Building peace in the minds of men and women

Preventing violent extremism through education

UNESCO is helping countries deliver education programmes that help build learners' resilience to violent extremism and mitigate the drivers of the phenomena. This work is being undertaken within the framework of Global Citizenship Education and supports the implementation of UNESCO Executive Board Decision 197 EX/Decision 46: “UNESCO’s role in promoting education as a tool to prevent violent extremism”.

UNESCO’s action to prevent violent extremism through education (PVE-E) seeks to strengthen the capacities of national education systems (eg. policies, teachers, educational contents) to appropriately and effectively contribute to national prevention efforts.

This includes equipping learners, of all ages, and notably young women and men, with the knowledge, values, attitudes and behaviours, which foster responsible global citizenship, critical thinking, empathy and the ability to take action against violent extremism.

Easy access to educational resources on PVE-E is available on UNESCO GCED Clearinghouse hosted by APCEIU.

What UNESCO does

UNESCO is helping countries address the drivers of violent extremism within the framework of Global Citizenship education. UNESCO works to strenghten the capacities of national education systems (e.g policies, teachers, educationnal contents) to contribute to national prevention efforts.

  • Global Advocacy

Working with education specialists from around the world, UNESCO is building an international consensus around the need for an increased and human-rights based engagement of the education sector in the prevention of violent extremism and identify and examine concrete and comprehensive education sector responses to the threats of violent extremism.

  • Development of guidance

Furthermore, UNESCO helps education-policy makers plan and implement effective and appropriate education-related actions, contributing to national PVE efforts, both in formal and non-formal settings, and at different levels (secondary, technical and vocational training, higher education). This work includes also supporting teachers in  managing classroom discussions in relation to PVE and radicalization and creating a classroom climate that is inclusive and conducive to respectful dialogue, open discussion and critical thinking.

  • Capacity-reinforcement

UNESCO develops capacity-building initiatives for education professionals on how to address violent extremism through global citizenship education and genocide prevention, in partnership with the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) and  the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU).

What I can do

I am a policy-maker or a donor and I need to strengthen educational institutions’ capacity to prevent violent extremism.

Preventing violent extremism through education: a guide for policy-makers provides guidance for strengthening the education sector’s capacity to prevent violent extremism.

I am a teacher and I need guidance on how to talk about violent extremism and related contentious issues with learners

The Teacher’s guide on the prevention of violent extremism helps teachers understand violent extremism and provides practical advice on when and how to discuss the issue of violent extremism learners. It also helps teachers create a classroom climate that is inclusive and conducive to respectful dialogue, open discussion and critical thinking

I am an education stakeholder and I want to know young people’s views and implementation of PVE-E

With contributions from more than 2,000 young people form all over the world, the #YouthWagingPeace guidebook provides a set of actionable guidelines for PVE to teachers, school administrators, policy makers, family, religious leaders and other informal influencers.

Useful materials

The drivers of violent extremism are numerous and every person’s journey into violent extremism is unique. Addressing all forms of discrimination and hate speech contributes to building learners’ resilience to violent extremist ideologies and to fostering their commitment to non-violence and peace. Useful materials can be found in the following areas: