Dr. Joel Day is Executive Director of the City of San Diego’s Human Relations Commission and International Affairs Board. In this capacity, Joel supports the mission of the Board and Commission and advises the Mayor and City Council on issues of human rights, inclusion, and global engagement.
As a specialist on combating violent extremism and homeland security, recent attacks in San Bernardino, Orlando, Paris, and Nice, all motivated Joel to return to his hometown to work on building partnerships, civil society, and resilience in San Diego’s neighborhoods.
Joel received his Ph.D. from the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies where he was also Research Fellow at the Sie Center for International Security and Diplomacy. At the Sie Center, Joel worked on better understanding and cataloguing global violent and nonviolent social movements.
Before joining the City, he served as Assistant Professor of Security and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, as well as a research associate at the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies. His work received a grant from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, funded by the Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Day has briefed Congress and the Pentagon on issues of extremism and community resilience to the threat of terrorism. He has worked extensively in the U.S. and across the world on issues of countering violent extremism, interfaith dialogue, and national security. He as conducted field work throughout settlements in the West Bank and with former civil-war combatants in Sierra Leone. Joel’s research has been published in the Journal of Peace Research, Perspectives on Terrorism, and Journal of Strategic Security and he has provided commentary to national news outlets including Al Jazeera, CBS, ABC, and NBC affiliates, the Boston Globe, and the Associated Press.
For the past 15 years, Joel has engaged both local and global public policy. He served as Operations Director of an international nonprofit fighting against human trafficking. Joel has also worked for two California Assemblymembers, the County of San Diego, as a staffer and foreign policy advisor to a number of congressional campaigns, and as Operations Director for a U.S. Presidential campaign. He is also a National Security Act Scholar and national collegiate debate champion.
Joel earned his Ph.D. from the University of Denver in International Studies, holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of San Diego, and a B.A. in Political Science from Point Loma Nazarene University. He has taught at the University of Denver, Colorado State University, and the University of Massachusetts, and regularly lectures on combating violent extremism and public policy. In addition to advocacy, research, and policy work, Joel is enthusiastic about local beaches, baseball, and San Diego’s world-class hipster coffee and cuisine. Joel and his wife, Lauren Ries, and son, Bobby, live in San Diego.