The final day of the International Countering Violent Extremism Research Conference built off of the discussions and findings of the previous two days and took a more forward looking view to the themes that have been discussed. The first session examined projects and approaches to education as a way to address countering violent extremism. The presenters highlighted the importance of enhancing critical thinking skills, active listening and media literacy. The projects presented were implemented in wide variety of contexts including communities in Uganda, Macedonia, south east Asia and on the world wide web.
The second session took a more specified look at a population that is often inordinately focused on in media discussion of violent extremists, those being migrants. This dialogue showed many compelling results about the goals, motivations and standard behaviours of migrants. Presenters described how the systems that migrants have to negotiate to establish themselves in new host communities leave these individuals more susceptible to other vulnerabilities, such as economic exclusion, discrimination, and social marginalization. Insightful recommendations were made that encouraged the conference attendants to critically engage with the terms and concepts that are used in P/CVE and migration programming. They also stated the need to be more conscious of our assumptions and avoid falling in to the trap of confirming our biases.
Later in the day Hedayah, in collaboration with RUSI, presented an exciting new digital platform called the MASAR app, that was launched earlier this month. This app is a tool for P/CVE researchers and practitioners to help guide monitoring and evaluation throughout the project cycle. The app creates a space for result sharing, as well as chat forums so that users can share lessons learned in real time and within a closed and secure network. They also have built and implement a research library in which all the literature has been coded to provide users with research recommendation based on the scope, region and goals of their project. This app, while new, shows a lot promise for expanding the capacities of P/CVE programer and practitioner networks.
There are some essential lessons that one can take away from the proceedings and conversations that have taken place in Swansea over this week. Most significantly is the necessity to ground solutions within local communities and contexts, as well as the need for more interdisciplinary approaches that allow the incorporation of specified scopes, such as gender, migration and social-psychology. This conference provides a much needed venue for collaboration and the sharing of our collective successes, and more importantly, failures. It is through these conversations and exchanges that researchers and practitioners engaged in P/CVE topics can form into a more cohesive community that grants us a broader perspective on these critical issues.