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ASU professor awarded the Innovative Campaign to Further Mission


Ajit Maan

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March 26, 2020

Homeland Security Today has awarded Ajit Maan, professor of practice in Arizona State University's School of Politics and Global Studies, the award for Innovative Campaign to Further Mission in her work as the founder and CEO of the think-and-do-tank Narrative Strategies.

The award recognized the Narrative Strategies team, which includes President Howard Clark and Vice President Paul Cobaugh. The award, Maan said, actually came as a surprise for her and her colleagues.

“We didn't actively pursue it. We just do what we do and were honored to be recognized by our colleagues for our innovation in bringing unusual academic backgrounds to the implementation of soft power initiatives, particularly for the military and counterterrorism,” Maan said.

Narrative Strategies was organically established after Maan’s book "Counter-Terrorism: Narrative Strategies" was published in 2014. 

“A lot of people, most from special ops, approached me because they were excited to see the theory behind what they had practiced. The thing was, they were practicing with no supporting doctrine. They were also glad to have answers to their questions about why “storytelling” was sometimes influential and sometimes not. The answer is that if a story doesn’t link to a foundational narrative, it will fall flat,” Maan said.

Conversations about the power of narrative in influence started as a result of the book, and after a while it became clear that they should organize themselves officially. 

“We took our name from the subtitle of my book and the way we use narrative comes from the psychological/philosophical concept of narrative identity theory. We assist our clients in implementing and operationalizing strategies to get them where they want to be, providing multilayered action plans ready to implement,” Maan added.

Maan joined ASU in fall 2019 as a professor of practice for ASU’s MA in global security program. She teaches courses on narrative and conflict.

Narrative Strategies offers training and conferences and will also be initiating an extended publication arm called Narrative Strategies Ink this year. National security professionals can submit articles to the Narrative Strategies Journal and in the future they will be able to submit book manuscripts to Ink. Narrative Strategies has also just integrated a temporary forum to monitor election interference on their webpage

Maan also published a new book a few weeks ago titled “Plato’s Fear,” which can be previewed on Amazon.com.

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