political development of the broader Middle East.


“Empowering Egypt to Defeat Radical Islamism,” WORDE Report, October 2017

An Instructor’s Manual for Developing a Community-Led Approach to Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)” WORDE, June 2016

“Empowering Pakistan’s Civil Society to Counter Global Violent Extremism,” Brookings, January 2015

“A Strategic Plan for Empowering Pakistan’s Civil Society to Counter Violent Extremism,” WORDE Report, January 2015

“Afghanistan 2014 and Beyond: The Role of Civil Society in Peacebuilding and Countering Violent Extremism,” WORDE Report, February 2014

“Pakistan’s Civil Society: Alternative Channels to Countering Violent Extremism,” WORDE Report, October 2012

“A Community Based Approach to Countering Radicalization” WORDE Report, January 2011

“Traditional Muslim Networks: Pakistan’s Untapped Resource in the Fight Against Terrorism,” WORDE Report, May 2010

“Developing FATA: A White Paper for USAID,” December 2009


Lyons-Padilla, S., Gelfand, M. J., Mirahmadi, H., Farooq, M., & van Egmond, M. (2015). “Belonging Nowhere: Marginalization & Radicalization Risk among Muslim Immigrants,” Behavioral Science & Policy, Volume 1 (2).

“Untapped Potential: Afghanistan’s Traditional Civil Society,” Foreign Policy, April 16, 2015

“Equipping Pakistan’s Civil Society against the Taliban,” The Hill, December 24, 2014

“Six Things About Afghanistan that may Surprise You,” Foreign Policy, South Asia Channel, October 27, 2014

“Afghans Get Busy Helping Themselves,” Wall Street Journal, September 2, 2014

“Civil Society may hold Key for Peace in Pakistan,” Common Ground News Services, November 13, 2012

“Pakistan’s Bid for Tolerance,”, September 26, 2012

“Out-Recruiting Pakistan’s Extremists,” Foreign Policy Magazine, Af Pak Channel, February 29, 2012

“Evicting, the Taliban from Swat,Foreign Policy Magazine, Af Pak Channel, November 2, 2011

“Pakistan’s Most Powerful Weapon,” Foreign Policy Magazine, Af Pak Channel, October 21, 2011

“The Battle for the Soul of Pakistan,” Foreign Policy Magazine: Af Pak Channel, September 1, 2011

“Countering Violent Extremism,” in “A Multi-Disciplinary White Paper in Support of Counter-Terrorism and Counter-WMD. Published by the US Department of Defense, ptember 2011 (Read Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi and Mehreen Farooq’s contribution on p. 94)

After Osama bin Laden’s Death, Time for a New Poster Child for Islam,” Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2011

“Five Myths about Islam and Muslims,” Perspectives, April 2011

“How to Fight Jihad in America,” Christian Science Monitor, December 16, 2010

“Defeating the Taliban in Pakistan,” The Hill, November 12, 2009

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