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RAN: Approaches for Preventing Polarisation at the Community Level

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A workshop organised by RAN’s Working Group for Families, Communities and Social Care brought together practitioners from across Europe to feed into ongoing discussions on how to improve community-level dialogue efforts to reduce polarisation.

In October, the Strong Cities Network (SCN) Management Unit participated in a Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) workshop on approaches for preventing polarisation at the community level, in Stockholm, Sweden. Organised by RAN’s Working Group for Families, Communities and Social Care, practitioners from across Europe were invited to discuss trends related to polarisation across the continent and share local, good practice initiatives for meaningful community dialogue.

Anti-government and anti-migrant sentiments, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and related government measures, as well as multivarious waves of refugee immigration Europe has experienced over the past several years – were highlighted as two of the main challenges affecting local communities. Participants shared that the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and the resulting socio-economic insecurity in Europe, have  exacerbated these challenges. They noted the need to build trust, find commonalities across communities, foster mutual understanding and cultural appreciation between communities. Practitioners shared practical steps for communities to engage in dialogue, including the creation of safe spaces where grievances can be shared without fear of repercussion, and collaborative programmes organised by municipal authorities and grassroots organisations established on the principles of good faith and “Do No Harm”.

Representing the Strong Cities Management Unit, Senior Manager Simeon Dukić shared effective approaches for mapping city-level resilience dynamics, drawn from the Network’s Kumanovo Resilience Study. 

Strong Cities looks forward to contributing and facilitating similar exchanges in the future, working together with partners, such as the Radicalisation Awareness Network, to catalyse peer-to-peer and city-to-city learning across Europe and more broadly.