Katja Theodorakis is a national security professional with particular expertise in the areas of terrorism/extremism, jihadism and the propaganda dynamics of asymmetric/hybrid conflict. She is a PhD candidate at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UNSW ADFA where her (part-time) research is concerned with insurgent ideology and narratives – in particular their strategic use in information operations. Here, she is also founding member of their Future Operations Research Group, working on a Defence Strategic Policy and Intelligence Group – funded project that examines the potential impact of autonomous weapons in urban combat, including information maneuvers and the policy implications for the ADF (co-convened by Prof David Kilcullen and A/Prof Deane-Peter Baker). Katja also works as Program Manager for Foreign/Security Policy and Counter-Terrorism at the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation’s Regional Programme Australia and the Pacific (KAS) in Canberra. At KAS, she coordinates a portfolio that includes topics like the wider strategic relations in the Asia-Pacific, cybersecurity, European defence/security matters and the field of terrorism/extremism. She regularly publishes and presents at seminars, conferences and consultancy courses (for representatives from DoD, security agencies, DFAT) and appears on national TV and radio for commentary. At the Australian National University, Katja has previously taught and tutored on Middle East politics, Islam and International Terrorism at the postgraduate and undergraduate level. She is currently teaching a post-graduate course on ‘Terrorism and Propaganda in Cyberspace’ for the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security at Charles Sturt University.
Katja has lived in the Middle East, where she was engaged in educational projects and NGO work in Syria during the early years of Bashar al-Assad’s presidency. She holds a First-Class Honours degree in International Development from the Australian National University, was recipient of several scholarships including an Australian Government Research Training PhD Scholarship, and has been awarded the 2016 ANU Media and Outreach Award as Emerging Media Talent.