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Young people and extremism: Building resilience through youth empowerment

Study Visit

20-25 November 2017 | United Kingdom

SALTO Cultural Diversity, in partnership with the Erasmus+ UK National Agency is organising a Study Visit which will focus on the role of youth work and non-formal learning in building young people's resilience to extremism and radicalisation.
Study Visit location(s): Birmingham and Belfast, UK This Study Visit builds on the experience of the two training courses organised in 2016 on preventing youth extremism https://www.salto-youth.net/rc/cultural-diversity/training-activities/2016/preventing-extremism/ and the SALTO Cultural Diversity Publication, "Young people and extremism: a resource pack for youth workers" Both SALTO CD publications are attached to this Page for your reference and can be found at the below URL: https://www.salto-youth.net/rc/cultural-diversity/publications/youngpeopleandextremismpack/. As its starting point, the Study Visit will examine the way young people are perceived in society and how this can influence our engagement with them on issues of extremism and radicalisation. Drawing on the civic youth work approaches highlighted in the publication, the Study Visit aims to support youth workers in understanding how they can engage with young people and create safe spaces to explore issues that concern them. The approaches to increasing young people's sense of empowerment will include a Participatory Action Research (PAR). The Study Visit will also highlight the value of intercultural understanding and its role in an increasingly diverse Europe. Participants will be able to gain insight into Northern Ireland's experience of dealing with political extremism over several decades, and how youth workers have sought to steer young people away from violence and sectarianism. There will also be an opportunity to examine the complexities of radicalisation and recruitment (covering both Da'esh and far-right groups, and their ideologies). On this basis, participants will work together to explore local solutions which empower young people - and avoid alienating, marginalising or stigmatising. Background In the UK, the Government's main programme in this area is known as Prevent. This refers to the responsibility of local authorities and education institutions to take action to prevent young people from being drawn into terrorism. The role of youth work and non-formal learning in this context has focused on safeguarding young people at risk of radicalisation. A number of youth organisations have developed projects which focus on increasing young people's sense of empowerment - by working with them as content creators, active citizens and peace builders. The Study Visit will enable participants to experience at first-hand current UK practices in the complex area of young people and extremism. There will be opportunities to contribute to critical discussion of such practices, to share experience from other contexts and to identify good practice in working with young people. The programme will include visits to youth and community organisations, as well as practical sessions, critical reflection sessions and opportunities for networking and planning joint projects under Erasmus+. Objectives of the Study Visit 1. To provide theoretical and practical support to youth workers (and others with responsibility for youth work and young people's non-formal learning) to develop the knowledge, skills and experience needed to build young people's resilience to extremism and radicalisation. 2. To build the capacity of youth organisations to respond to the risks of extremism and radicalisation, and to increase young people's resilience. 3. To highlight relevant experience and good practice in the UK (at local and national levels). In particular, to highlight the role of civic youth work as an approach that encourages young people's active citizenship and can help in reducing the risks from extremism and radicalisation. 4. To engage learners in reflecting on and sharing experiences and lessons learnt from their own context. 5. To highlight opportunities under the Erasmus+ Programme to develop joint projects and to strengthen European networks working on this theme. The Trainers Mohammed Ali Amla has over 10 years experience working with communities - in local government and in voluntary organisations. As a freelance researcher and trainer, he now specialises in community development and empowerment, inter-faith relations, and preventing radicalisation and violent extremism. Current research, at Lancaster University, includes interviewing former Mujahideen and former members of far-right groups - in order to understand the processes of recruitment, disengagement and reintegration. Under the Community Reach programme, supported by the UK Government's Home Office, Ali is part of a network of community activists, leaders, youth workers and other practitioners in the area of extremism and radicalisation. Paul Smyth has over three decades of youth work experience in Northern Ireland - and in particular of programmes which aim to develop and strengthen relations between young people from historically separate communities. He has worked in the voluntary and statutory youth sectors and was a lecturer at the universities of Belfast and Ulster. Until early-2016, Paul led the youth NGO, Public Achievement, which was recognised with a Big Society Award from the UK Prime Minister. With researchers from the University of Minnesota, he developed the concept of Civic Youth Work. Paul has experience of planning, managing and supporting Erasmus+ youth projects in the UK and other countries.

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Training overview


This activity has already happened!

This Study Visit is

for 15 participants

from Erasmus+: Youth in Action Programme countries

and recommended for

Youth workers, Trainers, Youth leaders, Youth project managers, Youth policy makers, Professionals with responsibility for youth work and young people's non-formal learning; Other professionals with some experience of designing, planning and/or delivering youth work and non-formal learning approaches to building young people's resilience

Working language(s):



SALTO Cultural Diversity & The UK National Agency for Erasmus+ (National Agency)

Contact for questions:

Khalid Miah/Elena Lazarou


Phone: 02920 924377

Before applying please contact the NA of your residence country to check if it is involved in this concrete project and committed to cover travel costs. NB! Learn about possible participation fee and other relevant rules.


This project is financed by the Erasmus+ Youth in Action Programme. Being selected for this study visit, all costs (accommodation, travel, visas, etc.) relevant to participation in the course will be covered by the NAs involved in this project. This excludes a participation fee which varies from call to call and country to country. Please contact your Erasmus+ Youth in Action NA to learn more about the financial details, and how to arrange the booking of your travel tickets and the reimbursement of your travel expenses.

This training activity is funded by:

The Erasmus+ Youth in Action Programme

Participants are entitled to receive a Youthpass certificate from the organiser, for recognition of their competence development during the activity. Read more about Youthpass:

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