ICSS organizes events in Europe and Asia to prevent extremism

Participants at the ICSS Bangkok event.

Doha: The Doha-based International Center for Sport Security (ICSS) recently co-hosted two side events respectively in London and Bangkok on the use of sport and its values ​​to prevent violent extremism (PVE).

Co-organized by the Sports Diplomacy and Governance Hub & Sport, Human Rights & Safeguarding Research Group at SOAS University of London, the Europe-focused transnational meeting brought together 20 experts from Spain, Belgium, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom, and was organized within the framework of the two-year project “Network for the exchange of good practices on the integration of young people at risk of radicalization through sport called Radical (Ex)Change.

Funded by the EU’s Directorate General for Education and Culture, the project was designed by the ICSS, as part of its Save the Dream initiative, together with the International Olympic Truce Center (IOTC) as project manager, the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) and European Association of Multisport Clubs (EMCA).

During the meeting, project partners and experts discussed a new manual to help local organizations, grassroots associations, NGOs, guidance councils, municipalities, academic institutions and experts to fight against marginalization.

Katerina Salta, Sport for Protection Program Manager at the IOTC, said: “Europe faces unbalanced situations for young people; lack of opportunities and real cultural interaction, economic disadvantages, religious confrontation, sexual discrimination, political changes, leading to the emergence of extremist positions that can lead to radicalization.

“By equipping the sports community and front-line workers who fight against radicalization with concrete and effective tools based on sports practices that can concretely develop skills and foster the resilience of young people at risk, European society will indeed become more inclusive, peaceful and globally resilient to negative streams.”

Representing the United Nations Office for Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), Andrea Rodriguez, said: “Sport has been proven to have the ability to attract young people, which makes it a very effective tool to promote positive values ​​targeting vulnerable members of society. Together with partners like the ICSS, we aim both to promote sport and its values ​​to build resilience to violent extremism, especially among young people, and to support and guide Member States to integrate initiatives based on the values ​​of sport in action plans for the prevention of violent extremism (PVE).

Carol Jiménez. The Senior Director, Multidimensional Security at ICSS, said: “At all latitudes, our societies are exposed to a virulent spread of violent extremism, with many of these threats coming from groups that seek to devalue other groups. and individuals, to destabilize communities and to radicalize youth”.

ICSS also opened the Regional Forum of National Focal Points (NFPs) for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand, organized within the framework of the Global Program on the Security of Major Sporting Events and the Promotion of Sport and its values ​​as a tool of Preventing Violent Extremism, an initiative led by UNOCT and implemented in partnership with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the Alliance of Civilizations of United Nations (UNAOC) and ICSS.

The event in Bangkok followed a first regional forum of European NFPs held in Malaga, Spain in December 2021 and provided government NFPs with a platform to share lessons learned and best practices at the both on the use of sport to prevent violent extremism and on the security of major sporting events.

It served as a platform to strengthen the capacity of Member States to apply recognized standards when developing advanced ENP policies or when planning the security of upcoming major sporting events, as well as to strengthen regional cooperation. on these issues.

In his opening remarks, ICSS CEO Massimiliano Montanari said: “The global program would not have been possible without the generous support of the Asian countries, donors of the initiative, in particular the State of Qatar, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea.

Jennifer C. Burleigh