Updated: Mar 20
Preventing extremism through community resilience was the focus of a European meeting organized by the Europ-Arab Foundation on February 16th and 17th. The meeting saw the participation of over ten organizations from different parts of Europe, including Kudwa represented by Georges Azzi.
The PAVE project by Europ-Arab Foundation is a comprehensive and evidence-based initiative to prevent and address violent extremism through community resilience. The project recognizes the root causes and driving factors of radicalization, which are essential in developing effective prevention strategies. The project also emphasizes the importance of civil society, educational institutions, and religious institutions in building community resilience.
The European meeting organized by the Europ-Arab Foundation provided a platform for organizations to discuss and exchange ideas on preventing extremism through community resilience. The meeting highlighted the importance of understanding the root causes and driving factors of radicalization and the need for effective prevention strategies. The case studies presented by NGOs demonstrated the importance of recognizing and addressing the challenges faced by communities and individuals affected by extremism.
The first meeting day included a training session on Module 1 of a 5-module training program on preventing extremism. The PAVE project was presented during the session. The project aims to prevent and address violent extremism through community resilience in the Western Balkans and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by examining the root causes and driving factors of radicalization.
Various forms of activism were discussed during the session. The project's findings were presented during the second session, highlighting the vulnerabilities in the Balkan and MENA regions. The discussion focused on economic factors, legacies of violence, religious factors, the role of the state and the media, online drivers and narratives fueling community radicalization, transnational factors of vulnerability, and the role of the diaspora community in radicalization. The session also discussed the risk factors that might lead to extremism and resilience factors to prevent extremism.
Session 3 covered the dysfunction of formal institutions, the relegation of women's roles, and the many faces of extremism, among others. Session 4 presented an overview of findings on resilience factors, including the role of civil society, the educational sector, religious institutions, the state, the diaspora community, and resilience-conducive transnational interactions, and community resilience through online and offline de-radicalization. NGOs presented case studies in each session to illustrate the theoretical parts.
Kudwa, who attended the meeting, presented a case study on MENA activists fighting for democracy and gender and sexual rights during session 2. The presentation covered the forms of violence activists face beyond arrest and physical violence, why activists are forced into exile, and the challenges they face in exile. It also recognized the cultural diversity within MENA and provided recommendations on integrating migrating activists into their new host country.
On the second day of the meeting, recommendations from the PAVE project were presented to decision-makers, including several municipalities from across Spain, followed by a debate.
The recommendations from the PAVE project presented to decision-makers can be used to inform policy and practice at the local level. The project provides a valuable resource for organizations and decision-makers seeking to prevent and address violent extremism through community resilience. The meeting organized by the Europ-Arab Foundation was a valuable initiative that brought together organizations from different parts of Europe to discuss and exchange ideas on preventing extremism.