Preventing Violent Extremism
It is not enough to counter violent extremism --- we need to prevent it, and this calls for forms of ‘soft power’, to prevent a threat driven by distorted interpretations of culture, hatred, and ignorance. No one is born a violent extremist – they are made and fueled. Disarming the process of radicalization must begin with human rights and the rule of law, with dialogue across all boundary lines, by empowering all young women and men, and by starting as early as possible, on the benches of schools.
UNESCO Member States adopted the landmark decision (Decision 197EX/46) to enhance UNESCO’s capacity to provide assistance to States as they craft sharper strategies to prevent violent extremism. UNESCO has also committed to the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, with a focus on priorities of direct relevance to UNESCO’s work: (i) education, skills development and employment facilitation; (ii) empowerment of youth; (iii) strategic communications, the Internet and social media; and (iv) gender equality and empowering women.
UNESCO is empowering young women and men to live up to their potential as positive change actors through unique cross-sectoral work on:
UNESCO seeks to assist countries to deliver education programmes that build young people’s resilience to violent extremist messaging and foster a positive sense of identity and belonging. This work is being undertaken within the framework of Global Citizenship Education.
The UNESCO Youth team focuses on creating an enabling environment for the empowerment and democratic participation of youth, in order to ensure that young women and men have the opportunities to become active global citizens.
UNESCO is mobilizing stakeholders - particularly youth, policy-makers, researchers and media actors- to take effective actions, both online and offline, to prevent and respond to violent extremism and radicalization on the Internet.
UNESCO is engaging youth in the protection of all forms of heritage and the promotion of cultural diversity to foster more fair, inclusive and peaceful societies, through the #Unite4Heritage campaign and Educational Programmes on Heritage and Creativity.
The Government of Australia will contribute $100,000 (AUD) to support UNESCO’s work combatting violent extremism. Minister of Justice of Australia, the Hon Michael Keenan MP, who is also Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism, announced the decision that will be part of a new partnership with UNESCO earlier this week.