E4M 2017 "Challenging extremism through peer education"

As a membership-based organisation, EPTO runs every year an annual event for its member organisations in order to regularly meet, assess their needs and capacities, and support them with tailored services. In a context of rising extremism worldwide and in the aftermath of the horrifying terror attacks that are taking place notably in Europe, thanks to the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe, EPTO launched the third edition of this event in Berlin (8-9/04/2017) to open the floor to youth workers and practitioners to address how the issue of extremism could be better tackled through peer education.

Historically, EPTO has always been involved in understanding the mecanisms of inclusion and exclusion in society and in tackling what is feeding all types of extremist ideologies : xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia and/or antisemitism and/or romaphobia and/or afrophobia and now hatred against the so called refugees. This Event for members was an opportunity to assess the needs of our membership and to develop partnerships that could bring complexity, accurancy and subtility into the discussion in the spirit of peer education; meaning allowing us and youth the right to test, to try, to make mistake, to use the wrong terms when talking about the topic. Participants received articles before the event and had the opportunity to listen to Silke Baer, from the association Culture Interactive e.V. Methodologically, Culture Interactive e.V. has developed an approach of youth-cultural social intervention which combines elements of civic education/ pedagogical anti-bias training, psychologically based open-process group-work, and peer-learning in youth-cultural activities (including Breakdance, Skateboarding, Slam Poetry, Techno-DJ-ing, Digital Music Production, Comic and Graffiti, Visual Design and others) – also discussion groups about the young peoples’ preferred fictional media narratives, as films and songs/lyrics (the “Fair Skills”-project).

We then experienced and started compiling a variety of educational activities tackling extreme ideologies among young people and designing partnership projects that could challenge extremism among young people on a wider European scale. Those resources will become available on the online platform for members, some of the activities could directly be integrated in the training for trainers « Peers for Peace » to be held in Romania and Macedonia later this year and will definitely complete our thematic training programmes.

Thank you for the energy of the 36 participants ! Welcome in EPTO family !