GCTF – OSCE International Workshop on “Advancing Women’s Roles in Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization that Lead to Terrorism”

In October 2014, Muflehun Executive Director represented the organization at the GCTF-OSCE International Conference on Advancing the Role of Women in CVERLT in Vienna, Austria.

This international workshop is part of a joint initiative of the OSCE Transnational Threats Department and the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), supported by Germany, Turkey and the United States of America.

The purpose of the workshop was to promote gender-sensitive strategies, policies and measures to counter violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism.

It was aimed at senior government officials. A previous workshop held on 13-14 May 2014 in Istanbul was organized for civil society practitioners.

On the basis of the two workshops, a draft good practices document will be elaborated for possible adoption by the GCTF.

Ms Khan spoke on a panel on “Building Partnerships with Civil Society Organizations to Advance Women’s Roles in Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization that Lead to Terrorism.”

She started by offering a conceptualization of CVE, definitions and a CVE framework and shared examples from Muflehun’s CVE training and interventions with youth, families, imams, and law enforcement in the United States.

Importantly, CVE is neither diplomacy nor development work. In this context, partnerships with civil society present a number of advantages and limitations. They can engage with issues, groups, and individuals of interest, which public authorities might not be able to on their own; provide contextual knowledge; help bypass community gatekeepers; benefit from on-the-grounds legitimacy and existing networks of contacts and influence; and act as force-multipliers.

On the other hand, these partnerships often face limited financial resources; government funding can undermine partners’ legitimacy; civil society actors lack of awareness of national security threats; legacies of mistrust and sometime antagonism need to be overcome to rebuild relationships; international, national and local interests and priorities need to be reconciled; there is a need to acknowledge grievances for genuine counter-narratives; partners can be critical of governments and their action; and women should be better involved in CVE without securitizing women-led efforts.

Key principles for effective multi-sector engagement include: clearly defining sub-objectives and pursuing different approaches; ensuring all stakeholders share a common understanding, such as the difference
between CVE-relevant and specific actions; and developing relationships across the board, at all levels of civil society and government, and including within civil society and government.

For more information on the topic, see links below:

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