OSCE Security Days on “Building Bridges: Promoting Dialogue to Prevent Radicalization and Violent Extremism” sends powerful message of tolerance
VIENNA, 22 May 2015 – More than three hundred participants representing OSCE participating States, religious communities, civil society, the media and the academic community held an open debate about the root causes of extremism and radicalization that lead to violence and about possible measures and actions to prevent and counter these processes.
The aim of the OSCE Security Days was to provide an open forum for participants to review existing tools and best practices to combat violent radicalization; offer a platform for regional dialogue and cooperation, including with OSCE Mediterranean and Asian Partners; and identify a roadmap for future joint action with other International and Regional Organizations, including on engaging civil society.
Through five dynamic, panel discussions among high-level participants, with active engagement of the audience, participants looked at the role of media, education, inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, and the empowerment of women and youth in reducing tensions and turning vulnerable individuals away from radicalization.
Former Chancellor of Austria, Wolfgang Schuessel, set the scene with a keynote speech focusing on migration and the tension between freedom of expression and respect for differences. “The OSCE’s comprehensive security approach is certainly qualified to support the participating states’ efforts to come to terms with the new challenges. The organization has the necessary structures and tools to provide a comprehensive framework for concrete action” Schussel said.
Most participants stressed the need to strengthen the role of education and responsible media, as well as the need for a highly flexible, diversified and cooperative approach to address the challenges posed by radicalisation and terrorist recruitment. The essential role and active involvement of women and youth was also highlighted throughout the event.
Noting the wealth of existing initiatives, networks and tools to counter radicalization, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier called for even stronger co-operation among all stakeholders, and joint strategies, initiatives and policies. “Radicalization and violent extremism affect all of our societies. The complexity of challenges demands that we be creative to tackle them effectively and build bridges on many levels: between and within countries, societies, organizations” Zannier said. “The OSCE is ready to work with all our partners on this urgent and growing challenge and I look forward to our enhanced cooperation”.