Preventing/countering violent extremism (PCVE) is an issue that has been addressed nationally, regionally and globally since the turn of the millennium. PCVE is generally pursued through coercive hard power such as military-dominated peace support operations and surveillance to name a few. Although these methods have proven effective to a certain extent, they come at a high cost both financially and in human lives, while still failing to completely eradicate violent extremism.
The objective of the trans-continental dialogue programme on PCVE through the soft power of religion is to create a transcontinental platform that will bring together stakeholders from Africa and Europe to deliberate on these issues and produce contemporary recommendations and activities on how to prevent/counter violent extremism. The dialogue further aims to:
- Strengthen inter- & intra-religious efforts and strategies in preventing/countering violent extremism and promoting conflict prevention, peace building, reconciliation and conflict transformation;
- Facilitate inter-religious dialogue as a tool to influence policy and advocacy in Africa and Europe;
- Establish a platform for partnership between African and European stakeholders, particularly faith-based and interfaith organizations to work together in addressing common issues such as promoting a culture of peace and building trust, peace and common values.
- Promote values of tolerance, mutual respect and better understanding centered around intra- and inter-faith, inter-religious and inter-cultural values that are the core principles for integration and peace.
- Achieve behavioural change of communities and individuals, redefining contemporary human values for tolerance and integration.
- Reach out, educate and de-radicalize target groups (particular focus on youth) and train respective stakeholders.
The February 2017 Forum
This intercontinental forum will provide a platform to discuss different means of preventing/countering violent extremism by drawing on the soft power of religion and dialogue and, accordingly making policies at the local, national and regional levels that are relevant to both Africa and Europe. The forum will bring together a group of experts and practitioners on interfaith dialogue, countering violent extremism, and de-radicalization along with a representative group of youth from Africa and Europe. The forum will focus on the following objectives:
- To develop strategic directions for the Interfaith Dialogue on Violent Extremism (IDOVE) project based on principles and methods of interfaith dialogue on countering violent extremism and de-radicalization.
- To develop suitable concepts and applications for the IDOVE website that will be launched at the Forum.
- To develop concepts and mechanisms to support small scale youth-run projects to be implemented in Africa and Europe within the project objectives.
- To design plans for a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system to monitor the implementation of small scale projects, following up on them through annual meetings.
The forum is primarily geared towards empowering youth to conceptualize and develop projects using the two major approaches of the IDOVE project: Social Media and Small Scale Projects. Therefore, the following criteria will form the basis of the participant selection process:
- Aged between 20-35
- Citizen or resident of a European or an African country
- Fluency in either English or French, in addition to fluency in another language
- Proven interest in interfaith, de-radicalization and/or preventing/countering violent extremism, as evident from having:
- Developed projects related to those topics
- Participated in projects related to those topics
- Conducted formal research on those topics
- Participated in conferences, workshops and forums on those topics
Applications must be completed using the online application system and must be submitted by midnight of Sunday, 15 January 2017. Notifications of admission to the forum will be sent during the last week of January 2017. The organizers will cover all travel and accommodation costs associated with the forum.