The Global Center and Hedayah, the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, co-hosted a two-day workshop to explore the current and potential role of sports, arts, and culture (SAC) in CVE efforts. The workshop brought together a diverse group of experts, practitioners, and policymakers to explore how lessons learned from sports, arts, and cultural education can contribute to more effective and sustainable CVE engagement. Participants included experts with diverse backgrounds in sports, arts, and the private sector, representing a range of countries including Afghanistan, Canada, Jordan, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Uganda, and the United States.
The positive impact of sports, arts, and culture in fostering tolerance, post-conflict recovery, and youth engagement was highlighted by participants, who reflected on their experiences and how these do, or could, contribute to CVE, for example, through the use of sports to facilitate positive relationships among youths or communities that may otherwise be in conflict. The role of SAC programming, particularly in educational settings (formal and non-formal) was highlighted as an important means of promoting critical thinking skills, leadership, and resilience, not only for youths but their families and communities as well. While such programming is often less favored than “hard security” measures, there was widespread agreement about their value in contributing to efforts to promote tolerance and constructive debate and in providing powerful alternative and counter-messaging to challenge extremist narratives. However, it was emphasized that such programming needs to be deliberate, sustainable and resonant among local audiences in order to be effective, and that stakeholders needed to engage more proactively in utilizing creative approaches to CVE. In this regard, participants highlighted the need for more research, funding, and engagement in SAC to develop more contextually tailored CVE programming. Additionally, it was emphasized that quality monitoring and evaluation of programs was necessary to ensure their long-term sustainability.
This workshop builds on an earlier set of meetings on i) the role of education in CVE, ii) the roles of families and communities in CVE — where there was widespread agreement among experts that sports, arts, and culture represent effective ways of reaching youths and addressing challenging issues such as violent extremism.
For more information about this project, please contact Naureen Chowdhury Fink at firstname.lastname@example.org.