Director of Training and Partnership Development, Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL)
American University (DC)
La’Nita Johnson is a multilingual international education and training design expert, who is the consulting director of Training and Partnership Development at the Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL). She leads PERIL’S pioneering Summer Institute Fellowship and is responsible for training development and delivery across the United States and virtually.
A survivor of terrorism, La’Nita has dedicated her personal and professional career to educating people about countering violent extremism globally. Following a narrow survival from the 2016 Café Cappuccino attack in Burkina Faso, La’Nita decided to propel her love for public service and advocacy, and was awarded the prestigious Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship.
La’Nita has spoken on the importance of survivor needs, particularly as it pertains to mental health for the World Bank, U.S. government agencies, and various international affairs networks, and her work has been featured in media outlets such as Quartz, Marker by Medium, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and more. Her research and professional work centers around youth workforce development programming for gang prevention, Central American locally-led development initiatives, and green youth jobs.
In addition to her work at PERIL, La’Nita is a tenured Education Foreign Service Officer at USAID and serves on the board as vice president for their Blacks in Government chapter. She holds a master’s degree in International Training and Education from American University (DC) and two bachelor’s degrees (magna cum laude) in Hispanic Studies and International Studies with a specialization in Intercultural Communications from Pepperdine University (CA).