This week, the White House is convening a three-day summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) to bring together local, federal, and international leaders – including President Obama and foreign ministers – to discuss concrete steps the United States and its partners can take to develop community-oriented approaches to counter hateful extremist ideologies that radicalize, recruit or incite to violence.
Violent extremist threats can come from a range of groups and individuals, including domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists in the United States, as well as terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIL.
CVE efforts address the root causes of extremism through community engagement, including programs focused on building awareness, countering extremist narratives, and emphasizing community led intervention.
The Summit is the first of many events leading up to UNGA in September 2015, through which the United States and its partners will develop actions to counter the most immediate threats, including ISIL, and stop the spread of violent extremism.
CVE is also a key component of the U.S. Government’s strategy to combat foreign terrorist fighters. Internationally, there is an unprecedented flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Syria and Iraq, with more than 20,000 foreign fighters from more than 90 nations traveling to Syria since the beginning of the conflict, including at least 3,400 from the West.
The Department of State is hosting an Information Sharing Ministerial on the margins of the Summit. The Ministerial is focusing on actionable steps to disrupt foreign terrorist fighters travel to and from conflict zones.
Additionally, the United States next week will host the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Foreign Terrorist Fighter Working Group workshop “Raising Community Awareness to Address the Foreign Terrorist Fighter Phenomenon”.
Countering ISIL narratives through social media:
The U.S. Government, in partnership with foreign governments, civil society, and the private sector, is working to weaken the legitimacy and resonance of violent extremist messaging and narratives, including through social media.
The Summit will identify concrete ways to build upon ongoing initiatives aimed at countering extremists’ perverse message and new and innovative solutions to the challenges posed by violent extremists, especially online.
The United States works with religious leaders and faith communities around the world to address both religious and non-religious causes of violence and extremism, including by working with religious leaders on projects emphasizing peace, tolerance, and coexistence at the community level and training religious leaders on outreach to at-risk youth.
The Summit will explore opportunities for civil society to be a still more active partner in efforts to build local partnerships against violent extremism.
Engaging the youth is very important: The United States trains, mentors, and provides seed funding to young leaders, for example, who are working to counter extremists’ narratives, reintegrate former violent extremists, and promote tolerance and non-violent dispute resolution.