In September 2016, the education sector from the UNESCO headquarters and the UNESCO category 1 research Institute, the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development(MGIEP) organised the first International Conference on Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education: Taking Action, in New Delhi, India. The usual plethora of reports and guides produced by experts on the subject, roundtables and expert panels were organised.
But something different also happened. UNESCO MGIEP brought 50 youth from across the world rigorously selected through six week online discussion on the subject to participate in a first of its kind, “Talking Across Generations on Education (TAGe)” event. This event organised as a plenary session—not a side or lunch event—brought together these youth in a non-hierarchical “flat” dialogue with about 12 senior policymakers on the challenges and opportunities the youth see in preventing violent extremism through education.
The conference culminated with the presentation of a “Youth Action Plan” containing three clear tangible action points. One action point was the development of a youth-led guide on Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education. This Guide is the result of that call to action.
The Institute circulated a global call to youth who were willing to take up the challenge of producing the Guide. After a rigorous search based on a well-defined set of criteria, two coordinating lead authors were identified. These authors were then tasked to find the remaining authors who they saw fit to contribute to the Guide and this team then reached out to the wider group of youth to solicit their experiences and guidance in producing the Guide. The youth have done their part. They have reached out to more than 2,000 young people from more than 50 countries, collated their ideas and experiences and finally featured more than 150 unique voices into this document.