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Harnessing the Power of Communities: Preventing Violent Extremism in 2017 and Beyond

The current state of global efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism is mixed. 

While the terrorist threat is more global and heightened than ever since September 2001, there is at least a growing convergence among practitioners and policy makers around the most appropriate responses. They recognise the need for comprehensive strategies that empower local actors and focus more attention on community-led interventions to address underlying drivers of the phenomenon. Growing recognition of this need is reflected in the “whole of society” approaches to preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) articulated in the UN Secretary-General Plan of Action for Preventing Violent Extremism (January 2016) and an increasing number of national and regional P/CVE strategies. This convergence in strategic thinking around P/CVE, as well as the growing number of civil society-led initiatives aimed at building resilience to violent extremism locally, is promising. However, a number of resource, coordination, political, and strategic challenges to operationalising and sustaining the agenda remain, and will need to be overcome if the rhetoric around P/CVE is to be translated to action and, ultimately, impact.    

The Prevention Project was launched in March 2016 to gather from, develop with, and disseminate to the ever-expanding group of P/CVE stakeholders, practical recommendations on how to overcome these challenges and allow for the development and implementation of the community-focused solutions required to prevent the spread of violent extremism.  These recommendations are captured in the Prevention Project’s forthcoming report, “Communities First: Operationalizing and Sustaining a Global Movement Against Violent Extremism.” 



Eric Rosand, Director, The Prevention Project: Organizing against Violent Extremism



Dr Christina Schori Liang, Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow, Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP)


Amb Stephan Husy, Ambassador-at-Large for International Counter-Terrorism, Federal Department for Foreign Affairs, Switzerland

Jason Aplon, Post-Conflict and DDR Advisor, Transition and Recovery Division, International Organization for Migration

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GCSP, Maison de la paix

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