Reinforcing the role of education in preventing extremism

On 25 June 2022, a lone gunman in Oslo targeted people celebrating the eve of the city’s prominent Pride Parade. He left two dead, nearly a dozen injured, the parade canceled, and a nation in shock. To deliver his blow, the killer chose a location just two blocks from the site of a terrorist attack that unfolded in Oslo on 22 July 2011. 

This proximity is symbolic. Both of these crimes came from fear and hate, even if one was born from right-wing sentiments and the other from what the country’s domestic intelligence and security service has called “extreme Islamist terror”. As we reel from these senseless killings together with Norway and the rest of the world, we are also resolute in our commitment to reinforcing the role of education in preventing extremism. We continue working to combat hate speech in all its forms and variations. 

One of the ways we do so is locally, through the 22 July and Democratic Citizenship project. Students and teachers who participated in our trainings in 2021 have described a strengthened commitment to preventing hate speech. Last year, we also developed a guide for trainers about sexual and gender diversity, in order to better equip them for young people’s overnight stays on the island of Utøya. 

On a larger scale, across countries, we have joined forces with the Council of Europe to implement DEMRED, a project dedicated to Strengthening Democratic Resilience through Education. This education program brings together education professionals from nations that have recently experienced terrorist attacks. 

Schools and teachers are in the forefront dealing with such complex issues every day. At EWC, we endeavor to support and equip them with the skills to address and overcome trauma, as well as the competence to work on preventing hate speech together with their students. 

As ever, we stand with the LGBTQ+ community around the world. #pride