Radicalisation: PRACTICIES conference on “citizenship, education and crime prevention”

Toulouse, France, December 2019 – The PRACTICIES (Partnership Against Violent Radicalisation in Cities) European project, in which Efus is a partner and which seeks to better understand the mechanisms of violent radicalisation and to design concrete prevention tools, organised a conference on the theme “citizenship, education and crime prevention” on 6 November in Toulouse (FR), followed the day after by a working meeting.

The main objectives of this event, which gathered some 40 participants over two days, were to promote exchanges on the prevention of violent radicalisation between the local, regional and European levels of governance; to visit a number of schemes on the ground, and to work on the project’s dissemination.

> A public conference on the role of education in preventing radicalisation

Organised by the host city of Toulouse, the conference, which was open to the public, was an occasion for the project’s partner cities to exchange on the prevention of violent radicalisation. It was introduced by Jean-Claude Dardelet, head of European Affairs and International Development at Toulouse-Métropole, and featured contributions by Séraphin Alava from the University of Toulouse-Le Mirail, which coordinates the project, Michèle Hassen from the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), and Efus, represented by Martí Navarro Regàs, Programme Manager.

The debate focused on the role of education in preventing radicalisation. Key points raised by the participants included the definition of role models who can act as credible messengers among the young, or adapting communication to the new technologies and types of interpersonal relationships.

> Three field visits in Toulouse

Three field visits were offered to participants.

The fist one on how to “facilitate citizen participation among the young” was held in a social centre and included a presentation by its director, Hassan Ait Said, as well as a presentation by Markus Pausch, Professor at the department of Social Work and Social Innovation at the University of Applied Sciences of Salzburg (AT).

The second on “educational resources and prevention tools” featured a presentation of the educational activities for the young offered by the Augustins Museum of Toulouse (Claire Ponselle, head of artistic projects for young audiences and families). The third one was on the topic of specialised prevention against radicalisation, in particular the training of trainers (moderator: Serge Dolcemascolo). Participants from various European countries (Belgium, Latvia, Spain and Sweden) exchanged with local practitioners on similar schemes available in their country.

> A final conference in March 2020 in Riga

The second day of the meeting was closed to the public and gathered some 15 representatives of the European cities associated with the project. They worked in small groups on the content of the brochure to be published at the end of the project, which will feature PRACTICIES’s main findings, the main challenges confronting local authorities in preventing violent radicalisation, and the opportunities this can also entail in terms of social cohesion and dialogue with young people.

Another dissemination tool will be the project’s final conference. Participants worked on the format and content of this event, which will be held on 25-26 March 2020 in Riga (Latvia).

> Testing locally the project’s tools for preventing radicalisation

Lastly, a third important aspect of this meeting was the presentation of the methodology that cities will be able to use to test on the ground the tools for preventing radicalisation developed by the project experts. This will be done in the first semester of 2020. Following this test phase, the cities involved in the project (i.e. the end-users of the tools) will give their feedback so the experts can adjust and finalise the tools.

> The PRACTICIES project

Started in May 2017 for a period of three years and led by the University of Toulouse II le Mirail, PRACTICIES gathers over 25 partners from several European countries and Tunisia: experts in humanities, political sciences, information and computer sciences as well as eight European cities and civil society organisations that are associated as end-users.

More on the PRACTICIES project