On December 6-8, Hedayah (the first-ever International Centre dedicated to countering violent extremism), Edith Cowan University and New York University Institute Abu Dhabi held the International CVE Research Conference 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The rationale behind this event goes back to February 2015, when the White House hosted the Countering Violent Extremism Summit and subsequently organised a series of regional summits throughout the world, gathering their respective leaders in a CVE Leaders’ Summit on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), held in New York City in September 2015. The main objective of this series of meetings was to better understand the drivers leading to radicalisation – and the subsequent recruitment into violent extremism it can sometimes lead to – as well as ways to find programmatic and policy responses to counter these drivers.
In September 2015, the “Researching Solutions against Violent Extremism” (RESOLVE) was launched, with the aim of promoting local research on drivers of radicalisation and recruitment at a global level. Ever since it was created, RESOLVE aims at providing an evidence-based for CVE programs and policies. Hedayah and the Institute for Security Studies are two of the RESOLVE Steering Committee members, and supported its development during the International CVE Conference, through the prioritisation of attendance by research institutions focused on researching communities targeted for radicalisation and recruitment, as well as holding three regional panels to discuss the drivers of radicalisation and recruitment in more detail.
The International CVE Research Conference was well attended, as approximately 200 participants participated to various fruitful debates, including representatives from governments, policymakers from the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) countries, research institutions and universities. The speakers for each of the panels presented were mostly international researchers conducting current and cutting-edge research on the drivers of radicalisation and targeted responses to these drivers.
Among the many issues raised during this three-day conference were the needs for less reactionary CVE programmes, the transformation of education in order to promote critical thinking and safeguard vulnerable people against radicalisation processes, while upholding on going efforts. In an ever-evolving world, to which violent groups are continuously adapt, the fight against terrorism and violent extremism is often subjected to a tremendous ordeal. The International CVE Research Conference 2015 shed light on the importance of bolstering creative programmes, working with exposed populations for them to avoid falling into the trap of violent extremism and/or terrorism. Education, art, self-expression, emotional support regularly came up as key elements to reach that goal, in addition to inclusion strategies. The discussions also stressed the major role of social media, both in radicalisation and de-radicalisation processes.
Besides official organisers, the International CVE Research welcomed the support of additional sponsors and partner organisations, such as the European Commission through CT MORSE, the Rabdan Academy, TRENDS Research & Advisory, Swansea University, People Against Violent Extremism (PaVE), the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – the Hague (ICCT), the Global Centre on Cooperative Security (GCCS), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
CT MORSE is very pleased to have been part of such insightful, far-reaching debates and is looking forward to being part of future editions of the International CVE Research Conference.