On March 16, the European Foundation for Democracy and the Counter Extremism Project hosted a closed door policy briefing to discuss the on-going crisis in Syria, in collaboration with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. The guest speaker was Bassam Al-Kuwatli, a Syrian activist currently based in Gaziantep, southern Turkey.
On 3 March 2016, EFD Executive Director Roberta Bonazzi moderated an event at the European Parliament on integration strategies of Syrian refugees, in light of the largest migrant crisis facing Europe since WWI. This conference examined ways that civil society, NGOs, government and the private sector can cooperate to address the complex needs of refugees. The conference was co-hosted by the Maya Foundation, Friends of Turkey in the European Parliament and Project Lift. The host was MEP Ernest Maragall of the European Free Alliance/Greens political party.
On 2 March 2016, the European Foundation for Democracy hosted a closed-door briefing to discuss what challenges and opportunities exist following the nuclear deal with Iran. The two guest speakers were Nima Rashedan and Shadi Sadr who provided their expertise and offered recommendations for better EU engagement with Iran, following the ratification of the nuclear deal.
On 29 February 2016, the European Foundation for Democracy hosted a closed-door policy briefing for EU diplomats and officials entitled: “Turkey-EU deal on refugees: domestic and foreign policy implications”. The guest speaker was an associate professor of political science and international relations at Okan University in Istanbul, where she also contributes to the European Union Research Center.
On 19 February 2016, the organisation Inner Wheel organised a briefing in Pisa to discuss about “Islam and radicalisation”. EFD Researcher Tommaso Virgili was the guest speaker.
On 27 January 2016, the European Foundation for Democracy, in collaboration with the Counter Extremism Project, hosted a closed-door policy briefing for EU diplomats and officials which offered a Syrian perspective on the EU’s response to the refugee crisis. The guest speaker was a Syrian activist currently based in Gaziantep, southern Turkey.
On 9 December, the European Policy Centre, the European Foundation for Democracy and the Counter Extremism Project hosted a policy briefing on dealing with the radicalisation challenge. Experts deliberated the root causes of radicalisation – the pervasive ideology, radical preachers urging jihad, and the hijacking of religion – and how these interact with factors such as culture, identity and socio-economic conditions
On 1 December 2015, the European Foundation for Democracy organised a public policy briefing, in collaboration with the European Institute of Peace, the Counter Extremism Project and the U.S. Mission to the EU. The panel discussed both European and U.S. radicalisation prevention programmes, how best to reach out to vulnerable communities, considered what a compelling counter narrative needs to look like and what needs to change in existing prevention policies in the U.S. and Europe.
On 30 November 2015, the European Foundation for Democracy, in partnership with the European Law Students Association and the Counter Extremism Project, hosted a conference in Bologna, Italy, on the current conflict in Syria and its geopolitical implications. Among the panellists were EFD researcher Tommaso Virgili. Other panellists included leading geostrategic analysts, legal experts and diplomats, who provided a multifaceted insight on the Syrian crisis, its root causes and its legal and geopolitical implications.
On 26 November 2015, the European Foundation for Democracy hosted a closed-door briefing in Brussels in response to the Paris attacks of 13 November. The speakers examined the role that ideology plays in creating fertile ground for recruitment to violence and terrorism.
On 18 November 2015, the European Foundation for Democracy and the Counter Extremism Project hosted a closed-door briefing to discuss the implications of the 13 November Paris attacks and how the EU should best address the threat of terrorism in order to prevent similar attacks in future. The briefing examined why many individuals have been susceptible to radicalisation, with many subsequently choosing to join terrorist groups like the so-called Islamic State/Daesh.
On 14 October 2015, the European Foundation for Democracy organised a briefing in Berlin, in collaboration with Citizen Diplomats for Syria (CDS), to discuss the refugee crisis, which has become the largest influx of refugees since World War II. The panel included two former Syrian diplomats and members of CDS, as well as EFD Program Director Ahmad Mansour. During the briefing, the speakers discussed a wide range of issues relating to the crisis, with a focus on understanding the potential opportunities and challenges that Germany and the rest of Europe are facing.
On 30 September 2015, the European Foundation for Democracy organised two policy briefings in Washington D.C. to present three studies on the issue of radicalisation in a number of countries, particularly focusing on the European eastern and southern neighbourhoods. The panel included EFD Senior Fellow Valentina Colombo, who presented the case for Tunisia with a report entitled Tunisia, a nascent democracy under siege; EFD Researcher Tommaso Virgili, who presented a report on Secularism in Azerbaijan and the threat of radicalisation in the region; and EFD Adjunct Fellow Arturo Varvelli of ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies), who discussed his report on Libya’s fight for survival: defeating jihadist networks.
On 5 September 2015, the European Foundation for Democracy organised a closed-door expert workshop in Berlin. The event was held in cooperation with the Muslimisches Forum Deutschland (Muslim Forum of Germany or MFD). The event centred on the causes and effects of Islamic extremism and the results were consolidated in a document called “Berlin Theses—key developments in Islam and Muslims’ roles in modern society”.
On 1 July 2015, the European Foundation for Democracy and the European Policy Centre hosted a joint policy dialogue to discuss the issue of how social media is being misused by terrorist organisations to spread propaganda and insight extremism. The panel included EFD Fellow Tehmina Kazi; EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles De Kerchove; former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and CEO of the Counter Extremism Project, Mark Wallace; and former State Secretary of the German Ministry of the Interior and former Director of the Federal Intelligence Services, August Hanning.