Empathy and experience are the enemies of extremism

Schools can help to break down barriers in society by promoting critical dialogue

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The question of how educators should try to prevent future extremists has generated no shortage of noise. From the diktats of governments and policymakers, to the opinions of NGOs and educators, it can be difficult to know which of the many strategies have any real purchase.

On 3 November, Unesco launched a youth-led guide to preventing extremism entitled #youthwagingpeace, which drew on the voices of young people. One of the refrains was the need to build relationships across barriers of race, culture, class and belief. If we can elicit empathy for “the other”, then extremist narratives can ...

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