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Building Resilience Against Violent Extremism and Polarisation (BRaVE)

Far Right and Islamist groups seeking to recruit people to their particular political cause promote ‘black and white’ ideologies that lead to polarization, hatred, intolerance and violence. Often cherry-picking from religious doctrines, they rely on superficial understanding and interpretation of such doctrines. The activities of such groups can lead to disruption of social cohesion, diminished civic capacity, social tensions, hate speech, intolerance, discrimination and even violence. This project builds on existing knowledge and policy experience with a view of developing better analytical and policy tools for the design of more efficient resilience policies that counteract polarization and prevent violent extremism. The project starts with a critical reading of existing scholarly literature and with a critical mapping of existing policy approaches to develop a preliminary impact assessment of these approaches. It continues with a further survey of good practices in counteracting polarization and violent extremism and builds an integrated database of such practices. The project develops a Resilience Hub that engages with three types of factors that can promote or mitigate polarization and violent extremism in society: notably historical and cultural factors; socio-economic conditions; the role of the social media and networking. We develop stakeholder workshops in relation to these three sets of factors that affect radicalization in society, and follow up with digital forums with the participation of a large number of stakeholders. Each stakeholder dialogue builds a tool of resilience in their field: notably inter-faith education training for secondary school teachers; a proposal for a basic income policy that mitigates socio-economic inequalities; a guide to responsible social media design. The Resilience Hub further develops a Resilience Fair where arts-based community interventions to stop polarization and build resilience will be presented.

The general objectives of the BRaVE Coordination and Support Action are:

  1. Upgrade the knowledge infrastructure in the wider field of polarisation and extreme ideologies in Europe with a view of understanding better the different dynamics fostering polarisation and extreme rightwing and Islamist ideologies;
  2. Co-design Policy Tools, notably a set of cross national Polarisation Indicators, a Guide for an Ethical Code of Conduct for Social Media Developers, and a Policy Paper outlining how Basic Income policies could help mitigate polarisation trends;
  3. Co-design and co-create educational tools with relevant stakeholders, notably a series of Webinars and a Massive Open Online Course for educators and social workers;
  4. Network/Exchange with relevant stakeholders and implement resilience activities: through online and on-site Stakeholder Workshops, the BRaVE Fair for grassroots arts and sports projects that work to build resilience among youth.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 822189. This communication reflects the views only of the CPS and the Research Executive Agency cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.