Above: More than 60 mayors, practitioners and policymakers from Nordic and US cities attended the event in Helsinki in April 2022
4 May 2022
The Strong Cities Network’s (SCN) trans-Atlantic exchange on local, city-led cooperation against extremist- and hate-motivated violence brought together mayors, public and mental health practitioners, law enforcement, NGOs, academics and central government officials from Nordic and US cities for an inspiring and productive exchange in the Finnish capital. The 27-28 April workshop, which was co-hosted with Nordic Safe Cities with support from the U.S. Embassy Helsinki, the Ministry of Interior in Finland and the City of Helsinki, was part of a week-long SCN-led visit of US local leaders and prevention practitioners to meet with their counterparts in Finland.
Workshop participants exchanged perspectives on some of the most pressing prevention challenges facing cities in an increasingly complex threat environment: how to strengthen social cohesion; the convergence of online hate and offline harm; the need to broaden typically youth-oriented prevention programmes to the adult population; how to address non-violent extremism; why inclusivity is a prerequisite for safety and security; and how to leverage existing prevention frameworks to address an evolving threat environment.
Powerful examples of mayoral leadership, community resilience, and interfaith solidarity were showcased; participants from both sides of the Atlantic shared ideas for how to communicate more effectively with communities, and opportunities identified for adapting a public health approach to optimize efforts to prevent extremist- and hate-motivated violence.
From the US cities of Aurora, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Pittsburgh, and the Nordic cities and municipalities of Aalborg, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Kristiansand, Malmö, Oslo, Stockholm and Vantaa, participants candidly shared their experiences, challenges and good practices for effective local prevention efforts. The SCN looks forward to supporting a further exchange in the US later this year. Stay tuned!