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Bosnia and Herzegovina : OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovinas youth summits challenge stereotypes and promote tolerance to counter violent extremism.

Some 100 high school students, pedagogues and psychologists from across Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) took part in two youth summits in Tesli? and Vogos?a this week co-hosted by the OSCE Mission to BiH and the BiH Security Ministry, with the aim of developing school-supported activities to counter and prevent violent extremism from taking ground in educational environments.

Youth work can support peace-building and promote tolerance based on positive activities, said Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH Ambassador Jonathan Moore. This fits in exactly with the need for quality education throughout BiH. Our priority must be promoting critical thinking and broad-mindedness, encouraging young people to hear the opinions of others and take notice of inequality and discrimination in all contexts.

Aldin Krivan of the OSCE Mission-supported Super Citizens platform for reporting hate crimes noted how young people usually do not read newspapers but get their information through the Internet. Extremist groups use Facebook and Twitter to recruit young people and promote negative opinions about religion and life in general. We realized that we can also use the same channels to counter their messages. They act as cyber-arsonists and we fight back as cyber-firefighters, he said.

Dejan Dzebic, a high school student from Velika Kladusa, said education at all levels was the only way to fight violent extremism and its consequences. Young people should get involved in all activities in their local communities that aim to prevent violent extremism through education.

The summits provided new perspectives about violent radicalization and a platform for students to discuss actions they think are necessary this phenomenon, said Elma Sejdinovic, a high school student from Tuzla. These kinds of seminars are important and every school should organize them so that students become acquainted with this problem and contribute to reducing the threat of violent extremism in the country.

This project also contributed to the OSCE United in Countering Violent Extremism campaign that highlights OSCEs comprehensive approach to preventing violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism by branding all relevant activities under the common tag #UnitedCVE.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:4EXBO
Date:Apr 23, 2016
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