Image of a globe with the Mediterranean Sea in the centre

Luke Price under CC-BY and adapted from original

Building Resilience to Radicalisation in MENA

The British Council APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) subcommittee is launching an inquiry on building the resilience of those at risk of radicalisation. The British Council is working to tackle some of the drivers of radicalisation as set out in the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, particularly through cultural relations interventions, in strategically important countries for the UK’s security, prosperity and influence.

What the APPG Inquiry aims to achieve

The inquiry aims to address how the British Council can work with and alongside all those working to build the resilience of those at risk of radicalisation, whether directly or indirectly. It will aim to inform how the British Council, and other organisations can contribute, as the direct and purposeful result of some of its work, and also the indirect result of all its work, towards building the individual capacity (often referred to as resilience) so that when under significant pressure, individuals are not vulnerable to the recruitment tactics of violent extremism or terrorist groups, or can reject the ideas that violent means can be used to achieve ideological, religious or political goals.

As a group of parliamentarians with an interest in the work of the British Council, the APPG is keen to bring together experts, including the British Council, who are working to build the resilience of people at risk of radicalisation, or who are researching non-military and/or soft power methods of preventing radicalisation. The Inquiry will essentially aim to gather evidence of actions being undertaken to build resilience to radicalisation, and also what further recommendations can be taken. Key areas the Inquiry aims to explore are:

  1. Details of strategies, programmes or projects currently in place in the MENA region that help to reduce the risk of radicalisation (directly or indirectly).
  2. How this experience and learning (from global perspectives also) can be applied to the current challenge of reducing the risk that people will be radicalised.

As a result, the APPG hopes to support the British Council in its development of future programmes by providing advice and recommendations. The APPG hopes that the conclusions of the report will also be useful to Government and other organisations working in the area of countering radicalisation.

Why Radicalisation and the MENA region specifically?

While acknowledging that the issue is a global one, with many complexities, and building on evidence from around the world, the primary focus of this inquiry will be the processes of radicalisation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The MENA region has been prioritised because of the potential destabilising impact of violent extremism and mass recruitment in the region. Fragile and conflict affected states in MENA all share large disenfranchised and unemployed youth populations, who are at risk of radicalisation. This leaves the region vulnerable to respond to such challenges - how to educate and skill young people amidst this, and what other productive alternatives are available, whilst reforms are underway in order to avoid further violent conflict?

There is a growing ability of radicalised groups to attract support and create direct risk to the UK and its interests.