Alex P. Schmid

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Alex Schmid at CSTPV, University of St. Andrews in September 2014

Alex Peter Schmid (born 3 November 1943, in Chur) is a Swiss-born Dutch scholar in terrorism studies and former Officer-in-Charge of the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations. In 2006 he was appointed to a Chair in International Relations at St Andrews University as well as succeeding Magnus Ranstorp as Director of its Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV). Since 2009, he is the editor of the journal Perspectives on Terrorism. As of 2018, he is the Director of the Terrorism Research Initiative and a research fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT).[1]

Prior to his appointment to St Andrews, Schmid served as Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations' Terrorism Prevention Branch in Vienna, where, from 1999 to 2005, he held the position of a Senior Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer. Before joining the United Nations, he held the Synthesis Chair on Conflict Resolution at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He also taught International Relations at the Department of Political Sciences of Leiden University where he acted as Research Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Research Programme on Causes of Human Rights Violations (PIOOM).

He was an Einstein Fellow at the Harvard Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, and served on the Executive Board of the International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council (ISPAC) of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme. Schmid is a Member of the World Society of Victimology and a Corresponding Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2004.[2] He also is a Member of the European Commission's Expert Group on Violent Radicalisation.

The Supreme Court of India adopted Alex P. Schmid's definition of terrorism in a 2003 ruling (Madan Singh vs. State of Bihar), "defin[ing] acts of terrorism veritably as 'peacetime equivalents of war crimes.'"[3]

Schmid's academic consensus definition of terrorism, first published 1988 and updated in 2011,[4] is widely used, e.g. by Jane's Intelligence.

Schmid and Jongman (1988): "Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby - in contrast to assassination - the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought".[5]


  1. ^ "Dr. Alex P. Schmid". International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Alex Schmid". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Definitions of Terrorism". United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Archived from the original on 2007-05-27. Retrieved 2007-06-27. For more detailed information, see: Schmid, Jongman et al. Political terrorism: a new guide to actors, authors, concepts, data bases, theories, and literature. Amsterdam: North Holland, Transaction Books, 1988.

External links[edit]