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What is the road ahead in the field of preventing violent extremism?

What should policymakers and politicians do to prevent violent extremism? What are the greatest risks posed by the radical left and right? How do ideological media publications that terrorists assemble before attacks, may help to counter extremist narratives? About 30 professionals from all over the world learned more about this in the ‘Advanced Summer Programme; preventing, detecting and responding to the violent extremist threat’ last week.

The intensive and interactive structure of the one week programme allowed participants to contemplate over the issues of radicalisation and violent extremism in their own professional fields. The Summer Programme was organised by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) and Leiden University’s Centre for Professional Learning.

Community engagement and collaboration

Throughout the programme, expert lecturers addressed a wide range of issues in the domain of preventing violent extremism from an academic as well as a practical standpoint.

Umer Khan, Chief Inspector of the Greater Manchester Police stressed the importance of the bottom-up approach. He pointed out that community engagement allows the government and local authorities to communicate with those vulnerable communities and increase the resilience against radicalisation by involving them in the process. Annemieke Brons, from the Dutch National Police, supported this argument later on in the week.

Moreover, the NCTV (National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism) also shared insights with the international group about their “Dutch approach”. This approach is built on close collaboration between a broad range of stakeholders and characterised by a local, tailor-made and people-based approach.

Through continuously discussing their various perspectives, everyone who was involved, either as a speaker or participant, returned home with valuable insights and fresh perspectives about the road ahead in the field of preventing violent extremism at the end of the week.

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