Youth Waging Peace
Youth led guide on prevention of violent extremism through education
If we are to reach young people effectively, all activities to prevent violent extremism, build peace, and create a stronger, safer world must be rooted in a candid conversation about the instability and violence with which we currently live. How can our educational institutions safely create spaces for these debates to take place? How can teachers and mentors respond when students ask questions that have no single answer? How do we teach ourselves to see the potential building blocks of conflict or peace in everything from a textbook to an arts program? To answer these questions, we have curated responses from young people around the world. Their experiences and insights determined the structure and content of this guide. Includes case studies and key learnings.
- Chapter 1: Understanding violent extremism
- Chapter 2: The appeal of extremism
- Chapter 3: Formal education
- Chapter 4: Beyond formal education
- Chapter 5: Media and the Internet
While we received a diversity of voices and perspectives, advocating for different and sometimes contradictory actions, we found that three key messages emerged from our analysis of all Youth Contributor submissions. For each key message, we have identified a corresponding framework to guide policy support to empower stakeholders.
- Peace, empathy, and compassion cannot be taught. These are skills that are only fully realized through experiential learning and lived experience. Policy Action: Provide opportunities for exchange and interaction and create conducive environments in which young people can develop and practice these skills.
- Start now. Stakeholders can take immediate and important actions, even small actions, to support a culture that prevents violent extremism. No one needs to wait for permission or a comprehensive set of instructions. Policy Action: Provide resources such as technical support, financing, guidance, and networks to empower actors.
- This is a long, slow process. Preventing violent extremism requires the development of a resilient culture. It is the work of expanding opportunity. All stakeholders can play critical roles in making this culture a reality. Policy Action: Provide a broad scope of support for simultaneous interventions, big and small, at all levels and for long periods of time.
Within these broad themes, we received inspirational stories of young people driving change in their communities and painful reflections on the failures of schools and societies. We heard from young teachers who felt unprepared by their own education and experience to support their students and from students who felt alienated and isolated by the cruelty of their teachers. We hope you will be inspired, challenged, and even discomforted by their stories; and we hope that their insights will lead the change in how we achieve prevention of violent extremism through education.