Fifteen years after the overthrow of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan’s university student population has ballooned, and its roughly 50 universities form a critical arena in the struggle for the country’s future. Yet Afghan universities have lacked courses or student organizations dedicated to opposing extremist ideas and to building peace across the ethnic, sectarian and other divides exploited by militant groups.
Two organizations, Karwan Tanzeem, based in Peshawar, and the British Pashtoon Association (BPA), based in the UK, are joining forces to raise the education level, create awareness among youth, and steer them away from militancy, violence and extremism.
This guide is the fruit of collaboration by Search for Common Ground colleagues past and present from around the world. This guide captures insights from years of experience and offers guiding principles for peacebuilders and on-the-ground practitioners as they navigate this important yet high-risk area of work around violent extremism.
This April Peace Direct is hosting a collaborative research project to bring together experts and practitioners to share best practices and develop new approaches in countering violent extremism. Send notice of interest by March 27.
YouthPower Learning Grants RFA: Advancing the Evidence Base for Youth Civic Engagement in Effective Peacebuilding for Mitigating Violent Extremism
Making Cents International under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded contract YouthPower Learning is launching a request for applications: YouthPower Learning Grants for Advancing the Evidence Base for Youth Civic Engagement in Effective Peacebuilding for Mitigating Violent Extremism.
Speakers at a day-long conference on “Fostering Culture of Peace Through Education”, jointly organized by the German organization Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and National Assembly Member Asiya Nasir, discussed the role of peace education in dealing with extremism.
Dr Musarat Amin calls for compulsory peace education at levels 8-9-10 in public schools as students of these age groups are more prone to extremist ideologies. That peace education should be a combination of Islamic as well as Western literature that promotes tolerance, peaceful co-existence and harmony amongst different segments of the society.
Critical Choices: Assessing The Effects Of Education and Civic Engagement on Somali Youths’ Propensity Towards Violence
Understanding what works to reduce violence, including violent extremism, is a key priority for many policymakers. Despite this need, to date there is very little research evaluating the effects of development programs on violence reduction. To address this knowledge gap, Mercy Corps undertook a rigorous impact evaluation of a 5-year stability-focused youth program in Somalia known as the Somali Youth Leaders Initiative (SYLI).
A group of students from the Lahore University of Management Sciences has launched a campaign by the name of PEACE (Promote Education and Combat Extremism), for which they have visited around 30 schools across Lahore.
Arigatou International Geneva in collaboration with UNESCO and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations in Geneva, organized a side event to the 33rd Human Rights Council entitled “Learning to Live Together: The role of education in preventing violent extremism.”
In mid-October, the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member countries met in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to find new ways to promote peace and prosperity, and fight radicalization and reign in violent extremism. In the belief that education is an important tool to promote peace and economic development and to combat the ideology of terrorism and violent extremism, the dignitaries adopted the theme “Education and Enlightenment: The Path to Peace and Creativity.” To facilitate the process of countering violent extremist ideology online, the Organization also launched the Center for Dialogue, Peace and Understanding.
Simply telling young people about the evils of violent extremism is not enough. What is needed is a holistic education model that lays emphasis on dialogue, fosters critical thinking skills, inculcates respect for diversity and gives the students the socio-emotional and behavioural skills that will help deconstruct the messaging used to promote violence.
Education policy-makers and youth agree on the way forward for the prevention of violent extremism through education
Over 200 senior education policy-makers, experts, as well as youth advocates in the field, from close to 70 countries came together in New Delhi, India, from 19 to 20 September, for the first “UNESCO International Conference on the Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education: Taking Action”.
Skills, jobs, freedom of expression and more culture and history – these are the responses that must be nurtured in the face of violent extremism stated UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova at an event organized by Albania, Jordan and the Holy See on 20 September 2016. ”Tackling this threat is a huge responsibility, of which UNESCO is deeply aware, and this is why we are acting across the board,” said Bokova. “This goes to the heart of the UNESCO Constitution, to build the defences of peace in the minds of women and men, starting with education, starting with the soft power of learning, the sciences, intercultural dialogue, on the basis of shared values.”
Education ministers and officials from 50 countries attended the Council of Europe Standing Conference of Ministers of Education, in Brussels from 11-12 April, 2016, to discuss the theme “”Securing democracy through education: The development of a Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture”.
UNESCO’s Teacher Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism provides practical tips to educators seeking guidance on how to discuss the subject in classrooms. The Guide was developed within the framework of UNESCO’s work on Global Citizenship Education and in response to the request of UNESCO’s Member States for assistance in strengthening their education sector responses to violent extremism.
How can we involve professionals from the mental health and education fields in countering violent extremism? Are there lessons to be learned from other types of intervention programs?
Increasing attention has been drawn to the need for an expanded role for mental health care in countering violent extremism. Incorporating mental health and education fields into countering violent extremism holds significant potential in enhancing prevention and intervention capacities. However, to do so effectively requires a better understanding of how to reconcile assets and contingencies from education and mental health with CVE needs and contingencies.