How best to tackle violent extremism – international experts discuss evidence on what works

How best to tackle violent extremism, whether religious-based or from the far right, was the question at the heart of a major international conference held at Swansea University, which brought together over 200 experts in the field from around the world.

Hedayah logoThe conference was run by Hedayah, a centre for international expertise in countering violent extremism. 

Delegates included researchers, government officials, academics and development experts.   One of the key aims of the event was to highlight the latest research and evidence on what works, and identify ways to turn those findings into policy and practical measures.

Topics discussed included:

  • Religious-based and Far-Right Narratives and Counter-Narratives
  • Recruitment, Radicalization, Media and Technology
  • Gender
  • Reintegration and Rehabilitation

The School of Law at Swansea University has worked in partnership with Hedayah since 2015, and  several of its experts spoke at the conference.

The School offers research expertise on a range of issues relating to terrorism and extremism, especially in the increasingly important field of cyberterrorism and online activity by extremist groups.

School of Law researchers are part of the research network of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, the main body co-ordinating work by technology companies, including Facebook and Google, to combat the use of their sites for posting extremist content.

Computer keyboard

Professor Stuart Macdonald of Swansea University School of Law, an expert in counterterrorism and terrorists’ use of the internet, said:

“To tackle violent extremism effectively, we need to know what works.  This is why it’s important to put policymakers and practitioners together with researchers in the field.

The conference is a very important opportunity to do that, helping to ensure that policy is based on evidence and the latest research.

We need to understand more about the different messages used by extremist groups, for example through the images and language they deploy.    We also need to know how people engage with those messages.

Also crucial is looking at the measures that have been used so far to tackle the problem, to see whether they’ve  been effective.”

Maqsoud Kruse, Executive Director of Hedayah, explained the purpose of the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) conference:

"The Fifth International CVE Research Conference provides a unique platform for distinguished groups of academics, practitioners and policymakers in order to share up-to-date research findings and exchange new innovations and creative ideas on contemporary P/CVE in support of an evidence-based approach for policy and practice".

Find out more about the work of Hedayah

Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law at Swansea University