United Youth Against Hate and Violent Extremism in Europe (1st Study Session)

Date: April 24, 2017 – April 28, 2017

Venue: Budapest, Hungary

In cooperation with Human Rights Education Youth Network (HREYN), the European Youth Press (EYP) and the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, UNITED is taking part in a special project to counter hate and violent extremism among young people at risk of social exclusion.

The project, which takes place over the course of 2017, consisted of two Study Sessions at the European Youth Centre in Budapest, and an intermediate phase between the two study sessions, when participants organised activities to engage young people at risk of social exclusion.

From 24-28 April 2017, young activists, youth workers and media makers from all over Europe gathered in Budapest for the study session “United Youth Against Hate and Violent Extremism in Europe”.

Aims and objectives of the study session were:

– Explore key concepts and deepen participants’ understanding of hate and violent extremism;

– Enable participants to share information and their own experiences on their local contexts and the needs of young people they work with, focusing on young people at risk of social exclusion;

– Provide a space for reflection on the roles of participants as youth workers, trainers and activists and enhance their competences to act against hate and violent extremism;

– Critically analyze ongoing challenges and practices in addressing hate and violent extremism;

– To mainstream the approaches and principles of the No Hate Speech Movement of the Council of Europe and examine tools and educational resources that can be used for action in local communities as well as at an international level;

– Provide a framework and support to plan and develop a common action as well as local activities engaging young people at risk of social exclusion during the intermediate phase of the project.

20 participants shared their knowledge and experience through the week, deepened their understanding of processes leading to violent extremism, and together designed future actions that are going to be implemented in the intermediate phase of the project.

Some activities of the study session:

  • Danger of Words” session: terminology the problems around extremism and marginalisation of young people in Europe.
  • Presentation by Simone Rafael of Amadeu Antonio Stiftungon on the situation of extremism in Europe, introducing the different kinds of prejudices and anti-democratic viewpoints that supporters of extremist groups share. The presentation was followed by a discussion on sharing the participants’ local contexts.
  • Case study: a right-wing extremist march in a small town, linking it with similar examples from their own local contexts and giving examples of how such actions can be countered. The case study was based on the real-life case of the small town of Wunsiedel in Germany, where antifascists and local residents came up with an innovative way of countering far-right demonstrations by raising money and turning the march into a sponsored “involuntary walkathon”, where money was donated to the antifascist NGO Exit Deutschland for each kilometre that the neo-nazis walked.
  • Introduction to the Council of Europe’s No Hate Speech Movement campaign: including how the campaign began at a previous Council of Europe study session convened by UNITED, and the key concepts of the campaign, including the national organising committees, action days and the learning materials and manuals such as Bookmarks. This was followed by a session on designing future activities within the No Hate Speech Movement.
  • Digital Bootcamp” activity: presentation of different tools that can be used for online activism, including Canva, a simple image editing tool; Storymap, a tool for creating interactive stories using maps; Sway, an online presentation and report-making tool; line.do, a story curation tool; and Bambuser, a video broadcasting tool.

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