On 7 April 2017, activists representing NGOs from all over Europe met near Prague, Czechia for the UNITED network conference Rewind Radicalism: Building up strategies against extremism. The conference aimed to investigate the trends behind increasing radicalisation in European societies, and provide a platform for developing new strategies and practices for countering (violent) extremism.
Participants arrived on 7 April (Day I) and got to know each other over informal icebreaker activities. The conference officially opened on Day II with introductory remarks from the organisers in plenary, where the participants also got the chance to introduce themselves and their organisations, as well as to share with the rest of the participants what they were personally most radical about.
The first workshop at the conference was the Danger of Words – participants discussed words like “nationalism”, “populism”, “left/right” and “fear”. In different working groups, facilitators used various methods to investigate these words, including Theatre of the Oppressed and discussion groups.
In the afternoon, selected participants took part in a Karl Popper-style debate on the topic “Is Europe Radicalising?” The participants in the discussion brought up a huge range of topics, including national elections taking place around Europe, Europe’s recent history and the link between radicalism and globalisation. This debate was followed by an open space for participants to share their thoughts on the issue and feedback on the debate. The debate was streamed live via the UNITED conference Facebook page, and is still available to stream: [click here if stream does not load below]
In the final session of the afternoon, participants gave testimonies about their personal experiences of radicalism. First, Beata Hirt of Healthy City Community Foundation, Slovakia, talked about her experience of working with marginalised groups in her city, and the threat of neonazi attacks faced by members of minority groups there. Next, Inness Sakhno of Anti-discrimination Centre Memorial Brussels talked about the recent history of the antifascist movement in Russia, and increasingly violent clashes between antifa and rightwing groups starting in the early 2000’s. She was followed by Nasiyo Abdi, representing KISA, who talked about her personal experience as a victim of discrimination in Cyprus. Finally, Sahar Hassani of the Norwegian Centre Against Racism talked about the sacrifices her parents made as activists in Kurdistan, and her later experience of growing up in Norway, coming to terms with different aspects of her identity, and eventually studying and working in the field of antidiscrimination.
In the evening, participants had the chance to exchange best practice information in an informal setting with the information market/ speed-networking activity.
This conference is prepared by:
* Antikomplex, Czech Republic
* Bulgarian Red Cross – Refugees & Migrant Service
* EFSYN – Efimerida ton Sintakton, Greece
* Human Rights Association, Georgia
* Norsensus Mediaforum, Norway
* UNITED for Intercultural Action
In cooperation with:
* Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung e.V.
* Prague Spring II Network
This conference has been made possible with the financial support of:
* The European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
* The Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union
The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the position nor the opinion of our sponsors. Sponsors are not to be held responsible for any use that may be made of it.