Preventing Violent Extremism through Education (PVE-E)

The rise of violent extremism: a global problem
Over the past two decades, there has been a marked increase of violent extremism across the globe, spanning various political elements that range from radical religious movements to white supremacists. This serious threat not only endangers peoples’ lives, but their dignity, security and safety and also their emotional well-being, as individuals are left with a feeling of overwhelming fear and anxiety of the future or an impending attack. Violent extremism also has disastrous and often irreversible effects on cultural heritage, for example the destruction of the mausoleums in Timbuktu in 2012 or of the Palmyra ruins in 2015-6, but also on the environment, for example the so-called ‘weaponisation’ of water in Iraq and Syria. In the interconnected and interdependent world we live in, violent extremism sees no borders; it is a global, transnational problem that leaves no country immune from its impacts. Germany is no exception to this.

Preventing violent extremism through Education (PVE-E)
Education has increasingly received unprecedented attention as an important sphere of preventing violent extremism through its ‘soft power’. So far PVE-E research has mostly revolved around informal education and community-reach programs, but it is important to also focus on the institutionalised school setting, and in particular on textbooks and curricula. Textbooks convey specific values and also mirror the inclusion or exclusion of groups in a society and curricula and textbook analyses can act as a diagnostic tool for problematic practices that are counter-productive and even contribute to violent extremism, but also for identifying good practices that help foster resilience.

Summarised objectives and methodology of the project
The aim of this project is to fill in this gap by presenting an overview of current practices and discourses with regard to PVE-E in Germany in the formal education setting. In order to do so the project will work on two interrelated levels:

  1. The project will provide an overview of international discourses and practices related to PVE-E as well as good practices from other countries. Violent extremism is a transnational phenomenon and it is important not only to address this interrelatedness but also to learn from evaluations of existing initiatives. It will then focus more closely on Germany, and provide an overview of these discourses and practices as they relate to the national context.
  2. The project will conduct a curriculum and textbook analysis focusing on German history and social studies textbooks from across the 16 federal states. The textbooks will be analysed to see whether a) PVE discourses are present b) if so, how they are presented and c) what is problematic and what can be improved?



January - December 2018

Related events/ activities

Official launch of publication in Berlin

Additional project: Supporting educators in their work with young refugees

UNESCO workshop on PVE through Educational Media

UNESCO Preliminary Consultation on inter-institutional cooperation on PVE-E

UNESCO Sub-Regional Capacity-Building Workshop on the Prevention of Violent Extremism

Georg Arnhold International Summer School on PVE-E

Project Lead

Eleni Christodoulou

Department Textbooks and Society

Branch Office B1.10
Phone: +49 531 59099-376
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Project Team

Maximilian Lasa

Student Assistant / Department Textbooks and Society

Branch Office B1.10
Phone: +49 531 59099-0
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Simona Szakács (Behling)

Department Textbooks as Media / Department Textbooks and Society

Branch Office B0.09
Phone: +49 531 59099-372
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Sören Meier

Student Assistant / Department Textbooks and Society

Branch Office B0.14.1
Phone: +49 531 59099-0
Send email