Preventing Violent Extremism through Education
Challenges, policies and practices - 5. Georg Arnhold International Summer School
At this years’ Georg Arnhold International Summer School participants from 22 different countries presented a broad range of papers on the topic: Preventing Violent Extremism through Education (PVE-E). The participants came from a variety of professional backgrounds, from early-career researchers to senior scholars and field practitioners, enabling the summer school to approach PVE-E from a diverse range of perspectives and contexts.
The choice of PVE-E as the central focus of the fifth Georg Arnhold Summer School is a recognition of the increasing importance of PVE-E as a response to the trans-global problem of extremist violence. This is in step with the growing global acceptance of PVE-E as an important tool in the defense of peace and human rights, as demonstrated by the launch in December 2015 of the UN Secretary-General’s ‘Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism’. The plan emphasized the need to engage in educational measures aimed at preventing violent extremism. In particular, UNESCO’s actions have been rapidly expanding over the past two years, not just with formal board decisions to promote PVE-E (e.g. UNESCO Executive Board Decision 197EX/46), but also global conferences and the creation of policy guides for teachers, stakeholders and the creation of educational resources. Numerous state and non-state actors, community organizations, researchers and practitioners have also increased their involvement with PVE-E.
Within this very broad field, the summer school chose to focus on curricula and curriculum reform, educational media, formal and non-formal educational activities, and the work of diverse stakeholders such as teachers, NGOs, governments and international organizations.
The summer school also recognized that violent extremism is an issue that does not originate in one country or culture but is rather a description of a range of human rights violations occurring across the world and perpetrated by different agents for different reasons. The limitations of terms such as extremism and the potential for negative consequences when specific groups are targeted within PVE-E initiatives as a vital part of the event, both in specific papers and as a subject of discourse across the week. It was in recognition of this that the summer school’s focus this year was on challenges, policies, and practices.