2nd Study Session – United Youth Against Hate and Violent Extremism in Europe

11 – 15 September 2017, Budapest, Hungary

In cooperation with Human Rights Education Youth Network (HREYN), the European Youth Press (EYP) and the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, UNITED took part in a special project to counter hate and violent extremism among young people at risk of social exclusion. The project, which took place over the course of 2017, consisted of two Study Sessions (in April and September 2017) at the European Youth Centre in Budapest, and an intermediate phase between the two study sessions, when participants organized activities to engage young people at risk of social exclusion.

From 10-15 September 2017, some of the participants from the 1st Study Session and new youngsters involved in the local and international projects gathered for the 2nd Study Session “United Youth Against Hate and Violent Extremism in Europe”.

Aims and objectives of the 2nd Study Session were:

The aim of this project was to provide to youth trainers’, youth activists’ and young people competences to act against violent extremism and hate speech in Europe.

Objectives:

  • To share and critically reflect on the activities implemented during the intermediate phase of the project;
  • To explore key concepts related to hate and violent extremism and their interrelations, focusing on the perception by the young people and impact it has in their everyday lives;
  • To explore the reasons why young people are attracted and involved in acts of hate and violent extremism and discuss possible responses through human rights activism and education;
  • To reflect on the role of young people and enhance youth participation in Europe to prevent and act against hate and violent extremism at local and international levels;
  • To provide space, information and support to plan common strategies and develop follow-up actions to prevent and act against hate and violent extremism in Europe.

 

During this Study Session, 30 people attended (10 of them were also participants from the 1st one): there were participants that are youth workers, young activists, youngsters, refugees. The 20 new participants were either involved by the organisation in the intermediate phase of the project and then invited for the 2nd Study Session or invited by organisations that promoted the event. Most participants reside in states of the European Cultural Convention, participants from Palestine and Morocco were also invited.

Some activities of the study session:

  • Sharing actions and methodologies: to reflect on the activities implemented during the intermediate phase; to present the intermediate phase activities and methodologies; to evaluate and give feedback about the intermediate phase activities.
  • Exploring concepts sessions: terminology related to the project and how it functions in the local realities of the participants.
  • Presentation by Cristina Civilotti: PhD, psychologist, psychotherapist, senior lecturer (University of Turin). Title of the session: “Psychological mechanisms of radicalization: why is violent extremism appealing?” In the session, the expert gave an overview of potential causes and psychological mechanisms that can lead young people feel attracted to violent extremist groups, with a focus on attachment and introduction to complex PTSD.
  • Presentation by Matthew Collins, researcher for Hope Not Hate. Title of the session: “Case studies and Testimonies”. In the session, the expert shared his real life experience as former National Front and British National Party member and now anti-fascist, human rights activist and author of the book My Life in the British Far Right.
  • “Making links”: Participants discussed and better understood different actors and their roles in society.
  • Session on funding opportunities: Introducing the short input of funding opportunities: EYF and Youth Department of CoE; Erasmus+ KA1; Erasmus+ KA2 – Capacity Building.