Countering violent extremism through early interventions

Event Overview:

On November 9 and 10, 2015, the Program on Extremism at The George Washington University hosted a number of high-profile events in Washington, D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts on countering violent extremism (CVE). The events were organized around the visit of two high-profile European CVE practitioners, who shared their views and experience with U.S. officials and the public.

On the morning of November 9, the Program on Extremism was asked to brief the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Alternative Dispositions Working Group at DOJ’s headquarters. The briefing was conducted by Dr. Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes—Director and Deputy Director of POE, respectively; Daniel Koehler, a Berlin-based fellow at the Program on Extremism with years of experience in an intervention program that helps families prevent relatives from engaging in violent extremism; Rashad Ali, a fellow at the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue who has worked on de-radicalization initiatives in prison, probation, and community settings in the U.K. for many years; and Angela King, Deputy Director of U.S.-based Life After Hate and co-founder of its Exit USA program, which supports individuals leaving far-right organizations and educates communities about the root causes of violent extremism.

Following the meeting at DOJ, the Program on Extremism, in conjunction with Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at The Brookings Institution, hosted a panel to discuss the causes and possible solutions to violent extremism. The panel, titled “Countering Violent Extremism Through Early Interventions,” featured Dr. Vidino, Mr. Koehler, Mr. Ali, and Ms. King, and was moderated by Dr. William McCants, Director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World. The panelists evaluated the success of an array of alternative approaches to CVE implemented across Europe and addressed a number of the legal and ethical concerns often associated with CVE initiatives in the U.S. The event was covered by CSPAN.

On November 10, 2015, Dr. Vidino, Mr. Koehler, and Mr. Ali traveled to Boston to participate to an event jointly hosted by the Program on Extremism and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. The event, titled “Resilience to Violent Extremism: Effective Intervention Approaches,” provided information about effective strategies for intervening in the lives of those displaying concerning behavior inspired by violent extremist ideology. Service providers, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, and crisis intervention teams left with knowledge of specific ways to provide support and services to those in need. The event was covered by the Associated Press.