By: David J. Smith, April 8, 2016
Increasingly young immigrant youth, especially those of Arab and Muslim background, are susceptible to influences from violent extremism. Incidents of young college students being apprehended at airports on their way to Syria and elsewhere are not only in the news in Europe, but in the U.S. I have written about this issue in Community College Daily (“The Challenge of Violent Extremism,” 5/14/15) in looking at community colleges. Georgia Holmer has authored a useful Special Report for the U.S. Institute of Peace on the issue (“Countering Violent Extremism: A Peacebuilding Perspective,” Spring 2013)
As college and university educators, we have a responsibility to create welcoming and tolerant environments for students who are in the U.S. to seek a better life. Often these young people struggle with their “identity” as Americans versus that of their homeland. Unfortunately at times, young men and women fall prey to the lure of engaging in radical violence, notwithstanding efforts by their communities, families, and religious leaders to steer them away from such influences.
I strongly recommend educators and those looking for best practices to countering violent extremism on college and university campuses to participate in a conference at Cleveland State University, October 6-8, 2016. If you click on the graphic below you will go to the conference site which will provide more information. Cosponsors include a number institutions including Baldwin Wallace University, Cuyahoga Community College, and Stark State College. The DC based Alliance for Peacebuilding, a leader in advancing peacebuilding responses to conflict is also a cosponsor.
For more information, please contact the conference coordinator, Jennifer Batton at 216-952-5609 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.