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Prof. Mohamedou takes part in Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism

GCSP Deputy Director and Academic Dean Professor Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou took part earlier today in the Geneva Conference on preventing violent extremism as a panelist in the session on "Addressing The Drivers of Violent Extremism".

Co-hosted by the Government of Switzerland and the United Nations, the conference is taking place today and tomorrow at the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Geneva Conference builds upon the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and the formal debate of the General Assembly on 12 and 16 February 2016. It provides an opportunity for the international community to share experiences and best practices in addressing the drivers of violent extremism and to build support for the Plan of Action.

The first day of the conference has been dedicated to a meeting of senior experts on key issues related to the prevention of violent extremism. The second day will be the high-level segment of the conference, including interventions at the ministerial level.

Fellow panelists of Prof. Mohamedou were: 

  • Mr Ahmad Alhendawi, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth (Chairperson)
  • H.E. Mr M. Shameem Ahsan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, Geneva
  • H.E. Mr Amr Ramadan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations Office at Geneva
  • Mr David Robinson, Assistant Secretary for Conflict and Stabilization Operations, U.S. Department of State
  • Ms Joëlle Jenny, Director for Security Policy and Conflict Prevention, European External Action Service
  • H.E. Ms Bineta Diop, African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security
  • Mr Thomas Dahl, Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway
  • Mr Pierre N’Gahane, Secretary-General of the Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency, Ministry of Interior, France

Among the key points addressed in the session were the crucial relation between human rights and PVE policies, the empowerment of youth, and the necessity to consider PVE in a long-term perspective. 

“The question of violent extremism and the ways to address it – preventing it, countering it, and most importantly understanding it – has, in recent years, shot to the top of the agenda of global affairs, impacting societies and hijacking a place at the center of international relations.”

Prof. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou

According to Prof. Mohamedou, violent extremism is fueled by three key factors, namely:

  • Alienation (i.e. loss of identity and isolation), causing non-violence to no longer be seen as a solution;
  • Retribution (i.e. need to seek revenge), potentially inflaming grievances; and 
  • Dispossession.

“Extremism is often the failure of a society, or indeed the acts of a state that can create the conditions for the ill to materialise or persist.” 

Prof. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou