Dr. Joel Day is Research Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy and Lecturer for the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego. His current research concerns how global nonstate actors like cities, religious groups, or extremist organizations participate in, or prevent, violence. His current book project evaluates how cities implement and advance human security, arguing that cities are creating an epistemic community of practice and norm elaboration on environmental, food, health, political and other everyday forms of security.
Day has conducted field work throughout settlements in the West Bank, with former civil-war combatants in Sierra Leone, and with groups countering extremism in the United States, Germany, Poland, and Denmark. This research has been supported by National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism and published in the Journal of Peace Research, Small Wars Journal, Foreign Policy, Perspectives on Terrorism, Review of Faith and International Affairs, and Journal of Strategic Security. His research and commentary has also appeared in Al Jazeera, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, the San Diego Union Tribune, the Hill, the Boston Globe, and the Associated Press.
As a specialist on combating violent extremism and homeland security, 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. In addition to his academic work, Day is Director at the City of San Diego, where he oversees the City’s 49 public policy commissions. He also liaisons as a homeland security advisor on issues of violent extremism and targeted violence, acting as the City’s representative to the Strong Cities Network and other city to city diplomatic networks. Day seeks to bridge the gap between theory and practice and has served as a policy advisor for several Congressional and Presidential campaigns, CFO and Operations Director for a global nonprofit fighting human trafficking. He was a 2006 David L. Boren National Security Act Scholar, and a national collegiate debate champion. In 2017, Day was named “40 Under 40 in San Diego” by San Diego Metro Magazine.
Day has held academic appointments as a Visiting Professor at the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, Assistant Professor of Security and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and lecturer and research fellow with the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver. He received his Ph.D. in International Affairs from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.