Students from Bournemouth University (BU) are taking part in an international competition to challenge extremism, as one of just two UK universities invited to take part.
The competition, 'Challenging Extremism', is a public-private sector partnership between the White House National Security Council, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of State, the National Counterterrorism Center, Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, Facebook and EdVenture Partners. BU joins over 60 other universities across the world in the competition, as students internationally attempt to change perceptions of extremism.
The team of BU students (Tatyana, Danny, Tom and Sam) are working hard on a campaign under the guidance of Associate Professor Yeganeh Morakabati. Their campaign is called 'For Humanity' and aims to challenge perceptions of extremism and promote inclusivity. They have a strong online presence using Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as running a number of campus-based initiatives to raise awareness for the work they are doing.
The main thrust of the students’ campaign is that it unites everyone in concentric loyalty, regardless of religion or race, against violent extremism. One of the main factors in judging the success of the competition will be the number of ‘likes’ and followers the group are able to build on their Facebook page. Shortlisted teams will have the chance to travel to the United States to present their project to a panel in Washington.
One member of the team, Tatyana Khorokhorina, said, “Our task in the competition is to create a campaign that has a measurable effect on reducing violent extremism. We chose the route of unity and loyalty to tackle isolation – one of the root causes of radicalisation. Our campaign aims to reach out to isolated individuals to create an inclusive environment and we have to date engaged the support of Police Forces, Senior Politicians, Dorset Diversity and Equality Office, as well as a broad spectrum of individuals from varying races and religions."
To support the students and their campaign, or for more information about 'For Humanity' visit the For Humanity Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FHcommunity/).