ACSRT Participates in the Second Annual United States-African Union Week on Countering Violent Extremism

US-AU

1. The African Union Commission (AUC) and the United States Mission to the African Union, in partnership with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) organized the Second Annual United States-African Union Week on Countering Violent Extremism (2nd US-AU CVE Week)

from 29th October to 1st November 2018 at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The 2nd US-AU CVE Week consisted of a two-day conference which aimed at discussing the development of CVE efforts in Africa, and a two-day capacity building workshop on Communication Strategies which aimed at highlighting the key role that communication plays in tackle Violent Extremist narratives.

2. The 2nd US-AU CVE Week served as a platform for panelists and participants from various institutions like the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), G5 Sahel, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), civil society organizations, academia, youth from the Interfaith Dialogue on Violent Extremism (iDove) and U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) to share best practices, and build powerful partnerships that will contribute to addressing the drivers of violent extremism.

3. The Opening Ceremony of the conference featured remarks of U.S. Ambassador to the African Union, Mary Beth Leonard, Principal Deputy Coordinator for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism; Alina Romanowski along with Africa Union officials and was followed by informed presentations and discussions on the key role of youth and women in combating violent extremism and education as a mechanism to Counter Violent Extremism. The discussions also explored ways to improve the collaboration between civil society organizations, regional and international organizations, and Governments.

4. The two-day workshop that followed the conference mainly consisted of insightful presentations and discussions on the role of strategic communication in preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE), group works on the ABCD of strategic communication, community-led campaigns based on real-life scenarios and the need to use more creatives approaches like film and animation in countering violent extremism.

5. The African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) was represented by Josiane Darwatoye Djikoloum, who took part in both the conference and capacity building workshop on communication strategies. She shared ACSRT’s experiences of using social media as a means of spreading counter narratives to extremists’ ideologies and further indicated the important role social media could play in disseminating key messages on PCVE. Ms. Darwatoye called on CVE actors to boost their online presence and focus more on providing strong counter narratives to violent extremist propaganda, ideologies and visual campaigns.