News & Announcements

Conference Seeks to Prevent Violent Extremism

Speakers include Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center

How are people, especially young people, influenced by hate groups to plan and initiate acts of terrorism? In order to understand what the larger forces are that motivate people to take such extreme measures, we need to closely examine the social structures that lead youth to join these organizations as well as the ideological beliefs that motivate these young people.

College and University Peacebuilding Approaches to Violent Extremism and Youth Recruitment, hosted by Cleveland State University, will assess the sociocultural factors that lead individuals to join extremist groups and the prevention methods universities can assist in implementing to reduce recruitment and the overall incidence of violent extremism in general. The conference will be held Oct. 6-8 at CSU’s Wolstein Center, 2000 Prospect Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. This is one of the first academic symposia to address the college and university role in peacebuilding.

“Given the current international circumstances, how do we address the need for increased awareness and participation in community-driven conversations on youth education and advocacy to prevent recruitment into potential violent extremism,” asks Marius Boboc, CSU professor of education and vice provost for academic planning. “Understanding how local communities are interconnected with regional, national, and international settings will allow us to identify appropriate strategies that address both micro and macro levels of peace education and conflict resolution.”

The conference seeks to highlight prevention strategies with a focus on education, community relations, and addressing structural violence caused by poverty, gender bias, and lack of access to basic needs. It will also offer an opportunity for college and university faculty and staff to consider how the content and ideas presented can be integrated into curriculum, programming and university policies and procedures. 

Speakers for the event will include Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Michael Rolince, former Acting Assistant Director for Intelligence with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Brett Steele, Acting Deputy Director of the Combatting Violent Extremism Task Force within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Baldwin Wallace University, Case Western Reserve University, Cuyahoga Community College, George Mason University, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Kent State University, The Ohio School Resource Officer Association, The Ohio State University, Stark State College, The United Network of Young Peacebuilders, The University of Michigan, and Wayne State University.

Register here.