Jessica Stern

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Jessica Stern is an American policy consultant on terrorism. Stern is a lecturer at Harvard University and a fellow at Harvard School of Public Health. She serves on the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law.[1] In 2001, she was featured in Time Magazine's series on Innovators.[2] In 2009, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work on trauma and violence. Her most recent book is ISIS: The State of Terror, co-authored with J.M. Berger.



Stern served on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff from 1994 to 1995 as the director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs. From 1998 to 1999, she was the Superterrorism Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; and from 1995 to 1996, she was a National Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution where she is a member of the Task Force on National Security and Law. Stern was a Postdoctoral Analyst for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1992-94 where she analyzed political developments in Russia that could put nuclear materials or fissile materials at risk for use by terrorists. Stern is a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. She was named a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, fellow of the World Economic Forum, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellow.

In 2009, she was a Fellow at the Guggenheim Foundation,[3] the Yaddo Colony for the Arts,[4] the MacDowell Colony[5] and was also an Erikson Scholar at the Erik Erikson Institute.[6]

Stern is a Lecturer on Counter-terrorism and Law at Harvard Law School[7] and Harvard Kennedy School from 1999.

She has served on the Advisory Board of the American Bar Association Committee on Law Enforcement and National Security and the editorial boards of Current History and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Published works[edit]

Stern is the co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror (2015) with J.M. Berger; [8] Stern authored Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill (2003);[9] The Ultimate Terrorists; and Denial: A Memoir of Terror (2010). She has also published articles[10] on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Terror in the Name of God[edit]

According to the review by Isabel Hilton in The New York Times, in Terror in the name of God, Stern interviews "Christian, Jewish and Muslim extremists, violent anti-abortion warriors and admirers of Timothy McVeigh, and discovers how much they have in common. Nothing she finds leads the reader to suppose that any of the religious faiths is inherently more prone to violence than the other."[11]


Stern received recognition from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for her efforts against international terrorism.[12]

The character of Dr. Julia Kelly in the 1997 film The Peacemaker was partly based on Stern's work at the National Security Council.[13]

Personal life[edit]

In an article published in The Washington Post on 20 June 2010, Stern revealed what she believes the reason for her fascination with terrorism is due to terror that she experienced in her own life; when she and her sister were raped at gunpoint by an intruder when Stern was aged 15 (her sister a year younger). She also ascribes her lack of a normal fear reaction to this event and subsequently, which has been suggested to her by a therapist is due to post traumatic stress disorder.[14]


  1. ^ Jessica Stern | Hoover Institution
  2. ^ "What's The Big Idea?". 9 December 2001. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Jessica Eve Stern - John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The MacDowell Colony". Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Faculty Profiles - Harvard Law School". Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  8. ^ Stern, Jessica and J.M. Berger. ISIS: The State of Terror. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2015. ISBN 978-0062395542
  9. ^ Stern, Jessica. Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2003. ISBN 978-0060505325
  10. ^ 5 myths about who becomes a terrorist, Jessica Stern, Washington Post, 10 January 2010, accessed 22 June 2010
  11. ^ [2] "’Terror in the Name of God’: Everybody Hates Somebody Somewhere," Nov. 16, 2003, Isabel Hilton, New York Times.
  12. ^ "Jessica Stern", Faculty Directory, Harvard Law School
  13. ^ "Battle to keep terrorists from getting the ultimate weapon", John Barry, Newsweek, Volume 130, Issues 9-17,
  14. ^ Why does terrorism fascinate me? Because of the terror in my past., Jessica Stern, Washington Post, 20 June 2010, accessed 22 June 2010

External links[edit]