Recognising conflict as part of a diversified society and looking at strategies to manage conflict in a positive and non-violent way, is important for guaranteeing the civil coexistence.
Taking a human rights approach, this section aims to explore the concepts of stereotype, prejudice, discrimination (problem emerged during the WP2 phase), conflict resolution and critical thinking.



  1. Embracing diversity and improving empathy

Diversity is a resource not a threat and embracing diversity is foundamental for living in a tolerant and welcoming society. A way for embracing diversity is improving empathy and encouraging the “in someone else shoes” experience.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings and emotions and is a powerful instrument for countering radicalization phenomenon: empathy, human relationships and coprehention capacity represent the counter-narration to hate and intolerance.

  1. Teaching tolerance

Educating young people to the values of tolerance, respect of people and peoples’ rights, of their freedom and diversity is foundamental for positively influencing their approach to stereotype, prejudice and discrimination phenomena and changing their behavior in the society.

  1. Countering hate speech

No universally accepted definition of the term “hate speech” exists, despite its frequent usage.
Though most States have adopted legislation banning expressions amounting to “hate speech”, definitions differ slightly when determining what is being banned.
The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers” Recommendation 97(20) on “hate speech” defined it as comments which are necessarily directed against a person or a particular group of persons.

  1. Resolving conflicts

Conflicts are inevitable because people think, experience and feel about situations differently.

When conflict happens or people experience inappropriate behavior, relationships are “damaged”. Conflicts affect not only the parts directly involved but also indirectly the “community” in with they live (think for example to a conflict on the workplace, it also effects indirectly the work team).

Being able to resolve conflicts in non-violent way through open discussion is the key to preventing conflicts escalating into possible violent extremism.


The best and most effective way of dealing with behaviour and acts that are undesirable is to use a restorative justice stance: restorative practices can be useful instruments both for preventing conflicts and addressing them when they happen, enabling “community” and individuals to “repair” their “damaged” relationship and building together positive daily interactions.

The following matrix demonstrate various other stances in dealing with undesirable behavior:

NEGLECTFUL: omitted, ignored, unresponsive

PUNITIVE: authoritarian, hyper vigilant

PERMISSIVE: person with authority provides solution, person with the authority does the reasoning, focus on sanctions

AUTHORITATIVE:  doing with authoritative, trusting, respectful relations



Skills required in managing conflict are the following:

Check in
  • Acknowledging each other emotions: How you feel and how does the other person feel?
  • Understand the perspective of the others
  • Avoid judging other persons emotions
  • Recognising the existence of the other person
  • Which goals are in conflict?
  • Understand the fundamental cause of dispute
  • How important is the issue for the other person


  • Listen/appreciate to the opponents and respect their opinions
  • Recognising that  both sides have legitimate multiple interests
  • Active listening- eye contact, open body posture, open ended and clarifying questions eg: Can you tell me more about it.
  • Using polite language
  • Summarising at the end. Summarising through listeners own words. To ensure that you have understood right.  Eg: ‘As I understand from what you said……..Is that right’?
  • Find a solution to the problem
  • Brainstorm ideas/alternatives that will be a mutual gain
  • Negotiation works well when we don’t mention our positions (eg: Teacher, Prison officer) but focus on interest
  • Identify the interests that motivates the other party and sharing ones own interest

Source: Fisher, Roger, William L Ury and Bruce Patton, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without giving in, (Penguin Books, revised edition, 2011)

  1. Developing critical thinking

Most extreme though and behavior is usually the result of unconsidered reaction to external stimuli in the form of incidents or speech. Developping critical thinking is important so responses to external stimuli are a result of a rational and considered thought process.







Critical thinking is an active approach that includes application, evaluation and analysis:

Questioning ourselves is an important step for developing critical thinking. The Hilsdson model distinguishes three steps of questions: descriptive questions, questions for analysing and questions for evaluating.




Source of the image: Hilsdon J. (2010). “Critical Thinking”, Learning Development, Plymouth University







Here you can find summarised the characteristics of a critical thinker and a non critical thinker:


Non critical thinker Critical thinker
Passive Active
Looks at the appearance/factual information Goes deeper than just appearances to Analyse the facts

First step : Who, Where,When, Why, How, What

Second step: So what, what if,


Believes appearances to be true Evaluating information
Reacts to what they believe to be true based on appearances Reflecting on validity