Udes hosts world's first UN­ESCO re­search chair to fight rad­i­cal­iza­tion

Sherbrooke Record - - FRONT PAGE - Record Staff

Que­bec has be­come home to the world’s first UN­ESCO Chair on the Pre­ven­tion of Rad­i­cal­iza­tion and Vi­o­lent Ex­trem­ism (UN­ESCO-PREV) Chair, in­au­gu­rated Fri­day at the Univer­sité de Sher­brooke. The Chair was formed in part­ner­ship with UQAM and Con­cor­dia Univer­sity as well as the Cana­dian Com­mis­sion for UN­ESCO.

The pri­mary mis­sion of the Chair is to act as a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence to de­velop, share and pro­mote pri­mary, sec­ondary and ter­tiary pre­ven­tion re­search and ac­tiv­i­ties on rad­i­cal­iza­tion and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism. With close to 40 part­ners in Canada and abroad, the Chair will en­sure close co­op­er­a­tion be­tween re­searchers and com­mu­ni­ties of prac­tice from a com­par­a­tive, mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary and international per­spec­tive. The re­search cen­tre is di­rected by three rec­og­nized experts in the field: Prof. David Morin from U de S, Prof. Ghayda Has­san from UQAM, and Prof. Vivek Venkatesh from Con­cor­dia. Prof. Sami Aoun, from l’univer­sité de Sher­brooke, is the sci­en­tific di­rec­tor of the Chair, which will be based at U de S.

Dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion, at­ten­dees heard Jhon Car­va­jal give en­light­en­ing tes­ti­mony on the need for the new Chair. Car­va­jal and his fam­ily fled their wartorn coun­try of Colom­bia in 2005 and is one of many who have been af­fected by rad­i­cal­iza­tion and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism. As a teenage refugee, he ex­pe­ri­enced a chal­leng­ing first few years in Que­bec. He said he could eas­ily have iso­lated him­self and gone down a wrong path, but chose a dif­fer­ent course. In­stead, he got in­volved with Di­a­logue +, a youth-driven project that of­fers a mul­ti­tude of ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at pre­vent­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion in the face of prej­u­dice and rad­i­cal­iza­tion.

“Di­a­logue + is an ex­am­ple of con­crete pre­ven­tive ac­tion,” says Di­a­logue + co­pres­i­dent Morin,. “It dove­tails per­fectly with one of the com­po­nents of the new UN­ESCO-PREV Chair, which we are launch­ing to­day.” Morin was ac­tively in­volved in cre­at­ing the Chair and is now a co-chairh older along­side with UQAM’S Has­san, the di­rec­tor of CPN-PREV (the Cana­dian Prac­ti­tioner Net­work for the Pre­ven­tion of Rad­i­cal­iza­tion and Ex­trem­ist Vi­o­lence) and a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist; and Vivek Venkatesh, a pro­fes­sor at Con­cor­dia, the cre­ator of SOME­ONE (So­cial Me­dia Ed­u­ca­tion Ev­ery Day) Project, and the di­rec­tor of the univer­sity’s Cen­tre for the Study of Learn­ing and Per­for­mance.

“The cre­ation of this chair is fully aligned with the pri­or­i­ties that the Que­bec govern­ment set out in its ac­tion plan to com­bat rad­i­cal­iza­tion. I am con­vinced that this re­search will con­tribute to our se­cu­rity, to the shar­ing of our val­ues, and to the de­vel­op­ment of our so­ci­ety,” said Chris­tine St-pierre, Que­bec’s Min­is­ter of International Re­la­tions and La Fran­co­phonie.

Sébastien Goupil, Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the Cana­dian Com­mis­sion for UN­ESCO added, “We are proud to host the net­work of this new Chair, with its unique gov­er­nance model unit­ing three ma­jor univer­si­ties—a first in Canada and in the world. We look for­ward to work­ing with the Chair to counter the rise of rad­i­cal­iza­tion and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism in Canada and the world,” Dig­ni­taries gather at the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the new UN­ESCO re­search Chair at U D S Fri­day. From left to right, U de S Rec­tor Prof. Pierre Cos­sette, Prof. Ghayda Has­san, Prof. Sami Aoun, Prof David Morin, Maria Mourani, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Govern­ment of Que­bec on the Per­ma­nent Del­e­ga­tion of Canada to UN­ESCO, Luc Fortin, Que­bec Min­is­ter of the Fam­ily and Min­is­ter for the Estrie Re­gion, Chris­tine St-pierre, Que­bec Min­is­ter of International Re­la­tions and La Fran­co­phonie, Marie-claude Bibeau, Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Comp­ton­stanstead and Min­is­ter of International De­vel­op­ment and Fran­co­phonie,. Jhon Car­va­jal, UN­ESCO Youth Am­bas­sador, Prof. Vivek Venkatesh, UQAM Rec­tor Magda Fusaro, and. Sébastien Goupil, Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the Cana­dian Com­mis­sion for UN­ESCO.

(COUR­TESY MARIE-CLAUDE BIBEAU)

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