Terrorism is an evolving term. No longer does it simply encompass acts like suicide bombings, hijackings or anthrax-laced letters.
A lecture by Walter Purdy, vice president for training and special projects at the Terrorism Research Center, will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Friday in Room 132 of the UT College of Law to discuss the term and what it means today.
The lecture, entitled "Terrorism in a Changing World," will cover a number of issues regarding terrorism in the modern world, and is free and open to the public.
The event will explore topics such as the changing face of terrorism, terrorism in relation to the media and technology, and the challenges ahead in confronting the issue of terrorism. The lecture will also include an interactive presentation.
Dr. Susan Speraw, associate professor in the College of Nursing and director of UT's Global Disaster Nursing Program, organized the lecture, and believes it will hold significance for those in a variety of fields.
"We have received expressions of interest from across the campus and the community," Speraw said. "People have called from agriculture, who are interested in how terrorism affects food and animal safety and crops. Local, state and even federal law enforcement have expressed interest, looking for law enforcement techniques and what they need to be aware. There are also political science issues, and they are interesting in the setting and creating of policy. Everyone is coming with their own interest."
Purdy has enjoyed a prestigious and successful career. He has been sent to the Middle East and Asia on behalf of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Justice. He also has extensive experience working on international projects for reducing the threats of terrorism, and has developed highly specialized anti-terrorism training programs for law enforcement and the intelligence community.
Currently, he serves as a director of the Terrorism Research Center in Washington D.C., a non-profit organization founded in 1996 with a focus on investigating and researching global terrorism issues. He has spoken at UT several times since first doing so in 2007.
Speraw has high praise for Purdy.
“He is a well-known entity in the terrorism community,” she said. “He has spoken to our students a number of times in the past, and his knowledge of the past, present and future is pretty incredible and deep. He knows what’s going on.”
Dr. Mary Nypaver, a UT clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing and faculty of the Global Disaster Nursing Program, attended a lecture by Purdy in the past as a student.
“Part of his expertise comes from his levels of experience and exposure,” Nypaver said. “I was very impressed at his knowledge of the subject matter. It was very interesting because it was information I had not heard, and he was a very descriptive and engaging speaker. He held our interest, and the information he gave us was pertinent and helpful.”
The lecture is being sponsored by the UT College of Nursing’s Global Disaster Nursing Program, the UT College of Law and the International House with a grant funded from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.