Educating a New Generation of Peace Leaders as a Way to Prevent Homegrown Terrorism

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Educating a New Generation of Peace Leaders as a Way to Prevent Homegrown Terrorism

Dr. Evan Hoffman
Senior Associate, Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation (CIIAN)

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Abstract

Countering radicalization and violent extremism whether overseas or domestically is a very complex problem that will require long-term efforts occurring in several different arenas simultaneously by numerous different government and non-governmental actors. Indeed, nothing short of a whole-of-problem approach will suffice.

One of these areas of activity to especially focus on is working with young Canadians in order to take them out of the reach of terrorist recruiters.

Current anti-radicalization strategies which rely on surveillance, reporting, and rather passive attempts to attract would-be terrorists are not enough. Instead of relying primarily on increased surveillance and passive outreach to young people, what if we responded to their need for exciting, meaningful lives in a different manner. Why not replace the allure of being a terrorist with the allure of being a peace leader? That is, someone who wishes to “wage peace” in order to build a better world for themselves, their family and their neighbours.

This paper presents an innovative, new model for educating and empowering a new generation of young peace leaders as a way to prevent homegrown terrorism. The model is based on the “Peace Guerilla” (PG) pilot project that the Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation (CIIAN) ran with grade 6 and 7 students at Ross Road Elementary School in North Vancouver, BC in 2011.

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