The European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) is a Brussels and Berlin-based policy institute that has been working with civil society, academic, governmental and other stakeholders on the prevention of radicalisation for more than a decade. Through our work with these organisations and groups, EFD’s goal is to ensure that the universal values of the Enlightenment – political pluralism, respect for individual rights, government by democracy – remain the founding precepts of European security and prosperity.
We address all forms of radicalisation which can lead to violent extremism regardless of the political or religious ideology that may drive these. Specifically, we support initiatives to strengthen resilience of communities in various countries by empowering credible pro-democratic voices to prevent radicalisation from gaining a foothold.
We engage with grassroots organisations, policy experts, government institutions and officials, and political leaders and provide expert advice through policy briefings and public events.
Other aspects of our work include creating practical tools to support front-line professionals (teachers, social workers, NGOs etc.) by developing practitioners’ guides for prevention work – e.g. identifying the early signs of radicalisation among at-risk youth in schools, developing and implementing effective counter and alternative narrative campaigns, among others.
We cooperate with EU expert groups including the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) to develop credible and robust alternative/counter narratives for young people susceptible to radicalisation and recruitment. RAN, created by the European Commission in 2011, brings together front-line practitioners, policy and EU national government experts to address radicalisation. Some colleagues are members of RAN and Alexander Ritzmann is chairman of the Communication and Narratives (C&N) Working Group.
We also help to raise awareness of online extremism via social media and the Internet and undertake radicalisation prevention work among refugee communities in Germany, in particular, by fostering leadership skills among young refugees. We also train police and security services to help them identify and address signs of radicalisation.
We educate and inform policy-makers, officials and politicians about the latest research and developments on radicalisation, as well as on the results of our prevention work. We do this through our programme of conferences, panel debates, workshops, policy briefings, advocacy work and publications.