Warrington peace expert appointed to leading international role to tackle violent conflict
June 12, 2013 | Nick Taylor
The Foundation for Peace’s Programme Manager, Kelly Simcock is travelling to Berlin to Chair the European Union’s Radicalisation Awareness Network working group relating to the ‘prevention’ of violent extremism.
The network is a leading international body of practitioners, policy makers and researchers seeking to share approaches, practice and influence policy and Government across the European Union.
The working group meets at a particularly sensitive time following the violent event in Woolwich, the upsurge in right-wing extremism and the creation of a high level Government Task Force chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron in the wake of such events.
Kelly leads the Foundation’s work in violent conflict prevention and resolution, community cohesion and in challenging violent extremism. She has been working with individuals, groups and communities nationally and internationally for over a decade. Her work includes projects with communities divided by sectarianism and prejudice in Northern Ireland, dialogue and conflict resolution with Palestinians and Israelis; and work with a number of inner city schools in Britain with young people divided by faith and race.
The Foundation represents the United Kingdom on a number of European and International organisations and co-chairs this EU network group in association with the Political Capitol Institute in Hungary.
Kelly said: “the next meeting in Berlin will explore the challenges we face to ‘win the hearts and minds’ of those individuals who are being targeted to support and follow far right and Islam inspired extreme groups.
“We will be bringing together leading figures from across Europe asking what is leading to the sort of incidents we have seen over the last few weeks and who is doing the best work across member states to help us all develop the tools and approaches to tackling this serious issue.
“I feel privileged to chair this European group and then to adopt the learning for the Foundation for Peace to continue to develop our ground breaking and unique approach to the prevention and resolution of violent conflict.”
The Foundation has offered its expertise to the Government Task Force and is continuing to develop and deliver programmes that explore, challenge and change the underlying causes of violent conflict relating to prejudice, attitudes and behaviours.
Fighting terrorism and violent extremism is not only a question of security measures. The best prevention is to stop people from getting involved in violent extremist or terrorist activities in the first place, or to convince them to turn away from such ideas and methods. In order to help the first-line local practitioners and to facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices between them, the European Commission set up the EU-wide Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN). RAN comes under the “PREVENT” strand of the EU Counter-Terrorism strategy and is guided by the EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/radicalisation_awareness_network/index_en.htm