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Youth and women are central in facing extremism, says EU DG for International Cooperation and Development

Tue, 27/10/2015 - 09:09 -- Press Office

27-10-2015. “We need to work on positive alternatives to violent extremism,” stated the Director-General of the European Commission’s DG for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, at the inauguration of the “Madrid+10” Policy Dialogue on Countering Violent Extremism. Director-General Frutuoso de Melo underlined the centrality of “youth and women” in working in the face of extremism, the importance of working at the grass-root level, and the “value of partnership” given the scale of the issue in question.

The Policy Dialogue “Madrid+10” on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism brought together from 27th to 28th October more than 200 political leaders, policy-makers and civil society leaders linked to grass-route initiatives in the Mediterranean region.

Speaking at the opening panel debate, the President of the Anna Lindh Foundation, Elisabeth Guigou, said: “Investment in youth is our top priority, and the Foundation takes the strong view that youth must be empowered as central actors in promoting their own, alternative narrative to extremism,” adding that “The “Young Arab Voices” flag-ship debate programme is a prime example of how to build a bottom-up approach and create the space for youth voices to shape this alternative narrative. We now want to invest in creating the platforms and tools for this next generation of leaders to play a central role in the face of regional challenges.”

The ‘Young Arab Voices’ (YAV) programme was launched by the Anna Lindh Foundation and British Council in 2011 in response to new demands for public voice and skills for debate across the Arab region. The ‘Club de Madrid’ policy event coincided with the announcement that the ‘Young Arab Voices’ programme will now be expanded at the Euro-Med level and as part of the EU’s renewed Neighbourhood Policy where intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding amongst peoples of Europe and the neighbourhood region figure highly in the agenda , and specifically targeting young women and men as participants and contributors to it.