Naureen Chowdhury Fink, Global Center head of research and analysis, was a panelist at the high level thematic debate hosted by the President of the UN General Assembly and the Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) titled “Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation: Fostering Peaceful, Inclusive Societies and Countering Violent Extremism.” The event provided member states and international partners with the opportunity to discuss practical strategies to strengthen community resilience at the policy and program levels. Speakers on this panel also included Dendev Badarch, director of Division of Social Transformations and Intercultural Dialogue, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; H.E. Francisco Caetano José Madeira, African Union special representative for counterterrorism cooperation; Mossarat Qadeem, PAIMAN Trust, Pakistan; Maqsoud Kruse, executive director, Hedayah; and Patrick Ho, deputy chairman and secretary-general, China Energy Fund Committee. The panel was moderated by Pamela Falk, UN resident correspondent, CBS News, and chaired by H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UNAOC High Representative.
The Global Center underscored the critical and unique voice of the United Nations reflecting its global membership, and the potential this provides to enhance a powerful master narrative to challenge those put forward by extremists. The United Nations can provide a much needed platform for information sharing, exchange of good practices, and lessons learned and serve as a repository of expertise that can be leveraged to address countering violent extremism issues from the perspective of development, culture, gender, and law enforcement. The United Nations is a well positioned actor to engage important voices in the global community to speak out against extremism, as well as support victims and survivors whose stories help demonstrate the weaknesses of extremist narratives, while putting forward more assertively its own narrative based on core values enshrined in the UN Charter. The promotion and protection of human rights is not only a critical imperative in all counterterrorism efforts but is itself a most powerful counternarrative to that of the extremists. This debate was intended to inform the UN plan of action on countering violent extremism highlighted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in February 2015.