Extremism and terrorism have become transnational phenomena with tragic implications that not only undermine the internal security of states and the regional and international stability, but also threaten to destroy and dismantle the very foundations of the nation-state. Undermining the entity of the nation-state and spreading unrest has become the primary goal of extremist and terrorist groups. This has been confirmed by the events and developments of the past few years in which there have been a significant increase of terrorist attacks that strike relentlessly across the world, regardless of race, religion or identity.
In light of the dangerous developments of extremism and terrorism, security countermeasures alone are no longer sufficient to eradicate these atrocities. Hence, there should be a comprehensive strategy based on promoting the values of tolerance, centrism and moderation that includes cultural, social, religious, and developmental aspects, alongside the security measures. Evidently, education is one of the most important means in successfully implementing this strategy. Developing education that seeks to instill the values of openness, acceptance of others and tolerance in the hearts of young people, will obstruct environments that could be exploited by extremist and terrorist groups to disseminate their ideas.
The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) is committed to keeping abreast of the various issues that concern the United Arab Emirates and to support the efforts of the decision makers in confronting the threats of extremism and terrorism, which continue to grow regionally and internationally. Thus, the ECSSR has decided to organize the “Education, Extremism, and Terrorism” symposium to shed light on the important role that education can play in countering these dangers, which have become a real threat to the entire world, by stemming their ideological sources. This can be achieved by spreading moderate and enlightened ideas and by contributing to build a solid and united internal front capable of withstanding the attempts of radical and terrorist groups to infiltrate the cohesive social fabric.
The symposium will begin with welcoming remarks from H.E. Prof. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaid, Director General of the ECSSR, followed by two keynotes addresses delivered first by H.E. Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, the UAE Minister of Education, followed by H.E. Dr. Majid bin Ali Al-Nuaimi, Minister of Education and Chairman of the Higher Education Council in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The symposium will tackle two themes of discussion: “The Importance of Education in Countering Extremism and Terrorism,” which will examine the role of education in creating an open-minded generation capable of confronting the destructive ideas disseminated by radical terrorist groups; and “Developing Education Curricula to Instill Moderate Thought,” which will highlight the importance of developing an educational curricula and continuously enhancing it with updated materials to help raise awareness in society. Consequently, these discussions and resultant recommendations will hopefully contribute to filling the gaps that the extremist and terrorist groups may try to exploit to gain access to the minds of the youth. The proceedings of the symposium will be concluded with closing remarks by H.E. Prof. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi.