Experts and governments have unanimously emphasized the importance of prevention in the fight against radicalization and violent extremism. Following a review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism report, published by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2016, reaffirmed the need to strengthen preventive measures. In its 2015 report titled UNESCO’s role in promoting education as a tool to prevent violent extremism, UNESCO’s Executive Board also underscored the central role of education, as well as the need for social pedagogy that encourages reflexivity and critical thinking as ways to prevent violent extremism among youth. Lastly, at the 16th Francophonie Summit in 2016, heads of state and government officials adopted a resolution on the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism that can lead to terrorism.
CHAIR MISSION AND OBJECTIVES
The primary mission of the Chair, established in the fall of 2017, is to act as a centre of excellence to develop, share and promote research and action needed for the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of radicalization and violent extremism. It will ensure close cooperation among researchers and communities of practice in a comparative, multidisciplinary and north-south perspective. The Chair has set the following objectives:
Identify, network and enhance cooperation between centres, structures of expertise and communities of practice in preventing radicalization, both in Canada and abroad
Provide a high level of expertise and develop innovative action research programs, as well as models based on evidence and best practices, to shape not only public policy but also radicalization and violent extremism prevention programs at the local, national and international levels
Support the capacity-building of key stakeholders, particularly in research, school and community settings, as well as the online realm
Raise awareness, ensure visibility and transfer knowledge to the public and media
CHAIR STRUCTURE & PARTNERS
The UNESCO-PREV Chair is the product of a partnership between three host universities (Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Montréal and Concordia University). It is structured around an executive committee, regional branches (Africa, North America and Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Arab States) and a committee of national and international experts. It operates through a national and international network of respected partners from all sectors of society that are involved in preventing radicalization leading to violence. It has close partnerships in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
The UNESCO Co-Chairs for the Prevention of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism: