€1.5m Youth-led project funded by Erasmus to tackle radicalisation and promote inclusion

Erasmus + has awarded the IARS International Institute with the €1,482,664 worth “Youth Empowerment and Innovation Project (YEIP)” to design and pilot a positive policy prevention model for tackling and preventing marginalisation and violent radicalisation among young people in Europe.  The project officially started on 28 February and will be run in partnership with 20 organisations across Europe including 4 national ministries, several regional public authorities, universities, and NGOs’ in 7 partner countries including the UK, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Sweden and Romania. The IARS International Institute will act as the coordinator.

Recognising the urgent need to tackle youth radicalization, YEIP will give voice to young people from across Europe, especially to those who tend to be marginalised and excluded, to address the root causes of youth radicalisation challenging discriminatory narratives prevailing in the current social landscape.

Dr Theo Gavrielides, Founder and Director of the IARS International Institute and YEIP’s Partnership Coordinator said: “We are proud to announce this truly youth-led, innovative and timely project. Radicalisation is a scourge of our times fuelled by exclusion and discrimination against young people. Building on our user-led ethos and multi-year expertise in engaging young people in policy development, YEIP will unite youth voices and expertise to design prevention policies for them and by them. It is an honour to act as the Project Coordinator”.

Over the course of three years, young people will work alongside leading researchers, national and regional public authorities to design and test effective strategies to prevent their peers from being drawn into terrorism. YEIP’s practical results will be channelled to national and regional policies through project’s partnerships with key public authorities. In the UK, the Home Office are supporting the IARS International Institute with the development of the project.

Tahmina Ahmad (22), Chair of the Youth Advisory Board said: “We are delighted to be involved in this important pan-european project. As a group of young people who are passionate about making a difference in the society, we will ensure that YEIP’s outcomes will be shaped by the voices of our peers. We want prevention policies to reach out to young people effectively, engage them in dialogue, foster mutual trust, restore their faith in democratic institutions and values.

The participating organisations were carefully selected to address the interconnected nature of the issue and ensure cooperation and exchange of best practices among diverse and strategically placed actors across Europe.

Dominique Airey, Chief Executive of Khulisa (UK), said: “Khulisa are delighted to work alongside IARS and their European partners to develop our collective evidence, voice and impact in combating youth radicalisation and exclusion. Our initiatives engaging marginalised young people in schools, prisons and communities will both contribute to, and significantly benefit from, this important collaboration”.

Pedro Costa, Camara Municipal de Oliveira de Azemeis (Portugal), said: “We look forward to working in this timely and much needed European project. Sharing experiences, learning new approaches to tackle similar problems, co-creating coordinated strategies and optimizing current practices are unquestionable benefits to be gained from our involvement in this innovative initiative”.

Representatives of the Home Office and the International Institute will attend a kick off meeting on 23-24 March in Brussels, Belgium organised by the EC. In April, the IARS International Institute will host in London the first transnational meeting to kick off the implementation phase of the project.