EPSS Lecture Series: ‘The Belgian Jihad and Foreign Fighters’

On 30 November, Vesalius College welcomed Mr. Pieter Van Ostaeyen, a leading expert in the field of terrorism studies. Mr. Van Ostaeyen gave the final EPSS Lecture of the year on ‘The Belgian Jihad and Foreign Fighters.’

Mr. Van Ostaeyen spoke about the use of social media by Belgian jihadist groups.

The event brought together more than 60 visitors who had the opportunity to speak directly with Mr. Van Ostaeyen during a lively Q&A session.


Pieter Van Ostaeyen studied Medieval History specialising in the Crusades, Arabic, and Islamic Studies. He has been analysing the conflict in Syria since the outset in 2011. In 2012 he began reporting on foreign fighters and extremist groups. In 2015 he published his first book ‘From the Crusades to the Caliphate’ (‘Van Kruistochten tot Kalifaat’) with Pelckmans. Since September 2016 he has been working towards a PhD at the University of Leuven. His research focuses on the use of social media in the ideological strife between al-Qaeda and The Islamic State.

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