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ICCT-Leiden University’s Online Summer Programme on Violent Extremism

From 16 to 18 August, 30 participants from 18 different countries gathered online to participate in the Online Summer Programme: Preventing, Detecting and Responding to Violent Extremism, organised by Leiden University’s Centre for Professional Learning (CPL) together with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT). In this programme, professionals working on the topic of violent extremism engage in constructive exchanges with each other, as well as with the lecturers, on the opportunities and challenges they face.

Bearing in mind the different time zones in which the participants were located, the programme started on Monday afternoon (The Hague time) with an introduction session to share each person’s background and expertise. The schedule aimed to accommodate the various time zones of participants the best we could, but still entailed an early start for those signing in from Canada or the U.S., as well as required those joining from Australia or South-Korea to keep up their spirits until quite late in the evening. We are very appreciative of their commitment which allowed us to welcome a more diverse and international group of participants to this year’s programme.

On the first day, Associate Professor Bart Schuurmans introduced various concepts and provided a lecture in which he addressed questions related to involvement and non-involvement in violent extremism. On day two, Associate Professor Tahir Abbas took a critical look at the concept of Countering Violent Extremism, discussing the wider context in which violent extremism takes place and its responses are shaped. On the third and final day, Postdoctoral Researcher Sarah Carthy explored what should and what should not inform behavioural interventions, and how to responsibly make sense of theory and evidence and to apply them in practice. The programme concluded with a panel discussion, in which several of the lecturers involved in the programme were joined by Liesbeth van der Heide, Head of the Prevention, Polarisation and Radicalisation Unit at the Municipality of The Hague.

Participants about the programme:

“This program was insightful. I had the chance to see how research and practice both intersect and complement each other. The ideas that I was exposed to and the conversations that I was involved in will inform our [… work].”

“The 2021 online summer program is a virtual meeting place - a venue where academics and professionals from a variety backgrounds and cultures can reflect on these issues and propose concrete solutions.”

“A flexible and proactive course that gives you exposure at an international level with likeminded individuals.”

“The program [provided…] significant layers of theories to shine a light on radicalization, terrorism, and extremism. […It] was great and a wonderful learning experience to see and understand the perspective of many practitioners around the world when dealing with interventions and countering violent extremism.”

We hope to welcome a similar international and impressive group of professionals to take part in either the next edition of our online summer programme, or, if circumstances allow its organisation, our week-long offline Advanced Summer Programme in The Hague, from 15-19 August 2022. 

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