One of the main projects in which we are involved is summarized below. We are analyzing the themes of interest under the auspices of the Violent Radicalization and Extremism Mitigation Cluster, both theoretically and in specific contexts.
Terrorism and radicalization are important objects of enquiry in social science research and public policy, as they represent global challenges with which national and international entities grapple in order to ameliorate suffering, address underlying triggers, and stem migration and internal displacement. While radicalization and terrorism are a critical part of our lexicon and the focus of innumerable scholarship and policies, their usage is somewhat imprecise. Furthermore, the process of developing appropriate responses to these challenges is not always inclusive and proffered solutions frequently are not efficacious. Although the deleterious effects of terrorism disproportionately impact the most vulnerable, including the young, they are not equal partners in national conversations aimed at defining extant challenges and promulgating nuanced solutions; in fact, young people are often portrayed as the problem at whose behest interventions are sought and implemented.
With the foregoing framing in mind and over the course of three years, we will investigate if and how young people aged 22 to 30 shape the discourse surrounding radicalization and terrorism, and whether their input is reflected in agreed panaceas to these challenges either proactively or reactively; we also will work with youth to better equip them to be peace-builders and activists who hold the state accountable in their immediate communities and beyond. Employing youth agency as a leitmotif, this undertaking will dissect conflict, radicalization, terrorism, violent extremism mitigation, activism, governance and policy-making because of the benefits of studying these phenomena in milieux where they are both clearly apparent and not particularly discernible. Also, the contagion effect of terrorism necessitates a proactive, preventative and regional response, and the lessons gleaned from this study will build and enhance youth capacity in a holistic, reflective and an inclusive manner.