Lunch with a Side of Jihad

This article explores lessons learned from one meeting of EAI's CVE working group, which launched in March 2017 by EAI in Washington, D.C. the “Empowering CVE Working Group” is a quarterly convening of CVE practitioners, scholars, and policymakers.

Joining a violent extremist group is a form of resilience for many young people — we should never forget that.” [Round table participant]

Last week, we had the opportunity to sit down with some of the brightest minds in peace-building (some also call it preventing/countering violent extremism (P/CVE) — we’ll talk more about those terms shortly).

The experience in the room spanned continents and disciplines: Ethnographers working in Afghanistan sat next to data geeks working in Somalia and even more geeks working in governance and social accountability internationally and in the U.S.

Those of us from Equal Access International have done everything from formative research to evaluation and program design, with a strong focus on peace-building media projects in the Lake Chad/Sahel region. Our invitation to other researchers and intervention designers to break bread and converse was meant as an ego-free opportunity for practitioners to share both successes and challenges — and we weren’t disappointed. Equal parts optimism and skepticism were on full display, with neither camp winning over the other.

At the end of a hearty meal and even more substantial conversation, we did manage to land on three key points to inform the design and implementation of peace-building programs, and two philosophical questions that keep many of us up at night.

To read the full Medium article, Lunch with a Side of Jihad, Go Here.