The International Conference co-hosted by the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council) and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) themed “Role of Youth in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism: Holistic Approaches from Education to De-Radicalization” came an end on 21 October 2016 with the Closing Ceremony addressed by Mrs. Nihal Saad, Chief of Cabinet & Spokesperson for the High-Representative of UNAOC and Dr. Ömer Kocaman, Deputy Secretary General of the Turkic Council.

Participants at the level of Ministers, senior representatives of UNDP and other specialized agencies of the UN, experts of the international organizations including OSCE, government officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations and academicians gathered together with more than 300 young leaders from 40 countries from Africa to Central Asia in order to discuss ways and means of strengthening the role of youth in preventing and countering violent extremism.

The discussions in the framework of the Conference were mainly on the topics of Efforts of Governments and International Organizations to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism with the Involvement of the Youth; Mapping the Acts of Violent Extremism and Phenomenon of “Foreign Terrorist Fighters”; Preventing Violent Extremism Through Education: UNAOC’s Approach Through Youth Projects; Sports as a Means to Prevent Violent Extremism; Framing Development Solutions and Urging South-South Cooperation for the Empowerment of Youth in Countering Violent Extremism; Working on Innovative Methods for De-radicalization and Rehabilitation of Youngsters Involved in the Violent Extremist Acts.

General Outcomes of discussions:
Throughout discussions, the lack of statistical data was mentioned as a main obstacle before conducting analytical studies on the involvement of youth in violent extremism. Furthermore, the question of growing number of the recruits among the well-educated and well off members of the societies in the ranks of the terrorist organizations was also addressed by the panelists. In answering this question, the panelists argued that social exclusion, psychological traumas, the tendency to believe in false religious promises for the perpetrators of violence, the motive for self-realization through exerting violence were among the factors behind this phenomenon.It was also highlighted that definition of the radicalization as a term is very important, as generally it is confused with the term violence. Hence, education should be also considered as one of significant instruments in P/CVE and youth should be seen as part of the solution, not the problem.
General Recommendations of the conference:
To professionalize and systemize all work with young population against violent extremism; to strengthen formal and non-formal education with young people, as well as to educate police, political parties, government and media on P/CVE; to empower the youth against radicalization; to establish efficient system of rehabilitation for FTFs; to improve religious literacy among young people; creating jobs for young people; encourage representation of young people in government to have their voices heard and to support socialization projects of youth.