Main Research Gaps on Violent Extremism

What drives young people to violent extremism (VE)?

Which are the factors and how do they interact among them and in relation to collective and individual dynamics?

This roundtable discussion marking the launch of the Connekt project will focus on:
  • Testing the drivers: Why including socio-political grievances? Is religion an over-emphasised driver? Why including leisure opportunities as a driver? Is territorial inequality something to be detached from poverty or economic inequality? Does the relation between religion and national belonging play a specific role? Is the digital context an overwhelming channel for VE in MENA and Balkans? Can we detach social perceptions and expectations from this drivers?
  • Detection versus Prevention: How to identify measures and strategies at a community, social and society level to really prevent violent extremism? How can we escape the detection-prevention trap?
  • How CONNEKT might be useful to contribute to European knowledge in dealing with VE? Why MENA and Balkans are relevant to the EU knowledge of VE processes? Is there a specific role for youth and women in PVE?


Lurdes Vidal

Director of the Arab and Mediterranean World Department at the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). Professor of the Master in International Relations (URL-Blanquerna). Scientific coordinator of CONNEKT. 

Full bio 

Jordi Moreras

Research fellow in the IEMed. He has a long professional trajectory of three decades in the study of Muslim communities in Spain and religious pluralism in the academic field. Scientific coordinator of CONNEKT. 

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Kerstin Wilde

Project Advisor for projects on Employment and Social Inclusion in various contexts at the European Commission, Research Executive Agency.

Josep Ferré

Director General at IEMed. Assistant director of the IEMed Mediterranean Yearbook and director of Euromed Survey. He worked for Spanish Agency for International Cooperation. CONNEKT project coordinator.

Corinne Torrekens

Professor and PhD in social and political sciences at Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). She conducted different researches at GERME (ULB) linked to the integration of Islam in Belgium. She was also involved in the Eurislam project of the European Commission.

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Marco Pinfari

Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Department of Political Science at the American University of Cairo. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the LSE. His research focuses on regional security, terrorism and domestic conflict.

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Tasnim Chirchi

Director of The Jasmine Foundation for Research and Communication. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the Université du Québec in Montreal. She has worked on research with the University of Duisberg-Essen, University of Gothenburg, CEMAT, and British Council.

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Lulzim Peci

Executive Director & Senior Researcher at the Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development. He holds a master in International Relations (University Institute Ortega y Gasset). He is specialized on security policies, radicalism, and violent extremism.

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About the project

Focused on young people aged between 12 and 30 from the MENA region and the Balkans,  Connekt (Contexts of Extremism in MENA and Balkan Societies) will analyse seven potential radicalisation factors (religion, digitisation, economic deprivation, territorial inequalities, transnational dynamics, socio-political demands, and educational, cultural and leisure opportunities) on three levels (transnational, community and individual) in order to determine their interrelations and specific significance.

Through an interdisciplinary team formed by 14 partners from the region, an innovative methodology will be applied that, along with universities and think tanks, involves civil society actors and local authorities to recommend, based on the results of the empirical research, tools and measures to prevent violent extremism that can be applied both to the countries under study and the European Union.   


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The CONNEKT project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870772
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